Anyone thinking that graphic novels are “just comic books” and are not to be taken seriously as literature will be compelled to rethink that notion upon reading Epileptic. Created by award-winning French cartoonist David B. (born Pierre-Francois Beauchard), the 368-page Epileptic is an intricate, soul-baring memoir—with starkly beautiful, complex and often disturbing black-and-white drawings—chronicling the author’s growing up with an epileptic brother, Jean-Christophe, whose advancing disease kept the family in turmoil. David remembers, in vivid written and drawn detail, how his parents dragged their family from one “expert” to another, from a macrobiotic commune to Rosicrucians to alchemist to an exorcist, in a love-driven but futile attempt to cure Jean-Christophe. David’s sister Florence, responding to the stress and confusion, attempts suicide at one point. War imagery, ghosts and dreams are interwoven throughout the masterful work as we watch his psychological and emotional struggle with the demons of a difficult childhood, occurring, in part, at the same time that France was struggling to remain in control of Algeria.