Comics: Lighter Than My Shadow

Published On May 19, 2013 | By Richard Bruton | Comics

We’ve featured Katie Green’s Lighter Than My Shadow on here already, but there’s an awful lot of interesting pieces, very personal pieces from Katie Green over on the Lighter Than My Shadow blog. The book is released by Cape in October this year, but it’s already shaping up to be something rather special.

Just from the little I’ve seen already there’s a natural, honest voice, gentle, familiar, and true to Green’s work. That it’s a very close subject for Green gives her words and images import and strength and I can already imagine the emotional impact the book’s going to deliver. In the meantime you can (and should) explore her comic zine The Green Bean, a celebration of the everyday stuff all around us, and available from Katie Green’s website.

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Here’s just a little sampling from the Lighter Than My Shadow blog… currently discussing the reasons why Green did the book:

Why I – Eating disorders thrive in secrecy:

My eating disorder made me a liar. Everyone knows how it goes: “Oh, you’re not having lunch?” “No, I ate earlier.” Clearly you didn’t. Or perhaps you did, but you didn’t want people to see what you ate, or how you ate it. The rules and rituals I needed to follow to allow myself to eat were elaborate and, quite frankly, embarrassing. I didn’t want people to watch me, worry about me, whisper about me.

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Why II – Stigma and misunderstanding

I used to think that eating disorders were a choice. I used to think that anorexics were vain teenage girls not eating because they wanted to look like supermodels. I thought they should stop being stupid and just snap the heck out of it.  Until anorexia was the diagnosis given to me, and someone asked, “Why don’t you just eat?”

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Why III – General ham-fistedness

When I first tried to explain anorexia to my family, I painted a picture (quite how it took me a further 6 years to realise I should make a graphic novel, I don’t know). My family and I used the painting to communicate, because usually I would clam up and find myself unable to speak at all in a hospital or doctor’s surgery.

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Why IV: Speaking the unspeakable

The story of my recovery from eating disorders is impossible to tell without including the abuse (though I did briefly consider that as an option). They are inextricably tangled up together. It’s always felt important, if not vital, to communicate how my vulnerability in early recovery was preyed upon and taken advantage of. What else can I do to try and prevent the same happening to someone else?

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About The Author

Richard Bruton
- Started in comics retail aged 16 at Nostalgia & Comics, Birmingham. Now located in Yorkshire, he's written for the Forbidden Planet International Blog since 2007. Specialising in UK Comics and All-Ages comics, Richard's day job in a primary school allowed him to build the best children's graphic novel library in the country.

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