I felt a bit conflicted about the movie adaption of I Kill Giants. A friend on GoodReads suggested that I try out the source material to see if it settled a bit better with me. I’m pleased to report that it most certainly did!
Joe Kelly’s I Kill Giants is far more transparent than the movie version, and I mean that in a good way. The movie liked to straddle the fence about what exactly was going on, whereas the book just puts it right out there–yes, giants are real, and yes, people can see them.
I also like that the protagonist, Barbara, is a little bit younger, a little bit more likable, a little bit more vulnerable, and a little bit more … rounded. The movie makes a mistake in that it keeps us guessing about Barbara, but in the book, Kelly tells us almost immediately about Barbara’s personal turmoil. We know why she fights, and we know what she’s fighting.
By being so direct, Kelly creates a book fraught with emotion. He makes Barbara so much more identifiable as well. I appreciate that Kelly didn’t play games–he simply delivered the story in the best way possible.
Jm Ken Niimura’s black and white art is not especially my style, but it most certainly served this story exceptionally well. His giants are unique, his action is kinetic, his panels are fluid, and his use of space is well-executed. I can absolutely understand why he’s regarded so highly.
If you had to choose between the book or the movie, I would definitely recommend the book. I’m glad Kelly and Niimura got the exposure they did due to the film, but this was a universally praised book even before the film adaptation arrived. I hope you’ll check it out!
(Did you enjoy this article? Check out Scott William Foley’s short stories HERE!)