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3.95 of 5 stars 3.95  ·  rating details  ·  1,229 ratings  ·  197 reviews

A master of striped-down, powerful storytelling reworks the David-and-Goliath myth

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

Hardcover, 96 pages
Published February 28th 2012 by Drawn and Quarterly
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Community Reviews

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oh, god - poor goliath!

singled out because of his massive size, forced to wear ceremonial armor that crumbles around him and stand in the same place day after day, quoting the same prepared script after sleeping exposed to the elements all night, just to intimidate the enemy, and prevent them from attacking.

he's just a big sweet guy who took a promotion he didn't really want that turned out to be a pretty boring job.


some punk kid comes on the scene.

and you know what happens next.

poor, p...more
Feb 07, 2013 Mariel rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: let a captain lacerate a caption
Recommended to Mariel by: identify all saints linked around the fountains warmth
We are soldiers you know.
Ok. Next time I'll kill somebody.

I got lost in Goliath's giant figure slumped against nondescript rock formations. Peaceful in their in the middle of nowhere nondescriptness. Day, night, almost day, almost night and behind your back. His face hidden under a beard I didn't attach my feelings to puzzlement. A longing to sit at a desk and do admin work. Goliath was good at admin work. Days behind your back. I imagine days would be better if the day before was cer...more
This is Tom Gauld at his best - quiet, calm storytelling with wit and warmth and a dark undertone. The darkness is provided here by the ending we already know, and the almost backwards-structure of the book as the unknown elements - the big man behind the big myth, his backstory and character - are fleshed out over the course of the tale.

Gauld's artwork is elegant as ever, with not a line wasted and everything sitting in its right place on the page. It just looks *beautiful*. The writing is spa...more
Sam Quixote
A freakishly tall yet meek army admin clerk called Goliath is tricked into pretending to be his army’s “giant champion”, a symbol that one of the King’s advisors hopes will end the conflict if the opposing army’s champion fails to meet Goliath’s challenge. Alas, we all know how it ends…

Tom Gauld shows a different side to the famous David and Goliath story with Goliath portrayed as not the giant he was purported to be but an overly tall chap near 7 feet tall, who prefers working quietly at his de...more
Jul 25, 2013 Dawn rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Dawn by: Literary Disco podcast
In his somewhat stark and beautiful way, the author reminds us that no matter how often we've been told a story - we only know one side of that story.

A sad and lovely telling of the David and Goliath story. And now I have to go sit in a corner and feel terrible for Goliath.

**A day later and it continues to (this sounds melodramatic, but I'm going to use the word anyway) haunt me. In my world, that is a pretty sure indication that a book deserves five stars.**
David Schaafsma
Beautiful book, very strong with clean, bold lines and a dry wit and sad. The idea, to write the David and Goliath story in terms of a reluctant Goliath, reminds me of Grendel or The True Story of the Big Bad Wolf...
I read this mainly because I find Gauld's art so beautiful. I love the obsessive-looking hatching, and the tiny, expressive, dumpy stick-men figures. While this is a reworking of the David and Goliath story, it doesn't actually change the main text--it just adds a story around the edges. What's lovely about this is that Gauld actually keeps the Bible story within certain parts of the characters' speech balloons, but renders it in a totally different block font from the other dialogue, making the...more
If there was a Pedro the Lion graphic novel, I imagine it would look like this.

Like Pedro, I read this not so much because I was planning to agree with everything it was going to say, but because it's beautiful.

So, it turns out that Goliath was actually The BFG. But even in this narrative, I found it hard to disparage David. Goliath had been taunting them for weeks, even if he didn't want to. And he was terrorizing a nation.

If there was ever a time to disobey orders, right?
Tania Gee
I don't know that I thought looking at Goliath's side of the story was particularly unique, but Gauld tells the story very well. It's always nice to be reminded of the many sides to every story, and that when we only hear one, we are closing ourselves off to many truths and to our own empathy. The art is wonderful; the dialogue is beautifully spare and poignant.
Does it make sense that I think if this story had been meant for younger readers, I would have rated it higher? I think its me...more
Fredrik Strömberg
This book is a pure delight in every sense of the word. Gauld's drawings are beautiful in their stripped-down, simplistic yet evocative style. The visual storytelling is excellent, with Gauld often using whole pages and spreads to create visual symmetry and sprinkling the whole story with silent panels that speaks volumes. The choice of using a brown duo tone gives the whole story an artistic, meditative feel to it. And that's even before I come to the actual story, with its retelling of this ar...more
Andy Shuping
short notes:

For such a short book, Tom Gauld paints a story that will give you pause for a short time and consider other stories that you've read and whether or not their ending is different than what's been relayed. We often here that history is written by the winner and in no place is that more evident that David vs. Goliath. David is painted as a hero and Goliath as a villain seeking to do evil. But what do we really know about Goliath? And that's the story that Tom explores in this book. I w...more
With the deceptive simplicity of Gauld's signature style, you watch Goliath wandering away from his desk to get a drink of water and picking up a pebble out of idle curiosity. Another soldier spots him:

"Goliath, what are you doing tomorrow?"


"I've got admin. Do you want to swap?"

"Yeah, definitely."


For although he's a giant, he's the fifth-worst swordsman in his platoon, and he prefers paperwork. He even feels sorry for the wild animals who are captured to fight for the army's ent...more
A short book in a lot of different ways - short in number of pages, short on impact, and short on originality. Obviously any kind of suspense about how it turns out isn't the point - this is a story we all know the end of, after all. Here Goliath is presented as a reluctant champion for the Philistines who is hoping that nobody will show up to fight him. But presenting the story in this way doesn't really constitute originality. The ideas are just about as surprising as how the story turns out -...more
Well that was sad, but enjoyable. The David & Goliath myth from Goliath's point of view. Simple but effective two toned illustrations in a cross hatch style./
A very interesting graphic novel. This is the story of David and Goliath from Goliath's perspective. It makes Goliath into a sympathetic gentle giant who is happier doing paper work and doesn't want to hurt anyone. He just happens to be a biggest guy in his army. His own men don't get to know him and are content to make up stories about him. His superiors force him to lead a psychological war against the enemy by challenging them to a battle every day and every day Goliath hopes that they never...more
Marian Abou Samra
Tom Gauld's light hearted graphic novel is about Goliath being chosen to wage a war against a small tribe by the strong king of the area to be the winner for the Philistine army. But as they inform us in the book, we know that Goliath isn't good with swords nor being a fighter nor being a soldier. He claims it's not his thing. He would much rather do admin work than fight. He finds fighting quite scary and doesn't want to do it. This graphic novel was really engaging and didn't keep me at bore....more
Tom Gauld's graphic novel adaptation of the classic biblical epic "David and Goliath" takes a different approach to the story. The novel tells the story through Goliath's point of view, describing him as an introverted passive-aggressive giant who would rather do admin work, than fight. And serves as a helpful reminder of how there are always two sides to every story. The book begins with Goliath being singled out by the king and dressed in armor, and sent to the desert with his 9-year-old shiel...more
I'm a huge Tom Gauld fan. "Hunter and Painter" might be my favorite comic of all time. This book is pretty good too, it just didn't blow me away like some of Gauld's other works. The art is still beautiful and the storytelling is masterful, but I felt like I had read it before. Maybe I was just thinking of The Simpson's version where the giant is named "Goliath the Consensus Builder!"
Rebecca Ann
I liked the starkness of the setting and simplicity of the frames in this graphic novel. You do have to know the tale of David and Goliath to really get this story. The original's message was that anyone can make a difference (at least from my memory of it), but this reworking shows instead that history is written by the victors.
Tom Gauld's art and storytelling style elevates what could have been a cutesy retelling into something more. That simple Bible story of David and Goliath that you heard as a child gets new depth when Gauld reimagines Goliath as a mere pawn, a gentle man dressed up as a soldier. Beautiful and simple.
Goliath is written by Tom Gauld. Goliath is a light hearted graphic novel. Goliath is selected by the king to be the champion for the Philistine army. However Goliath has never been good at swinging a sword or being a soldier, he prefers to spend his days sitting at a desk and doing administration work.
I truly enjoyed this story. It wasn't very long however it kept u entertained throughout the entire course of the story. It is a light hearted version of David and Goliath however it mainly focus...more
May 09, 2012 Twan rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: comics
Sparse writing and a muted, simple art style in this telling of the giant Goliath fable.

I love this melencholic, dry humoured slow paced kind of comic, which at times reminded me of Jason's comics. Which is good.....as is this book.

Jun 25, 2012 Mike rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: comic
What an excellent short story. A unique and unexpected take on a well known story. Also, the art matched the tone perfectly which is always nice.
I don't often know what to read when it comes to graphic novels, so I let my husband pick ones for me. He obviously knows me very well.

The story of Goliath is sweet, sad, and simple. I enjoyed the art work and felt it complemented the tone of the story nicely. I thought the idea of telling the story of David and Goliath from the giant's point of view was a unique idea. I think what helped me connect most with Goliath was when he said he was the fifth worst swordsman in his platoon. I just really...more
This is pretty brilliant. From the very beginning, it is clear that Goliath is a giant. He fills the frames, even without other people to compare. This Goliath is not a fighter; he's just big. He's actually very good at administration, but of course the army wants something else from him. You find yourself rooting for him, but we all know what's going to happen, and when David comes on the scene, it's with an off-putting self-righteousness. Tom Gauld is a skilled artist and with clean lines and...more
Apr 11, 2014 Meredith rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: gn
Maybe it's just my mood, but I would like to give this book six stars, please.
Mar 26, 2012 Tessa added it
Shelves: comics
go ahead and hug this book. it needs all the hugs.
The strength here is in the simplicity- clean illustrations, spare text, earthy color palette. We're left to follow Goliath as he waits out his orders, and then it's over. The way war does seem to be waged by a few commanders who converse about tactics and the day to day, uncertain obedience of the foot soldiers in their fog.
Add in the text from the Bible, and this is a story that doesn't make a ton of sense, at least for our Goliath, who can only witness the big things of kings and gods happeni...more
Poor Goliath! He's just in Admin!!
Jesse Smith
An interesting take on a biblical story.
In his retelling of David and Goliath, Gauld paints Goliath as an unwitting participant in the battle with David. In doing so, it led to some humorous parts that made me laugh out loud. My son was upset at the book because it leaves you feeling sad for Goliath and essentially paints David as the villain. On the upside of this retelling, it gave our family a chance to talk about the perspective of history telling - the Philistines would certainly have felt...more
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