Updated: Jul 11, 2019
Cartoonist: G.E. Gallas
Publisher: Self-Published through Unbound
WHAT IS IT?
A bone-dry comedy about a doctor at the time of the bubonic plague.
This 100-page, full-color, hardback graphic novel feels strongly like an old-timey play or a humorous illuminated manuscript.
WHAT’S IT ABOUT?
Dr. Caim, always adorned in his full dottore beak mask, comes to a new town to treat the sick and dying.
Uncertain of how to cure the populace of this growing issue, the good doctor tries all sorts of treatments in order to help the poor and the rich alike to recover from what ails them.
For those of you familiar with history, you can imagine how it goes for Doctor Caim.
Cartoonist G.E. Gallas did a good deal of research for the Plague and Doctor Caim. The medical treatments and situations are all based in things that actually happened.
The illuminated manuscript style is such a compelling aesthetic. It's a pleasure to revisit it in a modern medium, and it works well with Gallas's unique illustration style.
Though illustrations are often simple, with flat colors it's part of the book's charm.
The fourth and final square on nearly every page is usually a bit of dialogue from Doctor Caim, and it often closes the page out, thematically. The story could almost work as a webcomic in that way, releasing each page day by day, often with a new adventure every 4 squares.
While the book is a collection of Doctor Caim's experiences in the city over time, it has an overarching plot as he experiments with new treatments, sees some of the same townspeople, and checks himself for health issues of his own. It almost has a seasonal cadence built into it that you might notice as you follow along.
You almost forget, surrounded in comfort far removed from history's perils, that all of these things really happened. Especially with flat, cartoonish images to represent each scene, you can read through most of it with a wry grin on your face. But when you get to the end of the story, you may be taken unawares by emotion. Maybe a lot. Maybe just a little. But it definitely effected me, and I was surprised by it.
G.E. Gallas & Unbounders just added a $15 digital edition of the book!
WHAT DOESN’T WORK?
I was only able to see a fraction of the book, though G.E. Gallas did let me read the script so I could know how the story goes.
WHY SHOULD I READ IT?
The Plague and Doctor Caim is a macabre comedy with its roots set in reality. There's an elegance to its simplicity that's undeniable, even for a story about the plague.
Its unique protagonist, brand of humor and overall aesthetic makes it the perfect book (or gift) for that similarly unique person in your life.
HOW DO I BUY IT?
Donate to the Unbound fund:
The image(s) used in this article are from a comic strip, webcomic or the cover or interior of a comic book. The copyright for this image(s) is likely owned by either the publisher of the comic, the writer(s) and/or artist(s) who produced the comic. It is believed that the use of this image(s) qualifies as fair use under the United States copyright law. The image is used in a limited fashion in an educational manner in order to illustrate the points of the author and not for the purpose of entertainment or substituting the original work. It is believed the use of this image has had no impact on the market value of the original work.
All G. E. Gallas characters and the distinctive likeness(es) thereof are trademarks of and copyright G. E. Gallas or their respective owners. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED