Who doesn’t love a good mystery? When the Dark Nebula comic shop where Esther works is plagued by a crafty shoplifter, Susan springs into action, using her skills as an amateur sleuth to track down the culprit. That’s right, folks. Giant Days goes hard-boiled in this issue.
We’ll get into the specifics a bit in a moment, but I want to start off by calling out my absolute favorite aspect of Giant Days #46. When Susan heads out to try and catch the shoplifter, the comic shifts entirely to black and white. This is a pitch perfect effect and plays up the whole noir private eye aspect of the story. It’s like Sin City through the lens of Giant Days and I could not be happier.
Artist Max Sarin uses the shadows incredibly well, lighting the scenes with streetlights that create some circular spots of clarity. Susan looks like a detective that’s been on the job far too long. Esther had her wear one of her skull scarfs for warmth and it stands out in the darkness.
These scenes contrast well with Jeremy Lawson’s colors for the rest of Giant Days #46. It’s the usual bright, colorful palette that this book is known for. It’s funny when we shift from one to the other. It’s an abrupt change that works with the story so it’s never jarring when we suddenly find ourselves in the noir landscape. There’s one panel that has a mix of the two and it’s gorgeous.
Nearly everyone is pulled into this mystery, with Susan, Esther, and Daisy as the main players in this case. Although they’re doing the detective work, McGraw has the award for the best lines of the comic as Susan calls him to ask what the most stable drain-pipe is to “shin up.” We only see his half of the phone conversation and his reaction is priceless. He doesn’t want to participate in this, but his knowledge of manly construction stuff can’t be held back.
While Susan is leading the charge for this investigation, Esther and Daisy tag along for the ride. When they pop up, they’re in the black-and-white world too, but they have a much different approach. Letterer Jim Campbell uses a beige color for Susan’s narration while Esther and Daisy have blue and pink caption boxes, which stand out like a sore thumb (in the best way) in this noir setting. It’s just the right amount of silly.
Giant Days never ceases to amaze me. The comic can tackle anything, even a hard-boiled detective tale and do it with a hilarious bend. Writer John Allison has made something spectacular with this book.