Artist: David B.
Born Pierre-François Beauchard, David B.’s early childhood was a happy one, growing up in a small town in France with his older brother Jean-Christophe and their younger sister Florence. But when Jean-Christophe develops epilepsy, the whole family begins to rapidly self-destruct. In their single-minded pursuit of a cure, B.’s parents turn to alternative medicine, hauling the kids from one practitioner to the next, in a macabre pageant of increasingly suspect “professionals” who are ultimately unable to help Jean-Christophe. B.’s dramatic depictions of his brother’s seizures as actual demons attacking him, bears heart-wrenching testimony to the disease’s aggressive progression. Meanwhile, robbed of his brother and his parents, Pierre-Francoise turns to art, letting his imagination replace the grim reality of his life. An aching portrait of how illness can affect more than just those afflicted, Epileptic’s high-impact illustrations imbue the story with an urgent desperation.MORE: Read “Comic Relief,” TIME’s profile of Alison Bechdel