An image from chapter 3 of "The Pandemic: Stories of COVID-19." Artwork by Gil Croy.

On April 22 from 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., the creators behind the COVID-19-themed graphic novel, “The Pandemic: Stories of COVID-19,” will have a virtual dinner conversation about the ideas and stories behind this digital book. The chapters are available in both Spanish and English. To read the graphic novel, go to

The Charlotte Journalism Collaborative and BOOM Charlotte worked together to collect and edit individual tales of COVID-19 related experiences. Artwork was imagined and, subsequently translated onto the page, by local illustrators Marcus Kiser, Makayla Binter and Wolly McNair. These people will be available during the April 22 conversation to answer questions and talk about the development of this personal and heart-wrenching work. The writers behind “The Pandemic” will be speaking to their creative processes as well, featuring journalists David Boraks and Nate Morabito.

This event will be led by Media 2070 Director of FreePress, Alicia Bell. According to, Bell is responsible for strategizing and organizing, “to win media reparations and to create a media ecosystem where everyone can thrive, ideally much earlier than the year 2070.” What began in October of 2020 and continued into February of 2021, has become a fully-fledged graphic novel.

The COVID-19 stories that make up the book were taken from sources such as WCNC-TV, The Charlotte Observer, Associated Press, La Noticia, WFAE and qnotes. Hosted online by the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library, The Pandemic features stories that include the LGBTQ community, people of color and individuals from across the Charlotte spectrum.

With artwork created by North Carolina artist Gil Croy, qnotes’ contribution is chapter 3, and based on the story by David Aaron Moore for QNotes, “COVID-19: It’s Journey Since December 2019: A look at reported specs and a firsthand account from a N.C. gay couple.” 

The combination of words and images tell the story of a North Carolina gay couple, Brian McCann and Tom Costales. At the time of the publication of the story, and later during the initial release of Chapter 3 of “The Pandemic,” both men had made significant strides toward recovery.

McCann has since recovered, but Costales, who was already battling other health issues, passed away March 18.

“The Pandemic” was designed to encompass all of the people, all of the life experiences and all of the hardships that COVID-19 has wrought.  If you’d like to register for this virtual event, go to

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