Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Graphic Novel Review: "Andre the Giant: Life and Legend" by Box Brown

So I realized that I can't just review Lucy Knisley graphic novels each time so this is me branching out :)

I know Andre the Giant from "The Princess Bride", because I love that movie. I knew peripherally that he was a wrestler but I never was into wrestling (though I do ocassionally tune into that WWE Divas show. Mostly because it's totally ridiculous and Josh and I  can't believe what an a-hole John Cena is.) At any rate let's talk about Andre.

Andre grew up in France. By 12 years old he was too big to fit on the school bus, and a certain super famous person gave him rides to school in the bed of his pick up. He started wrestling in France but soon got discovered and became super famous in Japan. ( Airplane travel, you ask? Yes, he took up two seats. No, he could not fit in the bathroom...which lead to some uncomfortable solutions but what can you do). When he was in Japan, he was finally diagnosed by a doctor with acromegaly ('giantism'). He was told that he would continue to grow, he would have heart problems, joint pain and probably not live to see 40. (He actually lived to see 46).

He wrestled in the United States and became a big attraction. Though sometimes they had trouble finding opponents for him because you put even a big guy up against Andre and it's still pretty obvious who had the upper hand. The doctors were right though, he did have pain and and he did have to have surgeries. But he recovered in the tranquility of his beloved farm in North Carolina.

Was Andre perfect? No. He drank a lot. Was he a jerk sometimes? Yes. Did he put up with a TON of crap from other people? Heck to the yes. The staring and the comments that people would make, and people randomly trying to start fights with him would make anyone cranky. Also I liked that they didn't shy away from the "is wrestling fake?" question in the book. They made it pretty clear that he and Hulk Hogan's big match in Detroit was orchestrated for Andre to "pass the torch" on to Hulk. That fight is on youtube by the way, and after reading the book and kind of knowing what to look for, it was entertaining. (Like Andre slamming his own head down to make Hulk look better.) I bet some of the pre-fight interviews are fun to watch. Though it's hard to think of him besides anyone other than Fezzik, the best member of the brute squad.

Here's a story from Wikipedia I thought was great:
Whenever André treated someone to a meal in a restaurant he would pay, but he would also insist on paying when he was a guest. After one meal, Arnold Schwarzenegger had quietly moved to the cashier to pay before André could, but then found himself being physically lifted, carried from his table, and deposited on top of his car by André and Wilt Chamberlain.[83]

I think this kind of graphic novel is my niche. Simple, clean line, biographies of people I know nothing about. I'll always love food and travel ones of course, but variety is good. I give this a solid 3.5 stars.



  1. Ahh, I do know what you mean. I wish every review could be a new Lucy Knisley. I haven't been terribly interested in this one because of the subject, but I think I could dig it!

    1. I thought the day to day kind of difficulties living with his size was really interesting


Thank you so much for your comment. I'd love to talk books with you!