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Fanbase Press Interviews Boum on the Upcoming Release of the Graphic Novel, ‘The Jellyfish,’ Through Pow Pow Press

The following is an interview with Boum regarding the upcoming release of the graphic novel, The Jellyfish, through Pow Pow Publishing. In this interview, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief Barbra Dillon chats with Boum about her creative process in bringing the story to life on the page based on her own experiences with visual impairment, the impact that Graphic Medicine stories like this one can have with readers, and more!

Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief: Congratulations on the upcoming release of The Jellyfish! For those who may be unfamiliar, how would you describe the story’s premise?

Boum: It’s the story of Odette, who from the start gets diagnosed with a jellyfish in their eye. Anywhere Odette goes, they—and the reader, too—see a small jellyfish floating about, hiding part of their vision. As the story progresses, the jellyfish grow in size and numbers and Odette has to learn to live with this new aspect of their life. It’s a story of chronic disease and grief, but also of friendship, love, and hope.

BD: What can you tell us about your creative process in bringing this story and characters to life on the page, and how much of your own experiences with visual impairment influenced your narrative?

B: This book basically wrote itself! In 2007 or so, I started having vision problems. There was an abnormally high number of floaters (tiny grey spots that almost everyone gets at some point, they’re very common) in my right eye, and they formed some sort of blob that moved about like a jellyfish. I hadn’t got a precise diagnosis then, they didn’t really know what caused all of this, so I simply called it “my jellyfish.” As the years passed and my vision problems persisted and worsened, I began toying with the idea of writing a story about a character that had a literal jellyfish living in their eye. I almost made it into an animated short, in 2010, at the National Film Board of Canada—there was a call for submissions and my project was one of three finalists. I didn’t win, which is good because the book I made out of it is so much better than the film it would’ve been!

Anyway, I signed with Pow Pow for the original French-language version in early 2021 and about two weeks later, I completely lost vision in my right eye. After spending several weeks in and out of the hospital attempting to save it, I went back into my script and storyboard and modified parts of the story, for the better.

BD: What makes Pow Pow Press the perfect home for The Jellyfish?

B: I wrote this book hoping Pow Pow would publish it! They’re such a great publisher in Quebec. They were very involved in the making of this book, it just made sense to stay with them for the English version. It’s also invaluable that, being based in Montreal, I get to see them in person.

Jellyfish 2

BD: Graphic Medicine is an emerging genre that combines the field of medicine with the medium of comics. How do you feel that Graphic Medicine stories like yours can help to better depict the lived experiences of those with medical conditions?

B: I think it’s important to have diverse voices in comics and arts in general. Comics have this capability to say more with less—like they say, a picture is worth a thousand words. I guess what I’m saying is that comics can have more of an impact thanks to the visuals? It’s so easy to show something with a drawing compared to writing about it. Some Graphic Medicine—memoirs, especially—can be very educational, but there can be a lot of poetry to them, too, because they allow for visual metaphors and ellipses and such. Kinda like mixing the clarity of a diagram with the complexity of prose or poetry, if that makes sense.

I made this book because it made me feel better to share my fears and, to a certain extent, my living experience, but I found out soon after its release that a lot of people connected with it for various reasons—some readers have vision problems themselves, or their loved ones do, but others related because it can depict chronic disease at large. It could be anxiety or depression or whatever ailment you’re familiar with. I didn’t really expect that, I was too busy writing about my own problems to realize how far this book could reach, and I’m really thankful I got to exchange with a bunch of people about how my story made them feel.

BD: At Fanbase Press, our #StoriesMatter initiative endeavors to highlight the impact that stories can have on audiences of various mediums. How do you feel that Odette’s story may connect with and impact readers?

B: It’s very hard to speak of The Jellyfish without spoiling the ending—everyone knows where it’s going the second they pick up the book, because you can see it directly as you flip through the pages. I think reading it becomes more of an experience. The reader progressively loses the capacity to read as the comic goes on because the panels disappear behind the multiplying jellyfish. As I was drawing it, I was hoping the reader would have to go back over some panels or even pages because the action becomes unclear. Maybe I wanted them to be a little frustrated at times, too. The jellyfish are really annoying, and I feel like the reader gets to experience Odette’s despair firsthand.

BD: Are there any upcoming projects on which you are currently working that you would like to share with our readers?

B: I’m barely starting work on my next project. It won’t be as personal as The Jellyfish was, but there’s a lot of myself in all of my work, it can’t be helped. It’ll have a little bit of sci-fi and magic realism set in the 1990s, and it’s about one’s relation to their own mortality and legacy, and the fight-or-flight response some people have when facing change. The main character registers into a program where she can exchange her life for someone else’s. That’s about all I can tell for now!

BD: Lastly, what is the best way for our readers to find more information about The Jellyfish and your other work?

B: I have a professional portfolio, but I’m also active on Facebook and Instagram mostly. I do still have a Twitter account (can’t bring myself to call it X) and I’m kinda on Bluesky, too. But the best place to find out about everything I do is my Patreon page, that I use as a blog. I post WIPs and news there first and foremost.

Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief




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