Release Date: November 24, 2015
Publisher: Boom! Box Comics
Age Group: Young Adult
Source: Purchased copy
Susan, Esther, and Daisy started at university three weeks ago and became fast friends. Now, away from home for the first time, all three want to reinvent themselves. But in the face of handwringing boys, “personal experimentation,” influenza, mystery mold, nuchauvinism, and the willful, unwanted intrusion of “academia,” they may be lucky just to make it to spring alive.
Tell Me More: If you’ve picked up this comic with any expectation of hallowed ivy-decked halls and dignified professors, Giant Days doesn’t waste any time clearing things up. This isn’t the story of university students pursuing education with nothing but intellectual fire in their eyes. It’s the story of everything else that happens during university, the moments that see you growing up and learning about yourself as you study long-dead historical figures and complicated diagrams.
I don’t really remember how Giant Days came to my attention, just that it did, and that the positive reviews were a quiet buzz among other comic conversations. Reading it inevitably drew up my own university experiences from memory, and the friends who were Susan and Daisy in my life back then. The uncertainty of new social experiences, the weird little things about being a grown-up and living on your own–I found their depiction in this comic to be both funny and relatable without being condescending.
John Allison’s script can be hit-or-miss at times, though that might also be certain British references or allusions that I just haven’t encountered before. He seems most comfortable writing Esther, with Daisy not quite present until later issues. Susan’s the happy middle ground for both Allison and her friends, grounding them and the story enough that the wackiness doesn’t feel too exaggerated. The way he ties their subplots together is refreshing, however, and it reinforces the subtle connections they share with each other. I especially loved the panels during Susan, Esther, and Daisy’s bouts with the flu. Their friendship is established clearly without overtaking their individual traits, and it’s easy to see how each of them might grow through the rest of the series.
If we’re talking art, Lissa Treiman is an absolute delight. Her lines are lively and imply motion in every panel, which is great for a comic about young adults dealing with new experiences at rapid speeds. Whitney Cogar’s colours draw the eye in with ease, and moves the reader from one burst of brightness to the next. Even in scenes that aren’t as lighthearted, Treiman and Cogar’s respective work interact with each other beautifully, and strengthen the script further. The result is an engaging and genuinely lovely first volume.