Review: Giant Days #1

I have been dying to read Giant Days. Every time BOOM! sends me anything about it I re-read and double-check everything to gobble up all the details I can. Well I’ve read it and it was everything I wanted and more. I was not disappointed and I doubt you will be either. The book as it’s been solicited is about three friends that in the course of three weeks have become fast friends. “Fast friends” is a weird term isn’t? And yet we’ve all been there and in fact some of our best friends were “fast friends” first. The story actually starts off with a quick introduction of our three leading ladies and they couldn’t be more different. It then runs through the events that made them friends and these adventures sound awesome! We aren’t going to see them, but they sound awesome. Leave it to writer John Allison to deliver awesome snippets of other stories before kicking off another.

Now this isn’t a new storytelling device in fact it’s used quite often, but where Giant Days succeeds is that these crazy adventures aren’t better than the adventure we’re reading. So often you’ll see this device used and wonder, “why the hell aren’t we reading that story?!” Not here, but initially I did wonder about that.

After this run down we learn that Esther is the catalyst for all of these events and as Susan puts it, she radiates a drama field. The rest of the issue is spent getting to know the ladies and seeing a snippet of their life around campus. Esther is trying to remain drama free and of course that means that there’s drama for Susan and our third lady Daisy.

Let’s stop and talk about Daisy for a minute because as much as Esther stole the show and Susan filled in all the other plot aspects, Daisy was still my favorite. We’re told that she was homeschooled which basically means she’s awkward or as Susan puts it, “not ready for this mean old world.” But her awkwardness makes her the most relatable because regardless of schooling college makes everyone feel out-of-place and not ready for the world. I loved Daisy, especially her hair… especially her hair.

Giant Days #1 Main Cover by Lissa TreimanBefore I jump into a lengthy stint on the art I want to compliment John Allison and his ability to write characters. Not just female characters to which I think he does a wonderful job, but just characters in general. He really manages to create unique characters with their own individual voices which is not a talent all writers have. On the ability to write believable female characters he really excels. Between Bad Machinery and more short stories than I can remember to list, and now Giant Days, he writes women of all ages, types and backgrounds. Our three leading ladies are believable college students in the fact that they’re all completely different. Different backgrounds, different personalities and different interests. And you’ll like them all because they feel like real people who you’d want to sit and get to know.

Now for the art, as much as I was looking forward to the story I knew that John Allison was going to deliver. But the real reason I wanted to read Giant Days was Lissa Treiman’s artwork. Let me just say that I’m not really a “Disney fan”, I know shocking. But I absolutely love Treiman’s work on this issue. It reads like an animation, but one that’s fully aware that it’s a comic book. It lets the gutters do their job and instead makes each page fluid and full of life. She subtracts backgrounds when the focus should be on the character and makes use of cartoonish elements like rain clouds or lightning bolts suddenly appearing behind a character when they’re in shock. Elements like this can instantly sink a comic if done wrong, but Treiman fits it in to Giant Days naturally.

Treiman’s character designs are diverse and I know that Allison’s own artwork is also very diverse so I don’t know if they worked together or not, but the result is a college campus that looks like a college campus with students of many walks of life coming together.

I can’t pass up the coloring since that’s a huge part of the art for me. That regular cover for the series is just ah, it’s just candy. The coloring inside the issue isn’t quite as vibrant, but that’s not a bad thing. It’s still full looking and the toned down hues match the story. It would have been too animated looking if it was super vibrant and at that point I think it would have been a put off. Whitney Cogar does a fantastic job on the coloring and I will look forward to seeing her name on future issues of Giant Days and other series.

This book is going to draw a lot of comparison to other young adult graphic novels; BOOM! even lists some that the feel it’s a home with such as: Drama, Friends With Boys and so on. The thing is we have the advantage of having the complete story in both those cases whereas Giant Days is just starting, but it’s off to a hell of a start. While I don’t know if it’s going to be the next Friends With Boys (since I hold that book in pretty high regard) I would definitely say it’s in the same row of the ballpark and it’s on its way to being the comparison for someone else’s coming of age tale.

The short and skinny is that you should pre-order the hell out of Giant Days (last day to do so is February 23rd!). It’s so damn good and BOOM! continues to impress me with their lineup of titles.

Score: 5/5

Giant Days #1 Writer: John Allison Artist: Lissa Treiman Colorist: Whitney Cogar Publisher: BOOM!/Boom Box Price: $3.99 Release Date: 3/18/15 Format: Mini-Series; Print/Digital