Archive for Andre the Giant

My Dinner with Andre


Andre the Giant: Life and Legend

A graphic novel biography of the biggest wrestler who ever lived? Well, okay, I’m fine with that.

It’s actually really straightforward. It’s a collection of vignettes about the life of Andre Roussimoff, a man afflicted with acromegaly, who became world-famous as a professional wrestler and actor. We get Andre at just 12 years old, already too big to ride a schoolbus, getting a ride from playwright Samuel Beckett. We get Andre flipping a car over. We get Andre intimidating the law at a bar in Dallas. We get Andre insulting Bad News Brown with an inappropriate racist joke and making up with him years later.

We get Andre slowly suffering more and more as his condition worsens. We get Andre getting into fights both in the ring and in real life. We get Andre hanging out with friends and strangers, both famous and obscure. We get a bunch of short stories about Andre during the filming of “The Princess Bride.”

And we get truly epic tales of how much Andre could drink. Because the man could drink a heck of a lot.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Great work on both cartooning and storytelling by Box Brown.

This certainly qualifies as a warts-and-all biography — and there are a lot of warts to cover. The most obvious example is Andre’s racist joke and feud with Bad News Brown. Even if he was simply ignorant about how offensive those jokes were to Brown, Andre still comes off looking like a colossal jerk. In fact, he looks like a jerk pretty often — being rude to fans, using his size and strength to intimidate and humiliate people, drinking and drinking and drinking and drinking…

But it’s also a very affectionate biography, too. Andre is a jerk, but he’s also a hugely charismatic jerk, and he also has lots of moments of compassion and kindness and friendship and humor. He inspired great loyalty and affection in many people who knew him, and his struggles with his condition — as well as his refusal to give in to despair and his vast zeal for life — are entirely inspiring.

You’ll read this, and you’ll want to go watch his matches or his movies. So go pick it up.

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