Big Girls #1 Review: Pandemic-Era Gender Exploration as a Horror Comic

Big Girls #1
9.5/10
A killer debut that poses a horrific "What if" question with an even scarier answer.

Some of the best speculative fiction takes a big What If question, and, in effort of answering that question, builds characters and entire mythologies. Stephen King, for example, is known to work that way, where he begins with a core curiosity ("What if a vampire came to a small town?") and unravels it all from there. Big Girls by writer/artist Jason Howard and letterer Fonografiks feels like that, with the question being What would happen to the world if scientific experiments gone wrong led some newborn boys to turn into giant monsters and some newborn girls to grow up to be giant people? It's a truly pandemic era take on a Y: The Last Man-style exploration of gender and society's response to a world-altering trauma… but does it make a good comic?

Howard writes and draws Big Girls #1. Credit: Image Comics
Howard writes and draws Big Girls #1. Credit: Image Comics

Big Girls #1 introduces the concept fluidly, concisely, and with grace, feeding the reader all of the information they need to know very quickly so that the rest of the comic can focus on answering the book's core What If? question. Jason Howard is terrific as both a writer and an artist, delivering scenes of immense horror and heart-pounding action as he pits a giant woman, tasked with keeping "the Preserve" (a sanctuary city for humanity, essentially) safe, against the equally large monstrosities attempting to get inside. While the action and creature design is every bit as intriguing as Howard's impeccable writing, there is a shocking scene in the middle of the book that is a major show-stopper. Big Girls is not a gentle book, and it plays on where readers will generally expect a story to draw the line… and then, it blows the line's brains out.

With intriguing mythology and a story that is as bold as its title, Big Girls is a killer debut from Jason Howard as the first series on which he takes the role of both writer and artist. With the back matter revealing that Howard is already working on the seventh issue, I'd personally love to see Big Girls run a long while.

About Theo Dwyer

Theo Dwyer writes about comics, film, and games.