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, provided by our Head Annotator Kelly Richards!


Page 1 

These boys have an awful lot of facial hair for first years. The right amount of entitlement though. 

No one should straight up admit their desire for flatcest to responsible adults while sober, I say, like half of my actual real day job isn’t being told way too much information by students. No filter, seriously, zero. Anyway flatcest is when you have sex with someone who you share a flat with, traditionally its frowned upon in student communities for reasons pertaining to the sheer awkwardness of it.

Page 2

A TEST! A regular Coby, Ash, and Maru (you think I don’t see what you’re doing there!) of student accommodation flat mate shenanigans. Student support has no-win scenarios for days. Entertainment Weekly says the Kobayashi Maru test is one of the top ten elements with which non Star Trek fans are most familiar so no, I won’t be explaining that reference.

Ohh! Fancy doughnuts.

Page 3 

On wow, Enya. Enya makes weird new-age celtic folk music. That poster appears to be the cover for May It Be, the song she wrote for The Fellowship of The Ring, so that’s cool. Or a very specific kind of nerdy.

O’Neills is a chain of Irish themed pubs and bars. Sadly they no longer offer a two for one pie deal but they do have a buy one get one free on all burgers. 

Third rate fare at first rate prices is an accurate review of their product. 

Page 4 

Daisy is baby! 

The main changes over the last year is that they got big coats, stopped using plastic bags, and didn’t bother going to the hairdresser anymore.

Page 5

Good use of the Ikea FRAKTA there. It’s so much easier to move stuff in bags instead of boxes.

Whose feet are those? Why are you not noticing the feet Esther?

Page 6

Dean, in his dressing gown. As per usual. Do you call it a dressing gown or a housecoat? Either way I bet it smells and I hope he’s wearing something under it.

The incense wouldn’t be a problem if you simply returned to your own room.

Kabuki is a type of Japanese theatre. It was proclaimed an intangible heritage possessing outstanding universal value by UNESCO, so this is sort of a compliment maybe? A compliment wrapped in a slight. Dean’s constant negging of Esther is so unsettling. He looks so proud of himself. What a creep.

Page 7

Ed Gemmell fell off a wall, remember? He broke all his parts.

I do not care for Dean’s spiteful flirting. It puts my teeth on edge.

Page 8

Council flats are basically just social housing. They can survive anything.

Joe Cocker was born in Crookes. So were half of Def Leppard. I’m not helping McGraw’s case, am I?

Page 9

Susan is being incredibly judgey of the other people who live in the flats.

I wish I had 5 trampolines. That almost definitely wouldn’t end in a trip to the hospital.

Page 10

McGraw is so practical. It has a new boiler! This is just like when my dad tried to pick a house for me to live in based on the direction it faced.

I don’t like it when mam and dad fight.

Page 11

Moving in day is terrifying and exciting but most terrifying. This looks very organised though and that always helps.

I don’t know if first years are as cute as bush babies. Have you seen a bush baby?

Daisy is such a keener. 

Page 12

Shared kitchen tips. I can honestly say that in my time living in shared accommodation no one has ever stolen my food. Definitely not in first year but that might be because I only ate lentil soup, tabbouleh, and orange juice ice lollies.

Guest artist Julia Madrigal gives everybody such big, expressive eyes this issue! It really makes them all look so innocent.

Page 13

Don’t be such a narc Daisy.

I wonder what the national record actually IS? Commenters assemble!!

Page 14

You won’t make me sympathetic to Dean by showing me a scene of him videocalling a pupper.

…Do you think they are Perkin like that little furry potato thing in the 1980s BBC children’s show The Flumps, or is there a more contemporary Perkin that is eluding me?

Esther what is this hairstyle? I love it!

Just as Kororinpa divides, Mario Kart brings all people together. 

Aaron Sorkin is a screenwriter and producer – I’ve just googled his work and I haven’t actually seen any of it so I will trust Esther’s statement that he does only make stuff about people who are really good at things. 

Page 15

Esther says she used a T-shirt pen to defeat Dean’s propaganda war but I can not figure out what shes written on there. Moby something?

Dean is doing that thing again. Projecting and negging in equal parts. Creep creep creep. 


There is no such thing as a fake geek girl and to compare them to something that might infest a space is gross. BEGONE DEAN THOMPSON

Page 16

Dean does not have a powerful lizard brain. He has a tiny misogynist brain, get it together Esther.

I have just figured out what is on Esther’s shirt. It’s Noby Noby Boy! A PS3 game developed by the same guy that made Katamari Damacy.

They say Adam Scott but they mean Ben Wyatt, the character he plays in Parks and Recreation. It’s about the cones.

Page 17

Look at all that wine and Susan back at it with a face like a smacked arse.

McGraw has a kitchen utensil tool belt. I want one.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I don’t like it when mam and dad fight.

Page 18

It’s hardly a hole. Look how lovely everything is. 

I love how quickly Daisy and Esther break off with one half of the couple each.


Page 19

I don’t know that McGraw needed to apologise but it’s good that he did.

He built all the furniture, he filled the whole place with love! This is the kind of this that usually makes me cry so that probably explains why I have a little tear. 

I don’t know that Jimmy Carter built all of his furniture but he does have a woodshop and make a lot of furniture. He also hasn’t owned a car since he was elected president. 

I love love.

(I love being in love, I don’t care what it does to meeeeeee)

Page 20

I feel like the mentors are all being a little over dramatic here. This doesn’t even look close to being out of control. 

I think the coastguard is the 4th emergency service. They probably can’t help in this situation either though.

Page 21


I appreciate that Daisy is very much bossing the role of mentor but freshers gotta fresher.

Page 22

They didn’t actually make that much mess so maybe it was a good time to call it quits.

We do send posters to the colleges and accommodation blocks for them to put up, but careers fairs are usually run by the University – not the Student’s Union. Insider tip there.

Remember when I said moving in is terrifying? The future is even scarier.


Giant Days #38

Written by John Allison
Drawn by Julia Madrigal
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!