Eli Bishop's Reviews > Epileptic

Epileptic by David B.
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's review
Sep 13, 2010

it was amazing
bookshelves: comics, fiction-general
Read in January, 2001

Probably the strangest and most memorable approach to autobiographical comics I've seen, this is a story about the author, his older brother and younger sister and parents, and how they were affected by the brother's incurable epilepsy. David B. tells it and tells it, using everything at his disposal: childhood obsessions and dream images, long tangents about every other branch of the family, the history of macrobiotics and spiritualism, his present-day family's reaction to the ongoing book... every digression adding a new recurring piece to the visual language of the story. There are virtually no "scenes" of action spanning more than one panel, and much more narration than dialogue, so for a while you may feel like you're just seeing separate illustrations of a fragmented text, but it flows and builds effortlessly. I read somewhere that the artist described this approach as "personal mythology", but it's not just about David's own strange inner life; it's about the way all children develop their own mythology, and then succeed or fail in using it for other things as they grow up.

Kim Thompson's translation is good as usual, even though I wish there had been some way to use more of the original title, which is an evocative pun.
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