In one of the most explosive Marvel announcements in recent memory, the company has announced a partnership with Bungie Entertainment, which will allow for a "Halo" graphic novel this summer. Filled with short stories, the GN will fill in continuity gaps and feature a wide breadth of talent, including writer Jay Faerber (of "Noble Causes" fame). The scribe briefly spoke to CBR News about his contribution to this Marvel project, and what to expect in his story.
"My story details the testing that went into the Spartan armor that the Master Chief wears," explained Faerber. It's a fun little action story and that details some of the capabilities of the armor. It also provides a little more backstory for the Halo universe, and features one or two nice little cameos.
"I was recommended by a friend to the folks at Bungie who were putting the comic together, so it sort of fell into my lap. The Bungie people already had the premise in mind for each story, so I wrote up a couple different pitches based on their premises. They liked what I did with the armor testing story, so I was hired to write it. I'd played Halo before, but I wasn't an expert or anything, so for the next few weeks I had the pleasure of telling my friends, "Sorry, I can't go out tonight -- I've gotta play some more Halo." It's a tough job, but somebody's gotta do it, right?"
The diverse cast in the "Halo" video games has been part of the series' success, but if you're looking for the villainous Flood, or those not so nice enemies from "Halo 2," well…Faerber won't say if they're in his story. " I really can't reveal who's in the cast, because that would spoil some of the fun."
Video games come and go, much like other entertainment, but "Halo" has demonstrated incredible staying power, and some credit it with driving those X-Box sales. Still, it's surprising to some that "Halo" has succeeded in crossing over into comics, whereas classics such as "Metroid" seem not to have made the transition. "Games today are so story-driven that they really lend themselves well to comics," explained Faerber. "They're both variations on visual storytelling, you know? A lot of game designers are comic fans, and a lot of comic book creators are video game nuts. I'm actually surprised there's not MORE crossover than there already is.
"For me, personally, I just love how well-thought-out the Halo universe is. I live in Seattle, so when I was working on the project I had the pleasure of going out to the Microsoft campus and meeting with some of the game designers. The amount of thought that's been put in to how the universe works, and why, was just staggering. I came away really impressed ... and inspired to live up to their high standards!"
There's so much talk of breaking into the "mainstream" with comic books, and "Halo" certainly qualifies as such, so there's discussion of whether or not a "Halo" comic can attract new fans to the medium. Faerber isn't sure there's an exact answer, and says, "It might ... I think it'll have a wide appeal, that's for sure. But I don't know how they're planning on distributing this thing. I wrote the story about a year ago, so I've been pretty out of the loop since then. Basically, if the existing Halo fans know about it, I'm sure they'll seek it out. But whether the comic itself compels them to seek out other comics ... I really don't know. I'd like to think so, but these things are really hard to predict."
While Faerber would love to don the Master Chief armor again, and tell tales of everyone's favorite armored space marine, he reveals, "This story is it, for the time being. But if the Master Chief comes knocking, I won't ignore him."
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