David B. 1959-
DAVID B. 1959-
PERSONAL: Born 1959, near Orléans, France.
ADDRESSES: Home—France. Agent—c/o Author Mail, Pantheon Books, 1745 Broadway, New York, NY 10019.
CAREER: Graphic novelist. Founding member of L'Association (publisher), Paris, France.
AWARDS, HONORS: European Cartoonist of the Year, Comics Journal, 1998; Alph' Art award for comic excellence, 2000.
La bombe familiale, L'Association (Paris, France), 1991.
Le cheval blême, Imprimerie Autographe (Paris, France), 1992.
Le cercueil de course, L'Association (Paris, France), 1993.
(With others) Le retour de dieu, Autrement (Paris, France), 1994.
Le livre somnambule, Imprimerie Autographe (Paris, France), 1994.
Les 4 savants, Éditions Cornélius, Volume 1: Le démon à tête d'entrailles, 1996 Volume 2: La circonvolution de la peur 1997, Volume 3: Le paradis terrestre, 1998, Volume 4, 1998.
L'ascension du haut-mal, six volumes, L'Association (Paris, France), 1996–2004, translation of first three volumes by Kim Thompson published as Epileptic: 1, L'Association, 2002, translation of all six volumes by Thompson published as Epileptic, Pantheon (New York, NY), 2005.
Le tengû carré, Dargaud (Paris, France), 1997.
(Illustrator) Sophie Cluzan, Mésopotamie, Gallimard (Paris, France), 1997.
Hiram Lowatt & Placido, illustrated by Christophe Blain, Poisson Pilote (Paris, France), Volume 1: La Révolte d'Hop-Frog, 1997, Volume 2: Les Ogres, 2000.
(Illustrator) Baraou, Maman a des problèmes, L'Association (Paris, France), 1999.
Les incidents de la nuit, L'Association (Paris, France), Volume 1, 1999, Volume 2, 2000, Volume 3, 2002.
Le capitaine écarlate, illustrated by Emmanuel Guibert, Dupuis (Paris, France), 2000.
(With Joann Sfar) Urani, Volume 1: La ville des mauvais rêves, Dargaud (Paris, France), 2000.
(Illustrator) Jihad Darwiche, Sagesses et malices de Nasreddine, le fou qui était sage, A. Michel (Paris, France), 2000.
La lecture des ruines, Dupuis (Paris, France), 2001.
Les chercheurs de trésor, Dargaud (Paris, France), Volume 1: L'ombre de dieu, 2003, Volume 2: La ville froide, Dargaud (Paris, France), 2004.
Babel, Vertige graphic (Paris, France), 2004.
Leonora, illustrated by Pauline Martin, Denoël (Paris, France), 2004.
Contributor to comic periodical Lapin and to anthologies.
SIDELIGHTS: French graphic novelist David B. (born Pierre-François Beauchard) is best known for his autobiographical work L'ascension du haut-mal, published in English as Epileptic. This graphic-novel memoir follows the lives of David B., David's older brother Jean-Christophe, younger sister Florence, and their parents as they attempt to cope with Jean-Christophe's childhood diagnosis of epilepsy. The Beauchard parents begin with conventional treatments, seeking help from psychiatrists and neurosurgeons, but when these fail they set out on a desperate quest across France, hoping to find a cure in magnetism, faith, and even life in a macrobiotic commune. All of the "cures" eventually fail, and the toll on the family is intense. David B. copes by retreating into fantasy; it was during this time in his life that he began to draw and write seriously. Epileptic's "most visually spectacular passages," Gordon Flagg wrote in Booklist, are depictions of David B.'s dreams from this period, "filled with mythical dream creatures portrayed in expansive panels reminiscent of Persian art." However, as a Kirkus Reviews contributor noted, these "fantastic beasts and dark winds [that] lurk around the peripheries of the real events being depicted … often come leaping right through them." For example, the young David B. views Jean-Christophe's disease "as a monster—a dragon seen only through the eyes of a younger brother who can't hope to understand" Jean-Christophe's condition, explained a Grovel online reviewer.
Many critics noted that Epileptic stretches the boundaries of the graphic-novel genre. School Library Journal contributor Francisca Goldsmith declared Epileptic "a full-strength novel with well-developed characters, subplots concerning both World Wars, and riffs on the popular culture of the period," while Houston Chronicle reviewer Andrew Dansby thought that the book's "grand imagination," "epic scope and chillingly stark design" make it "bigger, broader and better than any graphic entry in recent memory." Epileptic "is a vision fully realized, a story beautifully structured and compellingly human," Dansby concluded.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
David B. Epileptic, Pantheon (New York, NY), 2005.
Booklist, July, 2002, Gordon Flagg, review of Epileptic: 1, p. 1812; December 15, 2004, Gordon Flagg, review of Epileptic, p. 716.
Houston Chronicle, March 4, 2005, Andrew Dansby, "David B.'s Epileptic Transcends Graphic-Novel Classification to Relate a Family's Struggle, a Brother's Journey of Self-Discovery."
Kirkus Reviews, December 1, 2004, review of Epileptic, p. 1117.
School Library Journal, January, 2003, Francisca Goldsmith, review of Epileptic: 1, p. 178.
Time, December 20, 2004, Andrew Arnold, "Darkness Visible," p. 161.
Grovel Web site, http://www.grovel.org.uk/ (May 6, 2005), review of Epileptic.
Mars Import Web site, http://www.marsimport.com/ (May 17, 2005), "David B."