To start off with my summer reading binge, I decided to pick a graphic novel from my TBR, as a bit of pleasant, light reading. Earlier this year, I was given access to a DRC of the upcoming release of The Guild Library Edition and I couldn’t have been more excited. Packaged as a hardcover re-release of all of The Guild graphic novels, I was happy to have the chance to read about the background stories of all of my favorite characters from a web series that was created by Felicia Day 10 years ago.
Although this is not an ARC in the traditional sense, as it is an updated collection of The Guild graphic novels, the Library Edition volume does include a few short pieces that have not been published before.
This is an ARC review of Felicia Day’s The Guild, which releases July 19, 2017.
*Special thanks to Dark Horse for allowing us to review ahead of publication.
The Guild was an incredibly pleasant and quick read that really captured the feeling of playing a massively multiplayer online game (MMO). While I generally struggle with reading graphic novels at a decent pace for some reason, I found myself speeding through Day’s collection in a single day. While this might be due to the fact that I was already familiar with the characters, I thoroughly enjoyed learning more about the six main characters in the series: Codex, Zaboo, Vork, Clara, Tinkerballa, and Bladezz.
Each character is an individual who embodies a different character in the game. Many of the personality types were incredibly interesting and, to some extent, were reminiscent of a few of the people that I have met in the past while gaming online. The beautiful thing about The Guild is the idea that online relationships formed through gaming can be long lasting, and are just as real as relationships that are formed in real life. Part of the appeal of playing an MMO is the immersive world paired with communication and cooperation necessary in order to play competitively and get new content done.
Featuring shorts on all six main characters, The Guild details life before they all met each other in the game and leads up to the start of the first season of the web series. With a focus on Cyd, who is better known by her in-game name, Codex, I found the graphic novel to be incredibly appealing. Not just because Codex is based on Day, but because Codex is a perfect example of what living with anxiety and depression is like. I have never felt more attached to a character in terms of relatability than I have with Codex, who experiences insecurities just like everyone else.
From the very real and relatable experiences of Codex to the humorous and completely bizarre lifestyles that Zaboo and Clara lead, The Guild is a fun, quirky read. Not to mention the fact that there are game references everywhere, and it’s wonderful. From conversations between players that will be familiar to any person who has played games online before to small video game references in Tink’s short that feature her dressed up as characters from Final Fantasy, Mario, Zelda and more, The Guild is a gamer’s delight. To top it all off, Tink’s short also features a number of literary references as well!
In addition to all of the witty, relatable game references and nostalgia induced by reading The Guild, I was pleased with the amount of variety in the illustrations. Each short features illustrations and art from different artists, so that the entire collection as a whole is a creative blend of unique styles. It was a really nice touch that brought something new to the characters in terms of design. Furthermore, there are short sections throughout that feature alternate cover designs for the individual issues of The Guild, as well as an in-depth look at the process of creating a few panels in the series.
Ultimately, The Guild was an incredibly fast, humorous read that kept me entertained the entire way through. Although watching the web series is not required, it will definitely fill in some of the blanks as it is meant to be an introduction to the series. Not only does the graphic novel touch on a topic that is still looked down upon in some ways, as gaming, and female gamers in particular, are often criticized, but it does so in a way that makes the world of MMOs (and video games in general) understandable and enjoyable. If you are interested in gaming culture, MMOs, or Felicia Day, this graphic novel is definitely a must read.