In case you haven't heard of it, The Guild is an internet phenomenon created by Felicia Day and a host of other very talented people. It started out as a sitcom web series called The Guild that released its fourth season in 2010. The series has also spawned music videos such as Do You Wanna Date My Avatar and Game On and many other wonderful offshoots. It's also won a few awards over the years.
The Guild consists of six main character who play an online role playing game together (MMORPG) but interact in real life too. Most of the series happens in real life but we get glimpses of the game every now and then. The characters are all dysfunctional in weird and funny ways. Cyd Sherman is the real world name of the main character played by Felicia Day (Codex in game world.)
The subject of this blog post is The Guild trade paperback comic, published by Dark Horse Books, which combines three individual issues into one. It follows the life of Cyd Sherman that lead up to the formation of the Guild itself. It goes through her inept struggles with her boyfriend, sessions with her psychiatrist and problems as a violinist in an orchestra. All these thrust her to find escape and companionship in the game world.
The script of the comic is written by Felicia Day and is illustrated by Jim Rugg. If you've watched the series then you'll clearly hear the voices of the actors themselves as the dialog is true to the characters. Of course it helps that Felicia also scripts the web series.
The game world shows up only briefly each season in the web series, but we are treated to much more of it in the comic. What makes it even more special are the personality differences between Cyd Sherman in real world and Codex in game world. This is evident in the dialog and what she does; Cyd Sherman can barely handle the real world and starts out with only her problematic boyfriend while Codex in game world rapidly makes friends, battles monsters and in general, blossoms. But the differences also show in the illustrations, the real world having outlines and solid colors while the game world is all shadings and gradients with a much richer palette and atmosphere.
It's worth it to say where I'm coming from; I don't read comic books. Since being a kid over 30 years ago I've read a handful of Tintins and a Calvin and Hobbes. Probably like many, after childhood I thought comics were shallow, action-filled stories. But over the years as more were made into character-rich movies, some with very little action, and as I saw more and more adults reading comic books, I suspected they might not be shallow after all.
The Guild comic book is a prime example of this. The only action takes place in game world and is not even the most important part of what happens there. Instead the importance lies with the characters, their individual development and the development of relationships both amicable and conflicting. And for anyone unfamiliar with the world of online role playing games, you learn why different people play them, some of the reasons demonstrated being the allure of adventure, creating a new persona and meeting, spending time with and getting to know others.
Oh, and if this is sounding too deep, remember that this book is filled with rather quirky characters that will make you laugh from time to time.
For existing Guild fans, this is a must. For anyone new to this world, you can start with this book or with the web series, it shouldn't matter (I discovered the series between seasons 2 and 3.) In any case, it's a good read.