To be honest, it's a bit surprising that it's taken this long for "The Guild" creator and "Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog" actress Felicia Day to make her debut in the comics world. An eternally multitasking creator involved with an endless array of geek-friendly projects, Day somehow found time to write a three-issue comic based on her award-winning online series.
In my interview with Day last week, she described "The Guild" as an origin story of sorts for her character in the Web series, Cyd Sherman, a gamer who juggles drama in both her online and offline worlds while trying to level up in the biggest quest of all: life.
Published by Dark Horse Comics, "The Guild" features a story by Day and art by "Street Angel" creator Jim Rugg. The first issue hit shelves today.
THE GOOD: After reading through the first issue, it's hard to believe "The Guild" is Day's first foray into comics. Day manages to translate Cyd into this new medium with all the same quirks, timing and personality of her live-action character, while also avoiding many of the troubles that usually plague adaptations of existing characters in live-action projects. Of course, it probably helps that Day is Cyd in many ways — though she's indicated that the events leading up to Cyd's introduction to gaming differ significantly from her own.
Still, that's probably one of the most promising aspects of "The Guild" — Day has created a story believable on enough levels that it could be autobiographical, while still compelling enough to pull you through the narrative and crave the next issue. Cameos by some of the "Guild" series regulars just add an extra bonus for fans of the online "Guild" series, though you don't need to be familiar with it to enjoy the comic.
As for the art, Rugg seems like a great fit for Day's tale. He gets extra points for noticeably changing up his style to differentiate between the main narrative and Cyd's in-game perspective. An established artist already, Rugg brings a great blend of indie tone to the story that, given its source material, seems entirely appropriate.
THE BAD: While Day nails the dialogue throughout much of the story, there are a few points where you have to recite it out loud to get the full effect. Much like her "Dr. Horrible" director, Joss Whedon, Day has a knack for spoken beats and comedic back-and-forth, and she has a few issues here and there bringing that timing to the printed page. However, Whedon himself had similar issues at points in his "Astonishing X-Men" run, and still ended up crafting a great series.
FINAL WORD: Since I was already a big fan of both Rugg's work on "Street Angel" and Day's work in, well, everything, I had high hopes for "The Guild." Fortunately, the product of the two creators' efforts more than lived up to expectations. Even without too much familiarity with the MMORPG world (I've never played a second of "World of Warcraft"), the comic manages to connect with readers on a personal level — it's less about the gaming and more about the search for direction and acceptance — in much the same way as the Web series, and will likely create quite a few new fans for the online component of Day's "Guild" universe.
"The Guild" #1 is on shelves today.
Picked up the comic? Agree or disagree with my review? Let me know in the comment section or on Twitter!