Friday, February 22, 2013

Books and Program Reviews: The Guild Webseries and Graphic Novels

 Because of my rotating work schedule and extensive workout routine, to fight my personal "Battle of the Bulge," I don't have the time to play any Massively Multi-player On-Line Role Playing Games (MMORPGs). 
However, as table-top wargamer and role player, this hasn't stopped me from enjoying antics of "The Knights of Good" in the smash-hit webseries The Guild
Created by actress/gamer Felicia Day, The Guild has been popular with fans and critics alike for six seasons.  Earlier this week it was edged out of the Best Comedy Writing category by the Lizzie Bennet Diaries in the 3rd Annual Streamy Awards.  (Lizzie Bennet will be the subject of a future Program Review). 
While The Guild is also available on DVD (as of now, up to Season 5) via  These "hardcopies" come with bonus material, which makes purchasing them an attractive option. 
At a quick glance, Seasons 1 & 2 earned, on average, a fire-wall 5-star rating.  Subsequent seasons dipped a trifle to an average of 4.5 stars. I'll try to boost these ratings a bit by adding my 5-star rating to each DVD.  I think the webseries is a hoot and if you've done any gaming whatsoever, you could probably identify with all or most of mayhem the series portrays--on line and off.
Once I caught up with viewing The Guild's entire six-season history, I became interested in the characters' backstories.  Oh sure, there's the plot synopses and character sketches on Wikipedia, but it certainly lacks in the visual-appeal department. 
Instead of producing additional webisodes, Felica Day turned to another medium to delve deeper into her character Cyd Sherman/Codex:  The graphic novel.  This prequel is touching and humorous look at Cyd's life and her attempt to "transform herself" by delving into "The Game." 
While the book gets an overwhelming 16 x 5-star ratings, there are minor-to-moderate complaints about the artwork.  The most common comment was the art was inconsistent.  Maybe so, but I thought the artwork was fine and certainly will add another 5-star rating to the novel. 
Full disclosure:  I'm not an artist and I couldn't draw a straight line to save my life, so I probably don't know any better.
Cyd Sherman doesn't escape her dreary life into the world of "The Game" alone.  She's joined by a band of equally dysfunctional characters, who have interesting backstories of their own--to say the least.
Hence, the "sequel to the prequel:" The Knights of Good (The Guild Vol 2).  I snatched-up my copy during an impromptu visit to Atomic Comics
Unlike the first volume, which centered around Cyd/Codex, each chapter in this novel gives us a glimpse into the supporting cast of The Knights of Good
 While I didn't notice any artistic inconsistency, reviewers complained about in Volume 1, there is a definite distinction in styles among each of the chapters.  I don't mind, because each chapter is a seperate story dealing with a different character, so the stylistic differences provide a sense of variety to the book.
Also, it isn't until Season 6, that viewers actually get to see images of the game the guildees are gaga over.  Both graphic novels provide some nice gaming imagery to fill in the earlier seasons' lack of in-game adventures.
I'm definately happy with both of my graphic novel purchases and one day I may even buy the DVDs.

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