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Gunnerkrigg Court

Updated on August 10, 2012

Gunnerkrigg Court - The Webcomic and the Books

Gunnerkrigg Court is one of my favourite webcomics out of the three or four dozen I read. It is now being released in graphic novel form - the first book, Orientation, won various awards in 2009. The second book Research came out in March, 2010 and the third book is coming out in 2011

Written and illustrated by Tom Siddell - a 3D artist from the British city of Birmingham - and slowly unfolded three times a week since April 2005, with never a missed update (a legendary feat among webcomics)
This sweet, mysterious, fantastical, ghostly, eerie and complicated storyline follows Annie as she discovers the secrets of her new school, Gunnerkrigg Court.

Inevitably compared to Harry Potter, due to it's temporal proximity to that other 'child at a mysterious magical school', I assure you it is quite unique, and adult enough to buy for father's day, silly enough for your children, and beautifully drawn enough for YOU.

Rife with symbolism, a mixture of science fiction, alchemical symbols, school outings, ghosts, faeries and mysticism, with every mthology from the Egyptians to the Celts woven together around Annie in a complex, haunting, and captivating story.

Also, rather legendary in webcomic forums - whenever talk turns to comparisons of the sacrifices of quality versus quantity, or 'immediate gratification from each new page' versus buildup... someone usually mentions Gunnerkrigg Court, and the response is often
"Oh, well, apart from Gunnerkrigg Court..."

Gunnerkrigg Court. A comic about which John Solomon of the appropriately named "Your Webcomic is Bad and You Should Feel Bad" said "has no place on this blog, because it is fantastic".

Click the icon to read from the first page....

Who's Heard of Gunnerkrigg Court?

Do YOU read Gunnerkrigg Court?

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Some Background Music...

Orientation - The First Book - The beginning of the Gunnerkrigg Court story

A lovely, very well made and solid book, it reads much better in your hands than on the screen. Everyone I've lent it to has really enjoyed it - from my siblings, to parents, to friends.

Also was picked for one of the Top Ten 2010 Graphic Novels for Teens by the American Library Association.

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. This first on-paper collection of a comic that's won several Web Cartoonists' Choice Awards reads like a British boarding school version of Lost, in which each semiexplanation of one mystery leads to a new, larger one. The titular school looks more like a vast modern factory, while across the adjacent, forbidding Annan Waters is Gillitie Wood, home of fairies, gods, ghosts and sentient shadows. In her first school year, Antinomy Carver discovers that the two realms aren't absolutely separate; her little stuffed doggie, for example, soon houses a grouchy but rather protective demon, while the robot she builds out of spare parts lying around the school crosses the Water and comes back with a living wooden arm. Grownups are of little help to the young protagonists, but Antinomy faces difficulties with courage and self-possessed good manners. She and her friend Kat respond appropriately to each fresh bit of weirdness, sometimes taking part in sci-fi space adventures, sometimes coping with the loss of a friend who's changing into a bird. Siddell's stylized manga-like art suggests energy struggling against determined restraint. The result is uncanny, perplexing and oddly compelling. (Dec.)

Gunnerkrigg Court, Vol. 1: Orientation
Gunnerkrigg Court, Vol. 1: Orientation

"Gunnerkrigg court is, in a word, AWESOME. It is hilarious. At times, it seems to be parody-esque. At others, it seems to be very serious. The main character, Antimony (Annie), is a clever, reserved girl who has just become a student at the truly spectacular Gunnerkrigg court. It is a tale of all the truly bizarre things she encounters there--shadow creatures, robots, minotaurs, ghosts, dragon-slaying teachers, visual reality rooms... The art is original and gorgeous, and I can't wait for the second book to be finished-- I want to know what happens next in Annie's life!"

"Why yes, this is a web comic artist that has printed his collected strips into a printed format. However, it is very much worth owning this volume. The art starts out odd and a bit rough but the story never falters. The setting is dark and very fantastic. The protagonist starts out a bit too cold if you ask me but the reasons for this are well explained and worth overlooking at the beginning just so one can find out what is going on at this strange boarding school.

Robots, forest gods, a trickster god, an extraordinarily complicated love story that involves dead parents instead of preteen girls leading to a complicated history, unexplained technology, a dragon, ghosts, possession, death, and friendship are common in this world. This really has something for everyone who wants more than bubblegum in their reading. Please read it. You won't be disappointed."

 

Research - The Second Book - The second book in the Gunnerkrigg Court series...

I have it! And it's even better than the first book, the art has improved and the print quality is the same!

Gunnerkrigg Court Volume 2: Research
Gunnerkrigg Court Volume 2: Research

Annie and Kat begin their second year at Gunnerkrigg Court! Parts of Annie's past are revealed, as well as mysteries that tie back to the origins of the Court itself. Finding a secret tomb of ancient robots beneath Kat's workshop leads the two friends to question how they are linked to the mysterious ghost that attacked Annie the year before. And as a new Medium-In-Training, Annie is able to visit the powerful trickster god Coyote in Gillitie Forest, a visit that reveals more than she ever imagined!

Hardcover: 296 pages

 

...assuming you had money!

Would You Buy Gunnerkrigg Court?

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Sketches of the Characters - From 'research' (book 2)

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Antimony (Annie) CarverJonesSurma (Annie's mother)Young Anny (Kat's mother)Young SurmaZimmy
Antimony (Annie) Carver
Antimony (Annie) Carver
Jones
Jones
Surma (Annie's mother)
Surma (Annie's mother)
Young Anny (Kat's mother)
Young Anny (Kat's mother)
Young Surma
Young Surma
Zimmy
Zimmy

Books in print - or webcomics on the screen! - Why buy the book?

Because it's almost always easier and more enjoyable to read the book in your hands rather than online, and often more convenient. Because you'll want to read and re-read it. Because the book is beautiful. Because you'll want to share it with your niece, your uncle, your colleague, your mother. Do you agree?

Why NOT buy the book?

Because it's cheaper? You can't lose it? I'm... floundering a bit here, what do YOU think?

Is it worth buying the book, if the content is free online?

Yes

Yes

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    • anonymous 5 years ago

      I have bought the book, it's a very nice edition and is quite well put together. The story works just as well in print as it does online. There is a cost factor here but frankly I just like supporting the artist and the books are quite thick

    • johnbrinerart 6 years ago

      Sometimes it worth buying a book because you can keep them and share it with the children in the near future, yes it could also be good to buy book if we can read it online but sometimes online stories does not exist forever.

    • Analogik 7 years ago

      Intrigued. Will look out for the print version! :)

    • anonymous 7 years ago

      yup, easier to read when you dont have a computer and/or powersource with you, and easier on the eyes. and you never have to worry about internet connection either, or if the page goes down, or gets deleted.

      maybe im just oldfashioned, but i always prefer the book over other types of media.

      also if you like it so much, it might be worth supporting the auther/artist, so thy can continue the awesome :D

    • amy1980 7 years ago

      I've bought several webcomic books. There's just something about seeing the art on paper that I value buying the books.

    No

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      Gunnerkrigg Court: Awards, Reviews and Praise! - "There is only one sensible resolution to this problem. I must construct a robotic walking device!"

      From Neil Gaiman the annual Web Cartoonists' Choice Awards, Gunnerkrgg has been well recieved.

      Who's Your Favourite Student From Gunnerkrigg Court?

      Which is your favourite student character?

      See results

      Antimony Carver - The main character

      Annie came to Gunnerkrigg Court after spending most of her life in a hospital, with her dying mother, Surma.

      A silent, stubborn, inscrutable child, with little experience of other people, she must learn her way around the mysterious Court, with its rules and secrets, and history - links to her mother's past, the uneasy balance with the mechanical, scientific Court's antithesis - Gillitie Wood and its animal gods... as well as cope with schoolwork, and the other children.

      Katerina - Kat

      Kat is the daughter of two of the teachers, and very, very bright. Unfortunately, being so fond of physics, and a teacher's daughter makes it a little hard to make friends...

      Luckily for both girls, they found each other and became fast friends - science-whiz Katerina and quiet Annie.

      Reynardine - A Wolf in Demon Form

      Ah, Reynardine - one of the earliest characters to join Annie and her most faithful - or treacherous - companion. A shapeshifting wolf-demon, a trickster animal spirit from the Forest, he inhabits other beings, leaving havoc in his wake... until he jumps into Annie's toy wolf, and is trapped.

      As time goes by, his past connections to Surma and the Court emerge, and he grows fonder of Antimony - his captor and his protector, and more protective in his turn.

      <

      Reynardine - Monster or Tragic Hero?

      Monster - he deserved it all, and is bound to betray her

      Monster - he deserved it all, and is bound to betray her

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        Hero - faithful to Annie, he didn't mean to do harm

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          • anonymous 6 years ago

            Misunderstood, as we are all.

          Zimmy and Gamma - Two very strange girls...

          Zimmy and Gamma appear in Chapter Five

          Zimmy (never Zeta!), the strange, fierce demonic child who everyone fears, with black gunk over her eyes, never sleeps and has terrible waking dreams...

          ...and Gamma Czarnecki, the sweet polish girl who cares for her, shares some form of telepathy, and keeps the monsters away while she's awake.

          City Face: A pigeon love story - Animated voiceover of the filler comic 'City Face'

          A short, silly side story City Face.. .

          " a story of how love can save the world."

          Gunnerkrigg Court - The Puppet Show! - Chapter One comes to LIFE! Learning From Webcomics - an ESL Exercise

          http://www.webcomics.com/2009/04/21/learning-from-webcomics/

          Webcomics can be an excellent way to improve the reading and conversation skills of young "English as a Foreign Language" (EFL) learners (Of course, native-speaking and ESL students can also benefit from fun and engaging lessons themed around a high-quality webcomic).

          Finished? If you want, you can nip back up and look at the books!

          Reader Feedback - Leave me a comment!

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            • profile image

              rcassady 7 years ago

              Wow - I like the page - something to aspire to!

            • amy1980 profile image

              amy1980 7 years ago

              I've never heard of this webcomic. I'm not sure how I haven't happened upon it. There is beautiful artwork in it! Great lens on a great topic!

            • norma-holt profile image

              norma-holt 7 years ago

              Great lens for anyone into comics. Well presented with passion for the subject 5* and fav

            • spunkyduckling profile image

              spunkyduckling 7 years ago

              Haven't heard of this comic book. Sounds okay.