I have made it pretty clear that I am a nerd and if, based on that, you were to guess that I play online games you would be right. I, in fact, have played World of Warcraft for many years. I take a break every once in a while but I consider myself an avid player. So when I found this online show called The Guild created by, written by and starring quite attractive yet still nerdy Felicia Day. Admittedly this is not a webshow for everyone but it should be. If you play MMORPGs or know someone show does, have a socially-anxious neurotic in your life, or enjoy obscure role playing humor The Guild is pretty darn funny. Now right now you might be wondering why you are reading about a webshow, that’s not even animated, here on Comical Musings and I have that answer for you! It is because Dark Horse has put a series of comics that covers Codex’s (Felicia Day’s character) origin story. The best part is that this book is actually written by Felicia herself so the storyline has the same feel as the webshow. Honestly I could make this a Felicia Day fan boy post if I didn’t reign it in so on to the book…
First and foremost the art is not as intense as the books I have been reviewing as of late but it’s because it doesn’t need to be, and shouldn’t be, intense. It is whimsical and goofy and it is perfect. That is not to say this book isn’t drawn with talent. In fact the truth is quite the opposite. The art in this book is more detailed than a lot of the mainstream titles that have folks raving over the art and the apparent simplicity of the style is quite deceiving. It is blatantly obvious that a lot of thought and love went in to Jim Rugg’s art. He captures characters that already exist as actors and manages to bring in their facial expressions and postures in a way that a fan of the webshow will instantly identify the characters. I would imagine that working within an existing framework of real world actors and all their quirks and translating that to a comic isn’t easy and Rugg pulls it off beautifully. Whether the panels are in-game or real life the art brings the right amount of pop the storyline. Not being familiar with Rugg’s art I can honestly say that I hope I see more of it. He carries off just the right balance between foreground and background while letting the dialog carry the story. Some comics are told almost exclusively in their art, some in their dialog and still others maintain a pretty amazing balance. The Guild falls in the latter of those three categories.
As for the storyline we get watch the creation of Codex, an online persona, by Cyd as her life falls apart around her. Cyd is an interesting character even prior to creating Codex in the online game. She is depressed, not very good at social interaction and in therapy. Now what makes this character great is that in spite of all of that Felicia Day writes and plays her in a such a way that all her problems are believable but she is still funny. From her webcam journal entries, prescribed by her therapist, to her her interactions with her guild she is a character that is easy to like and one that makes you want to root for them. Usually characters with all the flaws that Cyd has are hard for me to watch much less read but the treatment given to the issues here is one that gives hope to the reader and the character without feeling all happy-happy-joy-joy. The rest of the characters in the book are amazing as well. If I had one complaint it would Günther. I don’t find his character all that believable and the revelation made later in the book seems out of place. However that is a minor complaint and should take away from the rest of the characters that have been developed for this story. You see this one contains characters you won’t meet watching the webshow as well as ones you will and they are all well thought out and very well written but in the end this book is all about Cyd.
What we get to see here is Cyd’s life fall pretty much completely apart. She loses her boyfriend, someone she tries to befriend at work, her job and more. While all this is happening we are treated to her webcam journal and therapy sessions while we watch her slip deeper in to the online world she discovers all the while justifying her pulling away from reality. While she is one of those characters that bring of their own problems on themselves (and who among us isn’t) some of them just aren’t her fault and we can feel genuinely sorry for her. The loss of her boyfriend is something you will cheer and possibly even the loss of her job when you see how it comes about. She is also a product of our society in so many ways. Even when she is justified, or thinks she is, her actions tend to backfire. Luckily she doesn’t try to blame everyone around her and soldiers on. We don’t get to see any real final resolution other than her really enjoying her game but that’s because this book is a prequel to the webshow. So the order of business here is that you buy this book and then go watch the webshow. I can’t really say this is Required Reading because I honestly think it is for a niche audience but if someone calling a nerd or geek makes you “Well, duh” then this is one for you without a doubt. And it’s a lot of fun on top of that.
~ Romeo Sid Vicious ~