Kat’s Music and Comics Corner Vol. 2 Issue #11
If you asked me what my favorite comic is I’d probably say a tie between Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples’ Saga or Rick Remender and Wes Craig’s Deadly Class. Two of the best (if not the best) comics out there on the shelves for both their writing and their art. But if you asked me what my favorite graphic novel is I would kinda cheat (because technically it is a comic as well) and say I Kill Giants. So it’s technically a comic and I was gifted all six single issues by my cousin/best friend (Best. Gift. Ever.) but when I first discovered it it was at the Midtown Comics in Grand Central. My original first semester block buddy and I were perusing the graphic novels and he pulled out I Kill Giants. He then proceeded to give a short but enticing description of the story. He pretty much sold me the book in that very moment because I took it out of his hands and said, “I’m getting this”. I did get it that day and it was a decision I would never grow to regret.
Joe Kelly and JM Ken Niimura really built a masterpiece together when they wrote and drew I Kill Giants. Kelly writes character dialogue effortlessly and the clever metaphors he’s written into the story for Niimura to portray through his art are so well thought out. But by far Kelly’s greatest accomplishment in this book is the creation of Barbara, our main biting, bunny-eared female protagonist. If Barbara was a vegetable she would be an onion because she is written with so many layers (ogres have layers and so do girls). She’s the kind of character who will be brazenly rude and insult her gym teacher’s sexuality in front of the entire class but she’s also the kind of character who will resort to self-harm to unhealthily cope with her problems. She puts up a strong girl facade and even as resilient as she really is, Kelly doesn’t let us be completely fooled by her sharp-tongue and rough exterior, he let’s us see her at her most vulnerable. Niimura’s art really compliments Kelly’s writing style. Niimura has an original style that finds a happy medium between a manga-style and a comic-style that’s so whimsical and loose. It’s crazy how a couple of lines can speak volumes. I really feel the emotions in the pages in both the words and the art.
Throughout the book Barbara is constantly battling these giants that only she can see and it’s never explicitly said whether or not they’re real or imaginary, *SPOILERS AHEAD* but if you read between the lines you figure out that what she’s really battling is her demons. Barbara, like me, has depression due to her problems at home. Her mother is cripplingly ill and eventually passes away. Barbara copes with this by “killing giants” but what she’s really doing is trying to fight the waves of depression from drowning her. I’ve personally and luckily have never experienced the death of a loved one, but this story gives me the strength to know that it’s possible to live through it. It won’t be easy, but it is something that can be healed over time and although the fight with depression never ends, there are things and people and a life worth living for.
– Kathryn “Kat” Fornier