Review: Kickstarting ‘The Plague And Doctor Caim’
by Benjamin Hall
A doctor treats patients during The Black Death. Or can a plague be funny centuries later?
If not for its title this cover would be slightly deceptive. At least to those who don’t know what physicians during the time of The Black Death pandemic (1347 a.d.-1357 a.d.) would wear as masks. As it is it features a very original design. While the choice of font harkens back to the kind of font type one might associate with that century. As for the colors they suggest a painstaking amount of time for their application. Lastly, there are some subtle hints in the design of what we will see happen in the narrative.
One can argue that the sequencing of the narrative is more that of children’s book than comic book. Though this is only arguable due to four panels being on each page. However, this allows for a type of storytelling that evokes the time period of The Black Death. Specifically the average person from that time period would have a harder time understanding a book, much less disinformation. One can even say that this comic makes fun of both the disinformation of the bubonic plague, and the Covid-19 plague the world is facing. Thus, I argue that this graphic novel is worthy of the terms novel and comic due both to its sequencing and the information inside it. In other words it is a rare work that stands with Maus (1980-1991) and Watchmen (1986-1987) as a product of two mediums.
The fact that this is the work of one comic creator (writer/illustrator) G. E. Gallas shows that persistence can pay off in this industry. For those wanting a copy, especially a first edition hardback, there is a Kickstarter currently going on. It is at the time of this writing at $3,843 pounds of a $5,567 goal. However, those wanting to get a copy may find it quicker to get by pledging for the digital edition, because of Covid-19 delaying travel. Finally the kickstarter is to assist independent publisher Iron Cast Books with production and distribution costs.