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Plenty of great comic book characters have had their shot at digital entertainment, but the comic world is filled with an endless stream of great characters and shorelines. Why should gamers only ever get to play as the Batmans and Spider-Mans? We shuffled through our longboxes to uncover some great overlooked comic book gems that would make great games.
PlanetaryWhy it would be awesome: Most secret organizations focus on ensuring national security or fighting global criminal organizations, but Planetary is an almost non-existent institute that tries to catalogue the world's secret history. Planetary’s members aren’t really superheroes, but they do have superhero-like powers. Dubbing themselves “Archaeologists of the Impossible,” this team of researchers often saves the world while preserving its untold past.
Think L.A. Noire meets BioShock: Like L.A. Noire, Planetary would focus on investigations as the field team traveled around the world and uncovered unusual alien relics and suppressed military secrets. Like BioShock, this game should be highly atmospheric and provide gamers with a buffet of cool powers to use once the action actually started. The comic included pop culture references to Superman, Godzilla, John Woo films, and Sherlock Holmes. It seems reasonable that the game could ape our industry in the same way.
J. Jonah Jameson (Spider-Man)Why it would be awesome: Jameson has been one of Spider-Man’s longest running supporting cast members for a reason. The guy has real character. He’s a fiery publicist who stands by his convictions and will often do whatever it takes to get what he wants. Sure Jameson likes to criticize costumed heroes as glory-seeking vigilantes who inhibit the rights of the common man, but in his youth, Jameson functioned as a war correspondent and battled to uncover police corruption.
Think Heavy Rain meets Ace Attorney: Capcom’s zany adventure series is a good template for this game. Jameson’s journalist background makes his a good fit for the adventure genre. The game could even be a flashback that shows Jameson during his days as a beat reporter. Like Phoenix Wright, Jameson is also a role model of absurdity. He has hired insane inventors to build giant robots or transform human subjects into mass murdering super villains. His son is even a werewolf astronaut. So there should be plenty of opportunity to introduce humor into the game.
The Saint Of Killers (Preacher)Why it would be awesome: In 1995, Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon first released Preacher, a five-year series that told the story of an ex-con Preacher who – after becoming possessed by an all-powerful entity – decides to hunt down God. One of the comic’s side characters was the Saint of All Killers, an undead cowboy who was commissioned to be the Lord’s personal mercenary.
Think Red Dead Redemption meets Darksiders: As we see it, this character fits perfectly into the open world mold. Stern and mean as cuss, the Saint acts a bit like Clint Eastwood’s angry, evil clone. In the comics, the cowboy racks up a fairly large body count and we don’t see any reason he couldn’t do the same in the game. He could even level up and acquire new holy hardware or supernatural abilities as the game progresses. We’d also like to see a subtle time traveling element, where the Saint rises from his grave every decade or so to take on a new supernatural assassination.
BoneWhy it would be awesome: When the three Bone cousins are run out of Boneville by angry townspeople, they are forced to make a new life for themselves in a fantastical medieval kingdom. The trio evades gigantic, evil rat creatures, makes friends with an eclectic cast of humans and animals, and eventually spearheads a war against a dark entity simply called the Lord of the Locusts. Something of a cross between classic Disney cartoons and The Lord of the Rings, Jeff Smith’s Bone series is one of the most beloved independent comics of all time.
Think Skyrim meets Epic Mickey: Technically, Telltale developed a series of adventure games based around Bone back in 2005, but Bone deserves something bigger. Imagine exploring the vibrant cartoon world of Bone in a manner similar to one of Bethesda’s large, open-world titles. You could seek the help of a variety of animal creatures while on the run from an army of rat creatures or enter the giant hub city of Atheia to barter for new goods and build an army to fight the Lord of the Locusts. Bone’s three main protagonists open up the possibility for a developer to make this a larger co-op experience as well.
Spider-HamWhy it would be awesome: When May Porker irradiated herself with the world's first atomic-powered hairdryer (we’re not making this up), in a fit of delirium, she bit her pet spider, Peter, causing him to mutate into the Spectacular Spider-Ham. Part pig, part spider, Spider-Ham has all the powers of a spider with the proportionate limitations of a pig (really not making this up). Marvel first published The Amazing Spider-Ham in 1983 in the hopes that the character would help them break into the plush toy business – which is even more absurd than the character’s bio. Spider-Ham had a short run, but refused to die and has constantly reappeared in various one-shots and mini-series; maybe it’s time he got his own game.
Think The Amazing Spider-Man Meets South Park: If open-world titles are good enough for the Amazing Spider-Man, then The Spectacular Spider-Ham deserves no less. However, to make the Spider-Ham’s game work, it would need a few comedians with some writing chops to pen the script. We’d like to see Spider-Ham do battle with his foes The King-Pig and Ducktor Doom. Hopefully, Captain Americat and the Fantastic Fur could make cameos as well. Who are we kidding? This idea is dumb as s---!
All of these comic properties are somewhat obscure, and will likely never get their own video game. However, properties like Hellboy, Tintin, and Scott Pilgrim might have once seemed obscure enough that they would never receive their own game/movie, so you never know what entertainment oddities the future might bring. Then again, considering how poorly John Constantine transitioned out of comics, maybe we should be careful what we wish for. What comic book properties would you like to see turned into a game?
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