Epileptic by David B.

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Hailed by The Comics Journal as one of Europe’s most important and innovative comics artists, David B. has created a masterpiece in Epileptic, his stunning and emotionally resonant autobiography about growing up with an epileptic brother. Epileptic gathers together and makes available in English for the first time all six volumes of the internationally acclaimed graphic work.

David B. was born Pierre-François Beauchard in a small town near Orléans, France. He spent an idyllic early childhood playing with the neighborhood kids and, along with his older brother, Jean-Christophe, ganging up on his little sister, Florence. But their lives changed abruptly when Jean-Christophe was struck with epilepsy at age eleven. In search of a cure, their parents dragged the family to acupuncturists and magnetic therapists, to mediums and macrobiotic communes. But every new cure ended in disappointment as Jean-Christophe, after brief periods of remission, would only get worse.

Angry at his brother for abandoning him and at all the quacks who offered them false hope, Pierre-François learned to cope by drawing fantastically elaborate battle scenes, creating images that provide a fascinating window into his interior life. An honest and horrifying portrait of the disease and of the pain and fear it sowed in the family, Epileptic is also a moving depiction of one family’s intricate history. Through flashbacks, we are introduced to the stories of Pierre-François’s grandparents and we relive his grandfathers’ experiences in both World Wars. We follow Pierre-François through his childhood, adolescence, and adulthood, all the while charting his complicated relationship with his brother and Jean-Christophe”s losing battle with epilepsy. Illustrated with beautiful and striking black-and-white images, Epileptic is as astonishing, intimate, and heartbreaking as the best literary memoir.

About David B.

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David B. is a founding member of L'Association, a group of French cartoonists who banded together as publishers in 1990 and have revolutionized European comics with their groundbreaking approach to format, subject matter, and style. He has received many awards, including the French Alph' Art award for comics excellence in 2000, and he was cited as European Cartoonist of the Year in 1998 by The Comics Journal. He lives in France.From the Hardcover edition.
Published January 4, 2005 by Pantheon. 368 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Comics & Graphic Novels, Health, Fitness & Dieting, Self Help, Arts & Photography, Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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Lost in his tales of golems, birdmen and dancing skeletons, David shielded himself from his brother’s desperate condition: “My armor is the night.” This masterful work of graphic art also succeeds as a tender yet unabashedly realistic view of the disease that eventually claimed Jean-Christophe.

Dec 01 2004 | Read Full Review of Epileptic

The New York Times

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But just as the graphic novel has borrowed from the acute observational skills of the great literary writers of the past, so ''Epileptic'' borrows from the great cultural and intellectual archeologies of French nonfiction of the last 100 years, while remaining both accessible and moving.

Jan 23 2005 | Read Full Review of Epileptic

The New York Times

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So is Chester Brown, for example, in his bittersweet graphic novel ''I Never Liked You.'' Artists in Europe and Asia have also capitalized on the ascent of the graphic novel, in the process supplying their own notions of the form.

Jan 23 2005 | Read Full Review of Epileptic

The Guardian

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Epileptic by David B Cape £16.99, pp368 David Beauchard's graphic novel memoir Epileptic explores the juncture of public and private life through the story of his elder brother, Jean-Christophe, who, at the age of 11, is found to have epilepsy.

Feb 13 2005 | Read Full Review of Epileptic

The Guardian

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Epileptic by David B, translated by Kim Thompson 368pp, Jonathan Cape, £16.99 To eviscerate, according to the OED , is "To take out the entrails of;

Feb 12 2005 | Read Full Review of Epileptic

BC Books

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The art is far more than a tool for telling the story – in a lot of ways, it is the story, shifting and mutating as David's own perspectives change.

Jan 02 2006 | Read Full Review of Epileptic

AV Club

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David B.'s art is far more varied and more sophisticated, but it shares some of Satrapi's dense black-and-white impressionism, and his detailed reportage on his family history, contemporaneous politics, and his internal struggles with anger and helplessness all seem hauntingly familiar.

Feb 01 2005 | Read Full Review of Epileptic

Entertainment Weekly

Epileptic is honest, sometimes to a fault, and perceptive, especially about a kid's view of disease (on sensing an impending seizure: ''a foolish grin spreads across his face, and his eyes seek us out, as if to cling to us'').

Jan 10 2005 | Read Full Review of Epileptic


Autobiographical comics or graphic novel memoirs are commonplace in today’s world.

Oct 23 2006 | Read Full Review of Epileptic

Bookmarks Magazine

Epileptic, the most recently acclaimed European graphic novel and winner of the French national cartooning award "Alph’Art," has finally appeared in English in entirety.

Jan 12 2008 | Read Full Review of Epileptic

New York Magazine

The standard line on first-rate graphic novels is that they’re “cinematic,” or sometimes “literary.” That’s why a lot of third-rate graphic novels give the sense that they’re essentially storyboards for a movie pitch, or a prose story with pictures tacked on.

May 21 2005 | Read Full Review of Epileptic


David B’s approach is unique, and it’s actually very difficult to sit down and analyze what he is doing on each page, and even if I could I wouldn’t want to.

Jan 09 2013 | Read Full Review of Epileptic

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