Andre The Giant: Closer to Heaven by Brandon M Easton & Denis Medri

March 27, 2019

A wrestling star might get one graphic novel written about their life. Andre the Giant, a wrestling legend in every sense, now has two.

I’ve not had a chance to read Box Brown’s Andre the Giant: Life and Legend yet, though other reviews suggest it may be more of a surface read, recounting some popular tales (some likely as tall as Andre.)

This new take from Easton and Medri feels like a rounded biography, or as much as can be covered in a 104-page comic. It’s advertised USP is that it is based on interviews with people who knew Andre, plus the involvement of his daughter Robin in the project.

For the most part the stories certainly ring true and aren’t restricted to the official WWE line (let alone the Hogan version of reality). There’s clearly been some literary license taken with the inclusion of private conversations between Andre and people who also died decades ago such as Frank Valois and Vincent J McMahon, but this content doesn’t feeling inauthentic in the context of those events which are documented.

The most impressive part is the balancing act of creating an overreaching narrative of Andre’s life without being overly twee or simplistic. It accurately conveys the commonly-told story of Andre making the most of a life that he knew would be cut short, an attitude that brought both pleasure and pain to him and those around him.

The artwork is impressive: it’s more caricatured than photorealistic, but the wrestlers involved remain recognizable and Medri does a particularly good job of subtly capturing Andre’s changing appearance as both age and acromelagy took their effects.

(Disclaimer: The publisher Lion Forge provided a review copy of this book.)

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