Honors Program


Date of this Version

Spring 2023

Document Type



Yoesel, Beau. "Distress Signal: Graphic Novel." Undergraduate Honors Thesis. University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 2023.


Copyright Beau Yoesel 2023.


Distress Signal is a science fiction graphic novel that takes place many hundreds of years in the future, following Nio, a criminal with a mysterious disease. The story explores the topics of disability and chronic illness, as well as diving into the question of what it means to be human. I have been developing the story of Distress Signal since early 2020, and plan to write and illustrate a section of the beginning of the book for my capstone as an art major in spring 2023.

In order to present a strong, well-developed story, it is important to do research into the topics explored within the story, as well as media analysis into similar stories. In this thesis, I explore the themes of personhood and morality, discussing how other media have approached these themes and how that has influenced my own approach. I also explain my process of researching biological immortality and space architecture, and how I have made my own decisions about how to best approach and explain these topics within the story. As my story deals heavily with the topics of disability and illness, I made sure to educate myself on the specific illnesses and symptoms that I want to portray, using both my own and others’ experiences as disabled people as reference when writing my characters. With all of these topics, it is important to decide how deeply to explore each one, making sure to alienate neither casual or more knowledgeable readers.