From its early days as an alternative to his work on Bad Machinery, John Allison’s Giant Days has matured into an Eisner winning cult sensation. Along the way it has matured from a silly freshers house share, into a sit com style comedy drama about life, love and friendship with some of the coolest dialogue in comics.
Publisher: Boom! Box
Writer: John Allison
Artist: Max Sarin
Price: £2.49 from ComiXology
For those new to the world of Giant Days, it follows the lives of three misfit students who are thrown together into a house share (although they have all since moved on). There’s sarcastic med student Susan, glamorous goth Esther and former wallflower Daisy. Their mix of high jinks and misadventures have been told in a kind of sit com style episodic format that has seen them grow and develop, find love, move out and also get up to all kinds of crazy adventures.
As with all great sit coms, they are backed up by a stellar supporting cast especially Susan ’s long suffering boyfriend McGraw and Esther’s long time unrequited love Ed Gemmell (who has recently turned things upside down by getting himself a glamorous Aussie girlfriend) who make the series every bit as much as the original trio.
To celebrate its 50th issue, Allison throws out what’s left of the rulebook and builds an entire issue around a game of cricket. When McGraw can’t get the requisite numbers for his Sunday afternoon team, Susan, Esther and co offer their services and craziness ensues.
While this may sound like a dull concept for an issue, it is anything but. It’s classic sit com fare (think of Friends when the played American Football), as Allison wrings every drop of humour out of this quintessentially English concept. Add in some Scott Pilgrim inspired histrionics and the wonderfully expressive artwork of Max Sarin and you get a game which includes fireball bowling opposition and Esther’s anime infused batting!
Allison clearly loves writing these characters as much as we love reading them, and it is this which really make Giant Days such a compelling series. This is depth of character is perfectly exemplified in the heart breaking conclusion that comes out of nowhere, but in hindsight was there all along. For long term fans the investment in in these characters means that Allison can drop in these serious moments with ease and deliver an emotional depth charge that feels utterly real and not at all out of place after 20 pages of sporting silliness.
It’s masterful stuff from one of comics’ most enduring series and this issue is a perfect encapsulation of why Giant Days is one of the most endearing, hilarious and generally perfect comics around.