Sunday, June 10, 2018

Comic Revue June 10: I Kill Giants

Grab your weapons. Hang on Tight.

 We're riding to Battle with

I Kill Giants is an incredible comic written by Joe Kelly and illustrated by J. M. Ken Niimura. It is a tale of pain and redemption, loneliness, loss and connection. It's a tale of everyday magic hiding just under the skin of the mundane, and the power of myth to change a life.

Barbara is a freak. A weird kid. A nutcase. From the outside. But inside, she is a hero with a sacred trust. She studies the lore. And she. Kills. Giants.
This comic is a must read. For sale at this link, it can be read here until you can buy a copy of your own. There will be no spoilers below, but I will repeat: Read. This.

The Rating

A gem.

The Raves

If you've not heard the term 'urban fantasy' before, welcome to the genre. This comic tells the tale of a girl with one foot in Faery and one foot in the principal's office. And she has something worth fighting for. Her quest consumes her. That sounds noble until it gets you sent to the school shrink. 
The exploration of the intersection between these interior and exterior experiences is seamless, poignant and absolutely true. If you were ever the weird kid, this story will bring tears to your eyes and a grin to your lips. If you were ever the one trying to help the weird kid, you'll most likely feel the same. I love this work for its ability to gently explore the interface between fact and inner truth, the fault lines where the stories we live by rub up against the expectations laid on us by those around us.
At its heart, this work is a story about stories and their power. When life hands us the incomprehensible or the unbearable, we humans have a choice: we can become stone, bearing up under the weight at the cost of shutting down our emotions. We can become shattered by the pressure. Or we can become storytellers who force the narrative of events into a tool we can use in our fight for survival. 
This comic's frank, realistic and humorous exploration of trauma and the places it can take the mind of a child is amazing. Relatable, empathic and painfully funny in equal measure, it is the story I'd most recommend to school counselors and anyone dealing with kids handling difficulties. The creators truly remember how children think, and they remember how sharp the edges on the world are when our hearts are new. In Barbara's utter focus on the rituals and lore she must abide by in order to slay giants, we understand humanity's desperate urge to have some control over our lives. In Taylor's urge to hurt others, we understand the need to feel we have power of some kind, any kind. And in Sophia's stubborn insistence on seeing the good in others, we can see that connection is what has kept humanity alive this long.

Most of all, this story reminds us why we tell stories: to make us something more than we were and give us the strength to take on our monsters. Gamian said it best: Fairy tales are more than true – not because they tell us dragons exist, but because they tell us dragons can be beaten. That is why Barbara kills giants.

And now that I've gone on my poetic rant, let's talk about the art. Don't let this work fool you. It's kept loose and stylized to match the material, but this piece knows all the tricks and uses them to advantage. The simplicity of the ink drawings, without color or complex backgrounds to dazzle the eye, leads the reader to every detail.

The pacing is perfection, and all I can say is....*happy sigh*

The Razzes

Occasional, very occasional, reversals on word balloon reading direction can be irritating breaks in the flow. I would have liked to see those resolved. Other than that? I got nothing.

The Revue

Read. This. Today. Feed your child's heart and your inner geeky soul. Go on. I double dog dare you.

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