Graduation, Friends Forever: Giant Days #54

Giant Days #54

John Allison (writer), Jim Campbell (letterer), Whitney Cogar (colorist), Max Sarin (artist)
BOOM! Studios
September 4, 2019

As we go on, we remember, all the times we spent together… remember that song? Well, it’s time to bid goodbye to Sheffield. The Giant Days community dons robe and mortarboard for that passage of life in this final regular issue.

Cover for Giant Days #54 - John Allison (writer), Jim Campbell (letterer), Whitney Cogar (colorist), Max Sarin (artist), BOOM! Studios September 4, 2019 - Two women in graduation caps and gowns tossing their caps in the air, while the other ducks and covers
It’s time to break out the itchy polyester robes and awkward small talk between parents and professors. Daisy, Esther, and Ed are all graduating. Before the walk across the stage for the sheepskin, the trio has one more early summer term together, full of first job offers, plus a shocking haircut. And then it’s the moment we fans knew would come, but could never really prepare for: that final goodbye.

What has made Giant Days such a strong series is its small slice-of-life moments, real people in real situations. And this final regular issue is no exception. John Allison finds those ways to get at those feels in the slightest of ways. The shock at seeing someone chopping off their long flowing locks to prepare for the corporate world. Esther’s farewell and passing of the torch to her successor at Danger Nebula. These are moments that make you smile, but then tug at those heartstrings. Everyone is growing up.

I also give credit to Allison for concluding the series at this natural ending point, because it would be too easy to keep everyone in town just to wring out more story potential. (I’m looking at you, The O.C. and Beverly Hills, 90210.) When properties go this route, the story lines come off as unrealistic and contrived. It’s natural for such a life event as a graduation to prompt folks to go their own ways and chase their own dreams. Nothing lasts forever.

On the other hand, it’s just a bit too much of a happy ending for me, particularly with all our main players already gainfully employed. Yes, we want to know that these characters are going to turn out just fine. But a situation like that is not reflective of the current job market for college graduates. Would it have been nice for one of them, maybe Daisy with her archaeology degree, to find herself facing an unknown future? Perhaps. And that could be what we see next month in the special that truly concludes this series, As Time Goes By.

The beauty of Giant Days has been its consistency in art teams. With only a few exceptions, Max Sarin has been the lead artist on this series. And in that time, Sarin shows just how much they know these characters. They make every facial expression pop, and those small moments feel so large and so poignant.

You feel the white-hot anger of Mr. and Mrs. de Groot when they suddenly and inadvertently discover their daughter’s body art, thanks to their exaggerated anger and flames in the background. Then you bask in the warm glow of Susan, Daisy, and Esther enjoying carefree moments before graduation together, with Susan and Esther acting like a charming classically British elderly married couple. And then the night before commencement, you chuckle at Susan’s desire to get a diploma herself likened to a video game. These exaggerated metaphors adding color to those relatable situations has been part of what makes this series so wonderful. And it’s part of what makes it even harder to say goodbye.

Just as Giant Days began, the final panel ends with Susan’s reflections. She’s not out of Sheffield just yet, thanks to medical school. And there’s hints that maybe she and McGraw are at a fork in the road in their relationship. Everyone’s at their own fork in the road, the first of many in their young lives. Adjusting to adulthood and all its new sets of obstacles won’t be easy. But as long as these three have each other, I have faith that they’ll all be just fine.

Like that song goes: as our lives change, come whatever, we will still be friends forever.

Kate Kosturski

Kate Kosturski

Librarian by day, comics nerd by day and by night. Also published at Geeks OUT and Multiversity Comics (where she is also the social media manager for the site). Originally from New Jersey, now of Connecticut and New York City. Raging feminist your mother probably warned you about. Body positivity and LGBTQ+ advocate. Lover of good whiskey, Jensen Ackles, Doctor Who, Funko Pops, knitting, Hamilton, and the New York Mets. Will defend the Oxford Comma to her deathbed. Find her on twitter at @librarian_kate