Whether you think of video game-based comics as crass marketing tools or welcome extensions to existing IP, they're here to stay. From WWII action-shooter "Brothers in Arms" to space-based, survival horror title "Dead Space" to the elf and-orc-filled MMORPG "World of Warcraft," comic books are being made for every kind of game.
We decided to list all the game-inspired comics we could think of, including random one-shots, old classics, ongoing series and upcoming ones you might want to ask for at a comics shop near you.
ARMY OF TWO
The "Army of Two: Dirty Money" graphic novel follows game protagonists Tyson Rios and Elliot Salem, operatives for a private military contractor, in an original storyline that depicts their early mercenary missions that occurred before the start of the game.
Publisher: Prima Games
Writer/Artist: Written by John Ney Rieber, art by Brandon McKinney
Release Date: January 2008
Sound Effect We'd Like to See: "Hooah!" accompanied by chest bump.
Something We Hope Will Be Addressed in the Comic: How the pair actually does mid-mission shopping.
Many, many more comics listed after the jump...
Packed in with games ("Defender," "Berzerk," "Star Raiders," "Phoenix" and "Galaxian"), the Atari Force comics were about a multi-national team of humans (along with an alien named Hukka) who searched the galaxy in order to find a new home for humanity. The packed-in comics became a full-fledged series lasting 20 issues.
Publisher: DC Comics
Writers/Artists: Written by Gerry Conway and Roy Thomas, Mike Baron; art by Ross Andru, Gil Kane, Dick Giordano, Mike DeCarlo, José Luis García-López, Eduardo Barreto
Release Date: 1982-1986
Sound Effect We Wanted to See: "Blip!"
Something We Hope Was Addressed in the Comic: Just exactly how a game console saves the world?
Seven one-shot comics have been published, all based on the video games. However, the comics included events not seen previously in the games (for instance, in "Lycan Rex," Rayne battles werewolves for the first time). There was also two three-part miniseries called "BloodRayne: Plague of Dreams" publlished in 2006 and "BloodRayne: Red Blood Run" published in 2007.
Publisher: Echo 3 Worldwide
Release Date: 2004-2007
Sound Effect We Wanted to See: The sounds of stabbing or dismemberment or Rayne feasting on flesh, etc.
Something We Hope Was Addressed in the Comic: What happens to a game franchise once Uwe Boll's made a movie out of it.
BROTHERS IN ARMS
The comic features Sergeant Matthew Baker, the protagonist of the upcoming World War II-set "Brothers in Arms: Hell's Highway" game, directing his squad in the events leading up to D-Day. In a 1up interview, Mike Neumann said, "The basic storyline and the characters from the game are involved, but it is being fleshed out immensely. There were a lot of characters that got glossed over at one point or another, so one of the largest strengths of the book is the ability to dive into the characters and their relationships through such a tumultuous endeavor."
Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment
Writers/Artist: Written by Mike Neumann, David Wohl; art by Davide Fabbri
Release Date: May 2008-present
Sound Effect We'd Like to See: Creative ways of re-using "rat-a-tat-tat" for machine gun fire.
Something We Hope Will Be Addressed in the Comic: Anything not played out in previous media focused on WWII.
CAPTAIN N: THE GAME MASTER
Based on the animated series, the comics featured Kevin Keene, Princess Lana, Duke, King Charles and Pit but dropped Simon Belmont and Mega Man. The pair was replaced by "Metroid" heroine Samus Aran, who didn't appear on the cartoon. The comic also included stories strictly about "Punch Out!!" and "Metroid" and often introduced characters not in the original video games (such as Samus 's insect partner Big Time). The series lasted five issues.
Publisher: Valiant Comics
Release Date: 1990
Sound Effect We Wanted to See: Zapper sounds.
Something We Hope Was Addressed in the Comic: How our seven year-old selves could've warped into Videoland to become the Game Master.
CITY OF HEROES
A single promotional issue was released by Dark Horse in 2002 to promote the game; it provided the game's backstory and followed a fledging hero named Thunder-Clap. Later Blue King Studios released a 12-issue series that told the story of the heroes Apex, a martial artist; War Witch, a witch with elemental powers; and Horus, an Egyptian-themed hero. While Apex and War Witch appeared in the promotional Dark Horse comic, these characters weren't really present in the game save for a few tangential mentions. In May 2005, Top Cow Productions began a whole new series which followed supergroup Freedom Phalanx led by main hero the Statesman.
Publishers: Dark Horse, Blue King Studios, Top Cow Productions
Writers/Artist: Dark Horse - written by Richard Dakan, art by Rick Zombo; Blue King Studios - Rick Dakan, art by Brandon McKinney, coloring by Moose Bauman; Top Cow Productions - written by Mark Waid, Troy Hickman, Dan Jurgensand, art by David Nakayama
Release Dates: Dark Horse - 2002; Blue King Studios - May 2004 to April 2005; Top Cow Productions - May 2005- May 2007
Sound Effect We Wanted to See: The sound of spandex snapping.
Something We Hope Was Addressed in the Comic: Why the superhero metropolis is located on Rhode Island of all places.
Published before the release of the game, the 22-page "Dark Sector Zero" provides the backstory of the Technocyte virus, a disease that transforms people into violent, mutated beasts, and Hayden Tenno, an infected CIA operative charged with stopping said virus from spreading across the world.
Publisher: Top Cow Productions
Writer/Artist: Written by David Wohl, art by Bill Sienkiewicz
Release Date: December 2007
Sound Effect We Wanted to See: The sound his glaive makes as it slices through several enemies at once.
Something We Hope Was Addressed in the Comic: If Hayden Tenno's congenital analgia doesn't allow him to feel pain, we wonder what he does for fun (sky diving without a parachute?).
Viz Media translated and released a set of six comics based on "Night Warriors: Darkstalkers' Revenge" OVA. Then UDON also created a six-issue series, after which production came to an abrupt halt. Then a five-volume manga series based on the "Vampire Savior" title was created by Mayumi Azuma and featured Lilith.
Publishers: Viz, UDON, Gangan
Sound Effect We Wanted to See: Morrigan's wings flapping.
Something We Hope Was Addressed in the Comic: A catwoman who was raised by nuns and wants to be a musical star? A werewolf karate master? A zombie who slam dunks his enemies like basketballs? The question is, what's there not to address?
The six-book series is the prequel story to the upcoming survival horror game where an engineer named Isaac Clarke must battle a vicious, polymorphous alien species on board an interstellar mining ship. The comics mainly feature P-SEC operative Abraham Neumann and Doctor Tom Shairello. If you can't read, the animated versions of the comics are being released periodically (see them here), and then later a feature-length, entirely animated prequel will pick up the story from the last page of the comic book up to the beginning of the game.
Publisher: Image Comics
Writer/Artist: Written and illustrated by Ben Templesmith, written by Antony Johnston
Release Date: March 2008-present
Sound Effect We'd Like to See: With dismemberment being a main theme, we hope to see various onomatopoetic words to describe them.
Something We Hope Will Be Addressed in the Comic: How the ship doesn't entirely fill up with blood.
The sole issue of "Doom" was produced by Marvel illustrator Tom Grindberg as a giveaway for a convention. It was derided for its laughably bad dialogue and storyline as well as inaccurate depictions of in-game weapons.
Writer/Artist: Written by Steven Dehling, Michael Stewart; art by Tom Grindberg
Release Date: May 1996
Sound Effect We Wanted Like to See: The sound of the doors opening and closing.
Something We Hope Was Addressed in the Comic: We'd rather see a video game that explains the comic.
In 1991, Marvel put out a six-issue limited series based on the game where the Lee twins Billy and Jimmy inherit the supernatural force known as the "Dragon Force" and battle a mob boss named Nightfall, who killed their mother. Marian appears as a police officer, and the boys' father Stan is introduced.
Writers/Artists: Written by Dwayne McDuffie, Tom Brevoort, Mike Kanterovich
Release Date: 1991
Sound Effect We Wanted Like to See: The sound of non-stop punches.
Something We Hope Was Addressed in the Comic: How they jump over that bridge without falling in the water.
GEARS OF WAR
When the "Gears of War" comic was announced back in April, Hank Kanalz, the VP of WildStorm, said that the book's lead-in arc will fill the gaps between the first game and the upcoming sequel.
Release Date: October 2008
Sound Effect We'd Like to See: Whatever sound a chainsaw makes as it rips through Locust flesh.
Something We Hope Will Be Addressed in the Comic: Why Marcus Fenix is such a sad sack; whatever's up with Cole Train.
The Halo Graphic Novel featured four short stories, composed by various artists and writers, that revealed different aspects of the Halo universe as related to the franchise thus far. The subsequent comic series, "Halo: Uprising," told the story between the ending of "Halo 2" and the beginning of "Halo 3."
Writers/Artists: Graphic Novel writers/illustrators - Lee Hammock, Simon Bisley, Ed Lee, Jay Faerber, Tsutomu Nihei, Brett Lewis, Moebius; Halo: Uprising - written by Brian Michael Bendis, illustrated by Alex Maleev
Release Date: Graphic Novel - July 2006; Halo: Uprising - August 2007
Sound Effect We Wanted to See: Whatever sound a noob makes when he dies.
Something We Hope Was Addressed in the Comic: How Master Chief takes a shower with the helmet on.
THE LEGEND OF ZELDA
"The Legend of Zelda" comics were part of the Nintendo Comics System series of comic books, and were based on the two "Zelda" NES games as well as animated segments from the "The Super Mario Bros. Super Show." The stories typically involved Link having to save Princess Zelda while leaving the Triforce vulnerable to Ganon's minions.
Publisher: Valiant Comics
Release Date: 1990-1991
Sound Effect We Wanted to See: The sound the game makes whenever Link obtains a new item.
Something We Hope Was Addressed in the Comic: Why the chickens won't simply die when Link attacks them.
There have been a number of Mega Man manga produced in Japan, including "Rockman Megamix" produced by Hitoshi Ariga, "Rockman EXE" ("Mega Man NT Warrior") written by Ryo Takamisaki as well as official manga series also exist for "X," "Zero," "ZX," and "Ryusei." Both Dreamwave Productions and Magnum Press also made comics based on the Mega Man Classic game series. The Magnum Press books were only found in Brazil and ended abruptly, and the Dreamwave Mega Man series, which had Mega Man juggling school and being a robotic super hero, lasted only four issues.
Writers/Artists: Dreamwave - written by Brian Augustyn; art by Michael Fong
Release Dates: Dreamwave - September 2003
Sound Effect We Wanted to See: "Mega hi!" (his greeting from "Captain N: The Game Master" cartoon).
Something We Hope Was Addressed in the Comic: Why his appearance changes (short and chubby or slim and tall?).
METAL GEAR SOLID
The first comic series was published in 12 issues by IDW in 2004 and was based on the plot of the original "Metal Gear Solid" game where Solid Snake had to infiltrate Shadow Moses Island, rescue hostages and stop terrorists from nuking the world. The Digital Graphic Novel, released in 2006, depicts the same storyline but in a two-hour interactive format. Finally, the "Sons of Liberty" series based on "Metal Gear Solid 2" was published by IDW in 2006.
Publishers: IDW, Konami
Writers/Artists: Metal Gear Solid series written by Kris Oprisko, Sons of Liberty written by Alex Garner; all artwork by Ashley Wood.
Release Dates: Metal Gear Solid series - 2004; Digital Graphic Novel - 2006; Sons of Liberty - 2006.
Sound Effect We Wanted to See: The "!" sound.
Something We Hope Was Addressed in the Comic: What Snake does during his down time.
There are two series of "Mortal Kombat" comics. The first, produced by Midway, are considered part of the "MK" canon and were released in tandem with "Mortal Kombat," "Mortal Kombat II" and "Mortal Kombat 4." The comics gave the background story for each game as well as the events between the release of each game. The non-canon comics were published by Malibu Comics and considered a revamp of the game franchise which included details about the characters that were drastically different than their in-game appearances (most notably Sub-Zero, among others).
Publishers: Midway, Malibu Comics
Release Date: Midway Comics - 1992, 1993, 1997; Malibu Comics - 1994-1995.
Sound Effect We Wanted to See: Whatever sound a spine makes when being ripped out of someone's body.
Something We Hope Was Addressed in the Comic: The reconstructive surgery that takes place after one's spine is ripped out.
Based on the Perfect Dark universe surrounding special agent Joanna Dark, the "Janus' Tears" comics takes place two months after the events in the "Initial Vector" novel which was published in 2005 following the release of "Perfect Dark Zero."
Publishers: Prima Games
Writer: Eric Trautmann
Release Date: August 2006-January 2007
Sound Effect We Wanted to See: The sound the laptop-gun makes.
Something We Hope Was Addressed in the Comic: How Joanna gets her hair that perfect shade of red (blood?).
PRINCE OF PERSIA
Publisher: First Second Books
"Prince of Persia" creator Jordan Mechner told Gamasutra, "It's a totally different story and characters from the games or the movie, and I mean different."
Writer/Artists: Written by A.B. Sina, illustrated by Alex Puvilland and LeUyen Pham
Release Date: Fall 2008
Sound Effect We'd Like to See: Anything other than the Prince calling someone a bitch, like he did in "Warrior Within."
Something We Hope Will Be Addressed in the Comic: Why he changed his look for the upcoming game.
The game isn't out yet (it's slated for 2009), but the cross-promoting comic will most likely be a prequel that centers on protagonist Alex Mercer, a genetically mutated shape-shifter with amnesia, as he attempts to figure out his forgotten past.
Release Date: August 2008
Sound Effect We'd Like to See: What shape-shifting sounds like (perhaps like T-1000 in "Terminator 2"?)
Something We Hope Will Be Addressed in the Comic: If he's a shape-shifter, how does he know what he really looks like?
In 1998, five issues of "Resident Evil: The Official Comic Magazine" were published. Each issue featured compilation of short stories based on events portrayed in (or alluded to) in the first two "RE" games, and beyond. However, since "RE2" was the last game in the series at the time, the stories were contradicted by later games.
Writers/Artists: Written by Ted Adams and Kris Oprisko; art by Ryan Odagawa, Carlos D'Anda, Lee Bermejo and Rafael Kayanan.
Release Date: 1998
Sound Effect We Wanted to See: The barking of zombie dogs.
Something We Hope Was Addressed in the Comic: Why these people move so slowly. Pivot!
The comic takes place in the same universe as the main "Street Fighter" series, also published by UDON (and thus explains Sakura Kasugano's appearance in the first "Rival Schools" game).
Writer Artist: Art by Corey Lewis
Release Dates: May 2006
Sound Effect We Wanted to See: The school bell ringing.
Something We Hope Was Addressed in the Comic: We're curious just how the Japanese school system actually works.
Various series and one-shots have been published under IDW Publishing, all written by Scott Ciencin. While the comics are based on the video game series, there are major differences between the two, such as major aesthetic and location discrepancies and the inclusion of characters central to the comics but not at all present in the games.
Publisher: IDW Publishing
Writer/Artists: Scott Ciencin; art by Ben Templesmith, Aadi Salman, Shaun Thomas and Nick Stakal
Release Dates: 2004-2006
Sound Effect We Wanted to See: Any sound Pyramid Head can make.
Something We Hope Was Addressed in the Comic: An explanation for all the multiple endings.
SONIC THE HEDGEHOG
Starting in 1993, the Archie Comics series features a combination of characters and storylines from the games and cartoons, as well as its unique elements. The games continue to influence the comics, but each medium exists in separate universes. In 2008, the series was recognized by Guinness World Records as the longest running comic series based on a video game. Meanwhile, the "Sonic X" series, also published by Archie Comics, features expanded universe tales and doesn't take place in the same universe as the "Sonic the Hedgehog" comic. There was also "Sonic the Comic," a children's comic published in the U.K. about Sonic and co.'s various adventures. Knuckles also had his own spin-off Archie Comics series, called "Knuckles the Echidna." It ran for 32 issues and shared continuity with "Sonic the Hedgehog" comics.
Publishers: Archie Comics, Egmont
Release Date: Sonic the Hedgehog - 1993-present; Sonic X - September 2005-present; Sonic the Comic - 1993-2002; Knuckles - 1997-1999
Sound Effect We Wanted to See: The sound Sonic makes when rings fly.
Something We Hope Was Addressed in the Comic: Why Sonic engaged in inter-species kissing (and what his parents think about that); how Sonic fights nausea.
In 1992, three issues called the "The Adventures of Roger Wilco" were published based on "Space Quest: The Sarien Encounter."
Publisher: Adventure Comics/Malibu Comics
Writer/Artist: First issue written by John Shaw; other issues written by Paul O'Connor
Release Date: 1992
Sound Effect We Wanted to See: The sounds of mopping on metal floors.
Something We Hope Was Addressed in the Comic: How one becomes a janitor on a spaceship.
There are a number of "Street Fighter" comics, including four different manga series by Masahiko Nakahira, as well as non-licensed, canon-based comics all across Asia. Stateside, Malibu Comics produced a comic book series in 1993 that lasted only three issues. UDON has produced Capcom-licensed comics that draws from the "Street Fighter" canon and continues its currently running series based on "SF: Alpha" and "Super SF Turbo." UDON is also expected to launch a "Street Fighter III" series this year. Meanwhile, in Brazil, Editora Escala published Malibu's unfinished series in 1994, and then later published an original series titled "Street Fighter" and lasting for 20 issues. Also in Brazil, writer Marcelo Cassaro a 4-issue miniseries based on "Street Fighter Zero 3" in 1998.
Sound Effect We Wanted to See: A sound for everyone's special moves.
Something We Hope Was Addressed in the Comic: Where one can find the best place to shop for spiked bracelets in China.
SUPER MARIO BROS.
Inspired by the NES games as well as the "Super Mario Bros. Super Show" cartoon, the Valiant Comics-publication included Mario, Luigi, the Princess, Toad and Bowser as well as other characters from the TV show, like Stanley the Talking Fish, King Toadstool and Wooster. One particular character created for the comics was Dirk Drain-Head, a plumbing superhero who was Mario's idol. In 1991, Mario's comics continued in two series, "Super Mario Bros." and "Adventures of the Super Mario Bros." There was also the Game Boy comics by Valiant that were based on "Super Mario Land," a four issue mini-series where a Game Boy summons Tatanga and his army from the game into the real world. Thus, it's up to two kids to bring Mario in to help. Meanwhile "Super Mario Adventures" is a collection of manga-style comics published in Nintendo Power until 1992, based loosely on "Super Mario World."
Publisher: Valiant Comics
Writers/Artists: Super Mario Adventures - Written by Kentaro Takekuma, art by Tamakichi Sakura
Release Date: 1990-1991
Sound Effect Wanted to See: The sound Mario makes when he gets hit by an enemy.
Something We Hope Was Addressed in the Comic: How and why the Princess gets constantly kidnapped.
There were also two issues of "Tekken" comics published by Knightstone Comics, which were meant to be a mini series until the company lost the license. Then Image Comics published a book called "Tekken Forever" which centered on the Kazama family and was based on "Tekken Tag Tournament." It only had one issue and was abruptly cancelled.
Publisher: Knightstone Comics, Image Comics
Writers/Artists: Knightstone - written by Dave Chi, art by Paco Diaz; Image - written by John Kim, art by Walter McDaniel, Yvel Guichet, and Abraham Madison
Related Date: Image - December 2001
Sound Effect We Wanted to See: The sound the Emotion Engine makes.
Something We Hope Was Addressed in the Comic: Why so much fighting?
Including crossovers with Top Cow comics such as "Fathom," "The Darkness," 'Magdalena" and "Witchblade," the comics didn't strictly follow the same continuity as the games or movies. Bandai Entertainment also published the comics in black-and-white manga format. Top Cow announced in February 2007 that more Tomb Raider comics were to come in late 2007, but they've been delayed due to licensing issues.
Publisher: Top Cow Productions, Bandai Entertainment
Writers/Artists: Writers Dan Jurgens, John Nay Riber and James Bonny; art by Andy Park, Michael Turner, Billy Tan, and Adam Hughes
Release Date: 1999-2005
Sound Effect We Wanted to See: Lara's back cracking as she does some of those acrobatics.
Something We Hope Was Addressed in the Comic: Lara attempting to go bra shopping.
A one-shot comic based on the fighting series was published by Marvel and depicted -- you guessed it -- a fighting tournament.
Writers/Artists: Written by Mark Paniccia, art by Patrick Rolo, Moose Baumann, Abraham Madison, Scott Reed
Release Date: August 1995
Sound Effect We Wanted to See: Quarters being lost to an arcade machine.
Something We Hope Was Addressed in the Comic: Really, why all the fighting?
WORLD OF WARCRAFT
The first storyline follows an amnesiac human enslaved by an orc shaman, fighting against and working with both in-game factions the Alliance and the Horde. Though the comic is deeply entrenched in the "World of Warcraft" universe and references in-game elements, the plotline is not played out in the MMORPG.
Writer/Artist: Written by Walt Simonson, art by Ludo Lullabi (see our interviews with the artist and writer)
Release Date: November 2007-present
Sound Effect We'd Like to See: The gurgling sound a Murloc makes.
Something We Hope Will Be Addressed in the Comic: The origin of Leroy Jenkins.
So how many of these did you read? Were they worth it?