Shame on you if you are not watching Felicia Day’s online web series, The Guild.  The Guild follows a group of online gamers called the Knights of Good who quest together in their fantasy realm, defeating evil and seeking treasures.  The series is cleverly written and hilarious.  It’s never actually said that they are playing World of Warcraft, but one can assume that is basically what they are doing.  I’m not an MMO gamer and I still love every second of this series.  For an actual WoW player, I can only imagine this to be all that much better.

All of the same humor from the series comes out in the book.  Day translates the online personas to the comics pages seamlessly.  Each unique voice is captured perfectly, and for those of us familiar with the characters, the true voices are what we hear as we are reading.  The script is spot-on hilarious, yet just like the web series, it is also heartfelt and sincere.  There is a depth to these characters beyond just a bunch of people sitting at their computers playing a game.  Behind all of the humor, these are real people.

Recently, Day released her first comic book publication, also called The Guild, which is a three-chapter prequel to the web series.  Regardless of whether you have seen any of the online stores, you could pick this book up and enjoy the hell out of it.  Since it’s a prequel, you really don’t need to be familiar with the web series to understand what is happening, but for those that have seen the series, it’s a great time seeing Day’s vision for how the Guild members met before becoming the Knights of Good.

Day’s character, Cyd Sherman, is a depressed wallflower trapped in a relationship with an unappreciative boyfriend.  When she is exposed to the world of online gaming, Cyd retreats from her reality into the fantasy realm where she assumes the guise of Codex, meets new friends and has adventures that give her the sense of accomplishment and validation she craves in her real life.  This story at it’s root is a story about personal growth.  Even though it is based in a fantasy world, her experiences transcend into reality.

Jim Rugg’s art is perfect for this book.  Some of his characters do appear a little stiff and awkward, especially with side views, but he manages to capture facial expressions wonderfully.  It works for me because these characters are awkward in their own right.  Dan Jackson’s colors are simple yet effective.  I’ve always contended that I’m not a stickler for the art in comics as long as there is a solid story to support it.  The Guild could be drawn as stick figures and it wouldn’t be any less of a great read.

For fans of The Guild, this is essential reading.  It is as close to actually viewing an episode as a comic can get.  If you have not yet been officially initiated into the web series, this is a great jumping-off point.  It will ground you in the original piece of the series and allow you to hit season one running.  You do not have to be an online gamer or even know much about the source material, because it’s never really about the game.  It’s about the people playing the game.  It’s a social experiment with axes and armor

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