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GRAPHIC NOVEL REVIEW: Andre the Giant: Closer to Heaven

Andre The Giant Cover
Andre The Giant Cover
Andre The Giant Cover


Story by: Brandon "Eastside" Easton
Art by: Denis Medri
Cover by: Denis Medri
4.5/ 5

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Well-ironed story; André was effectively portrayed as a giant living in a huge world that he has problems fitting in; consistent use of sepia during flashback

Posted September 26, 2015 by


Andre The Giant CoverThere have been countless giants of the squared circle that captured sports entertainment’s imagination and attention better than most agile heavyweights that have come before them. In November 1990, Mark Calloway debuted The Undertaker – an undead who has the ability to summon lightning bolts and walk on ropes with great balance. The late Giant Gonzales didn’t last long. Earthquake shook with rumbling intensity. And finally The Big Show could be the last Goliath that would be given the opportunity to finish off opponents with a vicious punch to the jaw.

Before either Big Show or Kane could showcase their devastating chokeslam, André the Giant had already been performing as this immovable object – a human specimen that cannot be lifted from the ground or knocked down with a running clothesline – in his homeland of France. Andre the Giant: Closer to Heaven looks back on the life of André René Roussimoff, intimidatingly packaged as Andre the Giant: his tours around the world, relationships with the wrestlers of the locker room he had been part of, struggles in fatherhood, and his sad departure from the business due to declining health.

Andre the Giant: Closer to Heaven journeys into André’s dealings inside and outside the ring, powerfully carried by the relationship he had established with promoter Frank Valois and encounters with wrestling personalities like Vince McMahon Sr. and Dusty Rhodes. It is told by André himself days before his death. 

Before starting a career in professional wrestling, André had always been met with startled looks from people of his homeland – a giant who treasures family relationships, until that day the lights and stardom blurred his definition of true happiness.

André the Giant was professional wrestling’s biggest and rarest acquisition. He was unstoppable inside the ring, but he grew unhappy and discontented on the path his career was heading into. The star of André faded – his colossal reputation besmirched – after Hulk Hogan body slammed him in front of more than 90,000 people watching Wrestlemania III live. The way the novel had been written was amazingly shortened. Writer Brandon “Eastside” Easton figured that discarding events that had no serious relevance to André’s career-defining moments and unignorable slumps will remember the giant for who he was once, and it absolutely paid off.


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The art, particularly how the panels were colored, shuffles between rusty sepia and pale blue to give off an accurate throwback stroke. Denis “Mad Dog” Medri often made the characters look like cut-out paper dolls during long shots, but he did a redeeming job drawing André progressively. The cast of other wrestlers joining André were splendidly drawn, especially during when they’re at in-ring action, taunting or receiving kicks to the midsection. 

Andre The Giant Poster

Most importantly, the 100-page graphic novel/biography hybrid never dehumanized André in an artistic manner that could compare him into a rampaging ogre. He was a gentle giant, but André had uncontrollable rage channeled by his frustration for being too large and disapproval of Hulk Hogan’s youthful arrogance later on. Past his prime, André the Giant left wrestling with a broken body but with a rejuvenated trail of memories behind and ahead of him. The novel was able to conclude his amazing jump to the top and humble climb down above the pecking order with gripping sadness and laudable consistency.

Andre the Giant: Closer to Heaven is a bear hug that will rip your heart in two. If you want to understand the history of sports entertainment’s beloved giant, don’t waste time reading André’s Wikipedia page. Get this novel instead!

Andre the Giant: Closer to Heaven will be available this November 18.

Derek Vicente

Derek has been with Flipgeeks for almost three years. His first video game was Sonic the Hedgehog for the Sega Saturn and after blowing their television set after playing too much Rambo, he has set on a journey to play some of the best (and worst) role-playing games ever spawned. He recently completed Wild Arms 2 without any cheat codes.


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