Giant Days #1 Review – A Spunky, Surreal Slice of Life

BOOMBOX_GiantDays_001_cvrA-1Giant Days #1 is the newest comic from BOOM! Studios’ BOOM! Box imprint, which includes creator owned comics like Lumberjanes and Midas Flesh.

The comic follows the misadventures of three roommates Daisy, Esther, and Susan, who have very different personalities. It is very much in the slice of life genre, but there are a lot of surreal elements creating a lot of the comedy.

Giant Days #1 is written by webcomic creator John Allison with art from animator Lissa Treiman (Wreck It Ralph) and colors by Whitney Cogar (Adventure Time). It’s a spinoff of Allison’s mystery webcomic Bad Machinery.

So what are the three girls’ personalities like?

John Allison and  Lissa Treiman do a nice job of introducing Daisy, Esther, and Susan in the first page with a mix of snarky caption boxes, minimalist dialogue, and the way they’re hanging out in the dorm room.

Daisy is the naive, optimistic former homeschooler with a lot of energy, who is occasionally insecure. Treiman and colorist Whitney Cogar give Esther an uber-pale complexion with a Goth style and some past relationship issues. However, she’s not super serious and enjoys a good turn of phrase peppering her dialogue with words like “drama field”, “totes emosh”, and comparing things to Victorian items of clothing. On the surface, Susan is holding the group together with her snark and common sense. But she ends up being the mysterious one. Allison has a knack for lively dialogue to match Treiman’s energy in showing their facial and body movements.

What’s the art like?

The character designs reminded me of Lumberjanes in a good way. Daisy, Esther, and Susan have distinct body shapes, hairstyles, and clothing (Treiman ends up transforming Daisy’s hair into a character all of its own). With her background in animation, Treiman also brings in some cartoon surrealism to set apart Giant Days from other slice of life comics. This is where Whitney Cogar come into play as she uses bolder (and occasionally greyscale) colors for scenes like when Esther reveals the devilish and angelic sides of her personality.

However, she and Treiman subvert the creepy, Gothic British boarding school tropes in showing the series’ setting with its green fields, blue sky, and livable dorm rooms. Treiman even teams with letterer Jim Campbell for some sight gags that would make Bryan Lee O’Malley.

Is there any kind of plot or is it just characters shooting the breeze?

Giant Days #1 is really just the main cast and the two supporting male characters, Ed and McGraw, hanging out and having a good or occasionally awkward, high school drama filled time. However, the characters have enough personality, and Allison sprinkles in lots of witty jokes that along with some of the faces Treiman’s figures pull makes it feel like an actually funny high school sitcom. Or like Buffy the Vampire Slayer with more dialogue and less demon-slaying. Allison also withholds a lot of key background details about the characters’ backstories and the setting, which creates tension along with good helping of romance.

So should I read this comic?

Giant Days #1 is another great all-ages comics from BOOM! Studios that’s silly, snarky, and filled with heart. Even though they have little fights and drama, Daisy, Esther, and Susan share a strong rapport and actually seem like friends.

Giant Days has the laughs of your favorite sitcom mixed with a slapstick/realist visual style that can only be realized in the comic book medium. Buy a copy for yourself and another for your room/flatmate!

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