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

Page 1

Immediate failure straight off the back, scholars: I have no idea what Meggs are, or where they come from. Is it the name of a bakery, or the name of a type of cake? I cannot help you in this matter, dear friends. I know you will sit up at night in fearful worry about the matter, but there are simply some things in life which can’t be researched. There are uncharted waters. Let’s assume that they are….marzipan eggs.

You can see that Esther has taken the skulls off her outfit, perhaps to appeal to Daisy more – but there are still skulls on the phonecase, so all is well with her.

Squish go the Meggs. Fare thee well, sweet Meggs.

Page 2

“Our” email was written by Esther. She is the English student, but you wonder how much Susan got into that email, if at all.

Nice to see McGraw is now out in the open, no more secrets to hide, so he can once again assume the position of moral guide.

Esther has been spending a lot of time in a comic book shop recently. For some reason, a key part of comic book nonsense is the way that certain comic book issues can have “variant” covers which are far more rare – and thus technically meant to be worth more for speculators. Comic book speculation is all a con, though: you’re not going to make your fortune hawking back-issues of Batman: White Knight.

Page 3

The “special relationship” is the term used to describe the alliance between the UK and the United States. It started off as a hoo-rah term coined by, allegedly, Churchill. As time went on, the term changed a bit in meaning and became more commonly seen as being a patronising way for the American President to treat the UK Prime Minister as some sort of pet. The most famous example of the “special relationship” was probably the way Tony Blair teamed up with George Bush to do some war crimes.

Good lord, McGraw, tuck that V away.

Energy vampires have recently started appearing in the TV version of What We Do In The Shadows. They’re the vampires who can walk in sunlight without an issue, and spend their time sucking emotional energy from their victims. Ingrid has all the signs of vampirism – one look at her artistry is all you need to prove it.

Page 4

Susan’s scooter has been a recurring part of this series for a very long time now. She seems to have the hang of it now.

An autodidact is somebody who has taught themselves how to do something. They’re very hard to talk to at parties.

Nobody ever expected a Spanish inquisition until McGraw got on their bad side.

Page 5

Of course McGraw would be the sort of person who not only uses a chequebook (hey Americans! Checkbook) but the sort of person who actively overuses cheques to the point he has to physically go into the bank to get replacement ones. Ed, you’re a voice of reason here.

I mean, if you hang out near Tapas restaurants you have to expect a certain level of interaction with Spanish people.

Page 6

It’s extraordinary that Max Sarin can draw a disembowelled Ed, gutted by the horns of a Spanish bull, and it still feels like Giant Days is largely a PG-rated comic series.

Cerveza is the Spanish word for beer, in case you haven’t watched a Vin Diesel movie.

Page 7

As we all know, it’s a great idea to hide in a bush.

Arturo is the Spanish equivalent of “Arthur”. As in, “give him Arthur chance and he’ll break yer legs”.

Page 8

Daisy has found a way to not be a problem and quietly read her book, and Ingrid is already getting very annoyed about having the share her space with someone else. She practically begs Daisy to let them go to the other house here. I know Ingrid genuinely cares about Daisy, but she also doesn’t seem to really want her around much when it isn’t on her own terms.

Page 9

“Surgical anger witch” and “narcissistic gothic pollyanna” are such hyper-specific insults that you just know Daisy was spending all her shelf time thinking them up. She probably didn’t read a single word of that novel she had!

Ingrid’s apartment seems classier and tidier than last time we saw it. I’m going to assume this is Daisy’s influence.

Page 10

The cloud over Daisy’s head does appear to slightly evaporate away as she gets the chance to talk to somebody else about her current situtation – even if McGraw is immediately distracted by talk of DIY.

A buttress is a stone structure built alongside or in support of a stone wall, to keep it up. I felt obliged to explain this, I took no joy in it.

One fork, one mug… no spoons, because they’re all sat in yoghurt pots around the apartment.

Page 11

Ed strikes me as the sort of person who only ever wants to go into sports bars to drink, but feels nervous about pushing people into going. If everybody is already going and he can tag along? Excellent news!

McGraw’s approach to emotional discussion is to lay everything neatly on the floor like a flat pack wardrobe. Make sure you have all the screws you need before you start trying to join everything together.

Fun game! How many cats are in the final panel? I found ten.

Would it be fair to say that Ingrid’s mother doesn’t have at least some resemblence to Daisy?

Page 12

If you can’t feel safe in a sports bar, then you’re normal, don’t worry about it.

There’s a interesting approach to McGraw here, as he straightforwardly explains Ingrid’s flaws and issues but does so in a way which feels open and constructive. He’s not throwing insults: he’s offering a rational-feeling explanation for the things which are wrong. It’s still sort of like negging, but not quite.

If Susan could hear the speech in panel 4…

Page 13

Young McGraw! Living life like the cast of Grease 2!

She was a person living in modern times who for some reason reads Chaucer; he was a man who liked sanding down a hockey stick: can I make it any more obvious?

His friends were all deeply into Korn?! That’s such a specific addition to his childhood experience. For reference, their music sounds like this.

Page 14

This is very similar to Tony Stark’s origin story, probably.

Dremel are an American company who manufacture power tools. They can be a formative company for some young twentysomethings fresh out of secondary school.

Rugby lads are different from football lads. Football lads are out to make everyone’s lives worse: rugby lads are just rich boys who don’t realise the damage they’re causing everything around them.

Page 15

Where did Ed get that badge from? Questions, questions. What a gross badge though.

In the UK there was a traditional that when you turned 21, your parents would formally give you a key to their house, as a coming of age gift. That’s where Daisy’s “I’ve got the key to the door” doubel entendre springs from.

Page 16

During the Spanish Civil War, German troops flew across the Spanish town of Guernica and bombed it to nothing. It was one of the first instances of blitzkreig tactics from Hitler, which later went on to become a routine part of his tactics. Years later, the area was considered to be an area of peace, with statues commissioned to reflect that new status. Daisy is suggesting that paying off the bill is the first part of her peace treaty with the other girls.

Page 17

A rugby lad has the money, like I said before. You ask them “double or quits” and their privilege will never allow them to quit. It’s only money, after all. The reason most Tories are the people they are is so they can pay off the snooker debts of their children.

Page 18

Are the two Spanish people who drag the boys away the Spanish version of Paul Scheer and Jason Mantzoukas? Let’s imagine they are, and we can live the best world we all want to live in.

Looks like the Tories can breathe easy today. No more gambling debts to pay off for Sebastian and Augustine.

Page 19

I’m getting such conflicting reports on whether McGraw has a V or not.

Page 20

Is it fair to say that all Spanish men are strong and scary until their little sister tells them all off? Yes.

Amazed that Daisy could find a traffic warden, to be honest.

Page 21

Three hours of talks later – just bear that in mind whilst you read the rest of the page.

Susan selling the scooter is a noble and… to be honest, wise decision. She always looked like she was a minute away from ploughing into the side of a bus.

Peace for our time” was a declaration made by the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Neville Chamberlain in his 30 September 1938 speech concerning the Munich Agreement and the subsequent Anglo-German Declaration. If you remember what happened towards the start of the 1940s (hint: it was a flipping world war), you’ll be aware how naive that declaration was.

Page 22

Alongside a photo of the girls in the best dresses is a photo of Gordon the Pigeon, who showed up near the start of the series and was last seen around issue #12, I think. I miss you, Gordon. I hope you come back soon.

 

Giant Days #31

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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