Tuesday, July 20, 2010

I Kill Giants

Barbara Thorson stands out in her class. She wears bunny ears as an accessory, carries a strange bag she named Coveleski, and is obsessed with giants and fantasy gaming. She does not have many friends and seems to be out of touch with reality. Prone to outbursts and other questionable actions, she finds herself having to meet with the school counselor, a situation that further alienates her from most of her classmates. Over the course of the story we find out why she is acting the way she is, the secrets she tries so hard to hide, and about a cataclysmic event she feels coming.

The story was written by Joe Kelly, a veteran comic book writer who has substantial runs on Marvel Comics' Daredevil, Deadpool, and X-Men as well as DC Comics' Superman, JLA, and Supergirl. He also belongs to the Man of Action studio that created the cartoon series Ben 10. Jm Ken Niimura, who is mostly known for his commercial and fine art work, provides the illustrations. His combination of realism, cartoons, and scratchy expressionism makes for some impressively moving images. Additionally, his pacing conveys grandeur, empathy, and atmosphere.

A beautiful book in terms of the blend of story and art, I Kill Giants has received rave reviews. A reviewer at Reading Rants called it "bold, angry and surprisingly sweet" and also wrote that "I Kill Giants is the perfect antidote for those days when you feel like the bad guys may be winning and you need a little lift by first lunch." Blogger Nymeth wrote that "the story's sheer power, the expressive artwork, the excellent characterization, and the sensitive way in which the characters' emotions" made this one of her favorite graphic novels. Timothy Callahan adds to the praise, "Rarely has the anxiety of adolescence been so well presented, and in such an engaging, magical way." Paul Montgomery at iFanboy suggests the book be read then shared as it is too good to leave shelved.

In terms of awards, it was named Best Indy Book of 2008 by IGN. It has also been included on multiple "best of" lists, including New York Magazine's 10 best comics of 2009 and the Young Adult Library Services Association's 2010 top ten great graphic novels for teens.

Originally published as 7 issues from 2008 to 2009, I Kill Giants is available in a collected edition from Image Comics. Preview pages from the first issue are included here in this interview with Kelly.

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