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I Kill Giants

Updated on October 23, 2011

Barbara Thorson is a strange girl. Often behind a book, frequently wearing a bunny ears head band, she is perhaps the angriest, most sarcastic fifth grader ever. And oh yeah, she insists that she fights and kills giants who threaten the human world.

But Barbara is not merely some angry kid. There is a room in her house from which creepy sounds issue which she refuses to enter, and she's being taken care of by her older sister, her father having taken off and...something else having happened to her mother. What that is is a mystery, because whenever she's mentioned, the speech bubbles of the person who mentioned her become obscured, the words scratched out by angry black lines (a really interesting use of the possibilities of the comic book form, by the way).

The story of "I Kill Giants" is interesting. We're never sure if Barbara is off her rocker or if the giants she claims to fight (with a holy hammer supposedly kept in her tiny pocketbook) are actually real. Many things are from Barbara's point of view, and how she sees the world is quite different from how others do. She also cycles back and forth between being a likable and an unlikable character. She's intelligent and witty (so much so that adult D&D players are in awe of her dungeonmaster skills), but also needlessly cruel and caustic to pretty much everyone around her. She also has a violent streak a mile wide, twice in the graphic novel beating up or hitting someone trying to help her.

The art style is interesting, scratchy and loosely anime inspired, which gives the story a certain dynamism which made its characters seem to be actually moving. Unfortunately, this also sometimes makes it difficult to understand what the heck is going on, and I was confused on occasion.

All in all, a great book, for anyone who's ever been in pain, or in elementary school (is there really a difference?). Check it out if you run into it


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