Goliath of Gath isn’t much of a fighter.
Given half a choice, he’d pick admin work over patrolling in a heartbeat, to say nothing of his distaste for engaging in combat. Nonetheless, at the behest of the king, he finds himself issuing a twice-daily challenge to the Israelites:
“Choose a man. Let him come to me that we may fight. If he be able to kill me, then we shall be your servants. But if I kill him, then you shall be our servants.”
We all know who Goliath of Gath is right? That mythical warrior from the Old Testament, a crusher of the underdog, and feared by all, a literal giant amongst men?
But do we know him, really? Tom Gauld’s wonderful graphic novel switches the tale around a little. The Goliath here is the underdog, a slightly bewildered, gentle giant of a man, far happier getting on with the administrative work a large army creates, than doing any fighting…
Then the poor bloke suddenly finds himself the figurehead for someone else’s plans, and he’s put on the path that may lead to his death, but it’s Goliath’s loyalty to his king that ultimately means he’s committed to carrying out his task right though to that ending we all know.
Gould sticks pretty much to the story we all know, but does a masterful job of switching our sympathies.
For a story that’s about war and someone’s death, the tone of this graphic novel is actually rather gentle, there’s both an air of sadness and loneliness coming from the panel work, with the figures often depicted as small dots against vast landscapes. Yet as a balance, there is also a gentle humour at work as well (as you can see in the panels below.)
It only took an hour to read (and that is with spending sometime admiring the pages and not rushing though it) but it’s all about quality and not quantity, and Goliath is packed full of quality. Poignant and moving it’s one of my favourite graphic novels for quite some time.
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If you live in the UK Tom Gauld is visiting the following book, comic shops, & events in March and April to promote Goliath.
- 9th March. Launch party and signing at Gosh Comics, London. Details
- 10th March. Signing at Forbidden Planet, Cambridge. Details
- 15th March. Signing at Here, Bristol. Details
- 29th March. Signing at NoBrow HQ, London. Details
- 4th April. Signing and talk at Analogue, Edinburgh. Website
- 5th April. Signing and talk at Travelling Man, Leeds. Website
- 21st April. Comica Comiket, London. Details
Buy: Goliath by Tom Gauld
My copy of Goliath by Tom Gauld was provided by the publisher for review purposes.