Boston Globe reviews David B's BABEL & Ander Nilsen's DOGS & WATER

“The Boston Globe Review - Dogs & Water” / The Boston Globe / The Boston Globe / March 17, 2005

For Dogs & Water:

"For inner quietude, try Anders Nilsen's "Dogs and Water" (Drawn & Quarterly, unpaginated, $9.95). The Chicago artist spins a cryptic, alluring tale of a man, his teddy bear, a confrontation over an oil pipeline, and a fierce, sympathetic wolf pack. The carefully drawn "Dogs and Water" works a fine magic to take you where you've never been."

"Epileptic" (Pantheon, 361 pp., $25) is a staggering work of heartbreaking genius in which writer/ artist David B. grapples with the epilepsy of his big brother, Jean-Christophe. The black-and-white illustrations are so intense they suggest shading has little to do with color; artistry and passion make them resonate. Jean-Christophe's seizures start small but grow in frequency and duration, plunging his family into a frantic search for a cure. Born Pierre-François Beauchard in a rural French town, David B. spent a happy childhood until his brother's epilepsy spun him into a troubled, cathartic creativity. Translated from the French, "Epileptic" is phantasmagorical and exceedingly personal; I wonder what Jean-Christophe thinks of it. A companion is "Babel Volume 1" (Drawn & Quarterly, 32 pp., $9.95), a prequel. Here, David B. attaches a more primitive and expansive graphic style to a narrative blending Jean-Christophe's illness with African civil war, suggesting an unusually deep connection between the personal and the political. The shocking use of red in "Babel" accents these transmissions from the spirit world, David B.'s brilliant yoking of dream and nightmare.

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