Comics Roundup #31: “The Gigantic Beard That Was Evil”

This is one of many books I added to my TBR during my booktube craze. Back then, I’d get excited about whatever book was mentioned by a booktuber, buy it, and promptly throw it on my bookshelf to forget about it. That’s what happened to this one until I finally decided to read it for the NEWTs Magical Readathon.

The Gigantic Beard That Was Evil by Stephen Collins (illus.)






June 2013

Goodreads summary:

On the island of Here, livin’s easy. Conduct is orderly. Lawns are neat. Citizens are clean shaven — and Dave is the most fastidious of them all. Dave is bald, but for a single hair. He loves drawing, his desk job, and the Bangles. But on one fateful day, his life is upended… by an unstoppable (yet pretty impressive) beard.

An off-beat fable worthy of Roald Dahl and Tim Burton, Stephen Collins’ The Gigantic Beard That Was Evil is a darkly funny meditation on life, death, and what it means to be different — and a timeless ode to the art of beard maintenance. (Goodreads)

My thoughts:

I learned of this book from Jen Campbell’s YouTube channel, but so much time has passed since I watched that video that I didn’t know what to expect when I finally picked up the book. I was surprised that I liked it.

The Gigantic Beard That Was Evil is a fun story about a gigantic beard that upsets the neat orderliness of an island called Here whose inhabitants dislike differences. The protagonist, Dave, had no intention of growing a beard. It just happened, and he became mightily embarrassed by it because not only did it upset the routine of his life and that of the island’s inhabitants, it also brought unwanted attention to him.

Although the story’s tone is light and sometimes humorous, it is a poignant read that touches on people’s fear of the unknown and differences. Before the beard, everyone in Here was neat, orderly, and stuck strictly to routines. There was such a strong sense of sameness that everyone seemed to look and act alike. But the cataclysmic beard event changed all this by forcing people to express and accept their differences. Before the beard, Here’s inhabitants feared the sea that surrounds their island because the sea is mysterious and represents change. But that too the beard changes by arousing people’s curiosity and having them push pass their fear to explore the unknown.

The story is called a fable and, like most fables, it seems simple but delivers a message that resonates. The writing and illustrations are simple, but the prose is often poetic, which made me wonder if I was actually reading a poem. I liked the flow of the words and liked how they are placed among the illustrations, forcing the reader’s eye to travel across the pages, examine the illustrations, turn the page.

It’s a simple story but a fun one with a message that resonates.

Art style:

Here, too, the presentation is simple. The illustrations are pencil drawings with no more details than what’s needed. However, this simplicity goes well with the story’s overall presentation so that the reader pays attention to the story being told without being distracted — unless the author wants to draw to the reader’s attention to a particular thing, which I think he does through word placement.

I like the illustrations. They are all done in variations of grey, which adds a softness to them. I think the only fully black areas are probably the beard and the sea. I also like the variety of panels used, and, as mentioned above, I love that the text is broken up and placed in various places around the illustrations to force the reader’s eye to move across the page and pay attention to the illustrations as well.

The panels are one of my favorite things about the book’s presentation because some panels seem to be an extension of those on the page that precedes it (like the image below of Dave looking out a bus window. The panels on the following page seem to extend from that bus window panel). The beard is my favorite image in the book. I like its seemingly threatening forms and how relentless and indestructible it is.

Overall: ★★★★★

It’s a good read that’s light and humorous but carries a message that will resonate with many today without being preachy.

Buy | Borrow | Bypass

I think it’s worth owning.

I bought my copy a couple years ago when I visited Chicago for BookCon because although I would get loads of books at BookCon, I still visited bookstores for… reasons. This reason, which turned out to be a good read.


End of Summer Recap Book Tag

I saw this tag over on Kristin Kraves and knew I had to do it too. 😀 It was created by Faith at You Are What You Read and, like Faith, I’ll only consider for this the books I read in June to August.

Which book can you not stop thinking about?

The Secret Lives of Color by Kassia St. Clair

A nonfiction book all about color. It’s one of the best books I’ve read so far this year, and I can’t stop thinking about it because I see color everywhere! 😀 Okay, that’s not the only reason why. There are so many interesting tidbits about colors in it that I mention them at random to people around me or I think back to the book whenever I look at certain colors, especially when shopping.

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“The Last Olympian” by Rick Riordan

Back in 2016, I decided to take my time rereading Riordan’s Percy Jackson books. I’d enjoyed them when I first read them and was curious to know if I still would. I first read the books when I was in college. I wanted something light but similar to Harry Potter to read to break up the heavy texts I had to read for class. I was skeptical of the Percy Jackson books thinking they might be a rip off of Harry Potter and was pleasantly surprised to find that they weren’t.

I enjoyed the books back then and I still enjoy them now. However, I was worried at first because I read Percy Jackson & the Lightning Thief by audio book and had such a horrible experience with it in that format that I wondered if the story had soured for me. It hadn’t. It was just that the narrator had done a horrible job. When I switched to the physical book to read the third book, Titan’s Curse, I quickly got swept up in the fun and adventure.

It took me almost three years to complete my reread because I took my time with it. There was no rush. I’d just pick up one of the books whenever I felt for something light and fun. I did so again in June this year after completing The Devourers by Indra Das, Tweak by Nic Sheff, and Becoming by Michelle Obama, all heavier, more serious reads. I needed something simple and light to cleanse my palate and The Last Olympian was just the thing.

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Book Tag Week: Life’s a Beach Book Tag

Another tag post for BOOK TAG WEEK!!

I actually made it to the beach this summer. 😀

Although I make plans to go every summer, I never make it due to being too busy; but this summer I went on a reading retreat at the beach with a friend and had a great time. We only read a page each and instead spent our time people watching and talking. It was loads of fun.

Life’s a Beach Book Tag

The Life’s a Beach Book Tag was created by Lefty, the Left-Handed Book Lover.

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Book Tag Week: Quintessential Summer Book Tag

Onward and forward with BOOK TAG WEEK!!

You know what I’d like to do before summer’s end?

  1. Spend an entire day at the movies
    • I haven’t done this since college days. When exam week was over and my mind was goop from intense studying, cramming, and stress from the tests, I’d go to the movies and spend the whole day there watching everything I could sneak into. I’d like to do that again, although I’d probably fall asleep in the theater this time because those new chairs are so soft.
  2. Go on an architectural tour of a city
    • I really, really, really want to do this!! I even have a little pocket guide about architectural styles ready for such a tour.

Anyway, here’s the —

Quintessential Summer Book Tag

The Quintessential Summer Book Tag was created by the Bookish Kat. I consider myself tagged by Madame Writer.

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Book Tag Week: Summer Sweatalong Book Tag

BOOK TAG WEEK!! continues with the Summer Sweatalong Book Tag, which is perfect for this time of year and, more specifically, Tuesday, August 12, 2019 because it’s supposed to be hot as shit on that day in my part of the world. Jeez!

Apparently it’s gonna go up to the 90s, at which point the humidity will peak and stuff will happen to cause really bad thunderstorms. So in addition to sweating my ass off, I’ll be treated to lots of clashing and banging in the heavens as the weather sorts its self out.

Well, can’t do anything about that so… here’s the —

Summer Sweatalong Book Tag

The Summer Sweatalong Book Tag was created by Jo, the Bookworm Dreamer.

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Book Tag Week: Summer Bucket List Book Tag

It’s Book Tag Week!!! 😀 😀 😀

I haven’t done one of these in ages, and it’s been a while since I’ve done a book tag. (Well, only two weeks but it had been a long time before that one since I’d done one, so BOOK TAG WEEK!!)

Book Tag Week is exactly as it sounds. It’s a week dedicated to nothing but book tags. That’s all I’ll post on here. I see it as a fun blogging holiday that’s perfect for summer. I often do book tags because I like reading such posts. I get book recommendations from them sometimes or learn something new about a particular book depending on the prompt in the tag. I hope you’ll get a book recommendation or two from my book tags too (although I tend to repeat books. Haaa…).

Well then. To the BOOK TAGS!!! Starting with….

The Summer Bucket List Book Tag

The Summer Bucket List Book Tag was created by Tiffany at Read by Tiffany. The graphics for the prompts were created by her as well.

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