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Sonderbooks Book Review of

Gunnerkrigg Court

Volume One

Orientation

by Thomas Siddell


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Gunnerkrigg Court
Volume One
Orientation

by Thomas Siddell

Reviewed May 10, 2010.
Archaia Studios Press, 2007.

I heard about Gunnerkrigg Court at a Youth Services meeting for library staff. Another librarian was urging us to try out graphic novels. Kids love them and they are a fantastic way to pull kids into a love of books. She recommended Gunnerkrigg Court as a particularly interesting example.

Gunnerkrigg Court is based on a web comic, www.gunnerkrigg.com. The first volume, Orientation covers the first year heroine Antimony Carter spends at the strange school called Gunnerkrigg Court.

I found the whole volume bizarre, but strangely compelling at the same time. The illustrations are very well done, and add to the pull of the story.

I still haven't figured out what kind of a world Gunnerkrigg Court is supposed to exist in. There are gods, sentient robots and shadows, robotic bird sentinels, a demon stuffed animal, and kids that turn into birds. All the teachers knew Antimony's parents and seem to understand more of what is going on (What is going on?) than Antimony, but they aren't sharing their knowledge with her.

Here's the text on the first page:

Gunnerkrigg Court does not look much like a school at all.
It closer resembles a large industrial complex than a place of learning.
Within the first week of attendance, I began noticing a number of strange occurrences.
The most prevalent of these oddities being the fact that I seemed to have obtained a second shadow.

That first page is one of the more normal and straightforward pages!

However, besides being strange, the book is also strangely compelling. I think I am going to begin following the webcomic to find out what happens next and to see if they start making sense of the whole world and what kind of cause Antimony's parents were involved in.

I don't think of myself as a graphic novel fan, but by pointing me to a good one, my colleague may have begun changing that.