Giant Days Holiday Special 2017 #1 takes the piss out of Love Actually and romantic comedy tropes in general as Daisy, Susan, and Esther head to London for the holiday. Guest artist Jenn St. Onge’s (Jem and the Misfits) is both charming and comedic, and writer John Allison gets to take a break from the relationship/friendship drama of the main Giant Days title and revel in madcap antics, Megabus jokes, and regionally specific London jokes. Colorists Sarah Stern and Kieran Quigley hold it all together with a subdued color palette with plenty of holiday greens and a different color for each of the Giant Days protagonists. (Black for Esther, of course.)
Giant Days Holiday Special works because it simultaneously believes in romantic comedy tropes and also tears them down. You want Esther’s teenage email buddy, Shelley, with a cushy government job, the perfect house, and no man to find romantic bliss while also cruelly laughing at the three, mostly pathetic suitors vying for her. (The guy filming the “office documentary” is definitely the creepiest.) Esther, Daisy, and Susan are a wonderful Greek chorus for her journey while also attempting to navigate London. Allison plays with the different aspects of British culture by giving each of the girls a different relationship with the big city from Susan’s lived an hour, been there done that attitude to Daisy’s wide eyed rural formerly homeschooled girl wonder and finally Esther’s more romantic connection to the city from a student Shakespeare play/shopping trip. The jaunts through the city, and Esther’s attempt at getting used to an office job (Speaking as a former English major, this is good practice for her.) play off the Richard Curtis/romantic comedy bits nicely like apple pie and a nice scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Jenn St. Onge’s art is cute and funny, and she uses fashion and style to enhance characterization. For example, Shelley has a spectacular post-failure at a romantic night pajama set that hints that maybe hanging out with platonic friends is a better idea. Her date, Grant, has a hair/facial hair style that screams hipster douchebag, and where would Esther be without one of her trusty skull shirts. The nice, sensitive neighbor guy Cecil is a little classier with his glasses and grey temples even if he gets violent at the end. St Onge’s pencils are clean and bold and filled with funny gestures like Esther using air quotes to tell one of Shelley’s co-workers to not be a “nice guy” and a rough bit of slapstick as Daisy, Esther, and Susan try to cheer up Shelley’s apartment with a Christmas tree complete with some perfectly British innuendo from Allison. Stern and Quigley darken the color palette for a bit so things are extra uncomfortable and awkward.
Giant Days Holiday Special 2017 is figgy pudding proof that Giant Days can get experimental, weird, and do a 40 page riff on Love Actually and still be a fantastic comic because of the humor, adorableness, and friendship at its core thanks to John Allison, Jenn St. Onge, Sarah Stern, and Kieran Quigley. In the tradition of Doctor Who and other British things, I hope there are many more of these light and clever Holiday Specials.
Story: John Allison Art: Jenn St. Onge Colors: Sarah Stern with Kieran Quigley
Story: 8.0 Art: 9.0 Overall:8.5 Recommendation: Buy
BOOM! Studios provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review