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.