Carol Tyler is an American painter, educator, comedian, and eleven-time Eisner Award-nominated cartoonist known for her autobiographical stories. She has received multiple honors for her work including the Cartoonist Studio Prize, the Ohio Arts Council Excellence Award, and was designated a Master Cartoonist at the 2016 Cartoon Crossroads Columbus Festival at the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum.
The initial stages of B.D.'s recovery from losing a leg in Iraq were dramatically portrayed in The Long Road Home: One Step at a Time, but his healing journey was far from over. As this powerful sequel shows, the "war within" can be a long and lonely struggle, hardly the life of a "glamorous amputee" imagined by his daughter's jealous classmate. With his coaching job at Walden re-secured and the marathon PT sessions paying off, B.D.'s return to normalcy seems to be progressing well. But those who love him see alarming signs of trouble, namely anger and alcohol.
First there's the punching of an MP. Then there's the daily breakfast of beer, a subject not open for discussion even with a best-intentioned friend like Mike Doonesbury. And "the screaming at night isn't very Christmassy," Boopsie notes. As B.D. admits to his doctor, "I'd rather sleep with my weapon than my wife! How messed up is that?" Messed up enough that our wounded warrior forces himself to begin circling the local Vet Center, where he is gently and skillfully reeled in by a remarkable counselor and fellow Vietnam Vet named Elias. Their sessions together form an extraordinary and moving chronicle of catharsis and coming-to-terms. The words "Welcome home, soldier," are powerful and transformative, and B.D. is fortunate in finally getting to a place where he can hear them.
Shortly before her thirtieth birthday, Forney was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Flagrantly manic and terrified that medications would cause her to lose creativity, she began a years-long struggle to find mental stability while retaining her passions and creativity.
Searching to make sense of the popular concept of the crazy artist, she finds inspiration from the lives and work of other artists and writers who suffered from mood disorders, including Vincent van Gogh, Georgia O’Keeffe, William Styron, and Sylvia Plath. She also researches the clinical aspects of bipolar disorder, including the strengths and limitations of various treatments and medications, and what studies tell us about the conundrum of attempting to “cure” an otherwise brilliant mind.
Darkly funny and intensely personal, Forney’s memoir provides a visceral glimpse into the effects of a mood disorder on an artist’s work, as she shares her own story through bold black-and-white images and evocative prose.