Giant Days 2016 Holiday Special #1
What a treat! Original series artist Lissa Treiman returns to illustrate John Allison’s “what if” tale, an exploration of what would have happened if the core trio of Daisy, Esther, and Susan hadn’t become friends on the first day of college. I love that this series has done such a great job building these characters that I feel like I know them well enough to enjoy a story with alternate versions.
Due to a few minutes’ difference, Esther gets swept up into a group of popular mean girls. By the time Christmas rolls around, Susan is vowing revenge, Esther is drunk all the time, and Daisy is blasting Enya to cope with being harassed.
Of course, the universe wants them to come back together, and they do, to teach a lesson to the evil, selfish ones. It all spills out in unexpected ways, demonstrating the strengths of this series: well-observed, realistic character moments and stunning plotting, told through evocative art with a fabulous sense of movement and emotion. It’s a nice take on the second of the standard Christmas stories in popular culture, where people wonder what the world would be like without them. (The first, of course, is teaching someone the miracle of Christmas through ghosts, as in A Christmas Carol.)
A backup story, with art by Caanan Grall, sends Esther to get the holiday turkey in the midst of huge crowds. It’s silly and exaggerated and weirdly ridiculous. Even when events are overly imaginative, though, the authenticity of the personalities comes through. (The publisher provided a digital review copy.)