Go ahead and put I Kill Giants on hold. It’s fine, I’ll wait.
Okay, you’re back.
On career day, Barbara Thorson proudly announces to her fifth grade class that she kills giants. Barbara plays Dungeons & Dragons and she takes the rule books which govern the game and applies them to her life. She kills giants, yes, but she also talks to fairies and keeps a magical warhammer named Coveleski hidden in her pocketbook.
Barbara lives in a fantasy world, but it’s one so real that it pulls the reader in. It also keeps others at bay. Barbara is a target for bullies and spends more time in the principal’s office than class. Mrs. Molle, the school psychologist, tries to reach her, and new girl Sophia wants to be her friend, but Barbara has seen the portents and knows what’s coming.
I Kill Giants is the best graphic novel I’ve read this year and it’s certainly the most emotionally affecting one. The story it tells can only exist with the combination Joe Kelly’s words and JM Ken Niimura’s art, making it a prime example of what comics can accomplish.