Jason Tougaw

Published On


Page Range

pp. 147–180


  • English

6. Neurocomics and Neuroimaging

David B.’s Epileptic and Matteo Farinella and Hana Roš’s Neurocomic

  • Jason Tougaw (author)
Like many works of neuro-narratives, neurocomics ask, in philosopher Catherine Malabou’s words, what should we do with our brain? How might we understand its relation to identity? How should we live with it, study it, or write about it? Like so many twenty-first-century brain narratives, both texts conceive the physical brain as central to the stories they tell, the conflicts they plot, and the characters they portray; both genres engage brain research, translating neurobiological theories into literary experiments. Their creators experiment with narrative forms that may frame new views on the relationship between brain matter and the immaterial experiences that compose a self—what philosophers call phenomenology. Because neurocomics emphasize the construction of images of the brain, they can be used as a lens to understand medical brain imaging. fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging), PET (positron emission tomography), and SPECT (signal photon emission computed tomography) are often described as though they offer direct images of brains at work, rather than images of brains created through a complex process of measurement, statistical analysis, and computer-aided representations. In simple terms, like comics, such technologies are representations of the brain, not direct access to it.


Jason Tougaw