By Tom Gauld
Drawn & Quarterly, Hardcover, 9781770460652, 96pp.
Publication Date: February 28, 2012
A master of stripped-down, powerful storytelling reworks the David-and-Goliath myth
"Gauld's Goliath is a master class in reduction...a celebration of the Christian underdog becomes a subtle meditation on the power of spin and the absurdity of war." The Times of London
Goliath of Gath isn't much of a fighter. Given half a choice, he would 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." Day after day he reluctantly repeats his speech, and the isolation of this duty gives him the chance to banter with his shield-bearer and reflect on the beauty of his surroundings.
This is the story of David and Goliath as seen from Goliath's side of the Valley of Elah. Quiet moments in Goliath's life as a soldier are accentuated by Tom Gauld's drawing style, which contrasts minimalist scenery and near-geometric humans with densely crosshatched detail reminiscent of Edward Gorey. Goliath's battle is simultaneously tragic and bleakly funny, as bureaucracy pervades even this most mythic of figures. Goliath displays a sensitive wit, a bold line, and a traditional narrative reworked, remade, and revolutionized.
Praise for Goliath:
"In [Gauld's] version, Goliath is no bloodthirsty caricature, but a crack penpusher for the Philistine army who is forced into facing down the Israelite army by an unscrupulous superior. Stranded on the frontline with his young shield bearer for company, the main part of the story is about loneliness and losing control of your own destiny, with the muted brown palette reflecting the bleak situation Goliath inexplicably finds himself in."–It's Nice That "Gauld’s stylistic toolkit—clean lines, simple shapes, and crosshatching so thick it’s nearly fabric—makes it all a pleasure to behold. He mines comedic gold from deadpan reaction shots so well timed you could set a watch by them and, weirder still, some tragic oomph for the hapless sucker."–Booklist "Satan, as we know, has had all the best tunes and much of the best literature since Milton's Paradise Lost (1666). [Goliath is] a graphic novel by the acclaimed cartoonist Tom Gauld, the story of David and Goliath as seen from Goliath's side of the Valley of Elah."–The Independent "Tom Gauld's tragic, darkly funny retelling of David and Goliath from Goliath's perspective. Gauld's work is always quietly powerful and emotionally grabbing."–Boing Boing