A collaborative graphic memoir about a Canadian woman whose rare reaction to medication—Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis (TEN)—leaves her in a coma for two months and, when she wakes up, with serious disabilities. The narrative explores how Chong survives and finds her way to a vital artistic life.
There’s real resolve in Vivian Chong’s voice. Her story, deftly told in her new graphic memoir Dancing After TEN, explains her determination ... It’s a compelling, harrowing read ... The intensity, although not the method, of their [Chong and Georgia Webber's] collaboration will be familiar to comic book creators—it’s been key to the success of so many graphic novels. And their achievement underscores the message from advocates on behalf of those with disabilities—focus on what people can do, not what they can’t. This is an intensely personal book [.]
Chong's and Webber's individual art sometimes occupies separate pages, sometimes separate panels on the same pages, and sometimes separate elements within shared panels. The combination is an interwoven visual conversation ... one of the most fascinating collaborations in the comics form I've seen ... Where the sudden shifts in style (Webber's lines are thick, clean, and flowing—essentially the opposite of Chong's thin, choppy ones) might feel disruptive in another work, they always gesture to not only the creative process (Chong and Webber seated together working) but the parallel disruptions in Chong's actual experiences ... As much as I admire the combined artwork, I suspect most readers will be most engaged by Chong's story—not just the struggle and bravery of overcoming hardship, but her skill in shaping events and the extraordinary details of the plot ... Dancing After TEN documents both an extraordinary life story and an extraordinary creative process that crowns it.
Its unusual and fascinating process of collaboration distinguishes Dancing After TEN. Webber...worked with Chong to fill in drawings and narrative, creating pages and panels that integrate and develop the sketches into a story line. Together Chong and Webber create a comics language that paradoxically communicates sightlessness through drawing ... Dancing After TEN also, sadly, feels right for this moment, in its intense focus not only on Chong’s confusing medical condition but also on her loneliness. It can be a hard read.