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!
GOODBYE FOREVER, DEAN THOMPSON.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!!
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.
That is a terrible haircut and I am taking it personally.
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.
Where DID Esther get that tattoo? Well, you’ll have to read John Allison’s self-published comics to find out…
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.
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.
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.
Esther’s parents looking sheepish, as they should!
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.
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.
McGraw is so handsome. Have I ever said that because it has always been true. It’s probably the moustache.
Feral Susan supremacy.
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.
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.
DAISY YOUR HAIR! This is so much better than what Ed had going on.
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!
Ah yes, graduation. I couldn’t face all that ceremony, did it “in absentia” myself. More than once.
For anybody actually using this as a guide to the Britishisms in Giant Days, maybe a few words about the characters’ degrees would be in order? Most UK first degrees take three years and are “honours” degrees; what separates them is the class of honours: first, second, or third, with second further split into two divisions. Esther has a first, the highest level. We don’t learn what Daisy and Ed get, but as they’re both studious characters and have stepped straight into professional careers I think we can guess they both got upper second class honours (known as a “2-1”). That would leave none of our core characters getting a 2-2 or a third, the lower classifications, unless Dean spent too much time playing computer games. All three of them have studied arts subjects and will be getting Bachelor of Arts (BA) degrees.
Susan isn’t graduating; she continues with the five-year Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBChB), which is a first degree, is called a bachelor’s degree, is at the level of a professional master’s degree and which qualifies you to be a doctor (and use that title when practicing medicine), without an actual doctoral degree. McGraw is doing a four-year undergraduate Master of Engineering (MEng) degree and isn’t graduating this year either. Does Nina graduate? I can’t even remember what she’s studying.