For nearly a decade, Giant Days has carved a unique space for itself in the world of comics. The slice-of-life series, which follows three friends through their time at the University of Sheffield, charmed and delighted readers in its time as a webcomic, independent release, and, finally, an ongoing title from Boom Studios. While there was a feeling that Giant Days could go on forever, the three-year university timeline lingering in the background meant that the Eisner-winning series would eventually find its end. After the goodbyes and graduation ceremonies occurring in recent issues, that finale finally arrives in the oversized one-shot Giant Days: As Time Goes By—and it's a genuinely great finale.
The issue opens a year after Esther and Daisy graduated, as they and Susan begin their time as full-fledged young adults. Esther—who captured a job at a publishing house shortly before graduation—finally makes the trek back to Sheffield, after skipping out on many previously-planned reunions with Daisy and Susan. As the trio reunite, and cross paths with a few other familiar characters in the process, Esther's work-life balance ends up complicating the week in an unexpected fashion.
Just as the bulk of Giant Days dealt with the anxieties and potential problems of being a millennial in college, this one-shot nails aspects of post-grad life in some incredibly poignant ways. In particular, the complications and isolation of throwing yourself headfirst into a career come to the forefront of this narrative, in a fashion that even those who haven't read Giant Days before could surely appreciate. Framing that issue around the endearing (and enduring) friendship of Esther, Daisy, and Susan will surely pull on readers' heartstrings without making this issue a heartbreak to read.
John Allison's writing clearly establishes the feeling that the trio's lives—and the lives of the other characters in the series—will continue far beyond the pages of this issue, which makes this goodbye far more comforting than it might otherwise be. Without getting too heavily into spoilers, As Time Goes By also has a sort of supernatural bent, one which feels like a nice homage to Esther's origins in Allison's Scary Go Round webcomic.
It feels nearly impossible to analyze Max Sarin's art in this issue, as their style has played such a significant role in making Giant Days the triumph it is. But even knowing what to expect, this finale has so many aesthetic details that are worthy of praise, from the wardrobe worn by its ensemble of characters to the reverential way that certain Sheffield locations are portrayed. Each character—whether long-established or newly-introduced—still exudes so much emotion and personality.
The color work by Whitey Cogar is both understated and gorgeous, especially when it comes to the aforementioned wardrobe. This is especially true when the issue sporadically makes the jump into even more outrageous territory, helping convey anger or isolation with delightful ease. And the lettering from Jim Campbell is similarly expressive, also grounding the series in its signature tone.
Giant Days has been a consistent gem in the world of comics, which makes its conclusion bittersweet. Even then, John Allison, Max Sarin, and company make saying goodbye to Esther, Daisy, and Susan a thoroughly entertaining and rewarding process. Giant Days: As Time Goes By will charm fans regardless of how long they've been with the series, providing a send off that's as wacky, wonderful, and earnest as all of the wonderful issues before it.
Published by Boom Studios
On October 30, 2019
Written by John Allison
Art by Max Sarin0comments
Colors by Whitney Cogar
Letters by Jim Campbell