Andre the Giant: Life and Legend

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Andre Roussimoff is known as both the lovable giant in The Princess Bride and a heroic pro-wrestling figure. He was a normal guy who'd been dealt an extraordinary hand in life. At his peak, he weighed 500 pounds and stood nearly seven and a half feet tall. But the huge stature that made his fame also signed his death warrant.

Box Brown brings his great talents as a cartoonist and biographer to this phenomenal new graphic novel. Drawing from historical records about Andre's life ...

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Andre Roussimoff is known as both the lovable giant in The Princess Bride and a heroic pro-wrestling figure. He was a normal guy who'd been dealt an extraordinary hand in life. At his peak, he weighed 500 pounds and stood nearly seven and a half feet tall. But the huge stature that made his fame also signed his death warrant.

Box Brown brings his great talents as a cartoonist and biographer to this phenomenal new graphic novel. Drawing from historical records about Andre's life as well as a wealth of anecdotes from his colleagues in the wrestling world, including Hulk Hogan, and his film co-stars (Billy Crystal, Robin Wright, Mandy Patinkin, etc), Brown has created in Andre the Giant, the first substantive biography of one of the twentieth century's most recognizable figures.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

*"A labor-of-love tribute, exquisitely rendered, to the larger-than-life wrestling giant." - Kirkus Reviews, STARRED REVIEW

"Larger-than-average Andre the Giant had a larger-than-life personality to match, and award-winning cartoonist Brown manages to capture the legendary wrestler's career in charming, heartfelt black-and-white panels . . . Fans of professional wrestling aren't the only ones who will line up to read this one." - Booklist

"Interesting and complex . . . fans can enjoy this intimate look into the life of an industry legend." - School Library Journal

Mandy Patinkin

It's clearly evident from every frame of The Princess Bride that Andre was not only one of the world's gentlest human beings, but also the kindest?a giant of a man in every way. I am thrilled to see his story finally told!
Mick Foley

In a profession filled with larger-than-life characters none of them loomed larger than Andre the Giant. This book will thrill longtime fans and introduce a new generation to the man, the myth, and the legend known as the Eighth Wonder of the World.
My Friend Dahmer Derf Backderf

Box Brown's melancholy tale of the sad, angry life of Andre the Giant is his best work yet. A poignant portrait of a troubled, complicated legend, wonderfully paced and beautifully rendered by one of the most stylish and distinctive comix creators working today. An impressive book by a major talent.
Hutch Owen Tom Hart

Andre's story moves from the ring to the comic page with delightful ease… Funny, delicate, and full of life and great cartooning… Box Brown gives Andre the humanity and grace the Giant deserves."
March Nate Powell

Box Brown tackles a very special man's life through the best possible lens: deeply empathetic but unsentimental, expertly paced, emotionally naked without being overwrought, illuminating flaws and subtleties as we journey into the Giant's world.
Mind MGMT Matt Kindt

The spare line work and elegant storytelling carry the weight of a tragic story that both transcends and elevates the world of professional wrestling while painting a complex portrait of its biggest icon.
Feynman Jim Ottaviani

Is wrestling real? As real as any story is, Box Brown's story proves it while showing us how the real Andre the Giant made the most of what he had, even if all he had was a 7'5" (and falling), 463 pound (and rising) body.
The Mountain Goats John Darnielle

Box Brown tells Andre's story clearly and plainly: this book lets him be the human being he was. To paint a guy larger than life is easy, but to paint a guy true to life takes something special, and that special quality runs through this book. Just fantastic.
Children's Literature - Leona Illig
Andre Roussimoff was born in France in 1946 with a medical condition known as acromegaly (often called gigantism). The condition causes rapid, unusual growth and can doom the patient to an early death. Roussimoff battled the condition all his life; at one point, he weighed 600 pounds and was over seven feet tall. He was frequently in terrible pain, both physically and emotionally. Nevertheless, through hard work he forged a career and a purpose for himself as a celebrity athlete in professional wresting. He did as much to foster careers of other wrestlers as to promote the sport itself. This book pulls no punches: it portrays the grim side of Roussimoff’s life as well as its glamorous side. It states from the beginning that professional wrestling is fake and that many of the stories about Roussimoff cannot be corroborated. Indeed, the author notes that while his book is based on fact, some liberties have been taken to re-create the wrestler’s life story to make it more readable. The author knows the sport well—this book is filled with wrestling jargon, portraits of other wrestlers, and hard-to-find wrestling trivia that will delight professional wrestling fans. The illustrations are in black and white and the figures resemble those of a cartoon. This is no cartoon book, however. There are adult themes and language, with references to violence and sex. At the back of the book are source notes, a glossary of professional wrestling terms, and a bibliography. Wrestling and sports fans are likely to enjoy this book. Although Roussimoff was often called a monster because of his size, his story is a very human one. Reviewer: Leona Illig; Ages 14 up.
VOYA, June 2014 (Vol. 37, No. 2) - Amanda Jacobs Foust
Andre Roussimoff, better known professionally as Andre the Giant, grew up in the French countryside before becoming an international professional wrestler and going on to star as Fezzik in the modern film classic The Princess Bride. Weighing in at over five hundred pounds and seven feet four inches tall at his peak, Roussimoff suffered from acromegaly, a syndrome that causes extreme growth. His condition caused him great discomfort and constant pain, yet he was a dedicated professional who worked nonstop—at the expense of familial relationships—until his death at forty-six. Brown does an outstanding job conveying the excitement and drama of professional wrestling, and it is clear that he has exhaustively researched Roussimoff’s life. His affection for Roussimoff specifically and wrestling in general is evident, yet he does not sentimentalize his life. Roussimoff drank constantly, mistreated his friends and fans, only saw his daughter four times, and long denied her mother child support, despite his wealth. Brown’s artwork is spare and clean yet conveys the energy and drama of the wrestling ring. This comic biography will not be suitable for most teen collections due to the constant drinking and frank (but not explicit) sexual situations, particularly when combined with expected low interest from teens due to the subject’s somewhat outdated fame (from the 1980s). Let hardcore wrestling and The Princess Bride fans seek out this title in the adult collection. Reviewer: Amanda Jacobs Foust; Ages 17 to Adult.
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—Students may never have heard of Andre Roussimoff, a man born in France in the late 1950s, who would go on to become one of the first stars in the early modern era of professional wrestling. Born with a rare syndrome known as acromegaly, he produced too much growth hormone in his body. This rendered him so gigantic that as a child, he was unable to fit on the bus to go to school. Eventually finding his calling on the stage, Roussimoff eventually became a chronic drinker and smoker as he became more and more successful. He took frequent trips to Japan where he was regarded as an international celebrity. But his life was not devoid of conflict and strife. He was in constant pain as a result of his condition. He also had a daughter he barely ever saw. This in-depth and well-researched look into the life of the memorable actor from The Princess Bride is interesting and complex. Drawing from number of different sources, Brown has constructed as complete a portrait of Andre the Giant as he possibly could. While some of the language and situations in this graphic novel biography are definitely for older audiences, high school wrestling fans can nonetheless enjoy this intimate look into the life of an industry legend.—Ryan P. Donovan, New York Public Library
Kirkus Reviews
★ 2014-03-12
A labor-of-love tribute, exquisitely rendered, to the larger-than-life wrestling giant. Artist Brown combines his passion for pro wrestling with the clarity of his drawings in a biography that never sentimentalizes its subject nor reduces his life to a rote series of facts. Despite his meticulous research, he admits that in the fantasyland of professional wrestling, it can be tough to separate tall tales from the truth, and he recognizes that for the sake of the narrative, he must rely on his creative imagination. Though he has a source for his anecdote about a boyhood encounter between Andre Roussimoff (1946-1993) and literary visionary Samuel Beckett, who offered the youngster a cigarette but warned that they "stunt your growth," readers might likely conclude that whether or not it happened, it should have. Much of the rest is easier to document—his interview with David Letterman, his phenomenal wrestling career, his relationship with Hulk Hogan, his acting in The Princess Bride (both Billy Crystal and Mandy Patinkin make cameo appearances here), and his prodigious appetites for food, drink and sex. For all of Andre's international success and acclaim, as Hogan says, "I heard people say horrible things and make fun of him. He lived in a cruel world….He was a gracious person with a kind heart." He was also someone whose freakish size (almost 7 1/2 feet tall and 600 pounds) had him living under a death sentence, causing premature aging and countless medical problems, making it impossible to find beds that fit him and difficult to squeeze into bathrooms. Both the narrative and the drawing resist the clutter of unnecessary detail, rendering the life and legend of a complex man with creative precision. An achievement that merits a wider readership than just wrestling fans, deserving recognition for the quality of its graphic art.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781596438514
  • Publisher: First Second
  • Publication date: 5/6/2014
  • Pages: 240
  • Sales rank: 136,041
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Box Brown is an Ignatz Award-winning American cartoonist best known for the comic Bellen! and the winner of a Xeric Grant for the comic Love Is a Peculiar Type of Thing. A passionate proponent of the serial comics format, Brown runs the micropress Retrofit, dedicated to supporting independent serial comics' work. His recent books include Andre the Giant: Life and Legend. He is also a life-long professional wrestling fan.

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