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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A truly expressive use of comic strip.
I've read a good number of 'serious' comic strips during my time and this is surely up there with some of the best.
It describes in great detail the experiences of the author growing up with his epileptic brother and the struggle that his family goes through in order to deal with it. From macrobiotics to voodoo, they try everything under the sun to find a cure and...
Published on 23 Jun. 2005 by WaterWolf

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Emotionally monochrome
Over-long, this might have gained from being split into chapters. A comic with chapters? Well, that tells you the problem - one that didn't afflict Marjane Satrapi and Alison Bechdel. For all its power ('my armo[u]r is the night'), for all the undoubted graphic energy, it's a teensy bit turgid. All honour to Cape for issuing it (their list is not enough celebrated) but I...
Published on 12 Nov. 2012 by Simon Barrett 'Il Penseroso'


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Emotionally monochrome, 12 Nov. 2012
This review is from: Epileptic (Paperback)
Over-long, this might have gained from being split into chapters. A comic with chapters? Well, that tells you the problem - one that didn't afflict Marjane Satrapi and Alison Bechdel. For all its power ('my armo[u]r is the night'), for all the undoubted graphic energy, it's a teensy bit turgid. All honour to Cape for issuing it (their list is not enough celebrated) but I think this is one for the history books, and for fellow practitioners to drool over. Maybe I should have rephrased that..
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A truly expressive use of comic strip., 23 Jun. 2005
This review is from: Epileptic (Hardcover)
I've read a good number of 'serious' comic strips during my time and this is surely up there with some of the best.
It describes in great detail the experiences of the author growing up with his epileptic brother and the struggle that his family goes through in order to deal with it. From macrobiotics to voodoo, they try everything under the sun to find a cure and the reader is lead through a bizarre world of faith healers and alternative medicines. The book also deals with the author's own artistic development and his struggle to find his self-expression through his comics.
The book is long and sprawling and lacks some of the structural finesse found in say, Art Spieglman's benchmark "MAUS". However it makes up for this in sheer artistic expression. I've never read a comic strip wherein the author has managed to convey so much emotion and meaning through just the images. In virtually every frame of the book the author has drawn his concepts into the images without any need to express them in text. What's more, the reader can see the pictures evolving from one page to another as the author's line of thought develops and follows new avenues.
In style I think the closest thing that I have read that resembles this would be Paul Karasik and David Mazzucchelli's adaptation of "City Of Glass", however "Epileptic" is much the superior and doesn't share any of frustrating vagueness of "City Of Glass".
My only negative criticism of the book would be that it is a little too drawn out in places and gets a bit angst ridden towards the end.
All in all I would highly recommend this book to anyone who appreciates quality comic strip or anyone who just wants to try something a bit different.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning, 1 April 2005
By 
A. Robertson "roman nose" (glasgow) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Epileptic (Hardcover)
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.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Too sprawling for masterpiece status, 29 Nov. 2014
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This review is from: Epileptic (Paperback)
A fascinating and moving story, but the storytelling can be confusing and messy, with David B. being a bit too generous with the visual imagery and number of frames. I found myself feeling cheated of any real attempt on his part to communicate to me what kind of persons the members of this family really are. Instead, there's a lot of illustrating the author's dreams. Sorry, but listening to other people tell you about their dreams is about as interesting as looking at their holiday photos.
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8 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Everything In Black & White, 27 July 2006
By 
L. Borley (Plymouth, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Epileptic (Paperback)
A moving, skewed and uncompromising memoir of a comics writer's formative years, drawing violent stories as a vent for his anger at his elder brother's affliction with 'the falling disease'. Humorously scathing of the doctors and alternative therapies their parents sought help from and richly evocative of the energy and concerns of youth, David B also manages to capture the true throughline, imagery and logic of dreams and nightmares. Recommended.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars David B. - Epileptic | Review, 28 May 2013
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This review is from: Epileptic (Paperback)
Epileptic is the seminal work by David Beauchard, the French writer better known as `David B.' Described as a `six-volume autobiographical epic', Epileptic tells the story of David's relationship with his brother, and of his brother's struggles with epilepsy.

Originally split in to six volumes that were published in France between 1996 and 2003, Epileptic was originally titled `L'Ascension du Haut Mal' and was quickly published in English, going on to receive critical acclaim and winning David the Ignatz Award for Outstanding Artist. Publishers Weekly called it"one of the greatest graphic novels ever published."

And it's easy to see why - David's black and white drawings are instantly haunting, from the moment you first inspect the cover. There's surrealism throughout, twisted faces looming from the shadows in his memory and demons that symbolise his brother's epilepsy.

The narrative is heart-warming but tragic, focused on David's childhood and adolescence as he watches his brother's condition deteriorate. Their parents try everything, even moving to a macrobiotic commune, but nothing seems to help.

Epileptic has survived translation remarkably well, and that transition enabled the book to gain transatlantic appeal. Ironically, the title itself was the only thing lost in translation - confused? Let me explain...

The original title, `L'Ascension du Haut Mal', literally means `The Rise of the High Evil'. The thing is, it has multiple meanings in French - `haut mal' is an out-dated term for epilepsy that literally means `high evil' or `great sickness', and `ascension' can either mean `rise' or `climb'. This second meaning is reflected throughout the story in the images of the family climbing steep slopes in search of a cure that doesn't exist.

At its simplest, Epileptic is about the bond between brothers. You really feel for Beauchard and his family - this is a novel that's written as well as it's illustrated. Epileptic might not be perfect if you're looking for something to make you feel warm and fuzzy inside, but if you want something to grab at the heartstrings and pull them, get a copy now.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Top Banana, 1 April 2013
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This review is from: Epileptic (Paperback)
Quite simply one of the best graphic novels I've ever read (and I've read a fair few). Deals with complex themes explored in a fascinating and candid way and the illustrative style is phenomenal.
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10 of 20 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Self indulgent to the extreme, 22 Feb. 2007
By 
Scarfex 1 (Old London Town, Blighty) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Epileptic (Paperback)
I've always been a big fan of the literary comic book, having lapped up the works of Chris Ware, Art Spiegelman, Daniel Clowes and the finer offerings from Alan Moore. However, I fail to see what the song and dance is all about with this effort by David B.
I will agree, as many reviewers have pointed out, that the raw, woodcut-style artwork is captivating at times; it manages to convey the internal world of our protagonist vividly. However, it seems that David B. was more concerned with showcasing his doodling talents than he was with any semblance of plotting, pace or narrative structure. Despite the book's title, the fact that the writer's brother suffers from epilepsy almost becomes incidental to the author's own navel-gazing; we learn very little about what it is to live in such close proximity to the condition. The sequences in which we're told how his parents enlisted the help of various alternative and new-age practitioners in a bid to cure his brother and heal the family have a tendency towards repetition; every four to five pages we are introduced to a new belief system or medicine, with each exploration fizzling out to be promptly replaced by another. It is this cycle that sustains the book for a large part of its over-long 360 pages.
A very personal work, indeed, but perhaps one so personal that only members of the author's own family need bother themselves with.

Finally, to quote J Wilks (elsewhere on this page); "Self indulgent? -Maybe so, but why shouldn't he be? All creativity is self indulgent, ..it's his story, he can say what he likes. Stories are good like that." Why, thank you, J Wilks! Damning the book with such faint praise has made me feel somewhat vindicated!
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2 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I really recommend this book., 20 April 2007
By 
J. Wilks (Engand) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Epileptic (Paperback)
I'm surprised that this book has such a small star rating so far. I'm not a big one for writing reviews, in fact this is the first I've written on here, but I think David B deserves a fair crack of the whip.

This is a frank and honest account of growing up, isolation, and a disappearing brother. There's no bull$hit political correctness going on here. Self indulgent? -Maybe so, but why shouldn't he be? All creativity is self indulgent, ..it's his story, he can say what he likes. Stories are good like that.

We mainly object to things that we don't understand, and to see a loved one suffering from something that one can't find an answer to, would, I think make one mad, especially at times with the person in question.

Who knows, maybe I saw something more in it because I have an older brother, and to share a close childhood, and then go seperate ways hurts, whether it's through illness, or whatever. Especially hard I think when it's someone you look upto.

The rich symbolistic imagery in this book is a joy to behold, although sometimes I found the blackness slightly overwhelming, but then again, maybe that's the point. -Although the story itself isn't bleak. Really quite humerous in places.

I've read it twice.
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Epileptic
Epileptic by David B (Paperback - 23 Mar. 2006)
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