Esther is home for spring break and has decided to use this time to finish her dissertation on the American novel. This is easier said than done because she’s lost her inspiration, her family is driving her nuts, and everything has changed in her home town. Maybe a visit with everyone’s favorite goth kid, Lottie will help.
Giant Days #49 hits on a feeling that everyone goes through at some point in their lives. Esther has gone off to school and has continue to grow as a person. While she was away, her home and the people in and around it have done the same, so when she comes back, she doesn’t fit into the same spot anymore. This takes a little time for Esther to fully realize this and come to grips with it. It’s a pretty poignant journey for her.
Throughout the issue, Esther is trying to find something familiar to grab onto. This is what brings her back to Lottie and even she has changed. Since she’s stressed out about the dissertation, she wants something stable to ground her. It’s like she’s drowning and can’t find a life preserver.
This goes both ways too as Esther’s parents don’t really know how to speak to her anymore. They try and fail to cheer her up and support her over and over again. They mean well, but just can’t quite get on the same page. Writer John Allison hits on a very real feeling with these interactions. It’s simultaneously beautiful and heartbreaking.
This comes to a head in an emotional confrontation between Esther and her mother. It’s the kind of thing that makes you want to hug your parents and/or your children. This is one of the reasons Giant Days continues to be such a great comic. It can make you laugh out loud one moment and then hit you right in the feels the next.
There’s a great sequence where Esther heads to a local pub and runs into some old friends. She instantly regrets this decision. Letterer Jim Campbell sums this up well with her internal narration caption boxes placed over the bulky word balloons of the people Esther is speaking with. Coupled with the wry look on her face, it makes for a great combination.
Esther is as expressive as ever, going through a wide variety of emotions. Artist Max Sarin captures such a range as she goes through everything from depression and rage to hope and happiness. We can see almost all of these in her journey through the pub as she goes through each group of people, dismissing them as the z-list folks she doesn’t want to talk to.
There’s a dark cloud of sorts hanging over Esther as she tries to figure things out. Colorist Whitney Cogar captures this moody demeanor well, even in the daytime scenes where the sun is shining brightly. Esther can’t quite escape this baggage bringing her down.
Giant Days #49 was a bit of a change of pace as it focused entirely on Esther. Susan only showed up for a single page and Daisy wasn’t in it at all. That’s totally fine because this issue was full of some character defining moments for Esther, showing how she’s growing as a person. If you didn’t love her before, you certainly will after reading this book.