Gunnerkrigg Court, tricksters and robots

Gunnerkrigg Court is a webcomic which follows an aloof young girl in a fantasy boarding school. Or maybe a science fantasy boarding school, as some characters tend towards fantasy, while others tend towards science. The school (or the Court) is interesting enough. But there’s the magical forest across the bridge, and it’s a whole new world. Antimony is the main character, and we follow her as she learns about the school, the forest, and her own family secrets.

Borrowed from

I love the protagonist, probably because of how antisocial she started out. Watching her progress to being slightly less so is something that really resonated. Antimony didn’t always go out of her way to associate with people, or always understand what everyone else was picking up on. And a lot of us are like that. It’s been a while since she came out of her shell and found out more about who she is (in physical time, since the comic updates with a page a few times a week). This makes it a little hard for me to remember just how aloof she was in the beginning, and just how unexpressive she was. In a way, that just goes to show how far her character has traveled over time.

Her best friend, Kat, is a lot of fun too. She’s a more social personality, and where Antimony goes for the magic, Kat goes for the technology. They make a good team and develop a loyal friendship.

Of course, the other characters and the setting really make this story engaging. It’s the mishaps and situations that the characters get into, like getting the mythical minotaur to tell his side of the story for a class project, or going out into the forest and getting entangled in Coyote’s schemes (the Native American trickster god, Coyote). Speaking of Coyote, he’s in charge of the forest across the bridge from the school Antimony goes to. The school is strange enough, but the forest is a whole different thing, and Coyote himself is a very interesting character. Not a nice one, certainly.

I definitely love the parts of the story with a mythical feel to it. The science fiction parts are also good, with the robots leaving a lot of room for comedy. Coyote’s fun generally comes off as dark rather than funny, and that’s intentional. But the robots just going about their business turn out to be hilarious a lot of the time.

The story and the art has evolved over the years, though it was high quality right from the beginning, which isn’t always common with webcomics. Anyway, it’s always remained fresh and engaging. I’ve been following it regularly for years, and I’m enjoying every update.

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