Sketch Ride: Goliath by Tom Gauld

Goliath was an interesting read for me, although I know how this story is normally told, I did not expect it to be told this way. The cover and art style are very pleasing to look at, everything is a brown or sepia tone. It gives the pages an old parchment type of look. The expressions on the characters never get too exaggerated and at most only depict the emotion in the eyes with sad or angry eyebrows. It is also pleasing to the eye without shoving too much detail in your face, there is shading when needed and the nighttime scenes are done beautifully.

The story is an interesting take on the original narrative. Goliath in this story is a victim being taken advantage of by his appearance. Instead of being a grand warrior in the other versions, Goliath is a quiet man who enjoys doing military paperwork than being out in the field. Because of his large size he is used as an intimidation tactic to scare away the Israelites. He is given armor that cant actually protect him and it falls into more and more pieces each day. He also has a young shield bearer who keeps him company while waiting for a challenger. The kid is great and acts like an actual kid, instead of constantly being a nuisance, or over all charming. He has his flaws as well and is an overall good character. Unfortunately it ends like any other Goliath story, with his death. You however arent on the side of wanting to defeat Goliath, he wasnt doing anything wrong he just took the fall and was used as a human shield. This book really makes you relate to Goliath as weve all been forced into something we didnt want to do. Although not as drastic as Goliath’s circumstance. His armor did not protect him and David took back the head of an assumed warior, but took the head of an innocent man. It paints David as the villain in this case. It wasnt in self defense, it was the murder of someone forced into a battle they did not know how to fight. Goliath even says he is a terrible swordsman.

This is such a more valuable take on this story as it flips it on its head. Hero and villain are swapped and Goliath has to leave behind a friend who see him get murdered. This is a more modern story telling as most stories with already existing subject matter, like Cinderella, are often told the same way just with slightly different circumstances. There is still an evil family member abusing them, they find their prince to wisk them away to happiness and all ends well. Although Goliath still ends in his death, everything in between is different. It doesnt even show much of the soldiers, just Goliath’s every day life in which he does what he enjoys and is normally not bothered. He enjoys simple things like the coolness of the night an appreciates small things like pebbles. He is made more human, not a war hungry warrior who will take on any challenger. Goliath is even made to rea the very lines that are part of the ruse to make him seem unstoppable. Goliath is unfortunately obedient to a flaw, although he protests, he goes to his spot each and says the challenge line and waits. There was a nice balance of dialog in this book. I personally become turned off to a story when there are text walls inside speech bubbles. Here the text was easy to read and spread out enough to where I never felt I had too much to read. Not that I dont like to read text heavy stories, I just can often lose my place and not retain the meaning with too much dialog. Its very show dont tell. There are many panels with no text at all and all you are exposed to is the weight of the situations and the environment. The constant edge of your seat you are constantly on when waiting for David to appear, which you know has to happen at some point. I really thought it was going to end differently, but at the same time I wouldnt want to be any different. It made me value the character so much and then just yanked them away from you.


Eli F.: Goliath by Tom Gauld

For my first graphic novel assessment I chose to read Tom Gauld’s Goliath. I noticed common patterns in the book. This is a re-telling of the Bible story of David and Goliath but it’s told in Goliath’s point of view right before the event happened.

Gauld shows Goliath as this huge person who towers over everyone in this story. However, he does not want any trouble and seems to always want to avoid conflicts or fights.

Goliath is accompanied by a 9-year-old boy who’s in charge of bringing him his shield. This boy seems to annoy Goliath at times in the story. For example, the boy is always asking him about the truth in the stories he’s heard from people in the village. In spite of him being curious, Goliath seems to care about the boy and makes sure no one hurts him.

Goliath is perceived as a fighter; however, he’s ranked fifth worst swordsman and clearly does not wish to fight. Rather, Goliath enjoys writing and reading on his big desk where he sits until  interrupted.

Gauld shows Goliath as an outcast from society due to him being different and living alone in the rocks. Yet he is relied on as a protector for the village. Goliath is aware of this and he isolates himself from the world. Without clean water he drinks out of the lake near the town. The boy tells him about his Aunt being interested romantically, but he declines. Finally, he gets invited to watch an event where lions and bears fight, but he also declines.

I am reminded of certain movies about two characters complimenting one another and I see that in the boy and Goliath. You have one character who doesn’t seek companionship, but he puts up with it.

On the other hand, you have the other character seeking companionship and sees past all the flaws of the outcast and remains a loyal friend. The movie Shrek is a good comparison to this movie as both main characters Shrek and Donkey have similar characteristics you see in this book.

It seems that Guild wanted to focus on showing how human Goliath really is behind that rough exterior. The ending is very dark as it shows the Bible hero David finally standing up to Goliath after countless times Goliath had to read what the King had written for him for the enemy village across the field.

David smashes Goliath’s face and beheads him to recreate the authenticity of the original bible story. Everyone with a religious background really knows how Goliath is portrayed as this angry, dominant beast who could never be beaten. Instead, Gauld shows the opposite of how he’s portrayed in the original Bible stories.

Aarika Alabata: Goliath by Tom Gauld

Tom Gauld chooses to take a different perspective and introduces interesting questions in his graphic novel, “Goliath”. “Goliath” is roughly based on the Biblical history of David and Goliath but more so told from Goliath’s angle. In Gauld’s novel, Goliath is somber, submissive “champion” that was only consider for his title because he was tall in stature.

This story strays entirely from the traditional narrative of David and Goliath and allows the audience to engage in a new perspective. In the original work of the Biblical story of David and Goliath, Goliath is portrayed as an intimidating character that is confident in his mission. In the book of Samuel, Goliath continues to badger the Israelites for 40 days, morning and night with the same decree. He claims that he will defeat any warrior they choose to summon in his path. As they story is told in the book of Samuel, Goliath of Gath is executed by a pebble and a young shepherd boy with a sling. Despite both stories of David and Goliath ending in the same manor, there is an entirely different approach in Gauld’s novel.

We are introduced to Goliath in the beginning of the novel, not as a fighter or a bear slayer but a tall guy that content with his job in administration. Goliath even claims that he is the “fifth worst swordsman in my platoon.” Goliath was told to play the part and the “enemy will cower before us”. That is exactly what Goliath did, he did his best to play the part. He read their script morning and evening dressed in the ridiculous armor they dress him in. He waited and waited for the day he could stop “acting” and get back to his administration business. The Goliath we identify in Gauld’s story is not one that strikes fear into surrounding nations. Goliath could even be depicted as childe-like because of his passive and unwavering obedience. The only reason that Goliath would ever be seen as the champion of the Philistines was because he was good at playing the part.

“Goliath” graphics play an important role in the characterization of Goliath as well as his journey of becoming a “champion”. Gauld used cartoons that were simple, innocent, and approachable. Even the image of Goliath was not at all intimidating or a depiction of a man that could “punch a camel and kill it”. This was Gauld’s way for the reader to identify with Goliath. Goliath didn’t believe himself to be a scary warrior that threatened neighboring towns’ people. Goliath may have been tall in stature but he almost always hunched over, making himself seem smaller or meek. His jaw is not defined, his muscles are not bulging, and his head is not held high. Goliath, though giant in comparison, looks like everyone else. I think that was Gauld’s point, that Goliath although tall, was just like everyone else in his village. To Goliath’s disadvantage, his physical differences caused him to play a role he was not ready nor qualified to play.

Gauld uses simple text that also provides humor within his story. Goliath talks like a normal individual, and from reading the way he interacts with other’s he seems fairly quiet. Goliath spends most of his days working alone in administration but when he is on guard, he passes the time by having small talk with the nine year old shield-bearer. Gauld has a way of portraying Goliath’s gentleness by his interactions with this young shield-bearer. Whenever they hear or see or hear someone coming, Goliath persists on the young boy to hide among the rocks for safety. This is to show that Goliath is not a cruel man wishing to wreak havoc on the Israelites or young David. Goliath’s unfortunate destiny was set

before him not because of his warrior like quality but simply because he stood shoulders above his comrades. In the beginning of the story, Goliath picks of a pebble to foreshadow what is to happen to him. Yet, also to depict that he was not aware of his unfortunate fate. Despite Goliath true passion for administration, this gentle giant would be forced to meet his death on account of his loftiness.

Chanler Brown: Goliath by Tom Gauld

For this paper, I read the graphic novel, Goliath by Tom Gauld. Gauld retells the story of Goliath in graphic novel format. In his detonation, Goliath was someone who taken advantage of for the sake of the king and the people of Philistine. For most the story, Goliath waits for an opponent while expressing his true nature to the reader and a nine year old boy. As a whole, this graphic novel is starkly different from most novels produced in the west. From the cover, to its art, and its tactic of storytelling breaths a new light into Goliath’s story.

The artistic and stylistic choices of Goliath are simple yet distinctive. Gauld’s choice of style, in a way, represents Goliath as a character. From the cover alone, the reader can interpret the style of storytelling as simplistic. The off white cover, red lettering, and the various hues of brown gives off an easy-going type feel. Once a reader looks inside the book, this theme of meekness is carried through with the art style. For the most part, Gauld’s art is almost childish. Every panel, but the page with Goliath’s battle cry, is from the side profile give or take the landscape shots. The art is humble and the story is humble.

The repetition of browns, from the cover of the book, are carried over in the art. Unlike most graphic novels from the west, which are in color, or graphic novels from east, which are monochrome, Goliath utilizes the color brown. Brown in the art sense is seen as a softer color. Color is more vibrant and pops out at the reader while black and white contrasts. Gauld’s use of brown depicts Goliath as a character because he is soft. When he was first chosen to fight the Israelites, he didn’t want to do it. More so, he was tricked into fighting the Israelites, which expresses how naïve he can be. This conservative color scheme describes how Goliath goes about life. The nine year boy, while waiting for an opponent, asked Goliath a series of questions that he responded modestly. He has no interest in getting a wife or staying in one place for long periods of time. Goliath is a goes with the flow type of person.

Gauld’s use of panels expresses Goliath as a character in their humility. Most of Gauld’s panels are rectangles and squares that rarely differentiate from this formula. Additionally, the panels follow the eye which represents Goliath’s go with the flow type personality. When Goliath was told that he had a secret mission, he didn’t oppose it. He went with flow; Gauld’s panels do the same. Each panel doesn’t state anything in particular when it comes to plot, but it entices the reader to flow into the next panel. Like Goliath’s character, Gauld’s panels have a calculated spontaneity. During the scene where Goliath was going to run away from his mission but stayed the following day, he approached this idea of escaping with an “I’ll do it eventually” mentality. More so, his desire to leave came out of nowhere without any type of buildup which leads the reader to believe he woke up one day and came to this conclusion.

Overall, Goliath employs many different aspects to create a well-rounded story. From the appearance alone, the piece speaks volumes when it refers to Goliath as a character. This retelling of this gentle giant explores storytelling in visuals, in addition to written word. While this stylistic choice is common in all graphic novels, Goliath’s style differs from most popular styles of graphic novel. This facet makes this graphic novel stands a part by defying tropes characteristic to this genre.