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David B.

Image of David B.

Artist, writer, editor, designer, the prolific David B. was born in Nîmes, France, in 1959. He is a key figure of the 1990s alternative movement that transformed contemporary French comics, and one of the seven founding members of L'Association. A lifelong fan of the fantastic, he is as known for his original work, which draws on folklore and mythology (The Armed Garden [Fantagraphics, 2011], Incidents of the Night [Uncivilized Books, forthcoming], as for his surreal dream journals (Le Cheval blême [L’Association, 1992], Nocturnal Conspiracies [NBM, 2008, trans. Joe Johnson]). His books also feature famous and forgotten fabulists: The Littlest Pirate King [Fantagraphics, 2010], adapted from a story by Pierre Mac Orlan, and in collaboration with Emmanuel Guibert, the superlative Le Capitaine Écarlate [Dupuis, 2000], which makes Borges forerunner Marcel Schwob into a figure of his own fantasies.

His most celebrated work remains the memoir L’Ascension du haut mal. Published in 6 volumes from 1996-2003, this autobiography of his imaginative development intertwines the stories of the author’s artistic growth and his difficult childhood, with his brother Jean-Christophe’s epilepsy and his family’s search for an effective treatment. In 2005, it was published in a single volume by Pantheon Books as Epileptic, in a translation by Kim Thompson.

His recent output has been marked by collaborations with such noted artists as Joann Sfar, Christophe Blain, and Hugues Micol, and nonfiction, including Black Paths [Self Made Hero, 2011, trans. Nora Mahony], his biography of Italian poet Gabriele d'Annunzio, and Best of Enemies [Self Made Hero, 2011, trans. Nora Mahony], a history of U.S.-Middle Eastern relations in collaboration with historian Jean-Pierre Filiu.

In 2007, Words Without Borders featured an excerpt from his 1991 short comic A Bomb in the Family, also translated by Edward Gauvin.

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