Sunday, June 25, 2017


Research doesn't have to be rigorous to bring about interesting results. Sometimes I like to do what I call "passive research" and read interesting articles or browse websites or go through historical anatomical illustrations when I'm taking a break from something grueling (like grading exams). One of my favorite sites is a National Library of Medicine site called Historical Anatomies On The Web and one of my favorite collections of illustrations is by two anatomists named Spiegel and Casseri. Casseri's illustrations show cadavers in downright flirtatious poses as they reveal their parts is burlesque-ish fashion.

One of my favorite poses. 
This subject is making a real show of his serratus anterior muscle.

The way these bodies are set in an environment, interacting with their world, and (in this case) acknowledging the viewer. Inspired me to make some "anatomy" comics in the same theme.

Pictorial Anatomy of the Cute does with adorable kittens what Casseri did with human beings, but kittens are cuter. To make this mini comic I had to study cat anatomy and comparative anatomy, too.

 Pictures in the mini comic are grayscale, but the colors are cuter.

This picture from "The World Is Not Enough" is a reference to another historical anatomical illustration done by the anatomist Bernhard Siegfried Albinus and his artist Jan Wandelaar. "The Anatomy Of 007" takes the anatomized body interacting with its environment to a whole new level. It also meant getting out a lot of visual anatomical reference, which is also research.

I see an uncanny resemblance between Pierce Brosnan's pose, above, 
and the lateral view of Albinus and Wandelaar's cadaver, below.

One day while browsing Hecktoen International I came upon an article about Marin Marais, an 18th century composer who had undergone lithotomy (bladder stone) surgery and published a musical piece as a descriptive response to his experience. I started to imagine Marais listening to his surgeon mindlessly whistling a tune that would later become his composition. This of course inspired a mini comic about Marais, which in turn inspired research into: the history of surgery and lithotomy specifically; the type of equipment that was used; the position and table used: the French nursery song "Frère Jacques"; the traveling lithotomist, Frère Jacques (NOT the nursery song character as some articles assert); and the life and work of Marin Marais. I even found recordings of the music. I had a great time researching this (in a squeamish, thankful-for-Tylenol-and-Clorox-bleach kind of way.

This page introduces my history of Marais surgery.

Other inspiration has been rabies (the disease), the wandering uterus theorem, and many gag cartoons. The things we do for fun!

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