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A darkly humorous graphic novel about a doctor grappling against the Black Death.

The Plague and Doctor Caim follows the life of a 17th-century plague doctor: an Everyman with a beak. One day, Doctor Caim is hired by a village to treat both the rich and the poor. The doctor readily accepts this position, but goes about the work with much trial and error. Doctor Caim encounters patients from all walks of life, experimenting with treatments while monitoring his own health and watching the stars for omens.

Research is the integral foundation of both the script and design of The Plague and Doctor Caim. Each medical treatment Doctor Caim tries and every situation Doctor Caim finds himself in is based on historical facts. With the aesthetic of a medieval illuminated manuscript, this graphic novel finds macabre comedy within the history of the bubonic plague.

I was inspired to make this book because people are fascinated by the plague doctor, his costume and beak mask (just as I am), but many are unfamiliar with the history behind them. The plague doctor appears in many supernatural-themed comics, is a favorite among numerous cosplayers, and adorns many bodies as tattoos. But none of these delve into the reality of the plague doctor’s life.

Furthermore, Doctor Caim is a compelling character to write and draw. I made a deliberate decision that the doctor should never be seen without a mask. This way, the character is truly an Everyman: an average human being that could belong to any race, ethnicity, gender and so on. But, at the same time, Doctor Caim is not anonymous. The doctor has a distinct personality, ethos, and set of habits, making Doctor Caim a multidimensional character that readers will care about.

About the Book

The Plague and Doctor Caim will be a 100-page, full-color, hardback graphic novel.

G. E. Gallas is a writer and illustrator best known for her graphic novel The Poet and the Flea about the poet-painter William Blake. After studying Japanese language and culture for many years, she spent a year abroad in Tokyo, Japan. She graduated from New York University: Gallatin School of Individualized Study with a major involving cross-cultural storytelling. She has spoken upon invitation to The Blake Society (London), Yale University School of Drama, and Germanna College (Virginia). Her illustrations are also featured in Scared Stiff: Everything You Need to Know About 50 Famous Phobias, Age of Saints, Welsh in the Old West, Do More Good. Better. and Magic Bullet (Washington, D.C.’s free comics newspaper).

Where does the name "Caim" come from?

Thursday, 13 June 2019

Caim in bird form

 

(Illustration from the "Dictionnaire Infernal" by Collin de Plancy.)

You may be wondering where the name "Caim" comes from. Page one of this graphic novel goes into a little detail about the name, but I will expand upon it here. 

Firstly, Caim is a variation of "Cain," as in the biblical Cain and Abel. As you may know, Cain and Abel were Adam and Eve's first sons and Cain kills Abel…

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