Just something about the cover of ‘Andre The Giant’ by Brandon Easton & Denis Medri intrigued me a lot. Maybe it was the school-girl memories of watching wrestling matches with my younger brother that it triggered. Although we’ve never seen Andre in action in the ring. Heck, my brother wasn’t even born when the wrestling icon died. Anyway, that didn’t stop me from hitting download button on the e-book version of biographical graphic novel, but it took me months before finally getting to reading it. Because I wasn’t sure if I’d like it. But to my surprise, it turned out to be interesting enough for a non-stop reading session.
The book starts off with a poignant foreword by Robin Christensen Roussinmoff, the daughter of Andre ‘the giant’, who barely got any time with her father. And then we dive into the life of a boy who grew up too soon, and was pushed into a heady life of fame, alcohol and professional wrestling. Andre was only 20 when he was ‘discovered’ and trained into a man who would eventually become the biggest names in the world of wrestling. And despite having zero interest in the subject, I was drawn into the graphic novel, which is brilliantly illustrated by Denis Medri.
Andre’s career as a wrestler started at time when it was barely popular among the masses, so along with his rise as a star, we also see the history of professional wrestling unfold. It’s amusing to see how a ‘sport’ that’s clearly stage-managed, became a billion-dollar industry. So we obviously get a little story of Vince McMahon, the brains behind WWE, in the book too.
The biggest strength of this graphic novel is how it humanizes a larger-than-life figure, a man who knew his life was perhaps on a timer (he suffered from Acromegaly and was informed by doctor he didn’t have long to live), yet, he was dedicated to wrestling throughout his short-life, a profession he equals to the art of theater. Writer Brandon Easton together with artist Denis Medri spins a biographical story that is insightful, peppered with lots of anecdotal events, some funny, some not so funny, but interesting nonetheless.
Pick this book if you are a graphic novel enthusiast. It’s a 4/5 from me.
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