When thinking about graphic novels, your mind may go to Alison Bechdel’s “Fun Home” or Marjane Satrapi’s “Persepolis” or – the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention? Probably not, but you wouldn’t be wrong. CDC has, in fact, joined the ranks of graphic novelists with its cautionary tale, “Preparedness 101: Zombie Pandemic.”
Released earlier this year, the novella uses a zombie outbreak to illustrate the perils of being unprepared for a public health emergency. With this novella, available on CDC’s website, the federal agency has done two things: 1) it has repurposed a trendy medium, the graphic novel, for the dissemination of health information, and 2) it has taken advantage of the current popularity of zombies and their pervasiveness in pop culture to frame a health message in a unique and compelling way.
To complement the novella, CDC has also created widgets and web buttons and badges that feature zombie images and a tag line. With these, CDC has seized an opportunity to expand its web presence and create a nugget of information that summarizes its message: “If you’re ready for a zombie apocalypse, then you’re ready for any emergency.”