Buies Creek, N.C.-In 2008, Campbell English Professor Dr. Alan Davy was diagnosed with a defective heart valve. That meant open heart surgery, the possibility of dying or at best a future on medication. But in his book, a cartoon-illustrated chronicle of his surgery titled "The Aortic Expressway," Davy somehow manages to find humor in the ordeal.
"It was like play for me," he says of writing and illustrating the book. "It was a way of working through the stress."
A dedicated English professor, Davy has always been a closet cartoonist. "Cartooning can create a lot of irony," he said. "In a cartoon, you can have the words say one thing and the picture say something completely different. I like to draw things that can be understood on very different levels," said Davy. "You can't have the same effect with just prose. Cartoons can provide extra dimensions for the eye."
"The Aortic Expressway" isn't Davy's first venture into publishing. He's had cartoons published in "English Journal" and other smaller publications. His comic strip "Sue Nami," in collaboration with Professor Michael Jones, Jr. of Quachita Baptist University, won third place in a nationwide contest sponsored by Andrews-McMeel-Universal. And one episode of his comic strip satire, "MiddleMan," the adventures of a middle-aged super hero who has the wisdom to solve common, everyday problems, was accepted for publication by "Remote View, an Internet comics magazine. Another cartoon concept, "Giraffe Man," is a parody of the "Spider Man"series. Davy's work has also been exhibited in the E.P. Sauls Gallery at Campbell University.
With "The Aortic Expressway," Davy hopes to bring a smile to someone facing heart surgery.
"I hope it will comfort people; that they will realize that if I can survive this, so can they because the one thing you need when you're in the hospital is a good laugh."
Davy holds Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts degrees from East Tennessee State University and a Ph.D. in English with a specialization in rhetoric and composition from Pennsylvania State University. He joined the Campbell faculty in 1993.
"The Aortic Expressway" was published by CreateSpace and is available on Amazon.com.
Photo Copy: Dr. Alan Davy (Photo by Shannon Ryals)