Review – Giant Days Volume 1
Publisher: Boom! Studios
Writer: John Allison
Artwork: Lissa Treiman
Colours: Whitney Cogar
Release Date: November 2015
Like many former students, I often look back on my time at university with fondness. It was a time where I made many long-lasting friendships and memories that I still cherish. Maybe that’s why I felt a personal connection while reading Giant Days. Written by John Allison and published by Boom! Box, a division from Boom! Studios, Volume 1 collects the first four issues that follows the lives of three young friends during their first semester at university.
Meet Daisy, Esther, and Susan; Three young women at Sheffield University who have become fast friends. The first four issues in this volume are more like a compilation of mini-episodes in a young adult sitcom, as we follow the daily lives of these three friends and the trials and tribulations they face all while trying to figure out who they are. Seems mundane, but university is a time of growth and discovering yourself, and for these three, things are about to get pretty weird.
The opening pages do a fantastic job of introducing the reader to these three young women. There’s Daisy, the youngest and most naive of the group; Esther, the goth chick with a penchant for causing drama; And lastly, Susan. The self-confessed ‘sensible’ one of the group and our narrator. Essentially they fall into the character types of ‘the nerd, the rebel, and the tomboy’, which seems a little cliche, but through witty dialogue and interesting events, Alison has managed to craft characters that are distinct enough without ever feeling they are playing into stereotypes.
One of the main charms of Giant Days is the simplicity and relatability of its premise. There are no super abilities or out of this world adventures. Just three young women figuring themselves out. Which in a way, is an adventure all in itself! As readers, we follow Susan, Daisy, and Esther, as they navigate the everyday shenanigans of university life.
In this first volume, we follow the trio as they are faced with personal drama, sickness, and awkward romances. There is also room for each character to have their own subplot; Daisy begins to explore her sexuality, Susan learns that a mysterious man from her past is attending the same university, and Esther attracts the unwanted attention from some chauvinistic boys who place her on an online campus hottie list. It’s moments like these that flesh out the characters a bit more.
Despite being a fluffy and fun graphic novel, Giant Days also touches on some mature themes as well. For example, sexism, drug dependency, and sexuality are also dealt with.
The art for this book is also wonderful and is the perfect accompaniment for John Allison’s writing. The illustrations from Lisa Treimann, who has worked for a number of Disney films, brings to life these three young women through vibrant expressions and animations. The characters are fluid and the art manages to capture each distinct personality of the trio, which really brings the characters to life. The art combined with the colours from Whitney Cogar work perfectly together to match the overall tone of the series. It’s bright, fun, and vibrant. Treimann and Cogar’s art and colours give this graphic novel a cartoon-y style that never feels gimmicky.
Overall, I could go on for days about how much I enjoyed reading this first volume of Giant Days. It’s heart-warming, fun, and charming, all while managing to capture the real essence of female friendships and life at university. If you are looking for a comic book that gives you a fictional slice of life, that is relatable and funny, then Giant Days is worth a read.
If you enjoyed our Review of Giant Days Volume 1 then feel free to leave a comment or even leave your own rating below.
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