The Guild #1
I heard good things about this comic, I bought it, and I liked it. That doesn’t really happen much anymore for me, in this world of pre-ordering and big-event fascination hypnosis and fractured online communities who already know what they’re buying and what they’ll think about it. Even though this comic is a media tie-in, it entertained me and made me eager for more.
Writer Felicia Day is better known as an actress, part of Joss Whedon’s company. She’s the girlfriend in Dr. Horrible; appeared in the future episodes of Dollhouse; and was one of the new slayers in the last season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I didn’t know anything about her web series The Guild, but thankfully, I didn’t have to. (Although now I want to watch it, since it’s described as a gamer sitcom and I’d like more of this story. There are three seasons so far, the first two are available on DVD, and here’s the funny “Do You Wanna Date My Avatar?” promo music video.) The comic is set up as a prelude, exploring how Cyd, Day’s lookalike, came to enter online gaming and meet the other Guild members.
Cyd is a depressed violinist. She’s got a pretty good life — job (although it’s going nowhere), boyfriend (although he takes her for granted), interests (reading) — she’s just not happy. She finds out about online role-playing gaming and loves the idea of reinventing herself. Thus Cyd becomes Codex, the Healer. The idea is comfortably familiar to most comic readers, the idea of managing your problems with regular life through fantasy escapism. And the narrative voice is friendly and self-deprecatingly funny. I felt very welcome into the story, even though I was new to the character.
Artist Jim Rugg is best known for Street Angel; he also illustrated The Plain Janes. He’s an excellent choice for this effort, since the everyday scenes are drawn in an approachable, straightforward style without many frills, while the gaming world is lush and pastoral, softer and dreamlike without obvious black lines.
Together, the creators manage quite well. For example, in a talky scene, Cyd laying on a couch talking with her therapist, we get one panel with alternating balloons. The scene is set visually but the focus is on the back-and-forth dialogue. Yet the next page is silent, which suits Cyd’s reaction and fears shown. I was impressed that, for a new writer of comics, Day was using visuals as well as text and not overwriting, depending too much on words.
You can see a comic preview at the publisher’s website. Now I think I’ll go watch a bunch of their web episodes while I anticipate the next issue, which should introduce the rest of the Guild in more depth.