Bringing superheroes into the fight against COVID-19 misinformation

11 February 2021
Anwar Chitrakar, a folk artist from Bengal, adapted the indigenous patachitra style to light-hearted COVID-19 art.
Anwar Chitrakar/Emami Art
Anwar Chitrakar, a folk artist from Bengal, adapted the indigenous patachitra style to light-hearted COVID-19 art.
Anwar Chitrakar/Emami Art

In March 2020, Indian comic book publisher Raj Comics released Nagraj Strikes: The Attack of Coronaman, a comic on how Coronaman, a hideous and insidious villain, takes over the fictional city of Mahanagar to infect people with COVID-19. The hero Nagraj’s efforts to destroy the Coronaman by spewing venomous breath fails. He then sees coronavirus prevention measures on television—wash hands often, cough into your elbow, don’t touch your face, keep safe distance from other people, stay home if you can. Nagraj finds that he does not have to save the people in his city. They have kept the Coronaman away by following isolation, distancing and sanitisation measures. 

Over the past year, artists, doctors, medical professionals, and international agencies such as the World Health Organisation have been using comics to communicate the risks of the SARS-CoV2 virus. The visual economy and a near-universal language of lines, balloons, and panels in comics makes them well suited to disseminate epidemic-related information to children and adults. 

Don't want to read further? Stay in touch

  • Free newsletters. updates. and special reads
  • Be the first to hear about subscription sales
  • Register for Free

    Sathyaraj Venkatesan is an associate professor and a comics enthusiast teaching at the department of humanities and social sciences, National Institute of Technology, Tiruchirappalli. He is co-author of Gender, Eating Disorders and Graphic Medicine.

    A David Lewis is an American graphic novel writer currently teaching at Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences in Boston. His creative works include The Lone and Level Sands and Kismet, Man of Fate. He is an editorial board member for the International Journal of Comic Art

    Keywords: comics COVID-19 coronavirus SARS-CoV2 Ministry of Health and Family Welfare World Health Organisation misinformation
    COMMENT