Earlier this year, Eisner Award-nominated publisher Fanbase Press launched its first foray into Graphic Medicine with Ripple Effects, a five-issue comic book series which explores life as a superhero with an invisible illness. The series was inspired by creator Jordan Hart’s lived experience with an invisible and incurable blood-clotting disease called thrombophilia. As October 13th is World Thrombosis Day, Hart and the team at Fanbase Press wish to join physicians, educators, advocates, patients, and their loved ones in raising awareness for thrombosis, including its causes, risk factors, signs/symptoms, and evidence-based prevention and treatment.
According to the World Thrombosis Day website, “Thrombosis is the formation of a blood clot in a blood vessel. Once formed, a clot can slow or block normal blood flow, and even break loose and travel to an organ. Thrombosis is the often preventable underlying pathology of heart attack, thromboembolic stroke, and venous thromboembolism (VTE), the top three cardiovascular killers. 1 in 4 people worldwide are dying from conditions caused by thrombosis. And, it’s a startling fact that up to 900,000 people in the United States alone are affected by blood clots each year; about 100,000 of those people will die, which is greater than the total number of people who lose their lives each year to AIDS, breast cancer, and motor vehicle crashes combined.”
Organizations like The International Society on Thrombosis and Haemostasis (ISTH) advance the understanding, prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of conditions related to thrombosis and hemostasis. There are opportunities to get involved directly and/or to donate to their efforts all around the world, and we encourage you to learn more about their incredible efforts.
“When I was first diagnosed with thrombophilia, I struggled with deep feelings of isolation,” notes Ripple Effects creator Jordan Hart. “But talking with other chronically ill people gave me the support I needed to realize I wasn’t alone. I created Ripple Effects to remind anyone living with an invisible illness — and their loved ones — that there’s a whole community that’s here for you.”
For Ripple Effects, in an effort to help readers better empathize with and understand the difficulties of navigating invisible illnesses, every issue of the series features an “Unseen Ripples” essay series written by individuals with invisible disabilities who relate Ripple Effects‘ events to their own lived experience, ranging in topic from paranoid schizophrenia to thrombophilia.
The “Unseen Ripples” essay series includes a powerhouse lineup of contributors who were generous in sharing not only their time, but their very personal journeys with invisible disabilities and illnesses, including multiple sclerosis, type 2 diabetes, paranoid schizophrenia, Myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS), and thrombophilia:
- Dr. Theresa Rojas – Founding Director – The Latinx Comic Arts Festival, Founding Board Member – Graphic Medicine International Collective
- Jazmine Joyner (They/Them) – Writer / Editor, The Story Eater 2024
- Mike Ahn – co-creator, Out of Order
- Amanda Lawson
- Jordan Hart – writer, Ripple Effects, Terminarch, Doppelgänger, Emergence
Ripple Effects is created, written, and colored by Jordan Hart (Terminarch, Doppelgänger, Emergence), illustrated by Bruno Chiroleu (El Borde, Mara and Samu), flatted by Shane Kadlecik, lettered by Oceano Ransford (Eisner Award-nominated Rikki, The Sequels, Haphaven), and featuring cover art by Justin C. Harder (CLAUS Studios).
In a world that is no stranger to superheroes, George Gibson is invulnerable to physical harm but fights every day to stay alive. Suffering from an acute case of type 1 diabetes, his invincibility is offset by a defective pancreas that must be monitored and treated daily. This incurable disease makes George’s body both his greatest strength and his eternal weakness.
What sets this series apart is a positive, person-first representation about life with an invisible illness . . . which just so happens to also include superhuman abilities. But, Ripple Effects isn’t just a story about a character with an incurable disease. It’s also a thrilling and relevant superhero tale that touches on the difficulty of finding a work/life balance, the class struggles and economic inequality experienced by many in our nation, and the desire to help others during trying times.
Issues #1-5 of the comic book series have been released digitally through Hoopla Digital. In addition, the series will be collected into a printed trade paperback which is currently available for pre-order through the Fanbase Press website (www.fanbasepress.com).