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'Awkward Yeti' Creator Releases New Comic Book Featuring Real-Life Medical Stories

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On Monday, the creative mastermind behind “Awkward Yeti” announced his latest project — a new book comprising 24 illustrated comics of real-life medical stories from patients.

Titled “How I Broke Up With My Colon,” Awkward Yeti author and illustrator Nick Seluk wanted to capture what it’s like for real people to live with chronic health conditions, from mental illness to ulcerative colitis, and other dispatches from the human body. At its heart, Seluk wanted to create a book his followers could relate to.

“I realized after making a lot of comics with organs that I was developing a fanbase with a big interest in medicine. Not only medical professionals but those afflicted with issues or just curious about things,” Seluk told The Mighty, adding:

Rather than going after extreme and rare cases, I wanted to connect and involve real fans directly, creating around stories from everyday people. Some are pretty wild, while others, like ‘The Battle,’ which is about anxiety and depression, connect to people in a very relatable way.

“How I Broke Up With My Colon” has been several years in the making. Seluk said he felt a particular responsibility to get the stories right since each episode in the series depicts a person’s lived experience. Combining those stories with his signature relatable humor made for an engaging project.

“When I first created the series (originally titled ‘Medical Tales Retold’) it was one of the most difficult and rewarding projects I had worked on,” Seluk said. “By working with someone’s story, there is pressure to do it justice, but there was also a freedom to really be myself with the comics. This is my favorite work so far because it most accurately reflects my genuine sense of humor.”

By going there with medical stories in “How I Broke Up With My Colon,” Seluk hopes to break down barriers for those dealing with health conditions. By adding humor to what can be a difficult subject, Seluk said, he wants to make it easier to talk about and cope with medical issues.

“I hope people can remove a little taboo from conversations about medical stuff,” he said. “We all suffer from something at some point, we all know somebody who has had cancer, and the worst thing we can do is allow somebody to feel alone because we’re afraid to talk (or joke) about what life gives us naturally.”

The book will be available starting March 24, and it’s currently available for preorder. Below, Seluk shared an excerpt from the book, episode four, “The Breakup.”

How I Broke Up With My Colon comic: Episode 4, the Breakup, submitted by Funkstonian

How I Broke Up With My Colon comic: I recently went through a very horrible breakup. It was painful to end it (showing a man with his hand on his face and a cartoon colon walking out a door). But I could not live with my colon any more (a cartoon colon walking out with bags packed while the man says "Just go)

How I Broke Up With My Colon comic: My colon and I had been together for 24 long, mostly happy years. (First frame shows baby and cartoon colon looking happy. Next frame shows young man and cartoon colon headed to the toilet). Of course we had our ups and downs (Colon challenges man eating a cheeseburger. But it was a pretty good relationship (Man feeds the colon fiber)

How I Broke Up With My Colon comic: One day, my colon changed. It started off slow, but I could tell, we just weren't in sync anymore. (The colon and the man have a conversation: Hey, do you mind taking it easy on the movements? Angry colon says, Oh, you'd' like that wouldn't you! Maybe I should filter old blood, too! Is that what you want? For me to be your spleen? The man tries to protest by saying, I just though... and the colon says, Well stop thinking!)

How I Broke Up With My Colon comic: I forced my colon to the doctors office and much to my dismay, there was a problem that was being kept hidden from me. I was told I had Ulcerative Colitis. (A doctor hands the man a tissue as he tells his colon,You should have said something! The colon hides his face and says, Don't look at me, I'm hideous.)

How I Broke Up With My Colon comic: I thought now that we realized what the problems were, we could go to treatment and work on our relationship, but my colon was having none of it. (The colon berates the man, who leans with his head against the wall: You're the reason I have constant inflammation, the colon says. You and your stress. Oh nothing to say now? That's a first!)

How I Broke Up With My Colon comic: Over the next two and a half years we fought. I lost half my body weight. I went on so many medications it was crazy. (Black and white frames show the man and colon fighting and another with a pill bottle on the table and the man in the background, hanging his head.)

How I Broke Up With My Colon comic: Finally I knew it was time. I was in the hospital when I made my decision. I asked to speak to a surgical consult.

How I Broke Up With My Colon comic: It was painful, but during the first surgery, I broke it off with my colon. (The man glares at the door as the colon exits). I haven't seen him since.

How I Broke Up With My Colon comic: My appendix took my colon's side, of course, and left with him. (A tiny cartoon appendix tries to protest and come back. the next frame shows a close-up on the angry appendix with a red background now threatening, Take me back so I can kill you! I'll kill you dead you hear me!?) Good riddance I say!

How I Broke Up With My Colon comic: My small intestine was there for me through the entire thing. In fact, during the second surgery it offered to take my colon's place as a J-pouch. (Illustration shows what a J pouch looks like and its purpose as an alternate to the colon instead of an external bag)

How I Broke Up With My Colon comic: I couldn't have made it through without the proper support and love of my small intestine. During the third and final surgery, we will be making the change permanent. (Doctor tells the man, who is holding small intestine, We should also consider putting that on the INSIDE of your body). I am very happy now. I finally realize that it is not necessarily about the quantity, but rather the quality, of the organs that matter.

How I Broke Up With My Colon comic: All I can say is, gallbladder and tonsils, you had better be on your best behavior, because I do not need the extra baggage if you step out of line. (Cartoon tonsils and gallbladder)

Pick up a copy of “How I Broke Up With My Colon,” available for preorder for $14.99, at Amazon, Barnes & Noble or IndieBound.

Images via Nick Seluk/”How I Broke Up With My Colon

Originally published: January 30, 2020
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