Giant Days: As Time Goes By #1
Writer: John Allison
Artist: Max Sarin
Colorist: Whitney Cogar
Letterer: Jim Campbell
Publisher: BOOM! Box
If only Giant Days could go on forever. Following the conclusion of the long-running, multiple-Eisner-Award-winning BOOM! Box series with issue #54 last month, creator John Allison, artist Max Sarin, colorist Whitney Cogar, and letterer Jim Campbell put together one last hurrah for fans with Giant Days: As Time Goes By #1, which revisits Esther, Susan, Daisy, McGraw, and Ed one year after graduation. It’s a fitting, if bittersweet goodbye to Sheffield, and one that captures all the magic of the original series while also reminding fans that just because the characters are moving on, doesn’t mean they’re really gone — their adventures remain, forever immortalized, in the comic that’s won so many hearts.
As Time Goes By sees Esther working as a publishing assistant in London, Ed definitely hating his fancy bank job, McGraw working at a hardware store in spite of better offers, Susan decidedly not using a bone saw every day as a doctor, and Daisy doing her best not to get cursed doing archaeology. Everyone is where they’re meant to be, and yet, the often inescapable loneliness of being an adult with a demanding job is deeply affecting Esther.
In fact, her new London problems plague her all the way to Sheffield when she finally makes it back for a best friends reunion with Daisy and Susan after too much time away. What follows is an adventure that requires each member of this crew to put their best foot forward in order to stamp out an overly-intrusive threat, while also being forthright with each other about their feelings and limitations as people.
Basically, Giant Days: As Time Goes By is exactly what you would expect it to be, within the context of the larger series. It’s a day in the life of these beloved individuals as they navigate what is — by any definition — a totally normal problem, through their own dramatic, fantastical means. The issue isn’t maudlin and it isn’t rooted in the kind of nostalgia that informs so many of the reboots and reunions we see in pop culture today. It feels very much like a natural extension of the series itself, which is surely because of its release proximity to Giant Days #54 and also because of this creative team’s storytelling sensibilities.
In a word, As Time Goes By is perfect, except for the glaring flaw of being a oneshot, and also the conclusive finale to this story. When I heard that Giant Days was coming to an end, I decided to take the plunge and dive in from the beginning, as I’d heard nothing but good things about the series for years but never actually managed to get to it on my to-read list. I ended up reading the entire series over the course of just a couple weeks and loving every single second of it, but also dreading the inevitable: its end. It’s rare that a slice of life story can feel so fresh and so good at every single turn, even when its characters are making ridiculous choices that are borderline annoying, or when they’re legitimately suffering from the kinds of heartbreak we’ve all been through.
Giant Days handles several loud, intense personalities with incredible balance, and it tackles a number of tough topics with aplomb. Allison, Sarin, Cogar, and Campbell are a team made in Heaven. While it’s devastating that they won’t be working together in this world anymore, it’s an honor and a blessing to have been able to spend so much time getting to know and fall in love with these characters during such a significant and transformative part of their lives.
If you haven’t managed to pick up Giant Days yet, do yourself a favor and start from the beginning, right now. By the time you reach As Time Goes By, you’re sure to understand these bittersweet feelings; but more importantly, you’ll have read one of the finest comics of the decade. The hype is worth it. I promise.