Writing a dark comedy is sometimes like peering into a kaleidoscope and watching so many different parts of genres collide and amalgamate into something that feels so wrong yet so right at the same time. Now throw in some history and you’ve set yourself up for something that will not only be entertaining but informative. Now given that said information is the comedy itself, well you have the makings of a masterpiece. If nothing else, G.E. Gallas’, The Plague and Doctor Caim is just that. Even if you disagree with me I’ll still guarantee you’ll at least get a good couple of chuckles.
The story follows Doctor Caim during one of the most absolute worst times to be alive, Europe during the height of the plague. As would be expected, he is dressed in the traditional garb of the time, robes and a beaked mask filled with pleasant smelling flowers. His actual medical knowledge is extremely questionable, yet this is the essence of the humor in this hilarious dark tale. Coupled with the simple dialogue and you have an extremely charming book that will send the giggles rolling.
The real magic in the historical sense of humor is that if you really look back at the state of the world as well as the state of medicine at the time you’ll realize that they had absolutely no idea what they were doing, let alone how to treat something many perceived as the end times. This is where the heart of the story lies, we laugh at all the ridiculous ways Dr. Caim uses to test for plague and even more so at his equally outlandish treatments. But what really steals the laughs is the reactions of the poor villagers forced to endure the comedic yet accurate forms of treatment from the mid 14th century.
Dry humor, when done right, is honestly so effective in reaching the desired emotional response of true humor and charm, and the way Gallas conveys this in such a simple and even childlike manner makes The Plague and Doctor Caim enjoyable for all ages. While I was only able to see about a fourth of the book in its illustrated format, what I did see matched the humor extremely well. The only comparison I can relate to are those funny expression marks seen in anime. Only in this case, it’s the lack of emotion seen in the characters that makes it so funny to look at.
If you haven’t seen it already, the author is still crowdfunding for the book’s release. Should The Plague and Doctor Caim sound like your kind of comedy, then you should definitely contemplate doing checking it out. While no release date is set yet, I am very much looking forward to reading this book in its entirety.