Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Goliath” as Want to Read:
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview


3.91  ·  Rating Details ·  2,378 Ratings  ·  306 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 (first published January 1st 2012)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Goliath, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Goliath

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
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
Jan Philipzig
Putting the spotlight on Goliath rather than David, this tragic and wryly comical version of the biblical story radically twists its message from yes-you-can to anti-war. Tom Gauld’s Goliath is no monster but a gentle and meek man who gets pushed to the front line by a careless king and his ruthless captain merely because he happens to be tall. What may sound like a cheap gimmick becomes in Gauld’s capable hands a clever and rather macabre critique of fundamental Western values and ideals.
Feb 07, 2013 Mariel rated it really liked it
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
David Schaafsma
May 10, 2015 David Schaafsma rated it really liked it
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...
Jesse A
A sad story. Reading this makes me think about how in war it's rarely good vs evil. While we know from the Bible story that Goliath was chosen for his purpose, we can't say he was a bad guy. Maybe he was just a simple admin.
Sam Quixote
Feb 18, 2013 Sam Quixote rated it really liked it
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
Dov Zeller
Beautiful retelling of the David and Goliath story with Goliath as underdog protagonist. This book is not quite in black and white, more like black, brown and white, and the use of color, texture, black space and white space and perspective are all done with a very strong sense of mood and timing. This is a solemnly funny book, with a soulful dash of "Ferdinand" and perhaps the tiniest touch of Shrek. Gauld brings Goliath into its fabular fullness and it is hard not to fall in love with Goliath ...more
Jul 25, 2013 Dawn rated it it was amazing
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.**
Jon(athan) Nakapalau
Sep 23, 2016 Jon(athan) Nakapalau rated it it was amazing
Told from the perspective of Goliath...we hear a side of the famous story never heard before.
Peter Landau
Oct 28, 2015 Peter Landau rated it it was amazing
I’m boxing up books for a move, and getting rid of anything I’ve read and keeping whatever I may actually read. I have a lot of books, and this is doing the bare minimum to reduce that number, but it’s a start. And that’s how I unearthed Tom Gauld’s GOLIATH. After wiping off the dust from the cover I sat on the porch and read it in a sitting.

I bought it, I think, because of the artwork. I always buy comics on their art. No matter how could the writer, if the artwork sucks, the story loses me. B
Mar 30, 2013 Ben rated it it was amazing
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
Ty Melgren
Dec 11, 2014 Ty Melgren rated it liked it
This is a retelling of the David and Goliath story, and this time you're friends with Goliath instead of David. It's slow in a way that I liked, with lots of scenes of Goliath and his shield-bearer sitting on rocks not doing anything. The art is simple and black and brown, and I liked that too. As a story it's only sort of satisfying, and would probably be baffling if you somehow didn't know the original version. As a criticism of the one-sidedness of Old Testament war stories it works pretty we ...more
Nov 15, 2014 Dan rated it really liked it
Shelves: comics
As I read this, I began to remember this weird biblical video my third grade class viewed. The video depicted the story of David and the "evil" giant Goliath fighting to the death. Except, it was told through puppetry. And the stone that killed Goliath was singing about being a stone. It was quite an acid trip....
But, anyway, in my sixteen years of religious education I have endured, I never once thought of Goliath in such a manner that Tom Gauld does. And I praise him for that. The gentle giant
Aug 10, 2013 Philip rated it really liked it
Shelves: graphic-novel
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?
Nov 17, 2016 Emily rated it really liked it
A wonderfully sad tale of the famous Goliath. Always an interesting perspective to get the "backstory" of a villain. Thought provoking, beautiful, and heart felt. I really enjoyed this one.
Nov 13, 2014 P. rated it really liked it
Shelves: comics
go ahead and hug this book. it needs all the hugs.
Ian Hrabe
Jan 10, 2017 Ian Hrabe rated it really liked it
Tom Gauld spins David vs. Goliath from Goliath's point of view with low key humor and a surprising amount of heart. It shows off Gauld's prowess graphic novelist and illustrator, but more importantly it feels like Goliath puts Gauld on the map so he can tell his original stories. I read his latest work--Moon Cop--at the end of last year and thought it was fine, but after reading this I want to revisit it because I don't think I quite understood what he was going for and after reading this one, I ...more
Norman Kim
Dec 16, 2016 Norman Kim rated it it was amazing
Gets to the heart of the giant. We are afraid of what we're told of, and often times it's not as we think it is.
Dec 30, 2012 Yune rated it really liked it
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
Sep 15, 2016 Kirsten rated it really liked it
Goliath is a big dude, but pretty much prefers admin work over patrol or fighting. But when middle management ropes him into a scheme that he doesn't fully understand, he doesn't have much choice but to go along with it...
Fredrik Strömberg
Mar 12, 2014 Fredrik Strömberg rated it really liked it
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
Dani Shuping
Nov 26, 2012 Dani Shuping rated it it was amazing
Shelves: graphic-novel
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
Jan 19, 2016 verbava rated it really liked it
мабуть, усі, хто береться за цю книжку, все ще знають, чим скінчився сюжет про голіафа й давида; а все-таки велетень у тома голда вийшов такий зворушливий, що, слухаючи його версію подій, весь час чекаєш якогось повороту чи підступу.
(view spoiler)
Jun 18, 2016 Liam rated it it was ok
Shelves: graphic-novel
Being an ex-Londoner I want to be a fan of Gauld. Despite my disappointment with his recent Mooncop sampler, I gave him another chance. For me this was alright.

The vast emptiness here is nice. I hear crickets and the strong winds when I see the grassy twilit mountains. The line art is confident and thick, with a lot of internal detail to shapes. I still feel the minimalism would benefit from something driving it, some focus. Perhaps greater characterisation: none of the characters differ in thei
Nov 01, 2012 Scott rated it it was ok
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
Charles Hatfield
Mar 22, 2013 Charles Hatfield rated it it was amazing
For a book whose ending is foreordained and predictable, Goliath still packs a wallop, due to Gauld's deep sympathy, graphic elegance, formal calm, and beautiful, spare drawings. The book's premise is pretty obvious: the Biblical Goliath (David's nemesis) turns out to be a sensitive soul, a good guy, caught up in an absurd military scenario over which he has no control; in essence he is sacrificed to the inevitability of the old story. I got this premise right away, but still found the book comp ...more
Tania Gee
Feb 19, 2014 Tania Gee rated it liked it
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
Jun 12, 2013 Joe rated it really liked it
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
Nov 21, 2013 orangerful rated it really liked it
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.
Rebecca Ann
Nov 05, 2012 Rebecca Ann rated it really liked it
Shelves: graphic-novels
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.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Big Questions
  • Everything We Miss
  • Annie Sullivan and the Trials of Helen Keller
  • The Silence of Our Friends
  • Cow Boy: A Boy and His Horse
  • One Soul
  • Rust Vol. 1: Visitor in the Field
  • Unterzakhn
  • Athos in America
  • The Love Bunglers
  • Broxo
  • The Underwater Welder
  • Baby's in Black: Astrid Kirchherr, Stuart Sutcliffe, and The Beatles
  • New School
  • Jinchalo
  • Trinity: A Graphic History of the First Atomic Bomb
  • Market Day
  • Beta Testing the Apocalypse
Tom Gauld is a cartoonist and illustrator.
He draws a weekly cartoon for the Guardian newspaper
and has created a number of comic books.
He lives and works in London.
More about Tom Gauld...

Share This Book

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »