Thursday, January 2, 2014

"A Day With Parkinson's Disease"

Excerpt from page eight: Artwork by Peter Dunlap-Shohl

Anchorage cartoonist Peter Dunlap-Shohl has an epic undertaking over on his other blog "Off & On/The Alaska Parkinson's Rag" which is currently up to page nine ten in his new series "A Day With Parkinson's Disease."
"The plan is to take you through what a day is like with a chronic debilitating and progressive disease that undermines your ability to do just about anything physical. Think of it as positive wallowing, turning frustration, anxiety and misery into art."
It's excellent work-in-progress - insightful, poignant and punctuated by some funny scenes. Mundane, seemingly simple activities most folks take for granted, or even complain about having to do, take on a more intensive significance. Navigating a house, a driveway or a drawing can become a challenging, even frustrating task which Peter portrays with a first-person perspective that honestly addresses aspects of the disorder as it affects him on a day-to-day basis. The kinetic quality of his line (by far the most expressive mark-making I've seen through the digital medium as the vast majority of cartoonists tend to strive to achieve the opposite in rendering tight, smooth linework) is evidence of incorporating what most might think would be a debilitating symptom of degenerative motor control into a very real, literally graphic depiction of the disease. But what's being illustrated isn't Parkinson's per se, it's Peter, and his self-characterization, not caricature, is what makes me care and want to continue reading. Above and beyond his informative, intimate narrative is a humbling and inspirational impression that body checks any bitching and moaning I might have about getting back to the drawing table, or doing anything for that matter. It's a rare work to be being able to see unfold, and reading it one can maybe both have a laugh at something that's not funny at all, and learn something too: updated archive is here.


  1. Hy Jamie, thanks for the kind words and virtual ink!

  2. All thanks to you for sharing with us Peter. In fact, I hope to see/own a copy of it in book form sometime, it'd be a worthwhile project for some agency/nonprofit to produce.
    It's on par with 2009's "Stitches" by David Small (cancer) and 2004's "It's A Bird" written by Steven Seagle/art by Teddy Kristiansen (Huntington's Disease) as far as graphic treatment of topics that promote understanding.