Nellie Bly’s life and journalism in comics and the adaptations of Ten Days in a Mad-House

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One hundred years have passed since Nellie Bly’s death and yet she continues to be celebrated for her journalism and for being a feminist icon. This is in part thanks to her reports on women’s poor working conditions and her trip around the world when it was unthinkable for a woman to take the journey alone. Bly also stands out for her undercover investigations, chiefly among them is when she feigned insanity to be committed to an insane asylum to reveal its cold-hearted conditions. Because of all of this, Bly has been the subject of many adaptations throughout the years, including in comics. However, Bly’s exploits in the asylum have been mostly absent from this medium. That is, until recently with the publication of four graphic novels. To explore this matter further, this study will start by approaching Bly’s career, followed by an analysis of her many comic features. Afterwards, this study will then consider the recent adaptations of Bly’s asylum report, while comparing it with her original work. Finally, we will seek to understand why it took so long to adapt it into the comic book medium.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Graphic Novels and Comics
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 12 Jun 2024


  • Adaptions
  • Comics
  • Graphic novel
  • Nellie Bly
  • Undercover journalism


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