Comics Spotlight: Giant Days

We’re going to try something a little different this week. When I look at other book blogs, I notice that there is one type of book that is mostly left out: graphic novels. Now I know it’s not like comics are a niche thing. They have come a long way, telling a wider range of stories beyond the superhero genre. And yet, no one really talks about them. Well, I’m going to shake it up with a comic spotlight, talking about graphic novels that I think deserve more attention. So let’s get into one of my favorite new reads of this year: Giant Days.

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, nu-chauvinism, and the willful, unwanted intrusion of “academia,” they may be lucky just to make it to spring alive. Going off to university is always a time of change and growth, but for Esther, Susan, and Daisy, things are about to get a little weird. –Goodreads

Giants Days is basically a down-to-earth, character-driven story that shows both the amazing and amazingly awful aspects of college life. As someone who has recently escaped/graduated from that anxiety-inducing place of higher learning, I found myself easily relating to many situations the girls go through. Whether it’s dealing with prison-like, dilapidating dorms, the biological cesspits that are other people, or just your usual drama between friends, they face these and other plot points with a great amount of wit and dry humor.

Here we have the main ensemble of the story: Susan, Esther, and Daisy. Even from their expressions and character designs you can get a basic idea of who they are. Susan is the mom of the group, a little bitter and rough, but not too standoffish. Esther is a little softer, more unsure about the whole college track, but is very fun-loving and flirtatious. Naturally she also seems a be a magnet for drama. And finally, Daisy is the innocent one, coming to college straight from homeschool and a little naive to the ways of the world. She also has a brilliant and well-developed coming-out arc that starts halfway into the first volume of the series and continues from there.

It’s not very often you get to see a deep, friendly relationship between women in graphic novels. Usually it’s either a solo woman among a group of guys or, whenever women are together, they are uncharacteristically catty. These women, though they have their spats, ultimately care for and function as a sort of support system for each other.

It’s also amazing how relatable this series is. When I look at Susan, Esther, and Daisy, I can easily plug myself and my friends into their spots and it wouldn’t be that different. Either that or they each remind me of different part of my own psyche, but maybe that’s getting a little too introspective.

The humor is really what I love about the series. John Allison, the writer, gives off a really great comedic sense for each story.  It’s more verbal humor than anything else, very dry, but enjoyable. If that isn’t your cup of tea, this may not be the comic for you. (Incoming: some of my favorite panels)

Along with the story and humor, I especially love the art, specifically the facial expressions. Sometimes just an expression can make me laugh. Interestingly enough, the art for the first volume is done by Lissa Treiman, who currently works for Disney as a story artist. Her involvements with Disney includes Tangled, Wreck-It Ralph, Big Hero Six, and Zootopia. If that isn’t enough to get you onboard, then I don’t know what will.

While the stories in this volume, or really any in the series, aren’t very grand or complicated, they all feel very real. I connected with them so easily and, if I didn’t, I knew of people who have lived them. I never felt like it was a cheap imitation of a college story, what with the endless parties, hook-ups, and other wild forms of entertainment. It does have those elements as part of the story, but they are not the only things that make up the college experience. College is all about finding out who you are, how you relate to others, and figuring out what’s going to come next. Giant Days captures those aspects and puts a humorous and relatable spin on them. If you’re in or out of college, or even still in high school, I definitely recommend this comic.

Let me know in the comments if you want me to do more comic spotlights in the future!

Advertisements Share this:
Like this:Like Loading... Related