By Stephen Collins
The Gigantic Beard That Was Evil by Stephen Collins may just be the greatest story ever written about a beard. How many have there been? Well, whatever the number, this story is certainly quite high up on the list. Collins approaches the average day-to-day and presents a way to disrupt that. In a perfect world, where everyone is clean-shaven, what would happen if something suddenly…changed?
The story takes place “Here”, which is an island surrounded by the sea, which leads to “There”. You don’t ever want to leave “Here” and you most certainly don’t ever want to think about “There” (you should see the last guy who tried to leave “Here”…and if you read this…you will!). The main character, Dave, lives in a house right on the edge of the island, and so instead of thinking about the vast unknowing behind him he spends his free time staring out the window drawing the people passing by. This is a fun way to see Collins at play with his artwork too as Dave creates drawings that are compared in side-by-side panels with the “real” world.
As the story progresses the artwork gets a bit more out of control and crazier and crazier (some pages are even consumed by the glorious beard!). The book is done in black and white, but with great detail and a lot of play with the panels. A scene featuring his beard breaking through the windows and pouring out into the street shows a lot of Collins’ use of facial expressions. Suddenly something that seemed a spectacle is released! – some people meet it with horror, others with more curiosity, but whatever the case one thing is made clear – the beard has to go!
Dealing with a glorious beard is one thing, but Collins takes that and makes it into a concept we can all learn from. What is it that’s keeping us pushing from day-to-day doing the same thing? What would happen if something were to suddenly change the way we see the world? A beard has many uses, other than just being a true friend (it’s a beard thing) and keeping you warm on those bitter winter nights, and this book sets out to show you just what a beard can do!