GRAPHIC NOVELS

The Bad Doctor: The Troubled Times of Dr. Iwan James

(text & illus.). Pennsylvania State Univ. (Graphic Medicine). May 2015. 224p. ISBN 9780271067544. pap. $24.95. GRAPHIC NOVELS
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Iwan James is really quite a good doctor, but up against multiple imperfections—his own and everyone else's. Personally, he has a history of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) compounded by massive insecurity. Moreover, his wife doesn't appreciate his passion for cycling, his douche bag senior partner is interested more in the bottom line than in medicine, and the other women he admires are not attracted to him. As for his tragicomic patients, they range from responsive to hostile, traumatized widowers to Unabomber look-alikes. Physician Williams (graphicmedicine.org), a former general practitioner in Wales, renders Iwan's journey in simple, light pen drawings enhanced with midrange grays. For the more emotionally laden flashbacks about Iwan's painful youth, he uses nuanced brushwork with deeper tones and curvy occult symbols relating to the boy's obsessions.
VERDICT This serious yet sometimes puckish slice-of-life drama makes the "revered physician" into an everyman who evokes empathy from readers, doctors or not. Those fond of reality-based stories will enjoy this. Some sexual content; best for older teens through adult.

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