Comics or "Graphic Novels" are having a bit of a revival of late and whilst it can be easy to find fault with medium that's en vogue it really is about time Comics got a little attention. Still however, they've not gone far enough to be trusted as serious art, I'm not going to elaborate on this though because it's probably the most tired essay subject in the universe, just pick up any Comic published or re-issued in the last 10 years and you will undoubtedly find a foreword on the merit of comics as an art form, hell, you can even read Scott McCloud's Understanding Comics if you want to read a whole comic on the subject. Yet despite all this insistence people only seem willing to concede some comics are art, and fewer masterpieces, Maus, The Watchmen et al. you can find a listmania on Amazon if you're interested, it would take a very brave man to look for intellectual brownie points by singing the praises of lesser known and appreciated comics.
Singing the praises of this book isn't actually particularly brave, it's not that well known due it being french and it won't be as easy to get as any of the aformentioned classics but it has become more well known and appreciated in the last year. Part 1 topped a lot of peoples lists for 'best comic of 2003' and I imagine the complete version, Part 1 & 2 together, only recently published in english, will be topping 2005s editions of the same list. It's all Justified. This is a sprawling work of fantastic imagination as we're lead through the unorthodox childhood of the author, his becoming of an artist, his private fantasy world and the his dealings with his brothers terrible epilepsy the kernel about which all other themes circle. Davids private world is beautifully drawn in a sort of ancient tapestry style using wads of sharp black ink which perfectly reflects the childishness yet seriousness of the dark visions he has. Davids inner world is, filled symbolism, that you can't put your finger on, but that fleshes out the whole feel of the book. The outer world is of course very real and sometimes distorted by David's point of view, the epilepsy haunts his brother and him as a giant chinese dragon. It's just stunning, it's a coming of age story, mixed in estericism and disease. It's certainly not catering for anyone in a similar situation, but I do think parents of epileptic children would get benefit out of reading it. It's stunning, my favourite comic, fantastical, heart-breaking, oh yeah, and very french.