Sanford J. Greenburger Associates (1)
Published by
Harper Perennial (2020-06-30)
Current material
Final Pages
Original language


An OCD Story in Words and Pictures

by Katzenstein, Jason Adam

A New Yorker cartoonist illustrates his lifelong struggle with OCD in cartoon vignettes frank and funny.

Katzenstein's story spans his anxious experiences through childhood and his outlet in drawing. He shares his voyage through navigating the intimidating world of dating and socializing and becoming a published artist in The New Yorker-- a major dream fulfilled, but the huge achievement doesn't end the anxiety. With the help of therapy and medication, he works towards finding his balance and sustaining his creativity.

Everything is an Emergency is a comic about all the self-destructive stories someone tells himself, over and over, until they start to seem true. In images surreal, witty, and confessional, Jason shows us that OCD can be funny, even when it feels like it's ruining your life.

EVERYTHING IS AN EMERGENCY will resonate with readers of graphic stories such as Alison Bechdel's Fun Home and Allie Brosh's Hyperbole and a Half.

JASON ADAM KATZENSTEIN is a cartoonist and writer for print and television. His work has appeared in The New Yorker, the New York Times and MAD Magazine, and on Cartoon Network. He is the illustrator of The White Man's Guide to White Male Writers of the Western Canon and the graphic novel Camp Midnight. He is also a visiting professor at Wesleyan University.

Available rights (1)

Language Territory Type Vendor Status
German World All

Mohrbooks Literary Agency
Annelie Geissler

Available View on Rightsdesk


Everything Is An Emergency broke my heart and then put it back together!

Quote: Shelby Lorman, author of Awards for Good Boys

author interview "Some of what galvanizes me to make art is that I can be in control, create worlds, and solve visual puzzles. I was afraid that when I started doing exposure therapy, going to group, and taking Zoloft, it would be a deterrent to my creative life. But instead, I made this book, which is the hardest I've ever worked on anything. It's a 240-page refutation of the notion that you need to suffer to make art."

Quote: Publishers Weekly

Podcast interview: UNLOCKED: Jason Adam Katzenstein on OCD and cartooning ...

Quote: Current Affairs

Online Interview: Much of Katzenstein's book details what it's like to have contamination OCD, a specific subset of the anxiety disorder where sufferers become preoccupied with being infected by germs or getting sick. We talked about what it's like to manage those fears during a pandemic, how his story came to be, and why OCD sufferers like us are skilled at finding hope in the small things. ...

Quote: Electric Literature

Interview - When OCD meets COVID-19 ...

Quote: Al Jazeera

Accomplished writer and illustration artist Jason Adam Katzenstein elaborates on the importance of his book 'Everything is An Emergency, An OCD Story in Words & Pictures.'

Quote: YouTube

Jason just published his book "Everything is an emergency." He kindly shared with us his creative process, successes dealing with obsessions, how he faces his fears as they pop up - fears of making mistakes, not doing things right & perfect, uncertainty - how he finds themes for his cartoons + much more!?

Quote: East Bay Behavior Therapy

This book undid me in all the best ways. Everything is an Emergency is a brilliant, honest, necessary book that exposes the intricacies of the human brain while showing us the way creativity and friendship can anchor us. This is a must-read for anyone who has ever wondered if they see the world a little differently.

Quote: Ada Limón, poet and author of National Book Award finalist Bright Dead Things

Interview: Adam Katzenstein, a New Yorker cartoonist, shares about his life experience with Obsessive compulsive disorder through drawings.

Quote: Wisconsin Public Radio

Interspersed throughout are illustrations of Sisyphus pushing the bolder up the hill, occasionally in danger of being crushed by it. There are also some astonishing drawings of how it feels to have his brain blowing apart from within, which contrast with others showing his attempts to keep things under control. As he notes, he is "an anxious cartoonist," and this is his story. Enlightening words and drawings show how it can feel inside when outside life appears to be just fine.

Review: Kirkus

Luckily for the OCD community, Jason is a popular and gifted cartoonist who decided to take his personal and vulnerable story and turn it into a graphic novel for the rest of the world to see. Through images and words, he is able to encapsulate the struggles of OCD and the feeling of triumph when you start to push back. I had the pleasure of talking with Jason about his life, his book and his view of OCD.

Quote: Anxious Toddlers

Katzenstein's written narrative describing life in the grip of the illness is intensified when those words are placed next to his illustrations - which oscillate between simple line drawings of daily routine to a frantic smear of wild strokes when he's depicting an O.C.D. episode... Everything Is an Emergency is a guided tour into a disordered mind, and the book is an education for anyone not sure what a serious case of O.C.D. does to a person. And even those not afflicted may find their own comfort in one of Katzenstein's epiphanies: "Find the seconds that feel OK and live in them".

Review: New York Times Book Review

This deep dive into difficult territory ranges from Munch-like terror to the smiling rock of rock-bottom to the funniest group therapy scene I ever saw. You don't have to have OCD to love this book. You could just love the funny, the dark and the true. I did.

Quote: Amy Bloom, author of White Houses

...Katzenstein succinctly conveys what it feels like to be trapped in a mental loop dominated by panic, guilt, and fears of "contamination... This refreshing and accessible debut, with crossover potential for older teens, will be a welcome addition to the growing canon of graphic medicine.

Review: Publishers Weekly, starred review

[O]ne of the best representations I've ever read of what it's really like to have an OCD brain, with all this nuance captured.

Review: Vice

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