The Gigantic Beard that was Evil – Stephen Collins

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Isolation is an odd thing; the loneliness of going unnoticed is equally as isolating as notoriety. Dave experiences both as he leads his lonely, uneventful and clean-shaven life, observing and sketching his neighbours while listening to Eternal Flame by The Bangles on constant loop.  He also knows the loneliness of being different and sticking out when inexplicably unstoppable facial hair starts growing into the evil beard of the title.

Stephen Collins has created a beautifully crafted cautionary tale rooted in the fear society constructs around difference.  Whether that’s anxiety about Dave and his freakish whiskers or the baffling dread of “There”; unvisited by and therefore unknown to residents of orderly “Here” yet identified as a place of chaos and disorder.

This delicately sketched graphic novel imparts deep messages about diversity, intolerance, partiality and suspicion of the unfamiliar.  The artwork is lovely and makes up for the emotions this sad and thought provoking read evokes.

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