I Kill Giants, by Joe Kelly, illustrated by J.M. Ken Niimura (Image Comics, 2010) is a moving, intelligent, and exhilarating story of a pre-teen outcast girl who sports bunny ears, is bullied, picks fights, plays Dungeons & Dragons, and most importantly, hunts and kills giants. Something terrible is happening in the upstairs of her house, which the reader soon suspects is a sick or dying mother, but our protagonist, Barbara, finds it easier to fight monstrous creatures than face her ailing parent. As the story unfolds, we find ourselves rooting for Barbara, as she develops her first real friendship with a new girl in school, slowly grapples with the monsters in her life, and learns that she is stronger than she thinks.
The story is done entirely in black and white and has many manga qualities. The overall feel is loose and spontaneous, and every frame is beautiful and interesting to look at. The images seamlessly blur fantasy and reality, all the while perfectly conveying the story's messages of love, fear, hope, and redemption.
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