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Andre the Giant: Life and Legend Paperback – May 6, 2014
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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
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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Top customer reviews
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.
Anyways, to summarize - Andre the giant fans - don't buy. Comic book fans, who kind of like wrestling, go ahead and buy, but not on the Kindle.
With that in mind, I read Brown's 'Andre the Giant: Life and Legend' and am impressed at the unity of both the graphics and the writing. Andre himself comes off as truly what he seemed like--a giant with a heart of gold--but he clearly had a tough life. I think we all tend to assume that about him without getting to know him (as we do of all celebrities), but Brown manages to bring the man to life. Between the matches and celebrity sightings, we see a person! And really, isn't that what everyone wants out of a biography?
The graphics themselves unfold seamlessly, with careful attention paid to the transitions in Andre's life. This is a beautiful book by an incredibly talented writer and illustrator. Read it, view it, and be astonished.
I pre-ordered this book from Amazon. They had the cheapest pre-order price I could find. It arrived a couple days ago. I took it out of the box to read today with My Dinner.
It was fascinating. I could not stop reading it. An hour and 45 minutes later I had read it cover to cover. At times funny, at times sad. It is a thoroughly engaging Graphic Novel about a tragic life of a man. The art by Box Brown captures all the emotions.