Memoir & Diary Comics
by Brian. J Kelley
Nanny, Aunt Connie, & great-grandmom in the 1970s.
To the Reader, For much of the Fall, I sketched and inked a bunch of memoir comics about growing up in Phladelphia in the 70s and 80s, but I set most aside for this edition of Big Chooch to make space for what is happening with me right now, healthwise. On December 14th I learned that I had melanoma. Since then, I have been using drawing to help me make sense of it. Consider searching the term “graphic medicine” and you will find a growing field of patients and medical professionals sharing their experiences through comics, through art. I didn’t plan for this detour in my comics-making but I am glad that I have an additional outlet for my energy, anxiety, and confusion beyond my family and close friends. A recent Letter to the Editor of The New York Times, by a former English teacher from Brooklyn, Sarah M. Levy, resonates with me by quoting Joan Didion: “We tell ourselves stories in order to live.” I remember my Aunt Connie telling me on several occasions that they were all children of the Depression and that having food on the table was a big deal...but so was sharing the food you were blessed to be eating. To that end, I remember family actively handing food out around the neighborhood or waving neighbors in to join us. I remember plates of food (during our regular weeknight meals) being covered in foil and then delivered to several elderly neighbors. My Aunt Connie did this all the time. Sharing was just something you did. Food. Emotion. Home. Love. You name it....
Big Chooch Comics #3; January 2022. Published by Brian J. Kelley. P.O. Box 193, Kemblesville, PA 19347. Write to me snail mail or email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit me on IG bjk925 or on Twitter @RealBrianKelley. ©2022 Brian J. Kelley.
GORGING ON STOLEN BEER, WINE, AND BAKED CHICKEN WITH FRIENDS, 1983-1985.
WE HAD AN INSIDER WORKING FOR A NEIGHBORHOOD CATERER.
I MEAN, WHO WANTS TO DRINK ALL NIGHT IN A DAMP, DIRTY ALLEY? WE WEREN’T ANIMALS! THINK OF US AS RESOURCEFUL CITY KIDS SEIZING AN OPPORTUNITY AND SHARING IT.
PRICK: I HAVE MELANOMA, PART 1
Note: I felt a nagging pin prick on my back, on and off, for almost a year; this was the start and growth of the melanoma.
AUNT CONNIE, ME, AND MY MOM. FIRST COMMUNION, 1976.
Brian Kelley is a middle school teacher and now a cartoonist. He is the author of the autobiographical comics series “Big Chooch Comics” and his work has most recently appeared online at “Hobart: another literary journal.” He lives in Chester County, Pennsylvania with his wife Karla and a menagerie of dogs and cats.