You Need to Read: Giant Days

Giant Days is the best comic you’re not reading.

Giant Days (Boom!) #1 Cover/Banner (Original Art by Lissa Treiman, Banner by Sammycrow on Youtube)

It’s not a superhero comic. It’s not a genre comic. It’s not artsy, or sophisticated. It’s not lead by male characters, It’s not even American. And it’s not published by DC, Marvel, Image, or Dark Horse.

That’s a lot of reasons why a lot of comic readers won’t pick up Giant Days, or perhaps haven’t even heard of it.

They’re all wrong.

Giant Days Volume 2 Cover (Lissa Treiman- Tumblr)

The basics: Giant Days is a comedic comic following three women as freshmen at Sheffield University in England.

Admittedly, it’s not the set up that sells it. For me, what makes it stand out is the feeling you get when reading it. It’s absolutely hilarious, and probably the most enjoyable comic on the shelves right now.

You may think this isn’t worth reading as a comic because there are no genre aspects to make it worth it, or no stakes to add to make it a tense story–but the book doesn’t need those things. It does what it wants to, and does it well, which is tell these small, hilarious, character-driven stories that feel bigger. When you’re a young adult the stakes with every little thing that goes wrong in life feel…well…giant. And this captures that really well.

Panel from Giant Days #8 (Art by Max Sarin, theblackestofsuns-Tumblr)

The book has a unique tone mixing slice of life comedy with that collegiate setting and heightened emotional elements in the art– ala Bryan Lee O’Malley art. It’s basically just being with these characters as they go through these funny college situations and adventures. What’s really nice is it isn’t just one type of joke over and over again too. The humor ranges from distinctly dry, almost British tv show comedy like Catastrophe–to more broad, over-the-top physical comedy. Though the sharp Whedonesque dialog and jokes keep the book a breeze to read, the art and character mix put it over the top.


A page from Giant Days #8 (Art by Max Sarin, theblackestofsuns-Tumblr)

The first volume of the Boom! Collected series is illustrated by Lissa Treiman. She had previously been a storyboard artist for Disney. She brings that sensibility combined with interesting somewhat jagged lines to make a visually appealing look. There’s even a little Scott Pilgrim influence in there as she fully realizes these characters and their world. After her six issues, Max Sarin took over as the primary penciler. He keeps going through where the series is now, around volume 7, and gets better with each new arc. He has a similar style to Treiman (who still contributes amazing covers) but with a noticeably more clean look. Really simple lines and excellent heightened emotions and ‘acting’ make the comedy come out of the characters with ease.

These artists aren’t drawing anything crazy for the majority of the book. There are no superheroes, or city leveling fights, or even genre concepts like magic or robots or anything. They have to make a visually intriguing book out of very normal subject matter and settings. Yet, they have no trouble making it just. Their rendering of the different characters and specifically the way they all have traits that distinguish them, really make the book something special.

Speaking of characters…When it comes to ongoing comics, the reason you keep coming back month after month–or trade after trade, like me–is the characters. And Giant Days features one of the best character mixes in all of comics. As if John Hughes’ character aged a bit and went to a British University.

Giant Days’ main cast. (Art by Lissa Treiman, banner by

The first volume comes at it from the point of view of Susan Ptolemy, but it quickly turns into an ensemble story. But either way, let’s start with Susan. She’s (maybe this isn’t a great thing) probably the most relatable of the leads to me. She’s smart, stubborn, superior, dramatic, den mother, and totally not ready for all the shenanigans they get into. Then there’s Esther de Groot (perhaps the most popular character) is the goth, diva, flirt, who could be in her own world half the time. And the final lead is Daisy Wooten, the curly haired, bright eyed, naive homeschooled, definitely in her own world, the conscience of the group.

Giant Days #6 cover (Art by Lissa Treiman,

They are all complicated. They are all different. And when you expose those foibles about them, and those differences you get really fun, comedic moments all throughout the book. Let’s face it: you don’t get this kind of varied, well-rounded storytelling and character building with female characters often. And not just within comics, but any medium. You know these girls. They feel so real, that it makes the stories all that much better.

And if Susan is basically a far better version of Hannah from HBO’s Girls (mixed with a little Jessica Jones and Sharon Horgan from Catastrophe, perhaps) then there’s another connection as well. I always liked the male characters on that show better, but with Giant Days, the guy characters are just as great as the girls.

Panel from Giant Days #11 (Art by Max Sarin,

McGraw, who actually resembles Adam Driver with one of the most glorious mustaches in comics, really grows over the series. He’s as strong a character as Susan, which explains their connection. He starts out as sort of a male stereotype, but as you spend time with him he really grows on you with all his quirks as well and his sort of Nick from New Girl old man ideals. He’s a stand out as Susan’s ex-then-love interest again, but their relationship feels real.

Cover to issue 9, focusing on Ed Gemmel (Art by Lissa Treiman,

And then there’s his roommate and best friend, Ed Gemmel. Gemmel is probably my favorite character in the book, and perhaps one of my favorites in all of comics. He’s got the biggest crush in the world on Esther, and she is oblivious. He’s in over his head with everything, but he has a great heart and you root for the guy. We are all Ed Gemmel.

When it comes down to it, the book is one of the most enjoyable stories being told right now. A webcomic before being picked up and published by Boom! Studios as a miniseries in print. When they saw what they had on their hands, they upped it to be an ongoing series. Thank God they did. When I read Giant Days I usually have to slow down because I don’t want to finish that volume and begin my month’s long wait for the next edition.

Giant Days is the best-kept secret in comics, despite having an Eisner Award in its back pocket. And you should get in before it becomes a Netflix or Amazon series and everyone else jumps on board too.

Panels with McGraw and Gemmel (Art by Lissa Treiman,

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