One day on the Island of ‘Here’ Dave, a data analyst at A&C Industries Corporation begins to wonder why everything is so ordered in the world. Trees are clipped into neat shapes, there is no weed un-plucked – no lawn untrimmed. Why you might ask? Well, it is because of the fear of the unknown, the ‘becauselessness’ that creeps up from the darkness surrounding the island of ‘Here’ – a sea of ‘There’ that slowly infiltrates its chaotic nature through the cracks of the tidy island, in which no untidiness or imperfection is allowed.
Perhaps Dave’s curiosity of the unknown darkness of ‘there’ instigates the remarkable growth from his face. At first it was a singular hair, that fast turns into a fully fledged beard that any man of natures land would envy. The hair begins to take over the island like unwanted Japanese knotweed and Dave’s wild beard quickly gathers curiosity from the crowds. It continues to grow – uncontrollably so, bigger and faster until it bursts out his house and overpowers the police, even the government armies.
Dave’s ever-growing, organic beard’s is hypnotising and unsettling, reminding the freshly shaven people, who sit in the comfort of their data-entry cog-jobs, that the imperfect growth of nature still exists, that the creative essence of life is still here amidst the hyper-real absolutism we are accustomed in Western society – oh the inconvenient truth of Dave’s ‘evil’ beard!
The Gigantic Beard that Was Evil is a splendidly witty, surreal, abstract and ironically rather neatly illustrated title, that pertains to what many modern graphic novels hark back to – William Blake’s proverb comes to mind in this instance – that ‘The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction’ suggesting not only the dualism of life, but that individualism must be fought over conformity, that reason must be beaten by creative energy! You must go and buy this book and throw your razor away – there is to be a beard revolution!
“Beneath the skin of everything, is something nobody can know. The job of the skin, is to keep it all in and never let anything show’
Stephen Collins was born in 1980 and grew up in Penge, south London. He began cartooning for the Times in 2003, and has since won several awards, including the Jonathan Cape/ Observer Graphic Short story prize 2010. His work has appeared in many publications worldwide, and he contributes regular comics to the Guardian Weekend and Prospect magazine. He lives near Hertford with his wife. www.stephencollinsillustration.com
‘The Beard That Was Evil’
Author/llustrator: Stephen Collins
UK Publisher: Jonathan Cape
UK Publication date: 9th May 2013
—————————————– Richard Graham