Creator: David B.
Review: Art Bee
People as a whole are more interested in their own existences than others, so writing your own story in such a manner as to create interest in your life and experiences is the hurdle to clear. For a few this hurdle is only knee high and easy to get over. Presidents, royalty, professional sport stars, and other celebrities are already interesting to many, so creating interest about their journey to their status is mostly done by merely placing the letters of their name on the cover of the tome. For insignificant people such as myself, the hurdle can be much higher.
The Hammond Comics Blog founder, William R. Davis Jr., suggested the graphic novel Epileptic by David B. for me to read and review. At just over 360 pages, this was a decently sized task to undertake. I must admit that my interest struggled to stay afloat while reading this autobiography, but about the middle of the novel, the story clicked and became much more interesting.
The story of David's life in Epilepsy is braided page by page with history, artwork, family tales, and characters. David's life cannot be told without focusing on his brother's condition, which caused up to three grand mal seizures a day.
As he progresses through his story, David uses his rich interest in French history, particularly the wars in which France took part, to propel the story of him and his brother. On pages 22 – 28, David B recalls the actions of his grandfather in World War I and delivers a fantastic and unique position on the trench warfare that was so dominant of that war. David's other grandfather fought in World War II, and it was quite humorous to learn that his squad was commanded to defend a bridge that was already seized by the enemy.
Pierre-François and Jean-Christophe are described as “full of rage”. David's rage spills into his stories and drawings of medieval battles featuring Ganghis Khan and other great warriors, while Jean-Christophe's rage explodes into seizures.
Along with the French history presented, David B. also describes his families struggles with epilepsy as his parents lead their family around looking for a cure or a successful method of treatment for Jean-Christophe's disease. Their quest takes them from medical research to new age medicine and holistic treatments. As I read these parts, the family almost seemed ridiculous in their efforts, but as a father myself, I can't be too harsh. A parent’s love for their child will lead them to do some very ineffable things in the attempt to help their child.
The artwork of Epileptic is very different from anything I have read before. It is black and white utilizing thick black lines and black shading, and even though the art felt bland and unattractive at the start, my appreciation for it grew as progressed through the novel. There is real genius in David B's work.
My favorite artwork in Epileptic is located on page 277. The page features Pierre-François (below) laying on a desk and drawing with a collage of his artwork layered throughout the image. It is a fantastic piece, and I am going to add it to my collection of background images on my laptop (a very high honor I must say).
It was a great circumstance for Mr. Davis Jr. to suggest Epileptic for this review. As I stated earlier, this graphic novel was hard for me to read at first, because history and biographies have never really interested me. Fortunately, with dedication and persistence, the story opened my interest and became a wonderful read. I have already read this novel twice and am looking forward to reading it again.