Slice of university life, Giant Days #1 is brought together by John Allison (Scary Go Round) and Lissa Treiman (Disney Feature Animation), promising to be a light-hearted comedy with cute character designs. Starring three new friends Susan, Esther and Daisy, can Giant Days stand up to mainstream giants, or will it simply fade into obscurity?
Publisher: Boom! Box
Writer: John Allison
Artist: Lissa Treiman
Price: £2.49/$3.99 from Comixology
Giant Days #1 opens to the age-old university question: “Do you think, if we hadn’t been given rooms next to each other, that we’d have ended up being friends?” It’s been three weeks of the university term and already Susan, Esther and Daisy (our erstwhile ponderer) have become firm friends. It transpires that Esther seems to have some sort of drama field surrounding her, whereby drama just happens and there’s not a lot she can do about it. It’s soon after that we are introduced to Susan’s arch-nemesis, McGraw (who has a very cool moustache) and all drama breaks loose.
The opening is cute, it’s light-hearted, it’s what you would expect from a Boom! Box title. Allison’s writing throughout is very true to university students, giving them life and a 3D-ness that speaks buckets about his character-writing ability. Here we have real students and not the stereotype-scripted young people so often portrayed in other forms of media because that’s how real grown-ups think that’s what students sound like and think about. The dialogue feels natural and flows from scene to scene, keeping those pages turning. This comic isn’t just about three young woman at university and their hijinks, it also examines other life-relevant themes. We get mention of feminist issues, such as the Bechdel test, which is directly mentioned: “We’re a walking advert for the Bechdel Test.” It might not be as hard-hitting as Bitch Planet, but it’s still important and Allison needs a gold star for not backing down from openingly including feminism.
Treiman’s artwork adds to this feminist undercurrent with its stylized, cute character designs and backdrops. Our protagonists are each very different in their looks – Daisy’s hair is just fabulous – and there is an active inclusion of different races in crowd scenes. It just goes to show that slice of life comics don’t need to be super realistic and serious in order to be true to the life they’re depicting, or enjoyable. The cafeteria incident conveys Treiman’s skill in showing and not telling, because there are many panels that don’t have any dialogue, maybe just one or two sound effects and you still know what’s going on. Just flick through the comic, and you’ll get the gist of the story from scenes like these.
Giant Days is a labour of love and passion that comes through on each page. A slice of life comic with a big heart and more true to university hijinks than other, more serious offerings. Hopefully there will be even more enjoyment to come in future issues, and bring on the feminist undercurrent!