The Gigantic Beard That Was Evil by Stephen Collins

5/5

Wow, so the fates and heavens have aligned around me getting my hands on a copy of this book. If you’ll remember, this book made an appearance on my Top Tun Tuesday list a few weeks ago where I listed the last 10 books that had been added to my TBR list. I heard about this book through my friend April, who I cannot seem to stop mentioning on my blog, who heard about it through someone she follows on social media. She recommended it to me based on the title, I have a thing for beards – what can I say, and I added it to my TBR based on the title. Then I was at the library last week and had about finished my browsing when displayed aside from the stacks and directly in front of me was this book. I had to get it. It’s as if it was set there just for me to find. This type of thing is why I believe in small miracles. I knew nothing else about this book and had no idea what a pleasant surprise I was in store for.

This is a graphic novel about a man who lives Here, a place that is controlled, precise, and contains no trace of chaos. Everyone who lives Here fears There. There is a place of pure chaos where things are constantly untidy and all control by those in power has been lost. In Here everyone has the same hairstyle, everyone works mundane jobs that serve no actual purpose, and uniformity is everywhere. Dave, the protagonist, is included in all of this. He goes to work, does what he’s told, likes to draw the uniformity of his street, listens to one song by The Bangles on repeat, and only has one hair on his entire body. But, chaos erupts when he, for no apparent reason, sprouts a beard that just won’t stop growing. Dave introduces chaos into a world that has no idea what chaos is and fears the consequences he may have. Immediately, the government goes to work on trying to figure out a solution to this problem, since chaos cannot be allowed to rule.

So, as you can see, this graphic novel is jammed packed with all kinds of deep social and political themes. I was not expecting this, but was really happy with the turn that this book took. Collins’ writing was fantastic and meshed well with his beautifully imagery. There was an excellent balance of text and image and the images were exceptionally detailed. This was a book that I simultaneously wanted to keep flipping pages at record speed and stop to appreciate and analyze the artwork. His writing was poetic in the best way, there was plenty of humor – even causing me to actually laugh out loud from time to time, and a few puns that were to die for (or kill for, depending on how you feel about puns).

I read a few reviews that said Collins’ message came on a bit too strong, but, even though I figured out was he was going for early on, I enjoyed the journey all the same. Collins’ leaves a lot of his story and points open for interpretation, including the ending. So yes, if you don’t like open endings, this book will infuriate you. That being said, I heartily enjoyed the way that Collins’ chose to put his message down on paper. With beards being currently all the rage, it was a cool way to introduce himself as a writer and artist. Hey, it got me to pick up the book.

Overall, I really, really enjoyed this book. I seriously thought I was just in for some quirky story about a beard that was destined to be mediocre at best, but what I got was so much more than that. I got a quirky little book with a deep critique on humans and the societies we create. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes graphic novels, beards, humor, vague definitions and open endings, and/or are interested in the political type of critique I described above. I almost wished I would have bought my own copy of this book, but then again, who knows, maybe I still will.

Thanks for stopping by and reading about a gigantic beard that happened to be evil. As always, please don’t hesitate to follow or reach me at any or all of the 3 following links: Tumblr, Goodreads, Instagram.

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