The very final issue of Giant Days, the double-length As Time Goes By #1 special, is out today. Do not be fooled by the numbering scheme – there will be no #2. Find out how the ladies are getting on, one year on. Get it in your local comic shop or on Comixology,

Thanks to all my collaborators on the series – artists Max Sarin, Lissa Treiman, Yulia Madrigal, Jenn St-Onge and Caanan Grall, inker Liz Fleming, colourists Whitney Cogar and Jeremy Lawson, and especially letterer Jim Campbell, there for every issue. And special thanks to my editors, Shannon Watters, Sophie Philips-Roberts and Jasmine Amiri. Without all of you I could not have done any of this.

Indie comics don’t get to put out 58 issues these days except in borderline miracle circumstances. Almost no comics do. Thank you to all our readers for coming back, month after month. This felt like I remember comics being, which was my hope all along. It has been a joy.

– John

COMMENTARY

I thought it might be fun/interesting to write some commentary for this issue – something I never do – but obviously if you are reading in trade or haven’t cracked GD:ATGB (as I will now refer to it), STOP HERE BECAUSE THERE WILL BE SPOILERS.

STOP

I MEAN IT

I CANNOT HELP YOU ANY MORE

OKAY

Now, strictly speaking, issue 54 was the finale. On paper, right at the start of the Boom! series, I had a dream allocation of 18 issues per school year. I didn’t know what I’d put in those issues, exactly, but that seemed like enough pages to get things done. Six issues per term. I think in sixes for episodes because UK sitcoms tend to be commissioned in batches of six. Unfortunately, with four issues per collection, one book would have been two short. So for issues 55 & 56, for a long time, I had the hopeful words “two-part finale” written on my whiteboard. I did not know what the story would be. For a long time, I was quite worried that I would never know what the finale would be.

Cognisant of the fact that PEOPLE HATE ENDINGS OF EVERYTHING ALMOST EVERY TIME, and as a student of TV series endings since childhood, I knew I had to try to land the plane, and when I did, people would throw tomatoes at me. So in issue 54, I wrote the straightest, nicest ending that I could. Perfect. Then I wrote a one-year flashforward.

BECAUSE I LOVE THE ENDINGS OF ALL TV SHOWS EVEN WHEN THEY ARE VERY BAD AND I HAD A LOT OF ENDINGS STILL TO WRITE.

But first: Scott Pilgrim.

The first issue of Giant Days, the self-published one that is in “Early Registration”, features a big fight, Daisy yogic-flying through the air, hair extensions on fire, and any more hyper-real situations. Like anyone with any sense at the time, I loved Bryan Lee O’Malley’s Scott Pilgrim books and perhaps leaned a little too heavily on them with that first mini. After the 47th person at a con said they liked the first Giant Days, that it “reminded them of Scott Pilgrim”, I determined that I should remove that aspect of it. But the truth is, without SP, there probably wouldn’t be GD, so for the finale, a full eight years after I got “a bit too Scott”, I relaxed my rule. Once more, people would be allowed to fly through the air (where appropriate). What could anyone do to me? It’s the final issue. Also, Max Sarin is an incredible artist so the flying through the air would be 100x as good.

Next, I thought about all the endings I had seen. It’s impossible to please everybody, but what if I attempted to do all kinds of ending in one ending? Futureshock ending? Sudden, abrupt, committal ending? Mad peril ending? Talky, reflective ending? But I also wanted to focus on the main three, Daisy, Esther and Susan, rather than wasting pages waving off various satellite characters. So it had to be a proper Giant Days story, not a mad parade.

It’s up to you to decide whether I executed the ending that I wanted to successfully. I was quietly pleased with it.

+++ VERY SPOILERY NOTES ON THE ISSUE FOLLOW +++

Page 1: There are no UK offices of Farrar, Straus & Giroux.

Page 2: I’m sure there are nice Cressidas in the world but I am also sure there are no poor Cressidas in the world. These are not nice Cressidas.

Page 3: Saffy and Daisy are a thing. I really wanted Daisy to have found happiness with the anti-Ingrid, someone who had the traits of Ingrid that Daisy found attractive – mainly confidence and intelligence – but in a kinder package.

Page 4: I was followed on the morning that I started writing this script by a Twitter bot whose profile pic was a middle-aged Asian woman and whose profile read, simply “portable tamping pickaxe”.

Page 5: Thank Max Sarin for all the queer representation in the backgrounds of this book because if I was drawing it, most of the people in the periphery would look like characters from a 1970s Ladybird book. Thanks Max.

Page 6: I think there are more mentions of lathes in the run of Giant Days than appear elsewhere in the entire body of American print comics. I do not own a lathe but David Malki (of Wondermark fame etc) does and when I found out about it, it haunted my thoughts.

Page 7: I wanted to Shelley to be in this issue briefly, as a nod to the wider Scary Go Round universe. I like that she showed up right at the end of the series, issue 52 is one of my favourites.

Page 9: A Super Hang-On machine. This is an incredible metaphor, a message from the cosmos for Esther. I was so pleased with how on-the-nose this was that I applauded myself.

Page 10: Derek Dooley lore. Derek Dooley is a Sheffield footballing legend, I hope no one thinks I am making fun of the fact that he lost a leg. I just wanted people to look him up on Wikipedia and know his name. They named a bit of the ring road after him.

Page 13: Susan has gone on a real journey of self-acceptance and now rather likes her own face. I, on the other hand, have always liked her face, and bear in mind that inevitably I draw it with piranha teeth.

Page 17: The “hating book” is from JP Martin’s “Uncle”. Beaver Hateman writes the names of his enemies in a hating book.

Page 18: The flat mouse incident happened to me a week or two before writing this issue. I wish I’d kept it but I am not sentimental about dessicated rodents.

Page 19: At school, someone said that they had three sisters and they “moult like cats.” It has stayed with me.

Page 21: Bungalows and Bears is real, I had the best roast beef I have ever eaten there once. Next time I went, the beef had changed. Not the same. I still don’t know how they did it.

Page 22: I think “Old London Soup” was something shouted by a character, once, on Steve Wright In The Afternoon on Radio 1 in 1990. I don’t think it’s a real thing. I don’t even know if I dreamt it.

Page 24: Susan gets punchy, as the prospect of things going a bit “early Giant Days” starts to loom.

Page 25: I think that’s me in panel 5, I just spotted myself. Also, look at Esther in panel 1! She looks like a Donya Todd drawing, she’s coming apart.

Page 27: Things get well sad manga here and I’m not even joking?

Page 28: The ladies are at one of my favourite Sheffield caf├ęs, Alyssum, very near Susan and McGraw’s flat on Crookesmoor (which you can stand outside if you really want to). It’s one of my favourites because its name sounds like my name, of course. But the service is also excellent.

Page 30: An all important shout-out to New Scientist.

Page 32: I decided that the end of the issue was where the Scott Pilgrim rule would be broken, partly because I wanted to see Max draw some really loopy things. What ensues is even better than I hoped it would be. It’s both a tip of the hat to Bryan and fanservice, me being the fan, of Max.

Page 37: We are running out pages. I did this on purpose. This is exactly the feeling you got watching a sci-fi/ fantasy show’s final episode when the clock is three minutes from the end and they have still not beaten the “big bad”.

Page 38: Derek Dooley, Sheffield’s favourite ever man, does it again from beyond the grave. Well done Derek Dooley.

Page 39: Very very very pleased with Esther’s shrug in panel 6.

Page 40: We end without a clear answer. I don’t really know what Esther does next, I never have. I just have the sense she’ll be all right.