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Gunnerkrigg Court: A wonderful surprise
Gunnerkrigg Court is a comic that doesn't so much expand over time as explode. The first, low-key chapter about a young girl named Antimony trying to escort a shadow home establishes many of the constants of the series; strange things are taken in stride, technology and magic are bedfellows, and Antimony herself is somewhat of a fiery rebel despite her cool demeanor. In later chapters, the cast expands purposefully, incorporating and reusing new and old characters like a great big puzzle.

In the world of Gunnerkrigg Court and its accompanying forest, outward appearances can mean little. A stuffed toy can house a godlike fox, a slightly frowny woman can be completely invulnerable, and a crab-eurypterid thing can be a great party organizer (No really). My personal favorite character is Zimmy, a paronoid, foul-tempered girl with blacked-out eyes and a sharp-toothed grin. When initially introduced, she seems like little more than a typical schoolyard rival drawn in a slightly inhuman way, a paranoid nutcase that taunts the protagonists' science project. Yet as Zimmy appears more and we find out more about her unique appearance and capabilities, we start to see her good qualities shine even as her bad ones turn more sinister.

But Zimmy is only one character. Gunnerkrigg Court has a ton of great characters who interact in surprising ways. Even those we normally think are pure and good can still fall to normal follies like vindictiveness or pessimism, yet they never are chained to their flaws, instead facing them and growing around them.

The art of the comic is also rather notable. While at first its overly cartoony style might drive off reads, the style quickly smooths out and becomes rather elegant. Movement and action are well-represented and keep the comic moving at a brisk pace. The art is allowed to breathe and vary beyond simple confines of a single style too; sometimes it becomes painterly, more cartoony, or even sketchlike.

This is honestly a very good webcomic, and I never expected something like this. The worst flaw is that it updates slowly (but still on a regular basis), and finishing Gunnerkrigg Court only left me hungry for more of this style of webcomic.

tl:dr version on first post
Pros
* Has a similar setup to Harry Potter, focusing more on the fantasy world than the school drama.
  • Art gets very impressive later on, especially the art for Coyote's many forms.
  • Brisk pace, almost no walls of text.
  • Characters are interesting and don't always go in expected directions, including the main two characters Katerine and Antimony.
  • Consistent tone across varied types of plots.

Cons
* Early art is a bit too deformed.
  • The plot is not straightforward or the main thrust; there are a few Slice Of Life chapters.
  • Some chapters, especially those with Zimmy, can feel very Mind Screw.

Conclusion: Read Gunnerkrigg Court. It's a really good comic.
comment #18750 Scardoll 4th Apr 13
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