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The Gigantic Beard That was Evil Hardcover – International Edition, June 17, 2013
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"It's part satire, part parable, part nursery rhyme and part disaster movie, and it's an utter joy to read." -- Tom Gatti The Times "Clever, funny and beautiful to look at... A fairytale for adults that children will also adore, The Gigantic Beard That Was Evil is surely destined to become a classic." -- Rachel Cooke Observer "As splendiferous as its title... An inspired swirling of the mundane with the surreal, the plot may be simple but his satire on modern life is witty and thoughtful." -- Larushka Ivan-Zadeh Metro "Collins' wonderful debut unfolds with slow and simple elegance through black-and-white panels." -- James Smart Guardian "It reminds me of nothing so much as a Roald Dahl novel." -- Alex Hern New Statesman
About the Author
STEPHEN COLLINS was born in 1980 and grew up in Penge, South London. He began cartooning for The Times in 2003, and has since won several awards, including the Jonathan Cape/Observer Graphic Short Story Prize 2010. His work has appeared in many publications worldwide, 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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Top customer reviews
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."
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 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.