A vivid and moving graphic memoir, Epileptic tells the life story of David B. (Pierre-Francois Beauchard), his families, and the looming shadow of his brother’s epilepsy. Born Pierre-François Beauchard in a small town Orléans, France, David’s and his family’s lives changed when his elder brother, Jean-Cristophe, was struck with epilepsy. The search for a cure threw them into an endless carousel of therapists, macrobiotic communes, mediums, quacks, every time ending up in further frustrations and disappointments.

Kusembunyikan diriku makin rapat dalam baju besi
Kusembunyikan diriku makin rapat dalam baju besi

Retreating into the world of drawing and making comics, the images in this memoir reflect David’s desperate withdrawal from the world. The dreamy, absurd scenes, intricately draw in sombre, stark black and white graphic, give a certain naivete of feeling, isolating the readers from their surroundings and completely immersing them into the rich, inky stories and narrations.

His weird and grim-looking landscapes have, in all their detachment and naive clarity, a magically expressive power that projects a sense of ‘immediacy’ and ‘authenticity’ demanded from a memoir. (The forest landscapes particularly remind me of Rousseau’s.) Dexterous and fluid in his play of forms, panels, depictions, David B. shows himself not only a master of ornate symbolism, but also displayed adroit sense of storytelling and narrative techniques. Other graphic novel that comes close to its inventive play would probably be City of Glass.

Gramedia published the Indonesian version in 2 volumes, both printed in softcover on good quality paper. I certainly welcome Gramedia’s recent move in publishing more diverse selections of comics and graphic novels, but the price is a drawback. (I don’t think the die cut and spot UV is that necessary.) Anyway, if you’re from Gramedia-Kompas group and you’re reading this, take note of these names: Chris Ware, Art Spiegelman, Will Eisner, Harvey Kurtzman, Robert Crumb, Alice Bechdel, Jess Abel, Matt Madden — we’d definitely love to get their works published in Indonesia!

Rental fee: Rp. 3,000 / volume

Related items

  • City of Glass ( Graphic novel | Paul Auster, Paul Karasik, David Mazzuchelli | USA | English )
  • Bordir ( Graphic journal | Marjane Satrapi | Iran, France | Indonesian )
  • Persepolis ( Graphic memoir | Marjane Satrapi | Iran, France | English )
  • Blankets ( Graphic journal | Craig Thompson | USA | English)

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Founding director, c2o library & collabtive. Currently also working in Singapore as a Research Associate at the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies (ISEAS). Opinions are hers, and do not represent/reflect her employer(s), institution(s), or anyone else with whom she may be remotely affiliated.

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