Augh! It’s been half a year?! My apologies.
I’ve been dealing with a super-busy schedule these past several months. I’ve had a massive checklist to get out of the way (which I can’t go into specifics), but I thankfully have most of it done. I’m feeling a lot better now and I feel I’m ready for another review, and this webcomic is a big one.
Title: Gunnerkrigg Court
Author: Tom Siddell
Start Date: 2005
Genre: Dark fantasy, sci-fi
Update Schedule: Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays
Antimony Carver is a student at the titular boarding school, Gunnerkrigg Court. The place is…unique, to say the least. The Court is located at the edge of Gillitie Wood, a forest where mystical creatures reside and are segregated from (although they can often bleed into and influence) the technological, man-made forces of the Court. Gunnerkrigg is also more than just a school–it’s also a massive industrial complex that functions as a world all its own. Essentially, the Court is the exact opposite of Hogwarts, where it places an emphasis on science and rejects magic (which they refer to as yet another branch of science), even though many of the Court’s students have magical abilities, Antimony included.
Shortly after her mother passed away, Antimony was transferred to the boarding school where she has to train to be the Medium, a negotiator between the residents of the Court and Gillitie–the title previously held by her mother. She also narrates the bizarre experiences that she and her friends and classmates experience during their tenure at the Court.
Recommended Age Group: All ages.
The art is absolutely breathtaking. Even during the early chapters where Siddell’s art starts off as rough and a bit awkward, it still maintains a very Expressionistic look to its aesthetics that fits the tone and story of the comic beautifully. Another strength is how Siddell utilizes his knowledge of mythology and symbolism for the characters, setting, and world building. The character designs are highly imaginative and characters are well developed.
The plot appears to be notably absent. The way Siddell frames his story seems to hint at a giant goal–like there’s a main villain to defeat, a conflict to resolve, a giant conspiracy to uncover–and the comic never actually goes in that direction. Every chapter is treated as a standalone story arc rather than a piece of a significant, overarching plot. Massive hints and character revelations are dropped like bombshells (or sometimes even explored, yet still kept ambiguous), then the big reveal is never brought up again. Then the next chapter will focus on something else. It feels like there’s no payoff after so much buildup, and that’s the most frustrating feature of reading the comic.
I give this comic a wholehearted recommendation. Gunnerkrigg Court is one of my personal favorite webcomics, and I think children would love it as well. The comic’s sophisticated storytelling, lovely art, imaginative world, and likable characters would keep anyone hooked and hard to let go.