This past weekend (August 22 & 23), WWE and ROH held three huge events and rocked Brooklyn, NY with strong, impacting wrestling shows. There is no better way to start a weekend full of story driven, show stopping and action packed wrestling. Then, to find out that I was asked to review this new graphic novel that really put the icing on the cake.
There are few times as a reviewer that I can honestly say I’ve read the best wrestling related comic book. Unfortunately, wrestling doesn’t (or hasn’t) translated into the comic form as well as it should.
This biographical take on Andre the Giant’s rise to fame is very well documented, if you are a die-hard wrestling fan that is. I am not only a die-hard fan I also co-host a weekly wrestling podcast (The Wrestling Court), and I spent 3 years actually allowing my body to be beaten and bruised for the sake of The “Biz.”
Andre is a larger than life enigma that was the first true attraction to translate around the world. Born André René Roussimoff on May 19, 1946 in Grenoble, France, he had very little schooling and worked on his family’s farm. He knew he would eventually grow out of the farm and went on a world-wide search for his place in life. Becoming a wrestler and taking on acting jobs were some of the most amazing experiences of Andre’s life.
This comic book is a first person narrative about Andre’s life written as if Andre were talking to you personally and I couldn’t help but to hear Andre’s deep voice speak these words. The team on the book really immersed themselves in the history of not just Andre’s career but others in the business as well. So much was put into this book that I feel it should be optioned as a film and nominated for an Eisner award.
It covers so much content from his time over in Europe to Canada and even Japan before finding his fame in the WWF (WWE). He most famously feuded with Hulk Hogan, culminating at WrestleMania III, and his time acting gave us our best-remembered film role of Fezzik, the giant in The Princess Bride.
Andre’s size was a result of gigantism caused by the excess of a growth hormone, which later resulted in acromegaly. It also led to him being called “The Eighth Wonder of the World”.
He was larger than life and a candle that burned at both ends. This comic book does everything right from the story to the art to its knowledge of the Man and the business that he gave his life to.
If there is one book to buy all summer and fall, it is this book. I give it 5 out of 5 and believe that if Lion Forge continues this path, they will be as big as Andre was.
Check out some pages courtesy of Lion Forge,
ANDRE THE GIANT: CLOSER TO HEAVEN
by Brandon Easton, illo. by Denis Medri
Trim: 6.625 x 10.25
Publisher: Lion Forge Comics
Distributor: IDW Publishing
Pub Date: November 24, 2105
Item Code: SEP150492
From Lion Forge:
“He was one of the greatest performers in sports entertainment history, but his legions of fans around the globe barely know the man behind the legend of Andre the Giant — until now!
Jean Ferre. Monster Eiffel Tower. Fezzik. These were alter egos for the internationally acclaimed pro wrestling superstar known as Andre the Giant, who thrilled audiences worldwide with his unmatched charisma and remarkable athleticism. Despite his astonishing popularity, few really knew the man behind the curtain — the man born in the French countryside named Andre Roussimoff. Showing signs of gigantism at an early age, Andre decided to use his size to his advantage and entered the wild world of professional wrestling. From his first day in the squared circle, those close to him knew that a legend was born.
This lavishly illustrated authorized biography of Andre the Giant charts his entire life from the earliest days on his family’s farm to his blockbuster feuds with the biggest wrestling stars of all time, exploring the dark side of fame and fortune along the way.”
ABOUT THE CREATORS
Brandon M. Easton is an Eisner Award-nominated writer, screenwriter, and educator who currently writes for the primetime television series, Marvel’s Agent Carter. He also wrote the 2012 reboot of the classic animated series ThunderCats and Hasbro’s Transformers: Rescue Bots. His work on the comic book series Watson and Holmes won several Glyph Awards including “Story of the Year,” “Best Writer,” and the Fan Award. He has written the graphic novel biography Andre the Giant: Closer to Heaven, the digital series Roboy, and Joshua Run for Lion Forge Comics.
Denis Medri graduated from the Institute of Arts of Forlì in 1998 and studied at Scuola del Fumetto di Milano. He has worked as a comics artist, illustrator, and concept designer for years, collaborating with publishers such as Gazzetta dello Sport, Les Humanoides Associès, Marvel Comics, Dark Horse, Image Comics, and Lion Forge.