The Guild: Graphic Novel Review

If you’ve seen the popular web series The Guild, about a group of on-line gamers dealing with issues both in-game and offline, then you’ll enjoy this graphic novel prequel. Originally released as a three-issue miniseries by Dark Horse Comics, the graphic novel comes with a few extras, and the story of Cyd Sherman’s life before on-line gaming is more dramatic than comedic.

Written by The Guild creator/star Felicia Day, the story begins in the same style as the web series, with Cyd Sherman in front of a web cam spilling her guts about her life. She’s a back row violinist in an orchestra and in a rocky relationship with her boyfriend Trevor, who’s trying to start a rock band. Trevor does what he can to use Cyd, offering no affection despite her support of his rockstar ambitions.

She coasts through life unsure of her direction, and while on an errand for Trevor, she buys a video game on a whim, and begins to learn about massively multiplayer online role playing games. One-by-one, we are introduced to the players Cyd encounters in-game, who will eventually form the Knights of Good. These early interactions prove vital to Cyd’s development as a social gamer, while she deals with her life unfolding in the real world.

This story has more depth and substance than its web series counterpart, but fits perfectly with the established characters. While some parts are funny, the story as a whole is more focused on Cyd’s low self-esteem and awkward struggles to find people to connect to, until she discovers the game. I feel this is the story’s winning quality. There was something satisfying about Cyd Sherman transforming into her avatar ‘Codex’.

Complementing Felicia Day’s writing is Jim Rugg’s artwork. Rugg captures the likenesses of Cyd and the other characters from the web series very well. The advantage of the comic book format allows the storytelling to deeply expand the in-game scenes. Rugg’s handling of the in-game scenes to contrast the off-line story was a beautiful and unexpected detail.

Overall, The Guild graphic novel stands on its own as a well crafted story, but also fits nicely with the web series. The creative team did a nice job adapting the elements of the source material into comic book format, and even though it’s a short read, it’s very enjoyable.

Each guild character will star in their own one-shot comic. The Guild: Vork and The Guild: Tink one shots are also written by Felicia Day, and are currently available.

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