This week brings the 14th issue of Giant Days from BOOM! Box, written by John Allison, with art by Max Sarin. In this new issue Esther, Susan, and Daisy start the search for a house to rent for their second year. However, they’re a little behind schedule…so their options leave a lot to be desired.
I’m always happy to flip open a new issue of Giant Days. There’s always a 100% guarantee that you’ll be laughing and/or emotional over the events happening to this memorable cast of characters. I was pleasantly satisfied with how much the plot moves along in issue #14. While it is a build up issue for what’s sure to be another exciting ARC, it’s an entertaining one. I was fortunate enough to have the chance to chat with Giant Days writer, John Allison. Here’s the result:
CM: I want to start off by asking you when your love for comics started? What has your experience in the comic book world been like thus far?
JA: I think my answer is the stock one – they were put in front of me to keep me entertained when I was a tot. In the UK we got reprints of American Marvel comics with locally-sourced material mixed in, I guess Transformers was the first comic I was obsessed with, aged 7 or 8.
CM: How did the Giant Days story originate? What was your goal when you first started creating it?
JA: Giant Days had a long genesis. It was a spin-off of my webcomic Scary Go Round, as my series Bad Machinery (which Oni Press collects) also is. Early in Bad Machinery’s run, I had a little crisis of confidence and worked on some other projects that could possibly replace it. That wobble soon passed, but I liked the Giant Days set-up, and I drew an issue’s worth of material in 2011 with a view to pitching the series, though nothing came of it. I set it aside, but the characters niggled at me – I knew they were good. In 2013 I drew another two issues, then pitched it to Boom! Studios.
CM: Can you share a synopsis of what Giant Days is about for readers who haven’t picked up the comic yet?
JA: Giant Days is the story of three young women who become best friends purely because their dorm rooms are all next to each other when they start university. They’re thrown together by… I think when I originally made the comic, I used the term “administrative felicity”! They are a tight little unit who battle problems together.
CM: Esther, Susan, and Daisy are a great combination of personalities. Can you tell us a bit about what it was like creating their characters.
JA: Esther was well-established in Scary Go Round. She started off as an ugly duckling, but it was always my intention that she would blossom. Susan and Daisy I just doodled into life – Susan was in my sketchbook with a name and a prototypical look for a year or so, Daisy was created fully formed.
CM: The thing I love most about Giant Days is the variety of realistic situations that are included in each issue. You write with a great balance of emotion and comedy. How do you manage to keep that balance going?
JA: I lean towards the comedy, then my editors remind me to put some emotions into it. They’re both important, but there’s certainly one I find easier.
CM: Currently there are two volumes of Giant Days out which collect the first eight issues. May 4th will bring the release of issue #14. Thus far, the girls have been going through some major changes. Failed relationships and doubts about college complicate their lives. Can you share any teasers about what’s coming next?
JA: Over the next few issues, the first year comes to an end, and that’s the end of playtime to a certain extent, because in the second year they’re living out among the local population, they have to look after themselves, and their grades actually count to their final degrees. Obviously they still have mad, silly adventures, but the stakes get incrementally higher. In the immediate future, I’m very excited about issues 15 and 16, which cover student film-making and some extreme dating danger.
CM: What has been the most rewarding and challenging part of working on this comic?
JA: The most rewarding thing has been working with talented people who make my work so much better. The response to the series has been lovely and it really is the sum of all the parts that go into the book – readers included. The greatest challenge is trying to keep the standard up when I write. I don’t want to write a flabby issue where people say, eh, not such a good one this month. I thought there would be six issues, and I’m currently writing the 17th and working out right up to the 24th – I have to keep my head in the game.
CM: Lastly, if you had to describe Giant Days in three words, what would they be?
JA: A good time.
I agree whole-heartedly, John. It always adds an extra level of enjoyment for the reader when you get to know what the creator puts into the process of getting their comics on the shelves. I hope that Giant Days is around for a very long time. Be sure to pick up Giant Days #14 this week, and preview the first few pages below for a bit of a teaser.