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Health in strip cartoons.

Videlier P; Piras P
WORLD HEALTH FORUM. 1990; 11(1):14-31.

Health is often seen in strip cartoons (SCs). However, its images convey their own properties. SCs are distributed globally. They are produced in Algiers, Dakar, and Bangui. The SC generally goes from humor to adventure stories. Health enters SCs in 3 ways: 1) the portrayal of life styles; 2) health as a suspenseful element; and 3) medical adventures emphasizing a doctor. Adventure stories with doctors for heroes are common. WHO is the basis for many SCs. Humor and adventure are the 2 basic themes in SCs; they are not mutually exclusive. 1 way that SCs portray health is the "stretched-out time of soap opera." These are stories of poor, talented doctors and devoted nurses. The SC is a graphic expression of world concerns. Healthy or unhealthy life styles may be seen in SCs. Food, tobacco, and alcohol are just parts of a story. Positive heroes are never alcoholics, because alcoholism is a potential vice. Habitual drinkers are usually secondary characters. Early in the 20th century, tobacco played a big role in developing SCs in Mexico. Breaking society's rules for a healthy life style leads to all kinds of consequences in SCs. There was no educational intent to having Popeye eat spinach. Spinach contains iron and is associated with strength. Scurvy is an enemy of many sailors, and this shows up in SCs on disease. It alternates with cholera as an element of adventure in sea stories. An imaginative story devoted to health education shows a medical and social confrontation with naval captains who are not too bright. SCs are neither good nor bad in themselves.

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