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Andre the Giant: Life and Legend Paperback – May 6, 2014

4.2 out of 5 stars 94 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 9 Up—Students may never have heard of Andre Roussimoff, a man born in France in the late 1950s, who would go on to become one of the first stars in the early modern era of professional wrestling. Born with a rare syndrome known as acromegaly, he produced too much growth hormone in his body. This rendered him so gigantic that as a child, he was unable to fit on the bus to go to school. Eventually finding his calling on the stage, Roussimoff eventually became a chronic drinker and smoker as he became more and more successful. He took frequent trips to Japan where he was regarded as an international celebrity. But his life was not devoid of conflict and strife. He was in constant pain as a result of his condition. He also had a daughter he barely ever saw. This in-depth and well-researched look into the life of the memorable actor from The Princess Bride is interesting and complex. Drawing from number of different sources, Brown has constructed as complete a portrait of Andre the Giant as he possibly could. While some of the language and situations in this graphic novel biography are definitely for older audiences, high school wrestling fans can nonetheless enjoy this intimate look into the life of an industry legend.—Ryan P. Donovan, New York Public Library

From Booklist

Larger-than-average André the Giant had a larger-than-life personality to match, and award-winning cartoonist Brown manages to capture the legendary wrestler’s career in charming, heartfelt black-and-white panels. After a few snippets of an interview with André’s fellow wrestler Hulk Hogan, Brown starts off with a doozy of an anecdote: 12-year-old André, too big to fit in the school bus, gets a ride to school in the back of Samuel Beckett’s pickup truck in exchange for a bottle of Beaujolais. From there, Brown covers André’s storied career in wrestling, his movie roles, his insatiable drinking (reportedly once running up a $40,000 bar tab), and the many health problems he faced owing to his acromegaly. Throughout, André comes across as a good-natured, gentle giant with a playful sense of humor and love for showmanship. He was, of course, no stranger to controversy, but Brown only lightly touches on those moments, choosing instead to keep the tone laudatory. Given André the Giant’s long-standing popularity among a wide audience, fans of professional wrestling aren’t the only ones who will line up to read this one. --Sarah Hunter

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: First Second (May 6, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1596438517
  • ISBN-13: 978-1596438514
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (94 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #81,940 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Box Brown is a comic artist, illustrator and comic publisher from Philadelphia. His comics have been featured in Mad Magazine and his illustrations have been on Wired.com. His web and print comic Everything Dies was named a notable comic of 2011 in the Best American Comics Anthology and was honored with two Ignatz Awards. His comics publishing outfit, Retrofit launched in 2011.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
As a lifelong pro wrestling fan I was intrigued when I opened my Vine newsletter and saw a book featuring a comic Andre the Giant on the cover. I had no idea what it was but clicked anyways. And I'm glad I did.

The book is professional wrestler and actor Andre the Giant's biography, only told in graphic novel form. At first I thought it would be a bit strange, but it's actually the best way to tell the story. So much of Andre's time with us had to do with his struggle with (and against) his size. Being able to see a constant visual representation of how he fit in different circumstances made the story that much more personal and profound. While he was a legend in the industry and fondly remembered, the story of the man whose body worked overtime to end his life is both tragic and triumphant.

But this is not a children's version of Andre's life. Don't be fooled by Brown's friendly comic art style. The story is a warts-and-all look, involving stories that will be new to many fans and familiar to the die hards (Bad News on the bus or Dick Murdock's bday party come to mind). There is swearing, innuendo and off-camera sex (though nothing explicit), LOTS of alcohol, and boys just being boys.

There are also great moments of poignancy and reflection. The images help bring to life the devastating nature of Andre's medical condition and the ways in which it debilitated him over time, and also how he faced them down and chose to move ahead. The entire thing retains a charm and sweetness that overcome any of the harder moments. Andre could be tender and hilarious and the book does a wonderful job in capturing his softer side, often away from the wrestling ring.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Are you a fan of professional wrestling? Do you like Indie comics? If you answered yes to both questions then you're in for a treat! Turns out indie comics artists and writer Box Brown is a fan of professional wrestling and he's recently turned his talents to telling the story of one of wrestling's all-time greats, Andre the Giant! I'll start off by admitting I'm a wrestling fan, have been since I was a kid. My childhood is filled with many fond memories of watching Andre the Giant's hulking presence in the squared circle on a Saturday morning as he made easy work of all that dared to face off against him in the ring. And, although I consider myself a fan of the Giant, I really didn't know much about him. That is until now. Box Brown brings us Andre's story, starting with his uncomfortable childhood, then carrying us along as Andre grows into manhood and encounters the numerous challenges his massive size invites.

The art in this comic is simple and bold, much like the persona of Andre the Giant. Andre's size is at times overly exaggerated, dwarfing other objects and figures in the panel to visually impart just how big he really was, both physically and figuratively. The uncomplicated artwork flows with the story, exposing Andre's gentle nature while at the same time communicating his uneasiness with society.

Throughout the comic Box Brown is quick to point out that distinguishing between the Life and Legend of Andre is at times a difficult thing to do, as he re-tells some of the many stories that have grown just as large as Andre himself over the years. But Brown conveys each alongside a personal anecdote that balances the myth with the man and reveals Andre to be more than the massive brawler Saturday morning wrestling portrayed him to be. Through the pages of Andre the Giant: Life and Legend we learn that Andre was just a normal guy that wanted what most of us want: to live in peace.
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Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I haven't watched professional wrestling for years. However, as a young boy I did and I remember watching when Andre the Giant became a bad guy and ended up fighting Hulk Hogan for the championship in Wrestlemania III. Besides, Hogan, Andre had always been a favorite and I couldn't believe he "flipped" over. Later, he came back around and ended his career as one of the good guys. Although there are a few kids book and WWE sponsored books about Andre the Giant, there really has never been a decent biography about Andre's life (Andre the Giant: A Legendary Life (WWE) was published several years ago, but is a terrible biography). Box Brown has attempted to fill that deficit with ANDRE THE GIANT: LIFE AND LEGEND.

ANDRE THE GIANT: LIFE AND LEGEND is a biography of Andre the Giant told in graphic novel format. Although graphic novels are still viewed as being "kid's books", ANDRE THE GIANT: LIFE AND LEGEND is not a children's book. It respects the man, but doesn't shy away from some of the less savory aspects of his life: drinking, swearing, sexual exploits, etc.

The book does an excellent job at illustrating Andre's life-long struggle with acromegaly. In a regular novel form, this struggle would be difficult to convey. However, a graphic novelization is a great format to convey and illustrate this struggle.

Some of the events the book touches upon will be familiar with diehard wrestling fans (e.g. Dick Murdock's birthday party). However, there are other events that aren't as well known. There's also the occasional interesting tidbit, for instance, the time Andre got a ride to school from Samuel Beckett.

It's difficult to compact the life of a man as big as Andre into a book, but ANDRE THE GIANT: LIFE AND LEGEND does a great job. It's an interesting graphical biography that both fans and non-fans of wrestling will enjoy.
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