Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Goliath by Tom Gauld

Goliath by Scottish artist Tom Gauld is a bittersweet retelling of the David and Goliath story, from the point of view of a gentle giant. Goliath prefers army administrative tasks over patrol duty. His role as champion is purely a marketing strategy dreamed up by a captain with lofty ambitions. The gamble has tragic consequences.

The dark, dry humour in Gauld's You're All Just Jealous of My Jetpack collection of comics is present in Goliath. "There's been a mistake... I'm not a champion. I'm the fifth-worst swordsman in my platoon... I do paperwork!"

The bronzy-copper colour of the ink is just right for the biblical setting. Gauld uses simple, stylized shapes and lots of crosshatchings, nicely capturing the passage of time over an unchanging landscape.

The characters ring true, so even though this is presented as an absurdist comedy, it's also a thought-provoking look at the senselessness of war from a soldier's point of view.

Readalikes: Run Far, Run Fast (Timothy Decker); The Island (Armin Greder).

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