Robert Stanley Martin reviews Nocturnal Conspiracies: Nineteen Dreams from December 1979 to September 1994

Posted by on December 28th, 2009 at 9:00 AM

David B.; NBM/ComicsLit; 128 pp.; $14.95; Two-Color; Paperback; ISBN: 9781561635412

Just about every reader of David B.’s memoir Epileptic recalls the four dream sequences that highlighted the closing sections of the book. Purportedly dramatizations of actual dreams, they were obvious allegories of the cartoonist’s complex and conflicting attitudes toward his older brother, whose debilitating seizure disorder was their family’s overriding concern. These passages are among the book’s most intriguing and powerful moments; they cast the book’s drama in a new light, enriching the meanings and resonances of everything that came before. These kinds of strips have always been a hallmark of David B.’s cartooning. His first major work, Le Cheval blême, was a collection of dream strips. (The book, whose title translates as The Pale Horse or The Ghostly Horse, is unavailable in English. Apart from four pages printed in the interview with David B. in The Comics Journal #275, I have not read it.) And now, with Nocturnal Conspiracies, he has put out another such collection as his follow-up to Epileptic. The book compiles 19 strips adapted from David B.’s dream journal entries between December 1979 and September 1994.

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One Response to “Robert Stanley Martin reviews Nocturnal Conspiracies: Nineteen Dreams from December 1979 to September 1994”

  1. Lou Copeland says:

    After slugging it through the first third of the book, I went back and started skipping the captions and just read it by looking at the panel contents. It’s probably the only thing not published by Marvel that I’ve ever read cover to cover like that, but approaching at it as a series of wordless comics made it much more enjoyable read (even if that meant I wasn’t always grasping the material on the level the author intended).