I freely admit to being a girl geek, but my areas of “geekspertise” lie mostly in books, TV, movies and Teh Interwebs. I’m not a gamer girl. Aside from puzzle games on the DSi and stupid, mindless Facebook games, my hand/eye coordination is too lousy for anything more serious. Hell, I haven’t even turned my Wii on in over a year. As for comics, well… I’ve never been much of a collector of the American variety. Sure, I read my brother’s X-Men and TMNT comics when we were kids, and I may or may not have owned a small collection of New Kids on the Block comics (I admit nothing!), but I prefer my comics to be the size of a paperback novel, black and white, and Japanese.
So why have I suddenly subscribed to a comic series from Dark Horse about a bunch of online gaming misfits?
Other than my total girl-crush on Felicia Day, I really have no idea.
I fell in love with Day’s Web series, “The Guild,” about a year ago, after a friend linked me to the video for “Do You Want To Date My Avatar.” I’d loved Day in “Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog,” and the video was so cute, I had to find out more about her Web series. I watched all the episodes on YouTube and immediately became a fan. Even though I had never been part of an online gaming community (Mafia Wars doesn’t count, right?), I knew people who had. And while I don’t always understand the lingo, I do know RPGs. I can rock the pencil-paper-multisided dice tabletop variety like nobody’s business.
When I heard that “The Guild” was coming to comic book form, I had to get it. I had to know the backstory of the Knights of Good! I had to see Codex in her full-color, two-dimensional glory! The fact that the story was written by Day was just icing on the cake. It gave me hope that the comic would have the same feel of the show. And that was something I was worried about, after recently reading the two “Firefly” graphic novels. I enjoyed them, but I just didn’t get the same feeling from the pages of the comic as I had from the show. I had a hard time hearing the characters in my head. But with “The Guild,” the pages seemed to come to life and it was almost as if I were watching the events unfold on a screen rather than from the pages of a comic book.
The story is awesome. Cyd/Codex is just as neurotic before she joined the Knights of Good. She’s stuck in a boring job and has a boyfriend who is way too into himself to care about Cyd and her feelings. Finding a way to express herself — without having to be herself — is just what she finds when she stops into a gaming store on the way home from her therapist. By creating Codex, Cyd can finally be whoever she wants to be — someone strong and confident with really good hair and cute outfits.
I’m not a comic aficionado. I don’t know what constitutes good artwork. All I know about creating comics I learned from Chasing Amy. So from a critic’s standpoint, I can’t really tell you much about the art style other than, “Pretty. Me like.” I love how the real world and the in-game world have two distinct styles. The real world is more crisp, clean lines, while the in-game world art is more fantasy-based with soft lines and colors — fairy-tale scenery complete with exploding squirrel heads. I love how the two worlds overlap, but are still completely distinct realms unto their own. Kudos to Jim Rugg for bringing the story to life.
I had never bought comics online before, but even that experience I found pleasant — like Cyd getting excited about new in-game hairstyles, I was excited at being able to pick my own covers. Some comic art just doesn’t appeal to me, so getting to pick between different covers was a big plus. All the covers were nice, but some appealed more than others. For issue #1, I chose the Cary Nord cover, because the Knights of Good look totally bad-ass — completely opposite of their real world personalities. Plus, Codex’s outfit looks amazing in that pose. (Did I mention my girl crush?)
Issue #1 ends with a familiar character making his first appearance — the beginning of what will become the Knights of Good. I can’t wait to see what’s in store for issue #2 and meeting more members of the Knights of Good as they find their way into Codex’s band of online misfits.