Mom's Cancer

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Mom's Cancer
Author(s) Brian Fies
Website (comic itself is no longer online)
Current status / schedule Completed
Launch date 2004
Genre(s) Autobiographical

Mom's Cancer is a webcomic created by writer Brian Fies. The comic is an autobiographical story dealing with his mother's fight against metastatic lung cancer, as well as his family's reactions to it. Although the story is mostly a serious, insightful depiction of the subject, humor (mostly subtle) is present in the writing. In March 2006, Abrams Books published a hardcover edition of Mom's Cancer, which won the Deutscher Jugendliteraturpreis. As a result, the comic is no longer available online.

In July 2005, Mom's Cancer won the comic industry's Eisner Award for Best Digital Comic, a new category that year.

Brian Fies's mother died on October 1, 2005 from side effects of the drugs used to treat her cancer.


There are four main characters in the story, all of which are part of the family. None of the characters are ever referred by name, and the author uses his relationships to identify them.

  • Mom: the author's mother, she is in her 60s, and suffers from Stage IV metastatic lung cancer.
  • Me: The author, a "self-employed writer" in his 40s, and the eldest son.
  • Nurse Sis: One of the author's sisters, slightly younger than him, and a registered nurse.
  • Kid Sis: The author's youngest sister, an actress and writer who lives with her mom.

Aside from the main characters, there are several secondary characters who appear several times, most notably the author's stepdad and his mother's head doctor.


The story is divided into chapters, each one containing several multipanel pages. Although the comic is mostly done in black and white, several chapters are done in full or partial color, primarily for effect or when color helps the understanding of the ideas that are presented. In total, there are thirty-three chapters, including an epilogue.

Chapter titles[edit]

  • Chapter 1: How to Diagnose Lung Cancer, Step One
  • Chapter 2: How to Diagnose Lung Cancer, Step Two
  • Chapter 3: A Family Meeting
  • Chapter 4: A Game of Luck and Skill
  • Chapter 5: Nurse Sis
  • Chapter 6: Impressive Hospitality
  • Chapter 7: A Terrible Thing to Waste
  • Chapter 8: Told You So What
  • Chapter 9: Kid Sis and Hollywood
  • Chapter 10: Never Tell Me the Odds
  • Chapter 11: Arrangement in Grey and Black
  • Chapter 12: Dad
  • Chapter 13: Chemo Gut
  • Chapter 14: The Usual Unusual
  • Chapter 15: Rx Kryptonite
  • Chapter 16: Hope Against Hope
  • Chapter 17: After the War, Part One
  • Chapter 18: Mom in Mathemagic Land
  • Chapter 19: Just Deserts
  • Chapter 20: P.E.
  • Chapter 21: No Man Deserved Less at Her Hands
  • Chapter 22: Puzzlement
  • Chapter 23: One Night at the Condo
  • Chapter 24: Whose Life Is It Anyway?
  • Chapter 25: After the War, Part Two
  • Chapter 26: A Universe Inside Her Head
  • Chapter 27: Many Heroic Returns
  • Chapter 28: We Learn By Doing
  • Chapter 29: Autumnfall
  • Chapter 30: The Five Percent Solution
  • Chapter 31: Waiting for My Wife to Get the Minivan
  • Chapter 32: Deus Ex Machina (An End)
  • Chapter 33: An Epilogue

External links[edit]