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


Page 2

Open Season is a 2006 animated movie where animals team up to destroy some hunters, but Susan probably isn’t referring to that here. Animal House on the other hand is a 1978 comedy about a trouble-making fraternity, so that seems more relevant given the situation.

Daisy previously learned about Esther’s terrible sleeping habits in issue #48 – Editor.

Page 3

Do we think Esther brought that horrible clown doll or that it belongs to McGraw?

The European twin duvet system is real and it’s exactly what it sounds like. Instead of sharing one large duvet with your bed partner you each have your own duvet and just like magic, arguments about hogging the blankets, or letting the cold in become a thing of the past!

While Esther’s ghostie blanket is very much my thing, Susan’s Guy Fieri blanket is a thing of beauty and it should be recognised as such.

Platonic co-sleeping is great, shut up, Daisy.

Page 4

High five to Daisy who gets a job in her chosen field straight after graduation to remind us that we are in fact reading a work of fiction.

A priesthole is a special hiding place that was built for secreting Catholic clergy in your walls and floors back in the day. I suppose there is technically nothing stopping you from continuing this practice. Go with God, I guess.

Page 5

High five to Esther who also gets a job in her chosen field straight after graduation to remind us that we are still reading a work of fiction.

Page 6

I think “your watch is over” is a Game of Thrones reference, this is no place for Game of Thrones.

I’m not going to explain a Spider-Man/Superman mix-up joke. But I want to know more about the Caped Crusader, Kell!!

Page 7

The new employee is sworn in on a copy of Blankets, by Craig Thompson. It’s a coming of age story, which is appropriate to this issue’s theme.

OK, but where does it go? This wouldn’t be an issue if I was in charge because it would become an even bigger moustache.

Page 8

That is a terrible haircut and I am taking it personally. 

Page 9

The greatest betrayal.

Feral Susan is my favourite. Those shark teeth!

You want to know a secret about the scrolls? They are blank. They are just rolled up pieces of printer paper. You get your actual certificate in the post. It’s all a scam to keep the cap and gown rental companies in business. Even so, I wish Susan the best of luck in defeating The Chancellor.

Page 10

Where DID Esther get that tattoo? Well, you’ll have to read John Allison’s self-published comics to find out…

Page 11

The tattoo hiding/reaction thing actually makes me really uncomfortable. It’s not something I’ve had to deal with but it’s still put me on edge so let’s swiftly move on!

To achieve a first class you have to average grades above 70% across the second and third year of undergrad. Basically, Esther smashed it.

Page 12

Wevvs is a contraction of whatever and is slang that denotes indifference.

No graduation is complete without the ceremonial returning of your cap and gown to the hire company before you have a chance to spill anything on it. 

Page 13

Ken Lord deserves this and far more.

Emilia if you recall is McGraw’s ex from a time I’m sure Steve will remind you of. Issue #17, fact-fans!

She was perfectly lovely and everything went terribly. She will never speak to any of them again. That’s just how leaving university goes.

Page 14

Esther’s parents looking sheepish, as they should!

Page 15

I genuinely can not deal with all the family drama. I do not know why I am like this. Please do not try to analyse me in the comments.

I believe the best West Wing episode is meant to be where the President goes into a church at night and yells in the foyer for ten minutes.

Page 16

Should have sent them for a carvery, Ed. Big plate, choice of meat, all the sides, as much gravy as you want.

Being an adult is terrible isn’t it? Imagine being excited for a graduate scheme in banking? And in London?! 

The Shanghai and Scunthorpe Banking Corporation has cropped up before. Ed has chosen… poorly.

Page 17

McGraw is so handsome. Have I ever said that because it has always been true. It’s probably the moustache. 

Feral Susan supremacy.

Page 18

Derek Dooley was a footballer who played for Sheffield Wednesday and Sheffield United and he was, to the best of my knowledge, cremated. Where and why he would have a tomb is a mystery but it’s good to know I’ll have something to do now that there are no more Giant Days left to annotate. 

Daisy’s two mother figures crying in the audience, how lovely.

Page 19

Headlines (Friendship Never Ends) was a revival song released by the Spice Girls years after they split up. It’s not very good and Mel B doesn’t get anything to do, which is unforgivable IMO.

Oh no, I love baby Susan. And yes it does sound like a great baby.

Page 20

Page 21

DAISY YOUR HAIR! This is so much better than what Ed had going on.

Page 22

Certainly nothing ominous about this.

Nita Kapoor first appeared in the original self-published Giant Days comic. She was the path Esther could have taken.

What does that mean? What kind of long game? 

Anyway, imagine peaking in secondary school and then continuing to brag about it long after you graduate University. Very disconcerting.


Giant Days #54

Written by John Allison
Drawn by Max Sarin
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!