Transfusion and blood donations in comics (1940-2009) Volume 19, issue 3, Mai-Juin 2013


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Institut national de la transfusion sanguine, 6 rue Alexandre-Cabanel, 75015 Paris, et Université Paris-Descartes, Paris, France, Établissement français du sang-Bretagne, rue Pierre-Jean-Gineste, 35000 Rennes, France

A cultural field, where the representation of blood transfusion and donation of blood has never been studied, is the comic strip, which is a relatively recent art, having emerged in the nineteenth century, before becoming a mass medium during the twentieth century. We have sought, by calling on collectors and using the resources of Internet, comic books devoted, wholly or in part, to the themes of transfusion and blood donation. We present some of them here, indicating the title, country of origin, year of publication and names of authors. The theme of the superhero using transfusion to transmit his virtues or his powers is repeated in the first North-American comic strips. More recently, comic strips have been conceived from the outset with a promotional aim : they perpetuate positive images and are directed towards a young readership, wielding humor to reduce the fear of venipuncture. Few comic strips denounce the abuse of the commercialization of products derived from the human body. The image of Transfusion and blood donation given by the comic strips is not to be underestimated, because their readership is primarily children, some of whom will be, in adulthood, potential blood donors. Furthermore, if some readers are transfused during their lives, the impact of a memory more or less conscious of these childhood readings will resurface, both in terms of hopes and fears.