Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Giants Beware!

If a story's greatness is defined by the likability of it's lead character then Giants Beware is up there with the behemoths of fiction. In Claudette, the lead character of Giants Beware!, Jorge Aguirre (writer) and Rafael Rosado (artist) have created one of the most memorable leads in a comic since Jeff Smith's Bone creations. She's at once intense and adorable. Motivated and lovable. Claudette is a character that lives and breathes on the page like few others we've seen.

Comparisons between Giants and Bone are obvious but not entirely without merit. Both stories center around missions undertaken by three leads whose personalities and foibles bounce off one another like rubber balls on a warm summer sidewalk. Claudette is accompanied by her best friend, Marie and her little brother Gaston. Marie is sort of cut from the Disney princess mold; though to nigh-parody degrees. While Gaston is the loyal companion who more than once saves the day by sheer accident.

Claudette, meanwhile, is a girl on a mission. Her life is only about one thing; battling giants. To this end she launches off on a quest to reach Giant's Peak where she intends to slay a fabled... well you get it. Along the way they cross paths with a witch, a haunted forest, a river king and his fish son. Adventures are had and it's all beautifully written and drawn.

Jorge has a knack for creating immensely likable characters who spit out hilarious, pithy dialogue. While his story is deceptively simple it also flows from one set piece to the next without seeming like a board game. The plot moves along briskly and never did I lose interest in the world or the characters, much of which is due to the strengths of the comedy which almost always brings the funny.

Rosado's pencils are visually stunning. His characters are alive and moving on the page. Designs are simple but, like the story, deceptively so. Page layouts are dense, typically with seven or so panels per page, but never do the pages seem crowded or busy. When he does get the chance to draw a splash or a two panel page they instantly draw you into the world of Giants Beware! His work reminds me of the best of Carl Barks or Jeff Smith but his style is distinctly different. Particularly in the amount of detail involved in every single panel and the "acting" that is done by his characters.

Giants Beware is one of the best all-ages books to come along in the last decade. It's lead is so likable, it's writing so clever, art so beautiful and it's story so fun that I can't imagine anyone NOT loving this book.

For more all-ages comics discussion check out episodes 54 and 55 of Ancillary Characters' podcast! http://directory.libsyn.com/episode/index/id/2250841

No comments:

Post a Comment