sdcc 2014

Five Video Game-Based Comics Worth Reading

by Ben Reeves on Jul 24, 2014 at 12:00 PM

What works well in one medium doesn't always translate over to another. For example, Super Mario Bros. is a great video game series, but it was a terrible film. Superman is a great super hero, but most of his video games have sucked. The Cat in the Hat was a terrible film, but an excellent examination of the state of Mike Myers’ career. In honor of the first day of San Diego Comic-Con 2014, we take a look at five video game franchises that smoothly made the transition to comic books.

Bungie and 343 Studios have made some great shooters, but the storytelling in the Halo games has always been muddier than a pig in a thunderstorm (is that an expression?). Leave it to Marvel Comics to help with that. Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev both did a good job with Halo: Uprising, telling the story of a Covenant attack on Earth and the alien's attempt to find a key hidden in Cincinnati (of all places). But we have a special place in our heart for Marvel's Halo: Fall of Reach series trilogy by Brian Reed and Felix Ruiz, which is basically a retelling of the Halo: The Fall of Reach novel by Eric Nylund. Thankfully, the story remains compelling in graphic novel form.

Metal Gear Solid
If you love Metal Gear solid’s concept art, why not read an entire comic that looks like edgy concept art? This IDW-published comic by a variety of artists and writers such as Ashley Wood, Rufus Dayglo, Kris Oprisko, and Matt Fraction tells the kind of high-tech espionage thriller that fans of the franchise have come to expect. Readers will appreciate how this retelling of Metal Gear Solid and Metal Gear Solid 2 uses dialogue straight from the actual game, but we like how it adds to the fiction in the games as well. Did you know that Solid Snake has a third nipple? No? That's because it's not true.

Mega Man
A lot of licensed comic creators seem like they’re just working for a paycheck, but you can’t accuse Ian Flynn or Pat Spaziante of not caring about their subject matter. It’s clear that the creators of this Archie comic actually give a [word that means poop] about Mega Man. In the book, Dr. Light wanted to build a better tomorrow, but the evil Dr. Wily reprogrammed his Robot Masters to take over the world instead. It might not sound original, but this fun adventure helps flesh out the world of Capcom’s Blue Bomber, and it made us feel like a kid again (seriously, we forgot how to drive). 

Sonic The Hedgehog
Archie Comics is working on an updated comic based on the upcoming Sonic Boom series, but its original Sonic series will always be our version of Sonic. Sega's mascot with an attitude has had the longest running video game-based comic for a reason. And that reason is because it was never cancelled. Also, it has a lot of heart and is full of fun adventures reminiscent of our favorite Saturday-morning cartoons. Also worth checking out is Sonic's run with another character on this list: Mega Man. Check out our interview with the writer here, and our review of the series here.

The Last of Us
Most of the time, video game comics are developed long after a series has launched and become popular, but with The Last of Us, Naughty Dog reached out to Dark Horse before the game was even out and had indie comic artist/writer Max Fiumara start work on The Last of Us: American mini-series. Much like the game’s Left Behind DLC (which you should go play right now), this comic explore Ellie’s life and the mischief she gets into before the events of the game. Not only is this a fun story on its own, but the comic actually helped inspire the game in the creation of Ellie’s friend Riley.