Reviews: Gunnerkrigg Court

The world is more interesting than the story

I got bored with Gunnerkrigg Court. I followed it well on into the arc where Antimony tries to become the court medium before I just couldn't be bothered anymore.

The problem I had with it is that the world is sort of its own character, but it's leagues more interesting than the cast, particularly Antimony. I was reading it for the world-building, for the Court, for what was really going on... but all I got was story after story about all the new and exciting ways that Antimony is Very Special And Just So Mysterious And Important and Implicitly Better Than Everyone, You Guys.

After every arc, I found myself loathing that twee little antimony symbol because it meant the current story was over, but none of the things I actually read the story because I wanted to know about had ever been explained.

The art is good and the characters who aren't Annie and Kat are intriguing, and the world is amazingly so, but they get so little focus compared to the main pair that it's just not worth the effort unless you're really, really into that kind of thing.

Absolutely Amazing

This webcomic is absolutely amazing. The art in the early chapters isn't that great, but it gets better as the comic goes on. Be warned that this is the gateway comic:once you've read Gunnerkrigg Court you'll keep trying to find new comics in an effort to find one that's just as good. Good luck with that.

My god.

Simply the best. I can't even begin to describe it.

If you like webcomics, then you should like this.

Just be aware of the early art. It's a bit... odd. But it then gets SO DAMN GOOD.

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

Caveat Lector.

A word of advice before you begin reading Gunnerkrigg Court- if ever there is a simple explanation for anything in this series, discount it immediately- things are more complicated than you can possibly imagine. Gunnerkrigg Court is a series about Antimony Carver, her technophile best friend, Kat Donlan, and the various colorful characters that inhabit the titular boarding school and the surrounding area. However, the simplicity of this summary belies the true monster that is this webcomic's narrative. What begins as a supernatural slice-of-life quickly evolves into a perfect storm of ancient conspiracies, modern conspiracies, strange experiments, demons, psychopomps, robots, and much, much more. To explain it here is useless, as the number of threads in this tangled web are so numerous as to render secondhand description functionally impossible. One must simply experience it for themselves.

That's not to say this comic is bad, by any stretch of the imagination. Despite its complexity, the narrative is easy to follow, filled with shocks, swerves, and twists that serve only to draw you deeper into the greater puzzle surrounding the Court. With every answer, two more questions come up, and that's just fine- you'll be having so much fun reading it that you won't care. With perfect timing between comedic and dramatic moments, Gunnerkrigg Court is a joy to read no matter the chapter you're on, all while teasing you with tantalizing glimpses of the grander mystery.

So, please- sit down, relax, grab a cup of tea. And get your surprised face up to snuff. And above all, enjoy your stay at Gunnerkrigg Court.