Giant Days is a brilliant, weird, funny comic about three girls living together at Sheffield University in the UK. Created by John Allison and drawn by talents including Max Sarin, Lissa Treiman and Whitney Cogar, the series has been going strong for several years now, and has amassed a rightfully devoted fanbase.

As it’s set in England, though, and because Allison has such strong instincts as a writer, there are a lot of jokes and references which might fly over the head of the international audience. Here, then, are our annotations to help guide you through life at Sheffield University.

Page 1

Burlesque life drawing is a short step to the right of being a Doctor, I guess. You still have to be pretty good at getting your anatomy correct, but nobody’s quite so bothered if the knee bone is connected to the shin bone.

“in the nack” is exactly what you think it is. I like that Esther has a little skull as her keyring, but it’d be terrible if you had it in your pocket and you sat on it, wouldn’t it?

Page 2

What we have learned here is that Esther is the fastest, and Daisy is the least aerodynamic. Imagine if you sat on your keyring and then you had to stand outside in just your socks for a bit? Eesh.

Page 3

Possibly unintentional, but the little flash of light over Esther’s head looks like a crown.

Susan’s referring back to Esther’s moonlighting as a foxy boxer, as seen in “Giant Days: Year One” in all its glory. Read Claire’s annotations of that series here!

You have to admire Susan’s quick thinking in sellotaping a bunch of knives to the end of a broom. That’s the sort of smart thinking that’ll get us all through Brexit! Daisy, on the other hand, is not somebody I’m going to want on the team when Civil War II breaks out. The broom is sharper than the re-conciliatory argument, Daisy, just like Shakespeare always said.

Page 4

Having a messy room would probably help in the case of a burglary, because it’d make the whole stealing process take far longer. My grandpa was broken into, but he’s a hoarder who keeps all his empty jewellery/watch boxes, so those poor thieves probably spent hours opening each one up to see if there was anything of worth they could get hold of.

Susan’s anti-banker attitude is also going to stand her in good stead when the tides of war turn once more to British shores and we all must rise up and take out the 1%.

Page 5

Enya was always destined to end up in the cloud. It’s what she would have wanted.

Page 6

The girls are literally going through the stages of grief here. They’ve tried to be chipper about the whole thing, but Daisy’s despair now them both to anger at one another. It’s not something they could have helped, but the thing about getting robbed is that you desperately feel that somehow you had to have been to blame somehow. These things don’t just happen… but they do.

Burglars now have gotten a lot less refined over the years. Nowadays they’ll just melt the lock on your door or saw around the bolt on your back gate. It’s a more brutal age.

Page 7

Cadbury’s Creme Egg is a thing, and none of us know how it ever got here. What we do know is that it’s got a molten sugar centre, and mixing it in with vodka is almost certainly going to get you both completely hammered and on a sugar-rush at the same time. That stuff sounds gnarly.

Nice of David Caruso to stop by for a quick cameo. CSI: Oop North. Caruso is of course the star of CSI:Miami, which opens each episode with him making some kind of pun statement about the murder he’s just stumbled upon before putting his sunglasses on and turning to camera.

Page 8

That’s quite a good trick, actually. There’s no rule that has to say your security answers are the truthful answers – just as long as you can remember what the password is, everything’s fine.

This police officer doesn’t look like a bored 18 year old or a tired forty year old. This is unreflective of British policing!!

Page 9

“espy” is just a way of saying “spy” – Susan’s accusing McGraw of paying far too much attention to her home, which could well be the case. She also accuses him of “white knighting”, which is the idea of the heroic man sailing in on his horse to rescue the poor defenceless woman. When a woman accuses you of white knighting, she’s saying you’re stepping in her way when she’s perfectly capable of handling things herself. If a man accuses you of white knighting, you probably just tweeted that you don’t support sexual assault as a concept.

The five point mortice lock is the standard type of lock. Susan thinks McGraw may be attuned to a spiritual force which binds us all and also warns those trained in it when there’s a nut that needs bolting in place.

Getting medieval on someone’s ass has a history that predates Pulp Fiction. It also helps back up Susan’s ‘white knighting’ tangent. Read more about it here!

Page 10

I don’t know why I never clocked that Daisy is biracial. The story of her parents is very sad, if also completely rad because the Bermuda Triangle is a famous spot for international mystery. It’s a triangular area in, uh, Bermuda where a number of planes and boats have allegedly gone missing. Barry Manilow wrote a song about it.

Page 11

Oh, those perfect girls.

Page 12

Esther really has gone full-on Morticia today, hasn’t she? Note how the rain of sadness pours down on them all, but Daisy doesn’t have an umbrella. Daisy always has an umbrella, so I think she must have lent hers to the other two so she could walk in sadness but also look after them at the same time.

Page 13

Daisy could be the ghost of Christmas Past and Christmas Present, but I don’t think she could pull off Christmas Future. She’s get guilty halfway through and have to call off the whole thing.

Page 14

I like that tray on the side of the desk. Another smart idea! I always knew it was a great idea to take all my life advice from comics!

Fencing is the act of bringing in a middleman to create distance from the robber and the buyer. The “fence” buys stolen goods off the burglar and then sells them back on to whoever the buyer is, giving the buyer complete innocence if they are questioned by the police.

Daisy and Esther are getting a little carried away in the excitement and drama of it all. Susan, a medical student who has to deal with the aftermath of fights, is less keen. Her plan is a smart one: make them watch Road House, the Patrick Swayze film where he plays a bouncer? I think? Of a rough bar in America. I think a bunch of people get their throat ripped out – listen to this episode of How Did This Get Made?, because I bet that’ll explain it all.

Page 15

What a worrying response to watching Road House.

Amazingly, Susan calls out Esther for looking like Morticia Adams. She makes her dress up like Sporty Spice instead, whilst Daisy dresses up like… uh…

Nothing is ‘arder than having tattoos on your hands. It’s the Jay Edidin special.

Page 16

The girls arrive in Attercliffe. Here’s an article which may be of interest for any of you who were ever considering the same.

You can make informed guesses about certain pubs based on their names, but I don’t know what a “Tony” joint is. Maybe it was meant to say “Toby”, as in, a Toby Carvery? That’s a chain of cheapo pubs which do discount Sunday dinners for people in tracksuits. I have been that man, in that Carvery, wearing that tracksuit. I do not judge and I ask you to withhold your judgement also.

I think “tony” here means “having high tone”, classy, upmarket. https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/tony . Daisy’s book says “CAMRA” on it, and is presumably the Campaign for Real Ale’s Good Beer Guide. Judging from the choice of generic beer available on the next page I suspect the Rose and Crown isn’t in it – Shelfdust patron Rob Brewer

The pub is filled with girls on a hen do, men in rugby shirts – and most dangerously, Pokemon Trainers.

Page 17

This barman may well be Zsasz, the Batman villain. I see nothing which disproves the theory, therefore it is true. What a grim artistic touch that he’s pressing his dirty shirt into the beer tap.

Page 18

Those men are really big. Susan is the bravest person in comics. The middle one looks like one of those disturbing off-brand muppets they started introducing after Jim Henson passed away.

Page 19

Another bus driver who calls people “ducks”! Is this a Sheffield-specific thing? I’m going to have to nip over one weekend specifically to hail a bunch of bus drivers and see what they call me. Back Shelfdust on Patreon so I can afford it!

Esther drank a whole bottle of that creme egg mix? No wonder she was out looking for a fight this issue.

Note the “Battenburg” markings on the police car, which might be unfamiliar to anyone outside the UK – Rob.

Page 20

“Afternoon Delight” is one of those pleasant songs from your mum and dad’s collection which turns out to be a pervy one. It was performed most famously by the Starland Vocal Band; and then most famously by the cast of Anchorman. I’m guessing that’s the version the girl are more familiar with.

Can you find videos of controlled explosions on youtube? Those sound cool.

Page 21

It’s nice to have this late callback to Susan’s first defining trait: her belief that she’s the protagonist in a noir story. Raymond Chandler novels are quintessential noir: the private detective who gets bamboozled by every woman he sees, drinks every spirit imaginable, barely keeps his mission together, and gets beaten up by every other male character who shows up.

Susan: please sort out Brexit. I’m begging you, you’re our future.

Page 22

There’s an old saying: The door is closed to prayer unless it is opened with the key of trust. The door can never be closed for good to any player. Just because a door appears closed it does not mean that it is locked – nor that it will not open with the right heart, call or touch. 

I think we should all reflect on this now, before Ingrid barges that door down to cause chaos for everyone.

 

Giant Days #21

Written by John Allison
Drawn by Max Sarin
Inked by Liz Fleming
Coloured by Whitney Cogar
Lettered by Jim Campbell

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