Andre the Giant: Life and Legend| Writer & Artist: Box Brown | Publisher: First Second Books
It doesn’t matter if you are an avid professional wrestling fan or if you’ve never witnessed a single body slam because Andre the Giant is known the world over.
He is one of the elite few that transcended his industry and made an indelible impression on pop culture.
Now, it’s hard to say the same about wrestling comic books. Let’s be real…they suck. It’s hard to put the blame on any one creator. It’s hard to write about a genre that often doesn’t take itself too seriously. You have to truly “get” pro wrestling to appreciate its unique brand of storytelling.
Box Brown gets it.
He doesn’t paint Andre in a particular light to tell a good story.
The big man’s life is the really good story. Brown tells the most accurate account of Andre’s life from his humble beginnings to superstardom and beyond. You noticed I said “most accurate account”. Wrestling used to be a closed business that operated in secrecy, similar to a magician`s world.
Often times, wrestlers will lie and augment previously told fables to protect the business. Andre was billed at 7’4’ even though he wasn’t actually that tall.
However, wrestlers will put their hand on the bible and swear he was that tall in order to keep up the illusion. There are a lot legendary tales about Andre and Brown does a marvelous job of separating the fiction within the fiction.
Brown’s artwork is great and perfect for this type of biographical story. It’s reminiscent of comic strips in a newspaper. He gives us small drawings that tell a story of a giant among men.
As a wrestling pundit and participant, Andre the Giant was the only wrestler I was legitimately afraid of as he rag-dolled my hero, Hulk Hogan, at every turn leading into their epic encounter at WrestleMania 3.
Even if you didn’t like him, you respected him, which speaks to his mass appeal. It is that essence that Box Brown magnificently captures as this labor of love speaks volumes to anyone willing to listen. Trust me.