"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."
"On the island of Here, livin's easy. Conduct is orderly. Lawns are neat. Citizens are clean shaven - and Dave is the most fastidious of them all. Dave is bald, but for a single hair. He loves drawing, his desk job, and the Bangles. But on one fateful day, his life is upended...by an unstoppable (yet pretty impressive) beard."
This graphic novel contains examples of:
- Balloonacy: In the end they decide to deal with the beard by attaching it to balloons so it will not take over the town, but it ends up carrying the beard - and Dave - away across the sea.
- Beard of Evil: Sort of - Dave isn't evil, but his beard is considered to be.
- Bittersweet Ending: Dave is lost to the There forever, but the citizens of Here have learned to accept change and difference and are less haunted by There.
- Body Horror: The image of the imagined fate of the boy who sailed to There."They said There took his tidiness away. Swallowed his boundaries whole. Mixed his right side with his left side...his insides with his outsides...his befores with his nows with his nexts (sic). Until he became a nothing."
- Book-Ends: At the beginning of the story, we see Dave's drawings of the things outside his house. They are orderly and easily recognizable. At the end we see the drawings washed up on the shore that Professor Black assumes are from Dave. They are torn and become more and more vague until they dissolve into black scribbles.
- Dark Is Evil / Darkness = Death: How some residents of Here view There.
- Distant Finale: The last chapter, There.
- The Everyman: Dave.
- Expressive Hair: Except it's more expressing There than its owner's moods.
- Face Death with Dignity: Dave.
- Lost at Sea: What happened to the boy who tried to sail across the Edge of the Sea to There.
- Messy Hair: Even when all the hairstylists, dog groomers, and gardeners in the land are working on it, the beard refuses to behave.
- Mind Screw: Everything about There.
- Motif: The shapes of There, most recognizable the one that looks like a thin hand; the Bangle's "Eternal Flame", things slipping through the cracks in the "skin".
- Nothing Is Scarier: We never see exactly what is in There.
- Order Versus Chaos: The island of Here vs the There.
- Primal Fear: Darkness, death, being unable to control part of yourself.
- Primordial Chaos: The Professor theorizes There is something like this.
- Pyrrhic Victory: For the leaders of Here (or whomever made the rules in the first place). They get rid of Dave and his beard, but Here has been changed by the experience and never returns to its neat, conforming state.
- Rapid Hair Growth: The beard.
- Released to Elsewhere: What happens to Dave at the end - nobody is really that surprised when the balloons carry him away.
- Self Help Guru: Professor Darren Black.
- Surreal Humor / Surreal Horror: A bit of both.
- This Loser Is You: Dave is just like any other ordinary citizen working an office job who never challenges the status quo.
- Through the Eyes of Madness: The patterns Dave sees in the chart, what other people see when they look at the beard for too long, the drawings Dave sends back from There in the end.
- Traumatic Haircut: In a way, except in this case the haircuts are traumatic because they aren't working.