Once upon a time, there was a woman who fought monsters. Not big or bloody ones — the emotional kind. One day, she created an alternative version of herself through a game. The game helped her deal with her issues and inspired her to tell others about her love of gaming. That woman was the delightful Felicia Day, and that story was The Guild. First launched as a webseries in 2007, the Guild has also become a series of comic books and even a few music videos. I was able to chat with Felicia Day about her inspiration for her latest comic book, The Guild: Library Edition — a collection of stories set before the webseries begins — and her love of gaming.
The Guild: Library Edition has a lot to unpack, but does not let readers down. The comic is based on the webseries, but you don’t have to know the show in order to enjoy the comic. Although the book stays true to the essence of the characters, adapting a comic is very different from writing a screenplay. “Writing a comic is the direct opposite from writing a show,” Day tells BUST. “A comic requires dialogue to be minimal and direct. For a comic, visuals and action are more important.”
The visuals for the 317-page book do not disappoint. Each page is rich in color, and every story has its own special style of animation for each of the seven characters. Day says that when she was writing the comic, she based the characters on people with whom she played World of Warcraft. Cyd, also known as Codex in the comic, is the central character, and the one most like Day.
When Day was developing the comics, she was really interested in an indie vibe and was incredibly excited to work with artist Jim Rugg for the Codex arc. With each character, Day found new and creative ways to explore their story, and it really became a collaborative effort. In total, Day worked with 17 artists and eight different colorists. “I had the great opportunity to work with many artists," Day says. "It was a collaborative effort, I would pitch the story to the editor, and the editor would suggest an artist.”
The end result is a vibrant pantheon of art that brings forward each character's story. The beautiful artwork isn’t the only thing that makes this work stellar. The main draw of the Guild has always been the content. The Guild webseries came about from Day’s very real and personal experience with depression, anxiety, and gaming. “At the core, Codex’s journey started from mental health issues,” says Day. “Her journey into depression was a reflection of where I was when started playing World of Warcraft.”
Day's honesty and candidness shines through on both the page and screen. Through this quirky story, Day shows that people can find community and solace in the most unexpected places. “It is a story about a woman who finds this game as a distraction to her life, and there are bad and good things to that,” she says. “But the support she got allowed her to find fulfillment that was partial to her journey.”
Day also makes the reader question what a gamer looks like. The six main characters to the comic are diverse, both in gender and race. That's because Day based the characters on real people. “I set out with representation in mind,” says Day. “The comic is very true to everything I felt and experienced as a gamer.” Day brings up a good point on the diversity of gamers. According to a Pew research study done in 2015, 48% of women play video games.
The Guild — both show and comic — is a nice reminder that gaming is about community, and we all like to play. Which is a good reminder for us all today, especially with the rise of trolls. “I think there is going to be a lot of analysis on what the internet has done to culture,” Day says. She adds that gaming allowed her to find a sense of purpose and community. Through gaming, she was able to be herself, and it inspired her to be creative outside of gaming as well.
The internet and gaming have their ups, but they also have their downs. The Guild: Libary Edition really touches on internet culture, mostly the positive parts. But we can’t talk about internet culture and gaming without also talking about Gamergate or any of the hate groups that feel empowered to come forward. “When I wrote the comic, it was earlier in the life of the internet,” says Day. “The internet can be a place to not make you feel like a weirdo for liking unique things, but you also have people who have toxic ideas spreading on the internet.”
The Guild: Library Edition gives the reader hope, though, that the internet isn't just full of trolls. It is a place where you can be whatever you want, and feel empowered to do good. “To fight the dark side, it takes people to unite against hate,” says Day. “Stand up for what you believe in and fight for what is right.”
I am suspicious that Day may actually be a healer, like her character Codex. She wrote a love letter to gaming, but gave us a blueprint on how to use the internet to help us be more human.
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Isabel Sophia Dieppa is a writer and actor. She is a part of the performance duo Of This World in Chicago, IL. Dieppa is the recipient of a 2018 Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting grant, which she has used to report on property rights in Puerto Rico. Her interests lie in science, art, and history. Past writing includes interning for the Chicago Field Museum ECCO program, the national theater blog HOWLROUND, music reviews for UR Chicago, and in a former life was a beat reporter for the Indiana Daily Student. She loves archaeology, kitties, and dancing. The next big adventure may include an archaeological dig in Peru. Follow her on twitter @isabelsdieppa.