PREVIEW: Felicia Day Brings ‘The Guild’ To Comics

With prominent roles in Joss Whedon’s television series “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and his online musical “Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog,” actress Felicia Day already has a lot of fans — but for many people (myself included), it’s her ongoing web series “The Guild” that first won her a place of honor in our geeky little hearts.

Chronicling the adventures of gamer Cyd Sherman as she navigates the troubled waters of real-life drama and relationships in both the online and offline worlds, “The Guild” has been described as a “love letter to gaming.” Day stars, writes and produces the award-winning web series, which recently saw its third season released on DVD.

And now she’s bringing it to the comic book world.

MTV News caught up with the hardworking actress/filmmaker to chat about the upcoming “The Guild” comic hitting shelves March 24 from Dark Horse Comics. Day wrote the script for the three-issue series, which will feature art by “Street Angel” creator Jim Rugg.

Given her experience with all things geekery, Day acknowledged that comics are somewhat new ground for her, describing herself as an “aficionado” and confessing an early crush on Calvin from “Calvin & Hobbes” when she was little. In the end, writing “The Guild” comic served as a Comics 101 of sorts for the actress/filmmaker.

“It really was a hurdle,” she said of shifting gears from writing for film to writing for comics. “It’s very different from writing the web series. We have a very low budget, so we shoot with what we have and what we try and do is minimize the number of locations. The shoot is more about the characters and the dialogue than it is about going places.”

“In the comic book form, I quickly learned that you don’t have any limitations as far as where you go,” she explained. “Location is the easiest thing, but the limitations on how much dialogue you can put into each panel and the idea of visual storytelling was pretty challenging for me to wrap my head around. It turned the whole way I told a ’Guild’ story on its head.”

According to Day, she quickly learned that comic book writers not only have to pen a script but also have to be writers, directors and cinematographers for their work — something that took her by surprise when she agreed to bring the series into the comic world. Still, she prides herself on never shying away from a creative challenge.

“You should always try to do everything, and then in attempting to do something that looks easy you’ll realize and appreciate how hard it is,” she said. “That goes for everything from fixing a computer to figure skating. So my experience writing a comic gives me a newfound respect for the art of comic book writing.”

As for the story itself, Day described it as an origin story for her character, revealing how Cyd Sherman discovered the online world that becomes such a centerpiece of her life and allowed her to cope with her offline existence.

“It was something that came into her life when she needed it, and added something that was lacking in her real life,” she explained. “It’s about somebody who’s kind of lost and finds a community and sense of purpose, and finds a support group — a healthy support group. It’s kind of the opposite of what people think about video games.”

“It’s all about finding a support group and building friendships and feeling like you belong somewhere,” she added. “That’s what I wanted to explore in these three issues — to see how that family originated.”

Day said the experience should also have a significant impact on her approach to the the next season of “The Guild” web series, as the comic pushed her to think long and hard about both her character in the series and Cyd’s in-game character, Codex.

“I probably know other characters’ origin stories better than Cyd’s, because Cyd is me in a sense,” she said. “But I didn’t want her journey into video games to be anything like my personal journey into video games. So it was challenging, but it also made me understand my character a little better for writing future season of ’The Guild.’ I think it will come in handy knowing her origin like that.”

However, Day warned fans not to expect a lighthearted romp when they dive into Cyd’s background. Much like in the web series, her character has a fair share of troubles dealing with the demands of an uncertain path in life, and humor provides a counterpoint to a deeper message about finding friends and purpose.

“For me, that’s the reality of it,” said Day of the comic’s initial, introspective tone. “That’s how this particular character found her way into [gaming] — because she’s not happy with the way her life is going.”

“There is that point in your mid-’20s, after you get out of college and you’ve lived on your own a couple of years,” she explained. “Until that point, you’ve lived your life from year to year, going from test to test, with this idea that when you graduate life’s really going to happen. And then you leave school and realize life is happening, but you’re just treading water. That’s what I wanted to capture in Cyd’s story and in her spirit.”

“The Guild” #1 hits shelves March 24 from Dark Horse Comics. Check out an exclusive preview of two pages from the issue below, featuring a script by Felicia Day and art by Jim Rugg.

Keep it locked to Splash Page for more from my interview with Felicia Day about “The Guild” Season 4, the “Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog” sequel, and more!

Let us know what you think of this preview in the comment section or on Twitter!

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