I Kill Giants
One collected edition of note is I Kill Giants by Joe Kelly and JM Ken Niimura. In 2008, it was awarded “Best Indy Book of 2008” by IGN. Dan Kois (New York Magazine) put it in his top ten comics list for 2009. The Young Adult Library Services Association named it one of 2010’s “top ten great graphic novels for teens.” (Yes, I got all that info from Wikipedia).
Now that I have had a chance to read it, do I think it is worth all the hype? I would give a qualified yes.
I Kill Giants (or IKG as it is affectionately referred to) is the story of a fifth grade girl, Barbara Thornton, with what appears to be a very troubled view of the world. After all, what eleven year old needs to kill giants? However, as the story progresses, we find that sometimes, just as things are not always as they appear, things are as they appear. Our young heroine does have to deal with giants: real giants in our lives, the fantasy giants from stories, and the giants that lurk in our minds.
The story was strong, and I found myself sympathizing with Barbara. Unfortunately, I did not think all of the words that came out of her mouth to be the most authentic for a girl of her age. While those words might have pulled me (a former grade school teacher married to a school psychologist) out of the story, they may be of real interest to young readers of the graphic novel. Their sympathy for Barbara is undoubtedly more important than mine.
The art caught my eye as well. Mr. Niimura lives in Spain and is of Spanish/Japanese decent. I never doubted that the story took place in the US, but I could tell that the artist had been influenced by outside sources. His characters have the beautiful, wide eyes of manga characters, but his line drawings have a certain grace (European?) that not many American comic book artists can master in their rush to get to the next battle.
There are currently two collected editions available. One is the hardback. It has 300 pages and includes a script of the first story as well as sketches of the characters. The other, the paperback, just has the story in 180 pages. I have not seen the larger edition so I will give my rating for the soft: If you are buying this for yourself, it is $9.99/$15.99. However, I recommend you buy it for someone else, someone younger…
Bottom Line: $15.99/$15.99