By Joe Kelly & JM Ken Nimura.
I finished I Kill Giants this morning, and have spent a good chunk of the day trying to figure out how to review it effectively. I doubt I can do it justice, but I’m gonna try to give you an idea of what you’ll be getting into.
Despite the cartoony, scribbly art style, this isn’t a light read. In a nutshell, it’s about a young girl gradually accepting and dealing with her real life situation using fantasy and imagination. Barbara isn’t necessarily a likable character. She’s an oddball and it shows in the way she’s drawn, with her bug-like glasses and outlandish headgear, and the heart-shaped pouch she always carries. She isn’t interested in the things other kids are interested in. Instead, she’s a hardcore Dungeons & Dragons Dungeon Master who religiously researches fantasy lore – to the point where she literally lives it. She sees creatures other people don’t see, and interacts with them. To Barbara, other people are a distraction from her true work (being a giant killer) and she keeps them at a distance with minimal social interactions. Obviously, there’s a reason for her behavior. As we follow her journey, we learn why she acts the way she does, and how the fantasy Barbara’s created to shield herself from reality mirrors real life.
I Kill Giants is a heartbreakingly human story that anyone can relate to. Its masterful presentation makes full use of its potential, surprising you with how emotionally involved you’ll get. Regardless of whether you’ve read comics/graphic novels before, or how old you are, this is a piece of literature that deserves to be read and treasured. To those who believe comics are for kids, this is proof they can be mature, deep, complex, and emotionally investing narratives.
This is a must-read. 5/5 stars.