I love comics. All sorts of comics. Sadly people tend to think all comics are just about men in tights flying around smiting people (although that is great). Much the same way some seem to consider all scifi as being a bit like Star Trek or Star Wars (which are also great). Neither of the above assumptions are correct at all. These genres and media have the ability to tell a story or look at topic in a fresh and revealing new way that couldn’t be done in another medium.
Comics combine art and narrative in a way that, if done successfully, provide a story-telling experience that is unique.
Take for example, Goliath by Tom Gauld. This is the story of the biblical tale leading up to the big showdown between David and Goliath. It’s in the bible if you weren’t aware. (The first half, where there’s a lot more violence and gnashing of teeth.) Goliath tells the story of the fight from the big guy’s point of view for a change. The eponymous hero of the comic is just a huge but gentle guy who loves doing admin for the army. But then one of the Philistine King’s men hatches a plan that will hopefully win the war with a maximum of two deaths. Unfortunately for Goliath, this plan needs someone huge and intimidating that no one would dare fight. So they deck Goliath out in impressive ceremonial armor and send him out to issue his challenge. We all know what happens.
Tom Gauld is a pretty well known illustrator who has written for Time Out and currently writes a strip for The Guardian. His artistic style is simple yet he somehow manages to conjure up quite thoughtful and visually striking images with just a few lines. There are frequently pages with no dialogue at all but Gauld’s drawings reveal a wealth about Goliath’s gentle nature. He comes across as a thoughtful, contemplative man who would love nothing better than to do some paperwork or perhaps take in the scenery around him. When the tiny David turns up quoting lines from the bible he comes across as a bit of a mad, diminutive religious nutter. Like the rest of the book, the fight is understated but well done.
Goliath is poignant, funny, moving, thoughtful, lovely to look at and, given that we all know the ending – kind of sad. It is a fairly quick read but because of the art and the story, I have read it a couple of times since. It is impressive just how much emotional content can be packed into such simple, static pictures. I highly recommend it.
I would love to show you lots of pictures from it but am not sure about the legality. So here is a link to the awesome Boing Boing site that has a seven page sample. http://boingboing.net/2012/02/28/tom-gaulds-goliath-exclusiv.html
To buy UK:
To buy US: