Books for Babes provides info on the sort of comics that can be enjoyed by children and adults alike. This week we recommend the seventh volume of ‘Giant Days’ from BOOM! Box, a BOOM! Studios imprint.
By Stefania Rudd. The seventh volume of one of Giant Days, my favorite series by the way, covers issues #25-28. In Giant Days time that’s the second semester of sophomore year with a little bit of winter break mixed in. Each issue furthers the adventures of three roommate friends, Esther, Susan, and Daisy, while also spending individual time with each of them, delving deeper into who they are and the people they are becoming. Writer John Allison always does a lovely job of that.
The volume begins as the ladies celebrate the Christmas holiday together at school, and later shows them interacting with their loved ones at their respective homes. The story primarily follows Susan as she deals with what else? Her family. Oh and doing that thing we all try to do when one is home for holiday: avoiding people we don’t want to see, like Susan’s ex, McGraw. What’s more, Susan also has to find a way to cease her parents current row and steer them away from what looks like an impending divorce.
It doesn’t help that as the baby of the family, her older sisters tease her for caring too much. I loved getting to know all five (and then six) of Susan’s older sisters, and how their family dynamics played out once they were all together. Going further into the other avenues of this arc, I also really enjoyed seeing Esther’s family tradition of Black Metal carols, and Daisy’s time with her granny, baking up a storm.
The rest of the volume has the trio back at school, and getting into the thick of it. Mini-adventures arise with other characters that weave seamlessly throughout the narrative: there’s a glimpse of Ed, McGraw, and Dean’s domestic lives when Dean’s online girlfriend comes for a visit and he ends up engaged (and, as a result, broke). It’s great to see how the crew pulls together to get him out of what could be a potentially disastrous life choice, with Esther using her shrewd gaming wits to lead the way. Intriguingly, this volume also contains the issue where Esther, forever a blithely cynical one, suddenly becomes an activist after years of being ill-informed and unaware of the world around her. (It certainly doesn’t hurt Esther’s burgeoning awareness that there’s a cute guy named Joshua leading the charge along the picket line.)
Max Sarin and Liz Fleming’s artwork continues to be solid and the perfect visual for Allison’s writing. From the differences in Susan’s sisters that succinctly illustrate their personalities/lot in life, to the brilliant use of color and shading throughout, each issue compounds our enjoyment of and appreciation for this lived-in world.
The final issue is one where we get a lot of relationship building among the characters. Story threads from the previous issues continue here, revealing major surprises and an eureka! or two for the characters themselves. And while long-term readers will certainly benefit the most from this volume, Allison structures the story in such a way that each individual issue can be read and enjoyed based on its own merits. Every issue contains the same pathos, humor, and heart that have come to define Giant Days. For new readers, consider a collected volume of this story an embarrassment of riches, a tome that just begs for exploration.
BOOM! Box/BOOM! Studios/$14.99
Written by John Allison.
Illustrated by Max Sarin.
Inks by Liz Fleming.
Colors by Whitney Cogar.
Letters by Jim Campbell.
This book contains family drama, relationship drama, and college-aged hi-jinx.
Age range 16+