Saraƒin is a writer, illustrator, and cartoonist. Asylum Squad, the webcomic, was born during a year long stay in a Toronto mental institution as a creative means of passing Saraƒin’s time. (The version you see on this website is the continuation of the back stories started in the hospital setting, which used to be available for viewing at another website.) The story concerns the adventures of Liz Madder and her three jaded asylum friends: Henry Chan, Cath Schneider, and Sarah Loveheart. Will the quirky quartet find inner peace in an imperfect system of medicine? Borrowing from genres and tropes such as 70s exploitation cinema, Japanese magical girls manga, punk social justice comics, and medical science fiction, Asylum Squad is a whimsical romp through madness and the mental health care system, sure to delight those who have “been there” as well as those who work in the system who “get it”.
Disclaimer: Asylum Squad is frequently mistaken as “a comic about schizophrenia”. This is actually not the truth, for I do not have schizophrenia, I have been properly rediagnosed as having a form of spiritual emergency, and the schizophrenia label was just what one misinformed psychiatrist called it early on in my experiences with madness. Rather, Asylum Squad is more about the problems with the psychiatric system itself, the issues that go with psychiatric labelling, and Mad Pride. (I guess it doesn’t make it easy for readers to understand when the characters talk about schizophrenia in the work at the now defunct www.thepsychosisdiaries.com, but that was written at a sensitive time when I was basically being manipulated by psychiatrists into accepting the schizophrenia label, hence it influenced my work. Don’t get me wrong – I am a voice hearer and I see visions, but these experiences do not automatically equate to a serious pathology, as we are learning, thanks to groups such as the Hearing Voices Network.) Please consider this information when writing an article or critique about this body of work. No one should be misrepresented.
“What happened to thepsychosisdiaries.com?”
Well, after some deep thought, I decided to retire the old gal, for it reminded me of a much darker, more chaotic stage in my growth, and I quite frankly didn’t feel that it adequately represented me very well anymore. That coupled with the fact that it garnered some negative attention online, and the fact that there was the potential for getting into copyright trouble with some of the references, made me think twice about keeping it up. You will still find some of the back pages here and there out there on the interwebz, but the bulk of the work will no longer be officially supported online by myself. This could change again down the line, but I doubt it. Think of that body of work as an oddity, an experiment that was designed to get me back into comics. This asylumsquad.ca site however, will remain online at least until completion, and probably long beyond.