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
Nothing is more romantic than a frank appraisal of how the romance is going on a moment-by-moment basis.
Do you see how Daisy’s ribbon curls up into a heart shape whilst she’s talking? Like one of those little red plastic fish you get from crackers, and put on your hand to see what emotions you’re meant to currently be having.
Rather than plaster this post with wall-to-wall videos of Anastacia, here’s her twitter page. She seems to like celebrating birthdays a lot, good for her. She’s a big brassy singer from America who uses to really smash out every song she was given. She probably made quite a lot of lesbians in her time.
Young Ingrid also put a chair onto her bed so she could get high up enough to put posters on her ceiling? That’s terrible etiquette for the furniture!
You’re only really in trouble if somebody uses their full name when they yell for you.
Esther’s definition of “good” is “writing using a quill”. Fair enough.
Teaspoons are the littlest spoons in the drawer. I don’t drink tea, but I’m pretty sure it’s weird not to stir the teabag. You paid for it, so you should use it, right? It’s like buying an ice lolly, putting it in your mouth once, then throwing it away.
“Fire in the hole” is an expression used by miners to tell their colleagues that they’ve set an explosive charge. It can also be used to warn passers by that there’s a flying set of hair straighteners falling randomly into the street.
Susan has changed her note book to a noPe book. It’s good to see her bringing her medical attention to detail to something like this.
Goth people are particularly liable to setting on fire. It’s science.
You can see the influence Ingrid’s had: she’s left Daisy’s room a mess, and Daisy hasn’t noticed weeks of old yogurt pots lying on the windowsill; clothes dropped all over the floor.
What post-apocalyptic world would be most likely to have flaming hair straighteners in the street? It can’t be Mad Max, surely. Would it be Idiocracy? Best guesses in a postcard, please.
I see the mural is still on the wall. The landlord is going to see it eventually, right? I suppose they can’t get rid of it until they get rid of Ingrid.
Wouldn’t it be tragic if Jon Hamm died in Sheffield, England because he was conked on the head by a set of hair straighteners.
Have you ever heard of the Yoko Effect? It’s the idea that the Beatles were broken up simply because John Lennon started dating Yoko Ono, and the rest of the band hated her. In reality, the cracks were already in the band, and they’d simply moved into different worlds to one another, making it harder to form a united front. Ingrid may be unbearable, but the real issue here is that Susan and Esther just casually lied to one another about where they were each going, when one year ago they would’ve been totally honest.
Setting a scene outside “Rare & Racy” seems to have been done purely to let Max Sarin draw some possums. It was a music shop, and that is what the front window looked like, but sadly it has now closed down permanently.
YORKSHIRE AND LANCASHIRE ARE VERY DIFFERENT EMILIA. HOW WOULD YOU LIKE IT IF I SAID THAT SPANISH AND CATALAN WERE THE SAME LANGUAGE, EH? EH??
Vinyl Demand in Sheffield is also a real shop, and also permanently closed.
Tittle-tattle is another way of saying “gossip”, except it sounds more saucy and revealing if you get some alliteration in there.
Stevie Nicks was one of the formative members of Fleetwood Mac, and an iconic musician beloved round the world. She has a very specific style – slightly like a flower lady, which is better than the title she gave herself which I believe is now considered to be a slur.
Mary Margaret O’Hara is a Canadian singer-songwriter best known for her work through the 80s, I believe.
One of the posters on the wall is for Jem & The Holograms! Cute.
Giving someone a stink eye! I should clarify that just in case. It means giving someone a very hard stare, so they know they’ve done you wrong.
Wine and poetry: two of the many refuges for Literature students. See alsoL the hair dye aisle of Sainsburys.
Wait, McGraw has a first name? I thought he was just “McGraw” – y’know, like Rihanna.
A cortado is like a coffee, but an easy version of a coffee. It’s like if you get a fruit pastille ice lolly but only eat the blackcurrant part and throw the rest away.
I’m really craving an ice lolly today.
I don’t get the Fleetwood Mac reference, but here’s a shower curtain set I found for sale.
Find something that makes you as happy as washing curtains makes Daisy. Better yet: find someone like Daisy who’ll wash your curtains for you! That’s not an easy job!
Esther has been wearing a teaspoon necklace the whole time! Look at her using it to slightly stir her tea!
Despite any small fissures developing, Esther still tells Daisy everything. And when Esther feels sad that her new friend may not have really needed to be her friend, Daisy steps in to… somewhat… reassure her. That’s a sweet little moment.
HOWEVER. I would say that what Susan is doing is worse than what Esther is doing, but Daisy’s moral compass seems to be a little off at the moment.
Ah, and it turns out that Daisy is thinking about her own world when talking about Susan and Esther’s worlds. Again, the cracks are already there. That fixed smile was on Daisy’s face for a reason!
Be honest: you thought Daisy was composing a break-up letter for Ingrid, didn’t you?
Everything is bubbling up now – but if you really wanted to give Daisy a proper telling-off, you probably should’ve firstly sat her down nicely to watch Star Wars before you then yelled about tauntauns to her. They’re the nice horse-like animals that live on the ice planet Hoth – and for warmth, a character has to climb inside the dead body of their fallen tauntaun in order to survive a night there.
See? It’s so much better to set up your insults through proper grounding and context before you throw them at somebody!
Max Sarin shows off a masterclass in body language here, bringing an emotive streak into Esther’s rant. You can see her go through all kinds of stress and anger as she explains why Ingrid is awful – from disbelief to anger to rationalisation and so much more. She also seems to develop stress fangs. Poor Daisy, meanwhile, shrinks right to the side of the frame whenever she appears on the page.
Daisy walks off upset, Esther doesn’t feel any better, and Susan walks right into a trap of her own making.
Esther cheated on her boyfriend when she moved to university right at the start of Giant Days. When she went back home she had to deal with the ramifications of it – catch back up with that here.
Ingrid was the turning point for everyone’s grievances and secrets to get out, but she hasn’t been here for pages and pages now and look at the girls turning on one another. It’s the Yoko effect played out again: she was just fuel for the furnace.
Judas was one of the lead characters in Lady Gaga’s song of the same name. What do you mean, there’s another famous Judas? I only recognise this one.
Esther has lit candles and taken the bed, so she’s in a position of power. Susan is left lying on a beanbag on the floor: classic power move. One day Esther will probably work in recruitment, and this experience will help her then when establishing the layout of her office.
Susan falling backwards into the beanbag whilst lovingly saying “he’s awful” is actually the most romantic thing in the issue. Even Daisy would give it a ten.
Giant Days #30
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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