Video Games That Deserve Their Own Comics

Thu, August 18th, 2011 at 10:28am PDT

Video Games
Robert Workman, Contributing Writer
24

Video games and comic books have more crossovers than you might think. And it's not just one way, with Marvel and DC super heroes starring in their own interactive adventures. Several video game franchises have since gone on to comic book success, "Gears of War" at the now-defunct Wildstorm imprint of DC Comics (who also published six-issue "God of War" miniseries) and Archie Comics' all-ages "Sonic the Hedgehog" and "Megaman" series.

But that isn't enough. There are some superb video game licenses that deserve their own comic books, and for good reason. With that, we present the argument to give these a shot in printed form, along with suggestions as to what tone to use with them. If you've got your own suggestions, by all means, submit them in the comments in the forum and let us know what you think. (And don't bother with Tetris. The last thing we need are puzzle pieces that talk to teach other.)

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Infamous
(SCEA)

Back when the original "Infamous" was released in 2009, it generated a comic book buzz that couldn't be beat. But that's about what we expected, since the game featured an electrified superhero of sorts who balanced the good and bad elements within him (not to mention a script by comic writer Paul Jenkins). Developer Sucker Punch created some interesting comic book projects with the game's main star, Cole, including an IGN-exclusive digital comic series and a contest where budding artists could create their own story, to be published by the team.

The contest did well enough, and the digital comic performed admirably on IGN's page, but more is needed, especially with "Infamous 2" now available in stores, continuing Cole's story as he battles gun-toting mercenaries while eventually arriving at his inevitable battle with an unstoppable foe called The Beast. Sucker Punch should once again create a comic story to tie in with events from the game, perhaps something that ties the events of the first with the second a little more neatly, and put them into published form. We're sure any number of comic publishers would love to tell Cole's story... perhaps even the same team that handles "Gears of War. What say you, DC Comics?

Bioshock
(2K Games)

Aside from a few humor-filled comic strips, 2K's "Bioshock" series hasn't really been given the comic treatment and we're actually trying to figure out why. The series' alternate reality, both in the tranquil underwater world of Rapture and the aerial city of Columbia in the upcoming "Bioshock Infinite" would tell quite a story that could span multiple books. It would be interesting to flesh out some details as far as what led to Rapture's demise, or what events took place that led to Columbia seeking out its independence, rather than staying with the republic. Furthermore, going behind the scenes and seeing what goes into the creation of the Big Daddy, an enormous creature with a drill for a right hand and a near impenetrable skin, would surely delight gamers.

We would love to see what Frank Miller would do with something like "Bioshock." Can you imagine a twisted black-and-white comic that fleshed out bits and pieces of a backstory, only to then expand into the beautiful (yet troublesome) city of Rapture? Or, for that matter, a quasi-political look at what made Columbia so war-torn? There's a massive story just waiting to be explored. Hey, 2K, check around and see who'd be interested. With "Infinite" looking as spectacular as it is, we're sure you'd have a number of takers.

Uncharted
(SCEA)

Nathan Drake is slowly becoming the next Indiana Jones -- and in a contemporary setting, no less. In 2009, Sony Computer Entertainment of America told another side of the adventurer with a series of motion comics, released exclusively through the PlayStation Network, that tied into the company's release of "Uncharted 2: Among Thieves." The second game became a hit with audiences, selling millions of copies and warranting the production of a third adventure, "Drake's Deception," set for release later this year.

With more games, we'd also like to see more of Drake's tale unfold in comic form -- and this time in print. We have no problem with the motion comic, but the printed page gives Nathan a little more room to run, without the restrictions of semi-animated motion. What's more, his backlog of stories can be unveiled in either an ongoing or a series of miniseries, including bits and pieces that could tie in with his and Sully's actions in the forthcoming third game. Someone like Top Cow or DC/Wildstorm could easily handle Nathan's antics... even when they get a little too out of control.

Red Faction
(THQ)

It's kind of funny THQ told a better Mars colonization story than "Total Recall" did, even without a bit of "Get your ass to Mars!" dialogue. A big heap of thanks goes to "Red Faction: Guerrilla," a 2009 game that told the tale of an uprising against a rogue security team watching over the planet, with a few rough-riding locals entering the fray for good measure. The story continued this year with "Red Faction: Armageddon," taking place years later as a new protagonist stepped up, attempting to stop an alien plague from overtaking the planet.

Enough fascinating stuff happens in both of these games to warrant a comic book series of some kind, something that would tie together events between both Alec Mason and his "Armageddon" descendant, Darius. The SyFy film "Red Factions: Origins" tried to explain this, but there are still more facts that need to be filled in, and a six-issue comic series might just do the trick. We could easily see someone like DC Comics or IDW, publisher of the "Crysis" comic series, step in and tell a few Mars side stories... and maybe bring along a magnet gun for good measure. That sucker can do some damage.

Bulletstorm
(Epic Games)

Obviously "Gears of War" has a story that can withstand on ongoing comic series, and its current one began in 2008. But what about Epic Games' other would-be franchise, launched earlier this year? "Bulletstorm" is a completely different animal, one involving a rogue soldier with a penchant for swearing ("Dicktits!") and his somewhat questionable team, including a woman who can hold her own in the line of battle and a former colleague turned angry cyborg. And then there's the guy they're chasing after, a general who has an even nastier agenda -- and language.

Though the game does cover the relationship between these two sides moderately well, there's room for continuation. And while we patiently wait news of a sequel, Epic Games could easily license out "Bulletstorm" to a dedicated team of writers and artists. The language would have to remain on the same X-rated level, obviously, and the same level of violence would certainly be appreciated – as ridiculous as it may be. Perhaps Rick Remender, who wrote the game, would be willing to handle the adaptation... Top Cow has never shied away from books with a "hard R" rating, and they seem like an ideal candidate for that.

Assassin's Creed
(Ubisoft)

Last year, Ubisoft confirmed "Assassin's Creed" would receive its own three-issue mini from writer-artists Cameron Stewart and Karl Kerschl. The only problem was, it wasn't quite the same "Assassin's Creed" that players were used to in the video games. The series was set in Russia and took place in a different time than either Ezio or Altair's adventures. It features an assassin of equal appearance and skill, but it still felt a slight bit misplaced, as cool as it is. That said, we wouldn't mind a more loyal "Assassin's Creed" comic, one that explained more about the bond between assassins, and what may have started the battle between the Templars and assassins to begin with.

For this task, we have an ideal team to produce the next "Assassin's Creed" comic -- the same guys who tried their luck with it before for an Ubisoft promotion. "Penny Arcade," whose humor comic of the same name runs three times a week over at Penny-Arcade.com, drew a very convincing world surrounding the assassins before, and we'd love to see them try it again, particularly with a strong backstory and, obviously, more bloody kills. C'mon, team, make it happen.

Half-Life
(Valve)

Ask any gaming fan about "Half-Life" and you'll probably hear all kinds of accolades. The first-person shooting series is the stuff of legend, even though only two games -- and a pair of supplementary episodes -- have been released in the series. Still, that's more than enough to warrant a comic book adaptation, especially one that delves into Black Mesa's legacy in more detail.

The series could easily involve characters from the games, including Gordon Freeman, Alyx and the nefarious G-Man. As far as which story to tell, prospective publishers would be wise to involve Valve in some capacity for two big reasons: One, these guys really know how to tell a driven backstory. Secondly, they could easily craft something that would tie into "Half-Life 3," whenever it's officially confirmed.

(For that matter, we'd also take a comic book series based in the "Portal" universe. It'd be interesting to see what kind of misadventures occurred between the first and second games. Plus, it'd be interesting to give the co-op robots, Atlas and P-Body, their own series...).

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TAGS:  video games, infamous, bioshock, uncharted, red faction, bulletstorm, assassins creed, half-life

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