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Goliath Hardcover – February 28, 2012

4.4 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“In [Gauld's] version, Goliath is no bloodthirsty caricature, but a crack penpusher for the Philistine army who is forced into facing down the Israelite army by an unscrupulous superior. Stranded on the frontline with his young shield bearer for company, the main part of the story is about loneliness and losing control of your own destiny, with the muted brown palette reflecting the bleak situation Goliath inexplicably finds himself in.” ―It's Nice That on Goliath

“Gauld’s stylistic toolkit―clean lines, simple shapes, and crosshatching so thick it’s nearly fabric―makes it all a pleasure to behold. He mines comedic gold from deadpan reaction shots so well timed you could set a watch by them and, weirder still, some tragic oomph for the hapless sucker.” ―Booklist on Goliath

“Satan, as we know, has had all the best tunes and much of the best literature since Milton's Paradise Lost (1666). [Goliath is] a graphic novel by the acclaimed cartoonist Tom Gauld, the story of David and Goliath as seen from Goliath's side of the Valley of Elah.” ―The Independent on Goliath

“Tom Gauld's tragic, darkly funny retelling of David and Goliath from Goliath's perspective. Gauld's work is always quietly powerful and emotionally grabbing.” ―Boing Boing on Goliath

About the Author

Tom Gauld lives in London. His comics frequently appear in The Guardian, and his illustrations have appeared in The New York Times. He has designed a number of book covers.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Drawn and Quarterly; 1st Edition edition (February 28, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1770460659
  • ISBN-13: 978-1770460652
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 0.6 x 9.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #347,268 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Goliath is a graphic novel of the story of David and Goliath, told from Goliath's point of view. I loved it, and I loved sharing it with my children (ages 10 and 12).

This is a sturdy book, with drawings and type that feel like a bit of a throwback to my untutored eye. Stylistically, especially in the sparse landscapes, I'm reminded of Edward Gorey, whose work I know mostly from watching Mystery! on PBS as a child. Gauld's work has the same "cross hatch" style, which makes simple drawings seem quite complex. Goliath is done in three colors: black, white, and brown. The landscape, with boulders, hills, and a few scraggly leafless trees, is quite barren.

The focus of Goliath is not on action, and indeed, there is almost no action until the final frames. It's the character of Goliath, the novelty of getting the giant's back story, and the questions it raises about point of view and truth, that propel the book. I was very impressed with Gauld's ability to convey so much story through minimal text and stripped down illustrations.

That said, despite the somber tone, there are moments of wry humor in Goliath, especially in the bureaucratic muddle that is the Philistine army, and in Goliath's relationship with his shield-bearer, an eager, naive boy whose pointed questions reveal the absurdity of Goliath's situation. My one criticism of the book would be that on one or two occasions the humor veers into "cutesy" territory.

You have to watch for the small things in Goliath. In the opening pages, Goliath has gone down to the river for a drink. He absentmindedly picks up a rock. He looks at it, and lets it go. The "plop" it makes as it reenters the river is barely noticed by Goliath, but it's a strong dose of foreshadowing for the reader.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
What do we know about Goliath of Gath? Not that much if you'd asked Scottish cartoonist Tom Gauld, and with his new graphic novel, Goliath, from Drawn & Quarterly, he attempts to expand a bit on the story of this giant. Those familiar with the Bible story of Goliath will know him as a ruthless pagan, hell bent on blood, conquer, and challenging one to meet him on the battle field. Well we all know how that story ended, but Gauld isn't satisfied, and in this graphic novel he goes on a quest to explore the more human side of the giant who fell by stone.

The first task Gauld sets to is stripping away the religious aspect of the story. The only mentions of it are quotations from the Bible that set up certain portions in the story. As this epic opens, we're introduced to our giant; more gentle than menace, Goliath spends his day doing administrative paper work and hardly seems the warrior type. In fact, as the story opens, Goliath is changing shifts so that he can do more paperwork.

Soon, Goliath finds himself at the center of ending the conflict between the Philistines and Israel. He's measured for armor, given a shield bearer, and sent on a quest to challenge one Israeli warrior, brave enough to take him on. He announces himself day by day, the reluctant warrior even considers abandoning his post at one point, until that fateful day when his opponent shows up and ends it in one fell swoop.

Gauld's interpretation of history's most ruthless giant is heartbreaking and sympathetic, and in doing so restores Goliath to a more human status. He also slaps scripture in the face by having him fall backwards as he dies (In the Bible he falls forward, making for some dispute.). But it's the human aspect of Goliath's demise that really makes this story engaging; a misunderstood man a midst those that seek to use him for purposes that are unbecoming of him and that ultimately cost him his life. Grab a hanky, you'll be in for some water works.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Tom Gauld's single panel comics are as fantastic as this book is mediocre. He seems to be playing with a Christopher Ware type of storytelling, where the panels aren't a slave to the plot, but are convey other aspects of the story in a more meaningful way. The problem is Ware's panels always feel purposeful, whereas too many of Gauld's feel arbitrary or redundant. Probably, why Gauld can't pull off the effect he's going for is that his story and characters are way too thin. I really wish Gauld had spent more time fleshing out the story. His comics are great because he can find the absurdity in our chaotic, modern lives. Starting with such a simple story, that isn't complex, let alone chaotic, gives Gauld nothing to aim for. He is a David without a Goliath.
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By jeff on March 8, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
an amazing book, as an artist and graphic designer this book is very inspiring, the art is simple, elegant and full of emotion. I wish I could get bigger screen prints of my favorite panels. I couldn't recommend this more.
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Format: Hardcover
He is a big man who prefers administrative to patrol duty. An ambitious captain suits him up to go out and challenge the other side every day to shame them away without fighting. The author is Scots and has a Canadian sense of life on life's terms, without American kool-aid. His colleague Chester Brown has told in the same spirit the story of Jesus and the centurion. That is one of those that didn't make it into the Bible. The soldier asks Christ to heal his daughter and observes that of course the master need not visit the house. When I command something it is done, says the centurion, and I am just a man. Jesus likes that and I like Tom Gauld's plain-spoken version of this Hebrew story from the side of the monstrous gentile. It is all very matter of fact then whoops here comes a kid with a sling chanting his own psalm.
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