Giant Days is a slice-of-life comic about three quirky girls at a college campus in England, written by John Allison and illustrated by Lissa Treiman, with colors by Whitney Cogar and letters by Jim Campbell. Is it good?
Giant Days Vol. 1 (BOOM! Studios)
If you’re looking for high-concepts, Giant Days is not for you. It’s a character driven comic that is more episodic than serialized, though some plot threads do carry over from one issue to the next. Though this volume collects the first four issues of the series and works in chronological order, one could hardly consider it a “story arc.” Most of the plots begin and end within the pages of each individual issue, and some of the loose ends are still not tied up by the end of this volume.
But that’s perfectly fine for a comic that relies more on who the characters are rather than what happens to them. Though the trio of protagonists in Giant Days may be familiar , Allison and Treiman make them likable enough that they don’t quite feel like clichés or stereotypes, even if, on some level, that’s what they are.
There’s “homeschooled and naïve” Daisy Wooton, with a sweet, anything-goes personality and an adorably massive head of hair; Esther De Groot, a goth-lite drama queen, and Susan Ptolemy, a sardonic cynic that sees herself as the group’s down-to-earth voice of reason.
These young women get themselves into their fair share of shenanigans, but shenanigans are all they really are. Nobody ever finds themselves in any trouble with lasting consequences. Daisy takes too many pills at a party, but we never get the sense that she’s in any danger. In another issue, the girls come in conflict with some sexist bros, but there’s no allusion to rape or rape culture. Even when we’re first introduced to Esther, we are told that “her high school sweetheart lasted eleven days into her university career,” but after a single-panel flashback (“Then we helped Esther get over a painful breakup and crushed the gross lad that was ruining her good name all over town”), it’s never mentioned again.
This is a sitcom view of college life, in which characters rarely have any real problems, and what problems they do have usually get resolved by the end of the episode.
Of course, I can only speak to the four issues that I read. It’s entirely possible that at some point down the line (if they haven’t done so already), Allison and Treiman will take a a darker turn by ramping up the drama and imposing lasting consequences on the characters. I would welcome such a change.
I don’t think that’s going to happen, though, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. I don’t think Allison and Treiman are going for realism, and that’s perfectly fine. It doesn’t have to be that kind of comic. This is a bright, colorful world with charming characters, and the best word I could think of to describe the comic as a whole is “pleasant.” I don’t know if that’s necessarily what the creators were going for, as I merely smiled in moments that I think were meant to be laugh-out-loud, but it was definitely a pleasurable reading experience.
A great deal of credit for that must go to Lissa Treiman, whose artwork is utterly charming. Each character not only has a unique look, but their own body language and facial expressions. There’s nothing particularly unique or experimental about her layouts, but it’s all very effective even without calling much attention to itself. Apparently Treiman has worked for Disney, and while her work here does not necessarily reflect the ultra-smooth, clean-lined style that Disney’s traditional animated films are known for, her knack for motion and expression can definitely be described as Disney-esque.
Is It Good?
Giant Days isn’t particularly ambitious or challenging (at least so far), but it’s an amusing read with appealing artwork.