By Kelly Richards

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.

This issue sees the arrival of a Very Important Person, and so we’ve asked back our own VIP Kelly Richards to help annotate!


Page 1:

Perfectly wavy embodiment of the sort of rotten, shameful, guilt ridden hangover that precedes a declaration of never drinking again. I see it, I feel it, and I can smell the tequila. Help.

I wonder who that one turquoise stiletto heeled court shoe in the hallway belongs to? I bet Claire Napier knows.

Page 2:

Night hospital – or at least accident and emergency after dark – is like purgatory. An entirely liminal space filled with injured drunks and worried parents with sick children. It changes you.

There’s also never anything good in the vending machines – Ed.

MMM Cereal is a really good name for cereal.

Page 3:

WHO’S THAT ON THE SOFA? It’s Sarah and Lottie Grote! We have already been introduced to Sarah but this I believe is Lottie’s first appearance in Giant Days. All you really need to know is that Lottie Grote is a 10 year old goth and precocious as all hell. 

I suppose that whether or not something is better than a funeral is subjective. I mean you can’t spell funeral without real fun. I’m sorry. I’m not.

It’s true, you do usually get sandwiches at a funeral. And cake. Victorians used to give out huge shortbread biscuits as invitations to funerals but that’s not really relevant.

Page 4:

Pre-teens are terrifying.They are so matter of fact.

Unexpected child jumping on the bed while you’re trying to recover and/or die from a hangover is no laughing matter.

Lottie’s sound effects are in French, which is the sign of a well dignified mind.

Page 5:

Esther would have wanted it. Real friends support you through all your spontaneous train hookups.

Death Note is a manga series written by Tsugumi Ohba and illustrated by Takeshi Obata. It’s also an anime, a tv drama, a musical, a bunch of games, some movies and a novel. It’s about a teen with a spooky magic notebook. Is it appropriate for a 10 year old? I don’t know, I’m not her mam.

Page 6:

Esther is not, as suggested, small now. Lottie is a separate goth.

Boyfriend, butler, or burglar is my new favourite game. 

The way Susan is putting away the food shopping is very upsetting to me. How is she going to find anything? She’s going to smush that bag of Munch!

Kell, when Susan says “The Charismatics”, is she referring to….. this?

Page 7:

Butler! I knew it.

Double Dragon is the name of an arcade game and also a movie based upon an arcade game. The reviews were unfortunate. Lottie is probably using the term as fun pre-teen slang for oh no, you’re losing both friends at once!?

Page 8:

Daisy has art on her wall but if it’s a reference to something I’m too stupid to know what it is.

Lottie’s (10F) list of potential things to do ranked in order of potential fun by me (32NB)

  1. Shoot some guns (in a clearing in the woods)
  2. Get really big milkshakes (full fat blended with Fry’s Chocolate Cream)
  3. Get full faces of make up done at John Lewis (the department store)

If you asked me what’s the weirdest chocolate bar for a 10 year old to reference I would probably say Turkish Delight but clearly I was wrong because it’s Fry’s Chocolate Cream – the world’s oldest chocolate bar brand apparently. I have never eaten one but Wikipedia tells me that they are basically just a hunk of fondant icing dipped in chocolate.

Gothic Lolita is a Japanese subculture influenced by Victorian and Rococo aesthetics with cuteness as an integral element. Lolita is an unrelated 1955 novel by Vladimir Nobokov about a man who is sexually obsessed with young girls. Daisy, I think, is referencing both of these which unlike gothic lolita, isn’t especially cute.

Page 9:

The warehouse remains disgusting.

Put your face away Ingrid! 

Lottie doesn’t have bad energy. Ingrid has bad energy. 

Page 10:

I can’t explain this but I can smell the chap making the watermelon bong from here. 

I don’t know anything about the ins and outs of why a person would make a watermelon bong. It seems like an overly labour intensive way of smoking anything. But if that’s your thing other great fruits to smoke from, according to the good folk at, are apples, pears, and pineapples.

Page 11:

Kids say the funniest* things.

* most devastating honest

Page 12:

Coffee is something which all kids see as being “not for them”. Lottie doesn’t stick by convention, so the only thing she wants to do IS drink coffee. 


Page 13:

McGraw is back with more food shopping. Why does he keep bringing food? 

Sugar Rush is also an excellent cereal name. And it’s the name of the racing game in Wreck It Ralph!

Page 14:

Lottie is wise beyond her years but she is also on a mad sugar/caffeine high so anything she says should probably be taken with a pinch of salt.

I know that Susan knows better than to litter but she’s done the right thing here. Overarm, right into the sky.

Page 15:

Platonic bed sharing is an important part of friendship in my opinion. If you can’t cwtch up in bed with your best buds, who can you do it with? Do people not from Wales know what cwtch means? It’s like the middle of a hug/snuggle/cuddle venn diagram, it’s where all the lesser embraces overlap.

Leg over means sex. It’s far from the worst synonym I’ve ever heard.

Esther’s wink wink nudge nudge wahey lad face is excellent.

Page 16:

That is the correct way to put on skinny jeans.

God, imagine being able to get up at 1.30pm the night after drinking without immediately collapsing in the shower for two hours of recovery.

Page 17:

Absolute scenes in John Lewis (the department store).

Page 18:

With a full face of makeup, Lottie is living her best life. Crossing two out of three from her list of fun things to do isn’t bad.

Give her time on part three!

HD Brows are a bespoke eyebrow treatment. That’s right, bespoke! And they last 4 to 6 weeks which to be honest is pretty good. 

Susan does make the hospital sound like a threat.

Page 19:

Ed Gemmell’s parents are adorable!

In addition to not being a small Esther, Lottie is also not a mime.

Page 20:

Male pattern baldness is inherited from your mother’s side so Ed might be OK. He does look like his dad though so who knows.

Oh no, my mum’s side of the family are all bald.

Esther is very kind in this moment. Ed Gemmell would try to save a beautiful dove.

Page 21:

The nurse is really cute. It’s important everyone pays attention to this.

Ed Gemmell destroying the evidence!

Page 22:

Daisy is wearing a shirt that says ‘Music is nice’ and if that’s not the most Daisy of sentiments I don’t know what is.

I love that Lottie says “thank you for the opportunity” like she’s just been on The Apprentice.



Giant Days #35

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


Kelly Richards is an Eisner-winning critic who has written for sites including WomenWriteAboutComics and Sidequest. You can find more of their thoughts over on Twitter here! 


This post was made possible thanks to the Shelfdust Patreon! To find out more, head to our Patreon page here!