I’ve been struggling to make my way through a novel and decided to take a sideways read. Influenced by an article on Pajiba I picked up I Kill Giants, the graphic novel by Joe Kelly and J.M. Ken Niimura. I’m a fan of the medium and thought it was worth a read without knowing the plot beyond that described in the article.
A simple way to describe this is that it’s about a teenage girl (Barbara Thorson) who seems isolated and ostracised from the world around her. She’s bullied at school, doesn’t have friends, and her home life seems strangely troubled. It seems that she has retreated into a fantasy world where she is a brave giant killer armed with a magical warhammer called Coveleski. The school counsellor and a new girl in town try to help but she is resistant to their support and aggressive and it’s clear that there is more to this than what we see.
It’s hard to say more about the story without spoiling the plot so I’ll avoid that. I will say that for me personally it was a tough read as this time of year I experienced a similar event with a parent, and with the same cause. Not knowing that was where the story was headed resulted in it being a real emotional hit when the narrative unfolded.
Artistically it’s an interesting style, an almost naive black & white approach for the most part with vivid detail particularly around the fantasy elements. There’s also a very interesting choice of scribbled out words in dialogue for the parts that Barbara doesn’t want to hear, because then it makes it real.
It’s not going to be to everyone’s taste but for anyone from about 12 and up, particularly those who’ve had some difficulties in life (whether that’s bullying, social issues, or family problems) it’s a worthwhile read.