Video Game Comics

Resistance (comics)
Image via Wikipedia

The worlds of games and comics are increasingly converging. Whether it be the digital distribution of comics through devices such as the PSP or iDevices, or actual comics based on games. I want to focus on the comics themselves in this post however.

Recently we’ve seen the likes of Halo, Resistance, WoW, God of War and Ratchet & Clank among many others all get turned into comics. The issue I have is that most games don’t tend to have stories which are particularly interesting, unique or long. Games have traditionally been sold mainly on gameplay and not on story.

In that last few years, that has changed and more games include complex and engaging story lines. Therefore, you would hope that the future of game based comics is looking considerably brighter since up to this point, the reviews for those types of books are generally not favourable.

You would think that games from the likes of bioware, such as Mass Effect or Dragon Age would be ideal for comic adaptations. God of War, less so. It’s also strange that the World of Warcraft comics haven’t been better as they have a huge back-story of lore to pull from.

Perhaps it’s just taking comic book writers and game makers time to adjust to each other’s mediums. Game creators need to provide comic writers with better source material and characters, and comic book creators may need to further get to grips with the gaming medium and how they can best portray a game story in comic pages.

If these things happen, then we may see some truly great game comics in the next few years. Right now it seems that it’s more of a cash cow for both parties and that has to change. Just like in the games industry, quality is what sells in the end so it makes sense to only pick games which have enough story to translate successfully. It also helps to get great talent working on these books. If a great game is combined with a great writer and artist, perhaps we could see some of the most critically acclaimed comics originate from games in the foreseeable future.

For people like me who like to see new ideas in comics rather than rehashing the same characters and stories for decades, it’s good for us too. Just as long as the quality is where it should be. Let’s just hope that this breed of comic becomes much more than just a collector’s item for fans who buy the special edition of a hit game.


Scott Pilgrim: the Perfect Comic to Movie Adaptation

Even the comic book movies that aren’t involving superheroes like 300 I don’t think really convey the comic book medium to the masses. A lot of people will watch them and not even realise where the material comes from, but with Scott Pilgrim, I think they’ve got the perfect balence.

The book is very comic-like but the way it’s presented is so cinematic at the same time. The story is told amazingly well and the lack of colour doesn’t hurt it at all. It even adds to its charm in a way.

From the trailer you can see the traditional comic book style text that pops up when someone gets hit or something big happens, which I think is good to reinforce to people that this is a comic. Brian Lee O’Malley will probably reap the benefits of that with increased book sales as a result. It’s so deserved though.

Because it’s so clear that this is a comic book, that’s why I am such a fan. I think non-comic readers who are sceptics and who think that comics are only for super-heroes and for kids will rethink that perception.

Of course, older people may still think that it’s for kids, but it at least shows how much is possible in the medium of comics and how over the years they’ve been wasted to an extent by over-focusing on one genre over all others.

Just like every other medium, like music for example, variety is important and I think comics are embracing this concept more than ever at the moment. Not that it wasn’t before, but it’s certainly on the rise. My final point is that I find comics frustrating in that publishers are stuck in a rut creating stories for the same old characters endlessly. It’s not just that super-hero comics are too prevalent, but more that it’s the same super heroes, and that has to change.

By no means get rid of the iconic characters we all know, but perhaps scale them back and bring along more completely new content to supplement the traditional with.


Playstation Digital Comics First Look

Sony are giving away free comics at the moment to help people get a feel for what the service is going to offer when it goes live in mid December,

Only one of the three comics are downloading for me. They’ve been giving away multiple codes on the blog and on twitter as well as the new playstation comics website. It appears as though the other two are US only at this point unless they’re just having some technical issues that are preventing the codes from working.

However, I have had a chance to check out how the app works with a transformers comic. I have to say it is a well designed service from what I’ve seen so far. Personally I can’t see myself using anything other than the auto-flow mechanic which automatically moves to the correct panel when you press the left or right d-pad buttons for moving forwards and backwards through the issue.

I have been interested in this service since it was announced and I can definitely see myself using it. Since there is no official app on the app store for comics, the PSP service seems to be the best available for now. I guess the Apple tablet will be the next big thing in digital comics if it does happen, but that will be a way off if it even happens.

As far as this service goes though, I’m interested to see what their strategy is regarding price and selection. They really need to get DC on board as well as the independents. As with anything like this, the more content, the better.

Not only do they nice a wide variety of content providers, they also need to of course get a great selection of comics from each publisher. My guess is that they will be releasing mainly classic back-issues and notable mini-series or creative team runs on books, rather than releasing new issues every week.

I’d love to see new books but I’m sure there will still be cool stuff to read from the back catalogue. There’s plenty of source material they can access for sure.

as someone who is into reading comics but who gave up buying individual issues because of space concerns, digital comics do appeal to me. The only comic I now buy is Invincible and I only buy it in trades when they get released every 6 months or so. If digital comics takes off, I could end up using the PSP or potentially other devices in the future to read instead, while combating clutter at the same time.

If you have a PSP, all you have to do is download the latest software update and download the reader from the XMB. You can find the codes you need for the free samples on the PS Blog, Their twitter account and the official playstation comics site.