I have been a fan of Batman for an extremely long time. I vividly remember going to the comic shop where I grew up and purchasing Batman: Arkham Asylum. It was mind blowing, Batman was locked up in order to catch the killer Zsasz. They stage a cop’s murder and blame Batman, declaring him insane to land him in Arkham. What unfolds is an awesome detective story mixed with complete insanity. I was 14, maybe 15. I was officially in love with Batman.
My history with The Guild and, more appropriately, Felicia Day is probably not typical. The first time I had really seen her was in a quirky Cheetos commercial where she ruins someone’s laundry because they were an asshole. I thought to myself, that’s a cute redhead, and kind of moved on. I went to SXSW and caught sight of many internet nerd-stars walking around, then out of the blue the girl from the Cheetos commercial walks by me. I almost stopped her to say hi, but had nothing really to say beyond "hi, saw you in a Cheetos commercial" and just kind of passed by and smiled. This was March of 2008. When I got home, I saw her picture in a blog and thought, "Why the hell is a girl from a Cheetos commercial involved in all this internet-dom?" I mean, she is attractive, but the internet rarely shines its beacon on people for attractiveness alone. Then I heard about something called The Guild. I hopped over to YouTube and started to watch and haven’t stopped since. To be honest, there is nothing quite like it. Now it’s 2+ years later and it seems as if Felicia Day owns a chunk of the internet.
The Guild is a phenomena, need proof? Microsoft bought exclusive rights to air it over the XBox Live interface (which you should be watching PS). Day has 1.7million followers on twitter. Is it deserved? Totally. The show is awesome, it entertains and talks from a point of view often not heard, not only on Television but in gaming, on the internet, you name it. It’s from a woman’s perspective. Sure she is a bit self conscious, she is mildly obsessive, but these are quirks, not clichés. More importantly then any of this, Day is amazingly gracious with her fans and followers. She spends time interacting with them, she’s thankful and open about their support. She does not give off an heir of entitlement, but to be honest, with her level of drive and talent, she is pretty entitled to be where she is.
This is not a love letter to Day, though. For one, my wife wouldn’t approve of that too much. More importantly it’s to talk about the newly released The Guild in trade paperback on Dark Horse Comics. All of this lead-up is for a reason though, this book is a prequel to the series we all love. It gives the story of how Cyd got to where she is, how she became Codex and how the Knights of Good even met. The artist on the series, Jeff Rugg, brings a real indie sensibility and real world feeling to the panels which move smoothly from page to the page. Overall the book reminds me of the feeling created when reading Ghost World. The people have weight to them and again the point of view brought to the table is one of a woman trapped in a world she can’t control who escapes into the world of gaming.
We have to talk about the writing, mostly because this is a comic book review and if we talked about the gameplay it would be awkward. Day writes the characters with such life and expression you hear their voices in your head. This isn’t a bad thing. It’s not as if you are reading Speed: The Book and can’t get Keanu out of your head, this is living, breathing characters popping off a flat page. The story is relatable and entertaining, and the scene where she has an internal dialog about a pretty massive event in her life, is possibly one of the most entertaining and touching moments I’ve read in a while. It took me back to breaking up with one of my first adult relationships and translated perfectly.
Overall the story is a must read for The Guild fans, a good lead in for non-guildies and just a good comic. Pick it up at your local shop or on Amazon.