- Hardcover: 240 pages
- Publisher: Picador; 1 edition (October 7, 2014)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1250050391
- ISBN-13: 978-1250050397
- Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1 x 8.9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 45 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #88,329 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Gigantic Beard That Was Evil Hardcover – October 7, 2014
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“Slyly exquisite...What happens over the course of the next 200+ pages is a dilemma Roald Dahl would have relished: The roiling anarchy of There erupts on Here--specifically, on poor Dave's previously clean-shaven cheeks--in the form of a great, snarly, twisting, unstoppable beard….If Collins is right--if, as he says, stories are necessary--then let's hope this wry young writer/artist has got a lot more lies to tell us.” ―Glen Weldon, NPR
“I don't want to spoil it…[but] it's kind of Roald Dahl--it's very funny, dark, fable-like and about exactly what it's title says.” ―Linda Holmes, NPR's Pop Culture Happy Hour
“The Gigantic Beard That Was Evil has the tone of a playful fable, from the cracked syntax of its title onward…For a book about the liberating joys of disruption, though, it's exceptionally disciplined: Collins renders several hundred pages of immaculately ruled buildings and bean-faced people (and the fuzzy curlicues that interfere with them) in meticulous, microdetailed pencil textures.” ―NewYorkTimes.com (Sunday Book Review)
“With one hell of a title, Stephen Collins' graphic novel makes an immediate impression, and the interior contents are just as gripping as the name….It's a poignant parable about the value of individuality and going against the grain, presented with a charming art style that brings a smooth animated quality to the story without losing sight of the darker aspects of the plot.” ―The A.V. Club (Best Comics of the Year)
“Filled with elegant black-and-white sketches and darkly philosophical commentary, Collins's graphic novel details what happens when borders collapse and stories have no tidy endings.” ―TimeOut.com
“The Gigantic Beard That Was Evil is an artistic marvel, and that splendor heightens the emotion of the story. The final moments of Dave's story are incredibly inspirational, and The Bangles' "Eternal Flame" has never been used as effectively as it is in those pages. Whimsical, bittersweet, and visually stunning, this graphic novel is the perfect parable for all ages, praising the value of eccentricity in a world of overwhelming uniformity with the help of unruly facial hair.” ―The AV Club
“Sublime.” ―Popular Mechanics
“A book about loneliness, fear, and worry that still manages to have a small glimmer of hope nestled in amongst the burly titular beard…Gorgeously illustrated….It's easily the most engaging thing I've read all month.” ―Panels (Best Comics of October)
“[Collins'] art -- especially as the beard grows and pages full of regimented, small panels breach into 2-page spreads of swirling hair -- is sensuous and soft. The Gigantic Beard That Was Evil is also a well-designed book, complete with two different finishes on the cover: a gloss on the white lettering and a velvety matte finish on the rest…It all works together to create a hushed tone, a kind of gentle melancholy.” ―Paste magazine
“More than adequately Kafkaesque…but the art is the real showstopper here. You can obsess over panel after carefully crosshatched panel for hours without feeling you've exhausted the book's possibilities. The black-and-white interior is rich with nuance and depth…[It] reminds me of the work of Aubrey Beardsley.” ―BookRiot (Books for the Bearded)
“This book is completely unique. Whether or not you read graphic novels, the title alone is enough to draw you into this one. It's a look at society as we know it, the way we look at the people around us, and the villain of the story is… a beard.” ―Bustle
“A moving and remarkably funny examination of conformity, safety, uncertainty and--yes--what happens when a man grows a beard so big that it threatens to smother entire city blocks….Discover: A compelling and funny spin on Kafka's Metamorphosis.” ―Shelf Awareness
“Mysterious and often wryly funny…with precise yet soft illustrations reminiscent of Raymond Briggs. A visually lyrical modern fable that manages to be both utterly unique and eerily recognizable.” ―Library Journal
“Subtly menacing...[A] Tim Burton-esque tale for Halloween.” ―BookPage
“Collins' illustrations are lush, rounded affairs with voluptuous shading across oblong planes. Expressions pop, from the severe upturn where a sympathetic psychiatrist's brows meet to the befuddlement of a schoolgirl as the beard's hypnotic powers take hold… Rich, creamy art and playful paneling make for a fun read.” ―Kirkus Reviews
“An amazing book. Completely original. Surreal yet believable.” ―Raymond Briggs
“It's part satire, part parable, part nursery rhyme, and part disaster movie, and it's an utter joy to read.” ―The Times (London)
“As splendiferous as its title.” ―Metro (UK)
“Clever, funny, and beautiful to look at… Surely destined to become a classic.” ―Rachel Cooke, The Observer (UK)
“A gorgeously penciled fable. The pacing and page design are immaculate.” ―The Sunday Herald (Scotland)
About the Author
Stephen Collins was born in 1980 and grew up in south London. He began cartooning in 2003, and has since won several awards, including the Jonathan Cape/Observer Graphic Short Story Prize and the inaugural 9th Art Award. His work has appeared in many publications worldwide, including Wired, GQ, and the BBC, and he contributes regular comics to the Guardian Weekend and Prospect magazine. He lives near Hertford with his wife and a well-charged beard trimmer.
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Stephen Collins has a great drawing technique that mixes naturalistic drawing, illustration an vector-like images with cartoonish characters. Everything is drawn with precise lines, very tidy even when the story gets messy, but the use of charcoal pencil gives texture, softness, chiaroscuro and warmth. I absolutely loved the framing and compositing of the vignettes and lettering, and how the text spreads organically throughout the page and the vignettes in unconventional ways.
However, what makes this book special to me, is that it has that little-something that elevates any graphic book from cute and fun to excellent and timeless, and that is the story and the narrative. The book is well written, with a very concise and precise style, and takes readers into a humorous slightly Kafkaesque ride.
The Gigantic Beard... is a wonderful brilliant fable about how Society and Culture react to change, differences and "the other". It shows how Society fears people who are different because, by being so, they question the values and ways of living on which the majority stands; so Society will react badly to any person who deviates from the standard behaviour, sexual orientation, gender role, or religious beliefs.
At the same time, it shows how Society hates and fears any transformation that shakes its core and questions its foundations. Surprisingly enough, History proves time and time again that, once those changes occur and the interrupters provoke the change, Society will come to recognise how important their disruption and disrupters were for Society to advance; yet, Society criticised, ostracised, mocked, persecuted and/or killed those very people who were the engines of social change. Just two examples. The impressionist painters of the 19the century and the cubists and abstracts painters of the 20th century were heavily criticised, disregarded and their talent questioned, yet, they are the masters we all admire nowadays. The suffragists of the early 20th century were ridiculed, jailed and considered crazy for saying that women had a brain and were perfectly able and capable to decide and cast a vote on their own.
Finally, the story also tells us that, at times, change begins with one person changing, the rest will eventually follow up.
I read this book in the hard-copy edition Very good quality thick grainy paper, well bound, so one can open it without a problem, and really durable.
Original, enjoyable, thought-provoking and wonderful black-and-white Art.
The back blurb, title, and art made me think I was in for a lighthearted, whimsical adventure that would be every bit of fun as it was ridiculous. However, this was not that book. It's much more somber than I anticipated.
True, it still has whimsy and is a bit ridiculous, but it went so much deeper than what I would've guessed from a book with such a title. Fun as it is, it has something to say about the world and does so without beating us over the head with its preaching or morals.
Instead, Collins presents a fun tale--often told in rhyme--that explores the nature of our world and society. Even better, it's accompanied by gorgeous artwork. I often found myself studying a page in awe of the graceful lines and ethereal tone.
It's an excellent book, no way around it. It's only too bad that the title and blurb don't fully capture the tone and depth presented here. Then again, perhaps that's another ploy for the "insides" to overpower the "outsides."
The title may seem to be funny at first, but the story is not funny. The story is deep, dark, and overwhelming sometimes.
Everyone who loves the meaningful books should read it even if it is going to be their first comic book.