By Edward Haynes

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 Guest Annotator Edward Haynes!

Page 1

As someone who has no idea how to drive, ‘brakes to slow, gears to go’ is a very insightful piece of advice. I do know that most British cars are manual and that means gears matter, but I wasn’t super clear on them making it go.

Half as many honks is an improvement, I think Daisy is doing well!

Page 2

The name of the driving school obviously sounds like ‘never fail,’ foreshadowing the result they give Daisy at the end of the issue.

Daisy’s driving course must be quite intense, having an afternoon session following a morning session. When do these instructors have time off?

Page 3

The speech bubbles are coming from the upstairs window, is their living room upstairs? Student houses are often weirdly laid out as landlords will convert rooms that shouldn’t be bedrooms into bedrooms so they can cram more students in.

Dean Thompson: hero to taxi driver’s children with his barely-a-tip.

Page 4

I just want someone to talk to me like Dean Thompson talks to his cardboard box.

Demon babies do come in cardboard boxes, Esther is right to make that assumption. [If anyone knows about demon babies, it would be Esther. We still haven’t ruled out the possibility that she is one! – Editor]

Page 5

Small dogs are beautiful demon babies, so Esther’s guess wasn’t far off.

I can’t believe Max Sarin is so good at drawing dogs and this is the first time they’ve been asked to do so!!

A message driven bean is a real coding thing that, according to Oracle, ‘allow you to send messages and to receive them synchronously but not asynchronously.’

Page 6

Esther being right once again, Perkin is incredibly cute and waggy!

Pets are never allowed in student houses, and they’re probably not the safest space for them, though that doesn’t always stop people from having them. 

Page 7

Susan beating a load of men in a pit at a gig would be a gorgeous sight to see.

Frank McGraw is getting married in two weeks, and instead of planning his wedding, he’s putting honey on his brother’s door handle.

Gotcherrrr’ as in ‘got you with my prank.’

Page 8

Posy was not good but I don’t think her hat deserves this slander.

We saw Dean and Posy’s wedding way back in issue #26!

I think Dean is probably being manipulative when he says that the hostility is upsetting Perkin – he still seems to be a tiny bundle of joy, unbothered by anything around him.

Page 9

I’m quite interested in the wine and potato shop on the corner behind the car. In my opinion? There’s nothing else that you could need from a shop.

Daisy’s compulsive people pleasing leading to paralysis on the road is very relatable, there’s too much potential for harm in all directions, but sitting still is just being in the way! There’s no way out and everyone’s getting mad.

In the U.K. you get penalty points against your driving license if you drive dangerously or carelessly. Accruing 12 of these points in under 3 years leads to a driving ban, according to the Government website. 

Page 10

Why do both Esther and Dean need to be hiding in the closet? 

What ever happened to Phablets? That horrible portmanteau between ‘phone’ and ‘tablet’ that was used in the mid-10’s. I… missed this neologism entirely and am so glad.

Page 11

Seeing Frank with the small dog here makes me realise they’re quite similar. They’ve got the same hair colour, the same kind of impulsive attitude that makes them fun but also somewhat demonic and a pain for the people in their lives.

Susan’s analysis of Esther as Dean Thompson’s ideal lover makes too much sense. It’s uncomfortable. I love whenever Susan’s shark teeth come out.

How did both these McGraws come from the same house? Is our younger McGraw’s organisation some kind of reaction to his brother’s wild impulses?

Page 12

Boy fights and pranks does feel like how these kinds of men would communicate.

It is a little upsetting that the McGraw boys have taken Perkin’s ball from him for their own little fight.

‘Yeah, no worries mate!’ is a stock phrase for British men to use in response to any question, it is almost meaningless.

Page 13

I love how positively dense Daisy is in response to critiques of her driving skills. 

The calligraphy on that letter of resignation is so nice, I hope the inside of of the letter is just as intricate.

Page 14

Perkin living under the bed with Thompson’s old socks and booty calendar like a little gremlin is kind of cute but mostly sad.

Perkin deserves his freedom! Run for the squirrel!

Page 15

Maybe Jackie can bring rehabilitation to prisoners through her crystal healing.

Carl’s tiny tie and Jason’s eyepatch make a really cool aesthetic for a driving test duo. I would watch their buddy comedy.

Do driving instructors get assessed like this? I’m sure there’s some kind of assessment process but I’m not sure if tests get sat in on like this. They do!

Page 16

Announcing your phone number when answering the phone feels very middle aged, it’s what my mum does, but that feels right for McGraw.

British mobile numbers do all begin ‘07’ so this is very real looking number. I searched it and nothing come, I hope it’s not somebody’s real number. It’s one number short of being a real number! I almost tried calling it just to check though.

Flibbertigibbet is a real word, of late middle English origin meaning a frivolous, flighty, or excessively talkative person.

Do all of Frank’s pranks involve spreading yellow food stuff on things?

Page 17

I imagined that Frank would be better at getting into the dog’s mind due to the similarities I outlined earlier, but here he is more of a facilitator for McGraw.

Although it is Esther in the end who has the answers, being right once again.

Page 18

This is the first time Daisy’s dropped her smile driving in this issue, the anxiety of the test getting to her.

8 for £5 is not a good deal on sausages. Usually I’d pay £1.50-£2 for a pack of veggie sausages.

Just like Perkin, I would follow the smell of sausages across a road without looking.

Page 19

Tiny Tie Carl is so chill, assessing driving tests every day must numb you to tiny adorable dogs almost getting run over. 

Esther is right again, those sausages are too expensive!

Page 20

But those sausages aren’t too expensive for Dean Thompson, how big is his sausage budget?

I think that it shouldn’t take a brush with death to stop the McGraw brothers’ relationship being based on violence, but it is good they are moving in a healthier direction.

Frank being 32 means there is a 10 year age gap between these brothers, which maybe explains why they needed this pranking crutch because they’ve always been at quite different stages of life.

Page 21


I think it’s best for Dean and dog that Perkin returns to Thompson’s parents’ care.

Page 22

The hermit crab, Colin Powell, is the namesake of George W. Bush’s Secretary of State from 2001 to 2005, which feels cruel and unfair towards the crab.

Esther’s first wrong statement of the issue is to not think the crab is cute. Crabs are cool!

Page 23

Daisy is holding a red ‘L’ plate that learners have to attach to their cars to tell other drivers that they haven’t fully learnt to drive yet. Since she’s passed her test, she no longer needs this! She can use a green ‘P’ plate to let others know she’s new and to be cautious around her, but those aren’t mandatory.

Esther is back to being right; Daisy‘s brain is exceptionally powerful!


Giant Days #47

Written by John Allison
Drawn by Max Sarin

Coloured by Whitney Cogar
Lettered by Jim Campbell


Edward Haynes is a cultural and comics critic who has written for sites like SOLRAD and Multiversity, as well as being the contributing editor for An Inside Out, a website which asks writers to dig into the emotional core of culture. You can find them on Twitter here!


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