Hello, Loyal Readers! I chanced upon some neat finds at my local bookstore the other day, including a graphic novel in disguise.
TGBTWE is a graphic novel by Stephen Collins. It tells the story of a hairless man who one day grows a beard which threatens the order of his life and eventually the lives of everyone in his world. It’s definitely fantastical as the action takes place in a setting very similar to our own world but with one or two subtle differences in geography.
Why I Picked It Up
Actually, my wife grabbed it first thinking it was a non-graphic novel, and I noticed it was… graphic. Illustrations cover every page and tell most of the story. From there, I wanted to see what it was about.
What I Like About It
The first criteria I have in reading Graphic Novels is, “Can the images tell the story without the words?” I’m pleased to say Collins excels here. He not only uses his art to great narrative effect, but even the layout contributes to telling the story as the panels grow less and less orderly in times of greater plot-turmoil.
I also like the running “leitmotif,” if you will, of “Eternal Flame” by the Bangles. Song references are hit and miss in printed medium, but this is the only song and it appears enough times so as to be useful even to readers who’ve never heard it.
I think above all I like its message of letting in a little chaos. The story seems to be the classic tale of “status quo rules” until something unexpected happens and then gets scary. It’s also a lovely commentary on our society (I think there are many parallels to England in particular), specifically about how society reacts to change and works to cope (or not).
What Could Be Better, If Anything
I’m trying to think of some things to note here, but that in itself should indicate that there’s not a great deal to be improved upon.
A few tiny personal gripes are a) the field of psychology is AGAIN misrepresented grossly and b) I felt the denouement to be a tad simplistic after such an exciting ramp to the climax. Then again, that part is likely very true to life and how society moves on after what they perceive as a tragedy.
So I finished this book–It’s a quick read–and I’d recommend it to just about everybody ages 8-80. It’s got pretty wide appeal and the story is complex enough for a grown-up to enjoy with a straightforward narrative kids can enjoy, too.
But as always don’t take my word for it–check The Gigantic Beard That Was Evil out for yourself! And when you do, tell me; am I the only one who saw a bit of a September 11th parallel in the novel?
Thanks for reading, guys.