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.
By Steve Morris
That brickwork looks a bit wonked. I hope they conducted a full Home Buyer’s Report in advance.
A garage is something no child thinks about. It sits there and you never go in there and it smells vaguely of petrol and there’s probably a broken wooden chair in the corner which nobody ever bothered to take to the tip. Then one day you become an adult and suddenly a garage is an exciting world of wonder and opportunity which could be used for anything…. or…. everything.
Scrabble is a dignified game which no English student would ever play willingly. What if someone defeated us? The shame would be endless. It’d be like a professional long jumper playing hopscotch. What if I lose?
Tegan and Sara are twin sisters from Canada who formed a group in the 1990s. Both sisters have come out as gay, and are massively high-profile within the LGBTQ community. Any lesbian is somewhat obligated to listen to their music at first, as part of their growth and development.
A Padawan is the name given to trainee Jedi in Star Wars. Daisy does not wear a robe or have a single braided hair, as is Padawan tradition, however.
Look at that contented smile on Ingrid’s face. The worst!
Daisy has an alarm clock in addition to a phone – most people just use their phone alarm nowadays! I wonder if that’s really caused a huge dent in the alarm clock industry.
As Daisy steps out the door, she returns to the world of night, as first seen in issue #11 of the series. Night be with you, Daisy.
The world falls apart beneath her feet due to tiredness, like something from Inception. See the crocodile snapping out of the panel on the right? See the eyes watching her through the microwave? See the huge pile of skulls?
Lladró are a Spanish company who most famously make porcelain statues designed to sit in a cabinet in your gran’s house.
Fake news! You know what that is, don’t you? Typically it’s real news that right-wingers don’t want you to think about. Not sure if that’s the case here though.
Max Sarin would be great on a horror series, right?
One of the doctors at Night Hospital appears to be Dr McNinja, a comic character created by Christopher Hastings – one of Allison’s contemporaries in the webcomics world.
The last thing anybody wants to do with their garage is put their actual vehicle in it, surely.
Nighttime is the best time for soul searching. There’s no natural light, so you know the eyes of the world will never truly be on you. It’s like when Frodo and Sam hid round the back of that mountain so Sauron couldn’t see them, you know? Just like that.
Max Sarin really knows how to capture the inelegance of sleep.
Esther does make a good point, tragically.
Furries are people who are interested in animals with human characteristics – anthropomorphic figures who wear furry outfits, make furry artwork, and predominantly work in the comic book industry. That’s right, I see you all. Being a furry isn’t actually a predominantly sexual thing, as Susan implies here. “Yiffing” is the furry term for sex – it’s based on the sound that animals make whilst they’re having sex, apparently. Not my proudest google search, that one.
Night Esther is the stuff of…. nightmares? Dreams? Make up your own mind on that one.
The 2.30am paper is the height of creative expression, however. It must be noted so. I’m not sure that typewriter is really there.
Even the eyes on Esther’s trousers look tired.
Sharrow Vale is a long street in Sheffield. Apparently there’s quite a nice market there. I’m not sure body painting – which is exactly what it sounds like – is something the street is noted for.
The girls have a chat and reminisce about their now-dead neighbour (who thought they were running some kind of brothel). Nothing they say about his backstory is to be considered canonical, much in the same way as Rise of Skywalker never happened.
The fright knocks the stars right off Daisy’s trousers and brings the raven round Esther’s neck back to life.
Demons fizzle out of the oven, as happens at night in England.
Daisy’s questioning of Susan might seem like night-induced aggro, but she does make a pretty good point about the standards we hold hospital staff to.
Daisy keeps a big red phone under a glass case, just like Commissioner Gordon in the 1960s Batman series starring Adam West.
A halberd is a medieval weapon which mixes a spear and an axe into one long killing… thing. Susan calls McGraw a white knight – a term used to describe men who quickly run to the defence of women. White knighting is at its heart a good thing, but it’s also quite complicated – there’s the idea that men are treating women as figures to be saved rather than people who can look after themselves; it leads to men ignoring the requests and desires of women in order to make themselves look the hero; there’s quite a lot of interesting depth to the concept.
Esther sneaking stuff under the radar there.
I think hyperloop transport is one of those half-stupid things Elon Musk keeps pitching to countries. Yeah – it is actually a real thing, and not just the product of a feverish tired mind!
I couldn’t find the Locksmith’s Code anywhere on the internet. This is about as close as I could get.
Folks, do you start to get the feeling that something is going on with Susan and McGraw? Surely not.
That looks like a giant Jesus posted on Daisy’s wall. He’s either pretending to be a bunny rabbit or he’s throwing up his arms uselessly like “nothing I can do here, Wooton”.
The words floating off Esther’s screen appear to be saying “and no words make Esther…” which is possibly a reference to The Shining, where Jack Nicholson’s character goes insane and repeatedly writes “all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”.
Look at those choppy waters on the wall behind Daisy’s head! Friends, experience METAPHOR!
Evil is sexy, that old trope. Evil Esther spends a lot of time sitting on desks like a cat, doesn’t she? Perhaps true evil is a sexy… cat? I’ll have to ask those yiffing furries what they think.
It’s interesting that it’s Evil Esther who wants to use this opportunity to get Ingrid out the house. Clearly Ingrid isn’t a great partner for Daisy, but it’s also Daisy’s choice if she wants a bad partner or good partner, and Esther doesn’t want to force or manipulate her into making a choice before she can actually make it for herself.
You CAN have safety and answers! You just need to read the instruction manual!!
The garage door is probably just unlocked, but I – and hopefully you – should choose to believe that Daisy is so powerful that she can rip a door off the hinges whenever she wants, provided she’s motivated to do so. Sarin warps the doors in order to let us live this dream — so we MUST live this dream!!
Chinchillas! They might not be rabbits, but there are an adorable animal. Ferrets are good too – proper Yorkshire pets for Yorkshire people. Have you ever heard of ferret-legging? Read this and learn more about my messed up County.
An overspill is when a litter of babies is much bigger than predicted – it’s hard to know just how many baby chinchillas/mice/rabbits etc you’re going to end up with if one of your rodents gets pregnant.
The chinchillas find a natural habitat for themselves within Daisy’s hair. She’ll be clearing them out of her barnet for weeks after this.
Susan immediately heads back to her noir roots to blackmail Tony into letting her play around with fluffy pets all night.
Glad to hear that the girls settled their differences with some “Good Holy Prayer”. Did I mention that Shelfdust is now a fundamentalist Christian Website? Let us all pray wistfully to end this annotation.
Giant Days #28
Written by John Allison
Drawn by Max Sarin
Inked by Liz Fleming
Coloured by Whitney Cogar
Lettered by Jim Campbell
Steve Morris runs this site! Having previously written for sites including The Beat, ComicsAlliance, CBR and The MNT, he can be found on Twitter here. He’s a bunny.
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