I’ve seen a few episodes of “The Guild,” but I’m certainly not a regular viewer. I like the show, in the vague way that I like a lot of things I might stumble across online, but I just never make time to go back to find out what’s happening next with “The Guild” crew.
The first issue of “The Guild” comic book, though? This thing’s something worth making time for.
If you don’t already know, “The Guild” is Felicia Day’s webseries about a group of quirky-yet-charming geeks who know each other through “The Game,” a World of Warcraftian online role-playing game. From what I’ve seen of the episodes, the series deals with their awkward misadventures outside of the game. It has sarcastic wit but a gentle kindness — a camaraderie — underneath. It’s not dissimilar to the tone of Joss Whedon at his best, which is probably why Whedon brought Day in to star as Penny in “Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog.”
In “The Guild” comic, inspired by her own webseries but not an adaptation of it, Day makes one heck of a comic book writer. Her authorial voice shines through in this opening issue, giving us laugh-out-loud funny bits of narration and dialogue. On the first page, her protagonist, the day-dreamy, bored and depressed Cyd describes how she wouldn’t really ever be able to have a relationship with a prince because she isn’t even a virgin. “Stupid hymen,” she laments. And the former cellist/rockstar-wannabe boyfriend of hers is great for a few gags as well, even if he doesn’t realize how much of an idiot he is (or precisely because he doesn’t realize how much of an idiot he is).
Cyd, mousy and self-conscious but funnier and charming than she knows, finds a chance to reinvent herself through the online role-playing game, playing a beautiful healer who stops to help a cute little squirrel. Until his head explodes. Because what “The Game” is about, as Cyd soon learns, is killing. And she loves it.
This issue ends with the arrival of a companion for Cyd — an in-game companion, at least — and it’s the first stirrings of the Guild itself, the Knights of the Good, the group of like-minded geeks who will band together for the sake of friendship and comedy.
I’ve written all these words about “The Guild” #1 and I haven’t mentioned artist Jim Rugg. Well, he’s perfect for this series, capturing the sad but goofy reality of life and the drama of the role-playing game the characters retreat into. His style changes from the real world to the role-playing world, and Dan Jackson’s coloring does as well. It’s an effective artistic team and a wonderful complement to the sweetly savage sensibilities of Felicia Day.