Old age inspires comics. Among the many recent graphic works featuring him, Do not forget me, by Alix Garin is one of the most successful (1). With this autofiction inspired by her own grandmother, the young author delivers a story that is all the more universal as it is personal.
Clémence, a woman in the making, cannot resolve to let her grandmother, suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, waste away in her nursing home. On a whim, the granddaughter embarks her Mamycha for a “Little tour”… The goal of the getaway: to allow the old woman, whose spirit seems to have fallen back into childhood, to find the house where she grew up.
Along the way, Clémence will learn a lot about herself, reweaving family ties over three generations. With a light stroke, Alix Garin manages, in a removed tone, to mix burlesque humor, tender nostalgia and modesty of feelings.
Picked up by the fleeting emotion that seizes Clémence at the evocation of her childhood, the reader is carried away by the breath of her own memories. Fragments of memory like so many forget-me-not petals collected by Mamycha at the bend of the road. The nickname of this pretty blue flower? ” Do not forget me. “
Wear of bodies, freshness of souls
Another fugue, but in minor mode this time with The dive (2), by Séverine Vidal and Victor Pinel. In this classic fiction with realistic accents, Yvonne, whose husband has just died, leaves her too large house to settle in an Ehpad. At 80, she is overtaken by old age which gradually erases the memories of her beautiful and long life.
But the octogenarian has character and manages to recreate a circle of friends in the establishment that welcomes him. Despite the infantilization of which they are the object, the residents manage to find spaces of freedom in this enclosure with sometimes strict rules. An unexpected romance even warms his old heart and makes him want to get away …
Written by Séverine Vidal who was inspired by writing workshops carried out in nursing homes before the terrible health crisis which ravaged there, this story suffers from narrative springs a little too conspicuous to be totally convincing. In spite of framing highlighting the glances in a sometimes excessive way, the effective staging of Victor Pinel knows how to find the right lines to express the wear and tear of the bodies and the freshness of the souls.
→ READ. When comics tell about the intimate ordeal of hospitalization
The same publisher, Bamboo, is due out in early May, a touching graphic novel, Take care of yourself, in which its author, Rudo, recounts with great sensitivity and a lot of humor his (temporary) conversion into a nursing assistant in an nursing home. A humanist story that tells both the financial difficulties of comic book authors and the daily working conditions of nursing staff in understaffed establishments.