Written by Felicia Day
Art by Jim Rugg
The Guild is a prequel to the same-name web series of a woman and her online friends hooked on a generic fantasy MMORPG (that’s Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game, in case you were wondering). The book follows the main character Cyd, showing her beginnings in the world of online gaming and the real life issues that drove her to living a fantasy life online. The book is written by series creator/writer/star/singer/former Dr. Horrible crush Felicia Day
I must admit I hadn’t seen the web series beyond the Do You Wanna Date My Avatar music video, in which Day and fellow actors perform in their game characters’ attires. Choosing this title prompted me to look into the first few episodes, and I like what I’ve seen. The series is very knowledgeable, referential and realistic, in no small part due to Day herself being a gamer. It somewhat reminds me of the CBS sitcom The Big Bang Theory (Where’s my prequel comic where Leonard meets Sheldon for the first time?).
The comic does a good job bringing over this writing and humor to sequential art. The gaming logic and tropes are easily recognizable, down to the familiar everyman’s game shop, player’s guide tips, going idle in game and annoying kids online. The life stuff will also resonate with readers thanks to Cyd’s timidness, worrisome parents and desires for a fantasy world. Day also isn’t afraid to get downright girly at time either, referencing certain feminine body parts and an affinity for in-game clothes rewards.
That said, the story is a bit clichéd, not being too new. Timid girl starts to find an outlet to be herself that while dealing with an unhappy life with a self-absorbed boyfriend. Not that the story has to be completely fresh, but it’s obviously just a jumping off point for the next issues and the overall web series.
Thankfully the strengths of comic book story telling are put to good use here. With the magic of sequential art, this one issue tells a story with several different scenes over several days in such a short time that a video episode of the web series cannot. The comic does manage to adapt elements of the video storytelling for its own use as well, such as each episode’s YouTube vlog recap successfully transitioning to the in-comic narration.
Day has done a great job transitioning the humor and adapting to comic books. The plot just needs a bit more work. We’ll see if it better develops in issue 2.
Thin, angular and elongated. That’s what all the characters look like. The bodies are almost stick figures with clothes on. The faces range from alright to pouty, almost baggy looks, and more than a few are off center or off proportion with the rest of the head. A couple of close ups of the hands look boney and wrinkly, as if Cyd’s fingers are half a century older than she is.
The coloring is very simple, like someone just loaded it up in Photoshop. The shading is a basic two tone, making everything look even flatter. The detailing is almost equally simplistic.
The in-game scenes, however, have a softer, painted coloring to emphasize the fantasy. Consequently, the much more detailed shading and varied coloring help Rugg’s original pencils feel rounder and shapelier than the real life scenes.
At least it’s not super heroic art, which wouldn’t fit at all, but it’s almost trying too hard not to be. Maybe plain and flat for the real world is intentional to make the fantasy stand out, but it still means that over half the book’s art is very plain and flat.
As far as adapting a video and writing style to a comic book format, The Guild #1 really pulls it off. The art isn’t there and the plot is kind of cliché, but if you’re interested in the web series or just like geek humor, it’s worth checking out.
Overall (Not an Average) 7/10