Towards a Network of Graphic Care
The Comics, Comments, and Communities of Instagram
This article examines the intersection of comics, mental illness, and social media and explores how platform users are using the mental health-focused webcomics of Instagram to form networks of self- and collective care. The author outlines the trajectory of Canadian mental illness-related comics, discusses the function of social media-based support systems, and highlights how comics may be used as legitimate mental health resources in both present and post-Covid contexts. By examining the anxiety-focused Instagram comics of Montreal illustrator Sandra Dumais, the article emphasizes that the affordances of mental health webcomics are not limited to their representation of often-inexplicable mental illness symptoms. Rather, the author argues that mental health comics, specifically those posted to social networking sites like Instagram, provide platform users with a space for sharing their stories, offering support, and creating grassroots communities based in mutual experience.