Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Giant Days: Year One by John Allison Review

Suffering from Giant Days withdrawal, I was delighted to discover Giant Days: Year One exists! The book is three self-published comics, the first from 2011 and the others from 2013, written and drawn by John Allison which paved the way to Boom picking it up and turning it into an ongoing. And of course it’s great! 

Esther, Susan and Daisy are fresher uni students who become friends in the halls of residence. In Year One, the mean girls try to recruit Esther, our heroes meet Ed Gemmell who falls for Goth princess Esther and who inevitably gets his heart broken when his blokey lad “friend” Steve scores with her, and the girls try joining a couple of campus clubs. 

After seeing how Boom’s Giant Days starts, it’s so weird seeing the alternate dimension Giant Days beginning like this. It is impressive though how fully-realised the characters and set-up are this early on - though things become more polished once Boom get involved later on, this is easily recognisably Giant Days. The voices, the tone, the quirkiness, the humour, the Ed and Esther stuff, it’s all right there - brilliant!

The later changes though are a definite improvement. Allison’s art style is very angular and flat which isn’t the most appealing look - having him just write the comics and bringing on artists Lissa Treiman and Max Sarin to draw was the right move. Their art is more appealing but most importantly it means we get more Giant Days comics as Allison’s not having to do everything himself.

I also like how Allison moved away from Esther as the main character here to developing Susan and Daisy more in the ongoing books. Like McGraw, Susan’s moustachioed beau, is entirely missing in Year One and his and Susan’s storied past and turbulent present is one of the best features of the series - he’s such a great character, like a younger, British Ron Swanson! Year One is the poorer for not having him in it. 

Even though it’s essentially a dummy run/extended pitch for what becomes the “proper” Giant Days series, Year One is still a great, entertaining read and a no-brainer for fans to pick up, particularly if those volumes aren’t coming out fast enough for your liking!

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