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Gunnerkrigg Court Volume 1: Orientation [Hardcover]

Tom Siddell

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Book Description

28 July 2009 Gunnerkrigg Court (Book 1)
Antimony Carver is a precocious and preternaturally self-possessed young girl starting her first year of school at gloomy Gunnerkrigg Court, a very British boarding school that has robots running around along side body-snatching demons, forest gods, and the odd mythical creature. The opening volume in the series follows Antimony through her orientation year: the people she meets, the strange things that happen, and the things she causes to happen as she and her new friend, Kat, unravel the mysteries of the Court and deal with the everyday adventures of growing up. Tom Siddell's popular and award-winning webcomic ( is here collected in print for the first time.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 296 pages
  • Publisher: Archaia Entertainment, LLC (28 July 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1932386343
  • ISBN-13: 978-1932386349
  • Product Dimensions: 21.2 x 15.9 x 2.5 cm
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 603,783 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Thomas Siddell is English, and resides in Birmingham. He has a day job as an animator for a video game company, and he rides the bus to work every day. He hates Boxbot. He really, REALLY hates Boxbot.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.7 out of 5 stars  51 reviews
20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome. 26 April 2008
By K. Crevasse - Published on
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!
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An amazing, accomplished web artist that transitions to print well 13 Jan 2009
By Katherine Smith - Published on
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.
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not just for pre-adolecent girls 24 Jan 2009
By Knute Snortum - Published on
This graphic novel has the all-round appeal of the Harry Potter series -- not to name-drop. Drawn with a quirky style that comes alive as the book progress, this series of clever stories quickly pulls you in and takes you to a world of a taciturn pre-teen alone in a English boarding school. Still waters run deep, you soon find with Antimony, as she has the knack for knowing foreign languages or beings able to throw a bully to the ground, but all with a quiet stillness that hides deep wounds. Only her close friend Kat can make her break a smile.

Together Kat and Annie (as Kat calls her) explore the strange things that are happening around them. This is not an ordinary English school, they soon find out.

This is a perfect father / daughter book, except that dad may wind up stealing it to read himself!
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Can be both hilarious and moving--even if that Harry Potter stuff is still clinging to its ankles 17 Nov 2009
By - Published on
I won't lie to you: My very first impressions of Gunnerkrigg Court was that it was yet another story feasting on the bloated, overexhuasted corpse of Harry Potter and the obsessive buzz that the franchise generated. Magic, a mysterious school, a kid with mysteriously absent parents, a cabal of teachers who seemed to know something, lessons in untraditional crafts and skills--it all smacked of dancing around in JK Rowling's ample shadow. Pardon my suspicion.

I read deeper into the thick hardcover collection, and I was actually rewarded for the effort. There's a very distinct point around the ninth chapter, roughly 150 pages into the story, where all of the various elements coalesce into a story that the reader starts to care about. This might seem like the story requires a lot of patience, but once the foundations are set, Gunnerkrigg Court evolves into something that can be both hilarious and moving--even if that Harry Potter stuff is still clinging to its ankles. I don't think that Harry Potter ever had robots, even if it also had talking ghosts, mythical creatures, and awkward teenage romance.

The over-wise protagonist, a girl named Antimony Carver, seems to be a standard in just about every other fictional tale since Alice in Wonderland (and every Neil Gaiman story ever written), and Gunnerkrigg is no different. During the earlier chapters, she's drawn so emotionlessly and hollow that you wonder if she's human at all, but her humanity evolves as the story shifts--which I'm not sure is intentional as much as the artist finding his voice. Again, it takes some patience, but she's likable.

Because this collection consists of webcomics that were originally published online, the art reflects that unique "webcomics" aesthetic--which is occasionally rushed to meet a tight daily or weekly schedule. At first, the drawings come across as lazy and static, but Siddell evolves as an artist as the book progresses, and by the later chapters the art starts to come alive as he perfects his craft. If you pick up the book to scan it for yourself, start with the back pages, as they're more visually impressive.

The story itself hasn't yet reached any revolutionary points, but the 14 chapters within the collection are definitely sequential and hint at larger things in the Gunnerkrigg universe, establishing a mythology that mixes in a certain element of science, a larger conflict, and a fondness for the characters involved.

Parents and librarians should note that there's references to demons, use of the word goddamn, and a brief instance of a demon-possessed doll indicating that he'd like to see two of the young, female characters kiss. I'd still feel comfortable giving it to my nine-year-old niece to read, and I think she'd love the idea of these empowered young girls forging their way through a strange school and building weird flying machines to rescue each other from fairies and minotaurs. I'm looking forward to seeing what happens in book two.

-- Collin David
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good pick, fair quality. 23 Mar 2009
By Erin L. Hood - Published on
I was very satisfied with my book when I got it. The pages were very well done, and since I've already read the webcomic, I know it'll be a good story. I only had one problem -- the cover became unglued the first day and I had to glue it back. Be careful turning the pages of your new book!
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