If you’re of a certain age, or have even a passing familiarity with professional wrestling, then you will probably have heard about André René Roussimoff, known to many as André The Giant. My first introduction to André came, as with many others, through the world of professional wrestling. I remember to this day the first time I saw him throw grown men around the squared circle as if they were children, and it was awesome (note, that I’m not encouraging you to throw children about). André was a larger than life figure, a man known largely because of his size, and this biography takes a deeper look at this legendary man.
Brandon Easton tells the biographical tale of André in a somber voice that genuinely feels as if it is being told by the man himself. Touching and graceful, André The Giant: Closer To Heaven is a fantastic example of using the graphic novel format to tell a biographical story, and with André being a professional wrestler (a business that can often feel like a living comic book), I honestly don’t know whether a full text book would be as impactful as the graphic novel format is. The art from Denis Medri is fantastic here; from the line work, to the muted colouring, to the very layouts of the panels on the pages, the art is simple yet evocative. The emotions conveyed through Andre’s body language and facial expressions are incredible. The letterer, Adrian Martinez, does something spectacular with the way in which the narrative text is framed within and around the art without using the traditional text boxes for André’s introspective first person narrative. Although it is a purely visual effect, it is just wonderful.
The pages feel organic, and with everything coming together so effortlessly, the graphic novel is a very pleasurable read that I devoured in two sittings.
André The Giant’s story is one that mirrors professional wrestling; as his star rose, so did the profile of the professional wrestling business, but although wrestling was a massive part of André’s life, this is a book that tends to focus more on the man rather than the wrestler. That’s not to say that André The Giant: Closer To Heaven glosses over any of André’s wrestling achievements, indeed with that being such a big part of his life that would lessen the impact of this book, instead the biography allows the reader to get a closer look at a side of the larger than life that few ever saw.
There should be no surprises in how this book ends, but it’s absolutely a journey worth taking. André The Giant: Closer To Heaven was compiled with help from André’s daughter, Robin Christensen-Roussimoff, and there is a touching inclusion from her in the pages of the book.
This is a beautiful story about a man who touched the lives of millions, and gives us a glimpse into the life a great man. As a glimpse into the life behind the legend, you don’t need to be a wrestling fan to appreciate this book. As a graphic novel, this is a superb story that’s heartfelt and touching; as a biography it is a fantastic look at a legendary professional wrestler and a beloved actor. I love absolutely everything about this book, from Denis Medri’s art to the words Brandon Easton uses, and the way in which Adrian Martinez has carefully incorporated the text into the art guiding your eye gently to the next area.
This is just a brilliant book from cover to cover, and if you have even a passing interest in André “The Giant” Roussimoff then you owe it to yourself to buy this book.
Story: Brandon Easton Illustrator: Denis Medri Letterer Adrian Martinez
Story: 10 Art: 9.75 Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy
Lion Forge provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review.