Giant Days #52 – Review
It’s refreshing to see a book that I follow shows up in the solicitations for the next week. It seems like the past couple of weeks have been light on comics that I really rave about. I’ve said many times before that there’s nothing to be gained from writing a negative review just for the sake of a negative review. That brings us to the latest issue of Giant Days. Esther de Groot left in the previous issue for a job interview in London. Given that Esther is the member of the cast that things kind of work out for, it wasn’t clear how this would affect the series as a whole.
I’m going to attempt to do this without spoiling the comic. I’m certain, though, that some of you that read this will feel like I’ve spoiled this for you. Let this be a general warning that I may disclose something that may spoil it for you.
Writer: John Allison
Artists: Max Sarin
Colorist: Whitney Cogar
Letterer: Jim Campbell
Cover Artist: Max Sarin
Synopsis: In a follow-up to Holiday Special 2017, Esther goes for a job interview in London and reunites with her old friend Shelley Winters. While Esther covets Shelley’s metropolitan existence, Shelley is already tired of the rat race and her high pressure civil service job, and longs to publish brain-rotting books. So while Shelly tries to prepare Esther for her interview, Esther steers Shelley towards a glittering future among the literati!
Esther is for me, the most appealing character in Giant Days. At the same time, she is the least interesting character for me. Things tend to go well for her, and in a lot of ways, she has changed the least since the series began. In this series, at least what I’ve read of it since starting my Giant Days Project of catching up on the series, everyone else has apparently grown up, and Esther seems at pretty much the same place. That seemed to dramatically shift last issue.
However, like a force of nature, she stands out every time she shows up. A big part of this is the way she’s colored with almost chalk-white skin and clothing that stands apart from the crowd. Like I said, that has started to change. Whether that has been a gradual shift or not can be debated. I would argue that this is the brilliant aspect of the series. Like real life, people find that they’re changing gradually and it’s only after big changes and we look back, do we realize that we’ve departed dramatically from what thought was our self-identity. John Allison is really a great writer, comics or otherwise.
Shelley has a character art that goes one issue. There are issues in this series where a minor character gets to shine and this is one of those issues where it happens. Allison and artist Max Sarin work really well together in getting information across to the reader efficiently about how Shelly is handling her life in London, almost in one panel on the fourth page. This is the type of stuff that makes Giant Days so good. Max Sarin works so well at showing information that John Allison doesn’t have to tell it.
Esther carries herself differently in the comfortable situation around Shelly than she does on her interview. In just the preview pages, you can see the difference in her body language. On the train, she’s closed off physically, and when she gets to drinking with Shelly, her body completely opens up. We see this on her job interview and to a lesser extent, at the dinner party. When she’s in a situation that makes her uncomfortable, she closes up. She stretches out when she feels relaxed, or in control of the situation. Sarin’s use of body language is just more advanced form of storytelling that is so blatantly displayed.
Also that cover is gorgeous,. If he isn’t selling prints of it, he should.
Final rating: 9.0 (out of 10)