Geeks in Comics–The Guild by Felicia Day   3 comments

I am a comics fan. Once upon a time I would have said that I’m a huge comics fan, but I know that simply isn’t true. When I go to my comics store, Samurai Comics in Phoenix, I routinely see people laying out $100 or more for their subscriptions.  Those are the huge comics fans. The store gets about $4 to $10 a week from me, which is puny compared to many of their patrons.

Still, I like to think I know a lot about comics. I have been a fan all my life since about the age of 12, and I’m 62 now. I have seen comics companies rise and fall. I have bought thousands of comics, and read maybe ten times as many as I have bought.  I have advocated for comics in libraries for decades now, and am really pleased to see them making progress there. Comics get kids to read, and keep adults reading, and reading, imho, is a good thing.

For the record, the things I normally buy include: all Conan comics, except reprints–I have the original, why buy a reprint–all Tarzan comics–the Ape-Man seems to have fallen from grace lately–it has been at least 3 years since he last had a comic series, Groo, the Astro City stuff by Kurt Busiek (I once corresponded with Kurt, back before he became a star), almost anything with Adam Strange in it, almost anything about the Justice League of America. I like the mini-series, especially of Golden Age characters like Flash Gordon or Doc Savage. I’m looking forward to D.C.’s First Wave stuff.

This week thee wasn’t too much for me. I made an impulse purchase, and the decision to buy was made literally by the flip of a coin. Heads, buy, Tails, leave. The comic I bought was The Guild by Felicia Day.

First of all, props to Dark Horse Comics and Felicia Day for translating her popular internet webisode series “The Guild” to comics. Felica says somewhere–she’s quoted everywhere these days, and I’m not paying strict attention–that when the idea of making The Guild into a comic was presented to her, she decided that she would de a prequel–that is, a story that comes before the first story in the series. And this is it.

Let’s be cruel. I’ve seen pictures of internet heartthrob Felica Day, and I follow her on Twitter (possibly because there’s a fantasy gaming connection) and she is, in fact, drop dead gorgeous. She has the kind of good looks and ebullient personality that destines her for media greatness, or at least a couple years of high popularity. But she imagines her comic book alter-ego as a flat-chested, horsey-faced redhead in a depressed relationship with a conceited young rocker who wants to make it in the music business–ah the eternal dream of the young and feckless. One day, while trying to pass out flyers advertising her boyfriend’s band–the Shredders (I wince just to think of it.) she wanders into a gamestore and winds up buying a sixty dollar mmorpg base set. With no one to guide her, she sets up a healer character and wanders into the wonderful fairyland of online roleplaying, where she quickly discovers that such  games are all about killing things.  In a few hours of online play she works her way up from killing chipmunks to killing dinosaur dragon things, and she meets a few other gamers. This is an empowering experience for her, but when her self-centered boyfriend comes back, she drops it all to cater to his every whim. And that ends book one of this three book mini-series.

Frankly, I would not have even picked up this book if it wasn’t about Ms. Day. This is an oft-told tale–that of a geek or nerd who enters a fantasy land and discovers her true worth and power. It is popular because there are so many of us geeks, and I include myself, who desperately want to believe it could happen. In real life I am a low-level librarian who hasn’t had a promotion in 37 years of service, but in Runescape (http://runescape.com) I am Khenn Arrth, a none-too-bright adventurer who has solved every quest, explored every corner of the continually expanding world, and slain every monster the game programmers could throw at me–definitely a hero compared to my all-too-mundane real life self. Eight years of constant play will do that for one.

What will make this comic a success is Felica Day’s own immense popularity on the internet. At the time I write this, she has 1,743,346 followers on Twitter which makes her roughly 4500 times more popular than me. By the time you read this blog, she will have even more, and will probably top 2 million followers before the end of April, and I may be underestimating the phenomenon. I bought the comic with some vague idea of selling it in a  year or three for ten times the cover price on Ebay.  I have no idea how many “Guild” followers there are. The website at http://watchtheguild.com claims to have over 25 million served. They do have 3 seasons of dvds for sale, and my guess is that everyone connected to this production is doing very well indeed.

And rightfully so. From what I’ve seen, the show is witty, well-produced, funny, and it talks about issues that matter to today’s young, online, internet generation. Long may the Guild flourish!

Is Felicia’s Guild comic the greatest comic book ever seen? No.  Is it a bad story? No. It is a kind of hip follow-up to old slice-of-life comics like Harvey Pekar’s American Splendor. When the mini-series ends, would I like to see Dark Horse turn it into a continuing series? I don’t know. Possibly. But with the Guild available in video on DVD, do we really need a comic book about them? Only time will tell.  It could happen. After all, nothing succeeds like excess, and we live smack in the middle of the Age of Excess.

In the meantime, I will buy the first 3 issues at least–I already told my guy at Samurai Comics to add it to my list. I will read them once, then bag and board them and put them aside. I think The Guild might turn out to be a collector’s item. And at the very least, it will be fun.

End

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Posted March 26, 2010 by atroll in Uncategorized

3 responses to “Geeks in Comics–The Guild by Felicia Day

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  1. Glad to see you’re mostly a DC man as well.

  2. I’m not a hip young mmorpg’er, but I am a gamer and love the Guild. My better half has no interest in gaming, but she really likes the Guild too. Will check out the comic if I get the chance.

    Hey, Ken have you seen a movie called the Gamers? That’s quite a giggle.

    • Hola, Zhhhennn, Yes, I’ve seen the first gamers movie. It was quite a hoot. They really knocked themselves out. 🙂 Khenn Arrth

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