Radiant: A Radium Girl’s Love Story

Radium Girls comic by Melanie Gillman

Slate does this thing called a 12-Panel Pitch, where a movie is storyboarded in a 12-panel comic strip. The first installment explains the concept, coming out of the Center for Cartoon Studies, and features a cross-cultural dance romance illustrated by Lena Chandhok.

The second one really caught my attention, though, because it’s a heart-breaking true story illustrated by one of my favorite artists (because of the colored pencil technique), Melanie Gillman. It’s called Radiant, it’s written by noted novelist Tom DeHaven, and it’s about the “radium girls“, the women that died horribly because they painted glow-in-the-dark wristwatches. (For more on their story, the development of forensic pathology during the Jazz Age in New York City, and more information on more poisons than you will want to know, I recommend the fascinating and very readable The Poisoner’s Handbook by Deborah Blum.)

Radium Girls comic by Melanie Gillman


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