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Comic Review: 3 Story: The Secret Files of the Giant Man
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3 Story: Secret Files of the Giant Man3 Story: The Secret Files of the Giant Man
Story & Art by Matt Kindt
Digital Production by Clay Janes
Design by Matt Kindt with David Nestelle
Dark Horse Comics
Release Date: April 18, 2012
Cover Price: $3.50

Dark Horse’s graphic novel 3 Story: The Secret History of the Giant Man explores the life of Craig Pressgang, an American born during the Second World War who suffers from gigantism, grows to be three stories tall, and finds a place for himself as a U.S. government spokesperson. The book itself is told from the perspective of the three most important women in his life, his mother, wife and daughter, as he grows from a period of optimism to alienation and isolation for being so unique. It’s often said that the book, written by Matt Kindt, is a sprawling metaphor for the American spirit since the 1940s.

This isn’t that book. This book is a bit …ahem… shorter in stature.

3 Story: The Secret Files of the Giant Man is a one-shot compendium to the graphic novel, reprinting stories appearing originally in MySpace Dark Horse Presents. The stories in this volume are brief snippets of people from all around the world who worked under Pressgang as he was on a global tour during the 1960s. Some see him as a rock star and vie for his attention, some have to clean up after him and are unimpressed by the spectacle, and some show concern when he begins being mistreated by the government. They’re snapshots of different people unified only by this phenomenon.

If you’ve read the full graphic novel I doubt I need to sell you on this book. If you haven’t, let me try to hook you with something other then the story, I’ll explain why in a moment, but you should read this book because it has achingly beautiful watercolors.

More comics should be done in watercolor. It’s pretty, sure, but it can also be evocative in ways that the typical, computer-generated colors we get in most comics can achieve. Now, that’s not to knock the work most colorists do. I have the utmost respect for them, their craftsman in their own right and are just as much the storytellers as the writers and illustrators. Where would The Sixth Gun be without the wonderful and unique work of Bill Crabtree, for instance? But there is a special feeling to watercolors that particularly gets me and it stretches across many different drawing styles. It’s what made so much of Bill Watterson’s Calvin and Hobbes feel warm and handmade, like a cookie your mom made just for you. It lends Alex Ross’ work in, say, Marvels that immediate and human touch that makes you feel like oh-my-god-this-is-actually-happening-right-now-in-front-of-my-eyes!

The cover to this volume, lovely in its own way, does not nail the tone of this volume. The world Matt Kindt created is disarmingly grounded in reality. While it all takes place in the backdrop of this massive sight, it feels removed from it, as though it happened years ago and we’re watching as the storyteller struggles to recall it. Many pages are sparse in words, allowing the images to take control. This is a comic that smartly uses a classic sci-fi-ish premise as jumping board into something that quite viscerally makes you ‘feel.’

Does that make it ‘Arty’? I don’t know… Yeah, probably. So what?

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