A graphic narrative of body dysmorphia; a memoir of obsession, shame, and what it means to face the physical space you take up in the world.
A Personal History of the Self on Display
by Robert James Russell
Simon & Schuster, 2024
(via The Lark Group)
In the vein of graphic memoirs from Meichi Ng, Alison Bechdel, and Adrian Tomine, HARD BODY by Robert James Russell is a graphic narrative – a blend of comics, memoir, and history – about the author’s experience of male body dysmorphia. From personal stories about how the author’s body has been a commodity for others – while modeling or working at the cult-like Abercrombie & Fitch or teaching – to examining the history and current climate of “get fit” culture, the rise of personal fitness in the early 20th Century (Muscular Christianity, anyone?), and our collective obsession with our appearance throughout history, HARD BODY is a memoir of obsession, shame, and what it means to face the physical space you take up in the world.
Robert James Russell is a wellpublished, former creative writing professor who has taught national workshops for fiction, nonfiction, and graphic narratives across the country. He is the founder of two national literary brands (Midwestern Gothic and CHEAP POP).