Dark Horse will officially announce at Comic-Con International in San Diego that Felicia Day's "The Guild" is set to return to comics in 2011. Day's popular web-based video series, which entered its fourth season this week, follows the offline adventures of the Knights of Good, a guild within a massively multiplayer online role playing game referred to simply as "The Game," though recognizable as a "World of Warcraft" analogue. Day writes and produces the series, as well as starring as Codex. This year's three-issue "Guild" comic series served as an origin story, both for Codex's gaming life and for the guild as an entity. The sequel series, however, will find each issue focusing on a single character and illustrated by a different artist. The first issue will star noble guild-leader Vork, and is co-written by Jeff Lewis, the actor who portrays him. To find out more, CBR News caught up with Felicia Day, who promised "some fun stuff" for those who attend her Comic-Con panel.
Day said that she genuinely enjoyed working on her her first "Guild" comic with Dark Horse and that she was caught by surprise by the "dorky" joy she derived from the whole experience. "It was a big learning curve, but I think people enjoyed it. I'm really proud of it," she said. "To see each issue on the shelf, it was pretty cool. I didn't think it was going to be as thrilling. Whenever I'd go into my comic shop and ask for my comics, I'd buy some. I don't need to buy my own stuff, I've got plenty of copies!"
Since "The Guild II" will be composed of solo stories starring Vork, Zaboo, Clara, Tinkerballa and Bladezz, the series will also feature the work of five different artists, though at this stage, none of the artists have been announced. "Codex had her three-issue arc, and I had a lot of tangential story ideas out of issues - and there's no room in comics to have all these side stories," Day said of the decision to give the rest of the cast the spotlight in series 2. "To have one issue focusing on each of the characters would enable me to do standalone stories about those characters, kind of like peeling back the layers of their life in a way we don't see in the show, and then use different artists for each issue.
"I personally can't draw a straight line to save my life, so I'm such a dork when I see someone draw something competently. It's like they're making a magic fireball in front of me. I can't help but ooh and aah," she added. "So we're going to use the opportunity to use a different artist for every issue. I'm so excited, because there are so many talented people out there. Just stylistically, it's interesting to think about the character and what kind of artist is going to pair best [with them], because all of the characters are so disparate. Clara's personality would need a completely different artist than Vork's or Zaboo's. I'm excited about it."
Joining Day as co-writer on the first issue is Vork himself, Jeff Lewis, who is a writer as well as an actor. "He's a little bit like Vork, I think he's either become Vork or - I'm not sure which came first!" Day said. Most of the remaining five issues, though, will not be co-written with the character's corresponding cast member. "Of the actors only Jeff and Sandeep [Parikh], who plays Zaboo, are writers, I think," Day told CBR. "Definitely I'm trying to get Sandeep to work around his schedule to co-write the Zaboo issue. But the other three, I'm not sure, I might get co-writers or I might do them myself. Depending on, you know, who has a really good idea. I do have some very talented people around me and collaborating is really fun - as long as I'm in charge!
"We're going to have a good time. I'm excited, because I'm able to do things I've had in the back of my mind for the characters that I never would have been able to do on the budget or with the location problems. And for some characters, I don't know if I have all the backstory, so that's going to be really fun to revisit the characters that I've lived with for over three and a half years and see them with a different eye."
Day was reluctant to give details on the stories of each individual issue, except to say that they would all take place after the first miniseries, during which the Knights of Good guild came together. "We're not going back to Vork's origin story. I wanted to keep the guild together and interacting, as well as more personal stuff," Day said. "I felt like I did the guild origin story in the third issue of Codex's story. I didn't want to go so far back that we lost the rest of the guild and couldn't see the characters interact. I always want them to be interacting, because they are a guild now. That would be weird if I had a comic called 'The Guild' without a guild."
The first "Guild" miniseries allowed Day to set scenes in the world of the Game - essentially "World of Warcraft" in everything but name - which is not possible in the web series due to copyright considerations, and the writer confirmed that the new series would follow suit. "The dork in me always wants to go in and see the magic items and our much-more-attractive outfits. So yeah, I'm always going to have at least part of the comics set in-game," Day told CBR. "Just because it's so much fun to go in there and get at the adventure, which is something you just can't do on a budget. To be able to say, 'Bladezz jumps over a huge chasm, and he's fighting a four-headed flying hydra!' That's pretty cool that I can have that happen. So yeah, every issue will definitely have in-game panels, as well. And I think Jim [Rugg, the original 'Guild' artist] had a really good time drawing in two different styles."
Speaking of locations (and the difficulties they can present), Day discussed a scene from the first episode of the web series' fourth season, which debuted earlier this week. "In the first episode, you see Bladezz in a kitchen. That was interesting, because I'd never been in a restaurant kitchen before. We had to pull a lot of strings to get a professional restaurant," she told CBR. "Bladezz also didn't treat the location with the most respect...we cleaned up very well after ourselves. We shot at Amalfi, which is this restaurant that a friend of ours owns. So he was really nice. When you write on a page, 'Interior: Restaurant Kitchen,' it's never easy. Especially in LA, where people are really jaded and want to charge you a lot of money. So thank goodness we got that. Also, the picture of Bladezz in front of a grill is like the funniest thing I've ever seen in my life. I hope people are as amused by this as I am!
"We will have two episodes out by the time of Comic-Con. It's very exciting," Day added. "It was great, after writing the comic, getting everybody back together again and having fun on set. I hope people like this new season. Stylistically, it's a lot different from what we've done before. I really don't want to do the same thing twice. We're going to see some characters paired up that we haven't seen before, we're going to add different, new venues and we're going to change up some of the relationships. I don't want to spoil anything, but I never want to be bored and I never want to bore the audience."
Between writing comics, producing and acting in "The Guild" and her other acting work, one might wonder how Day finds any time at all for gaming. "It's pretty hard," Day said. "These couple weeks have actually been the slowest I've had in maybe a year, I've been catching up. When a game catches me, I'm always looking at the clock: 'Is there an hour left before bed I can play?' I just finished 'Mass Effect 2.' I think I made the wrong decision at the end so now it's kind of plaguing me, I have to go back and rewind that. And I'm so excited to see the changes in 'WoW' with the 'Cataclysm' [expansion]. I have a beta key, but I haven't had time to load it up, and that's one of my goals for August, to play before it actually launches.
"It's a question of priorities. I know as a writer I should be watching more TV and movies, but gosh, sometimes I want to spend hours just killing something."