Since very early on in video game history there have been comic books based on games and their characters. Comic books are able to tell stories that games and movies cannot, often because those stories are not central to the main plot. Printed fiction has the ability to tell those one-off stories and can further develop some of your favorite characters. Here is a round up of 5 must-read comic books based on beloved games.
Mass Effect: Homeworlds
Mass Effect: Homeworlds is a four-issue series published by Dark Horse from April to August 2012. It is written by the talented Mac Walters (Mass Effect 2 and 3 lead writer) as well as other character writers from BioWare. It is illustrated by various artists including Eduardo Francisco, Chris Straggs, Gary Brown, and Omar Francia. The TPB was released November 2012 and is available for purchase on Amazon.
Each of the four issues follows the story of a different Mass Effect character including James Vega, Tali’Zorah, Garrus Vakarian, and Liara T’soni. While issue #1, featuring James Vega, is widely considered fairly bland, it does develop his rocky relationship with his father and why it was so important to James to join the System Alliance. The other three issues are much more eventful, following Tali on her dangerous pilgrimage, Garrus as a C-Sec officer, and Liara as the new Shadow Broker.
Each of these stories are masterfully told, and the art is absolutely stunning. While I recommend all of the Mass Effect comic books, I really can’t sing enough praises for Mass Effect Homeworlds. The series really stands out if you are someone who, like myself, appreciates character-driven storytelling.
The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past
The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past is a graphic novel by manga artist Shotaro Isinomori. These comics were first serialized in the 90’s by Nintendo Power magazine. This series had been out of print, but was recently rereleased by VIZ media in its completion. It’s available here on Amazon.
This 196-page comic follows the game of the same name. While this comic does not tell the game’s story in its completion, it does give the audience a beautifully illustrated, abridged version of the story. No matter if you have played the game or not, this comic is a wonderful read. From panel to panel the art is mind-blowing. It’s definitely worth your time, even if you’ve played the game and are familiar with the story. The reprinted collection has remained faithful to the original work. The colors have been accurately reproduced, with only minor differences to saturation. This is absolutely a must have.
Uncharted was a six issue comic series published monthly by DC comics starting November 2011. The series was written by Joshua Williamson and penciled by Sergio Sandoval. The Uncharted comics did not aim to tie-in with any of the games, but were meant to tell a stand-alone adventure about Nathan Drake.
The legendary adventurer Nathan Drake journeys to the center of the earth to find the mysterious Amber Room. If that doesn’t sound silly enough, enemies of Drake’s ancestor, Sir Francis Drake, are out for revenge on our hero.
To put it plainly, this comic is just fun. While the art doesn’t necessarily hold a candle to the beautiful concept art of the games, it’s still very pleasing to look at. Nathan Drake, with all his wit, was meant to be a comic book hero. That’s why this comic is a must-read for anyone looking for some of that Nathan Drake charm.
Dead Space: Extraction
Dead Space: Extraction was a 33-page comic published by Image Comics in September 2009. It is written by Anthony Johnston, who wrote Dead Space, and the art is by Ben Templesmith, who is best known for his work on 30 Days of Night.
Dead Space: Extraction takes place before the events of the first game, and it follows Isaac’s girlfriend Nicole Brenan. While I highly suggest you play the game before reading this comic, because it makes events in the comic more poignant, I enjoyed reading this much more than I did playing the game. It really helps put Isaac and Nicole’s relationship in perspective, and fleshes out Nicole’s character more so than in the game. This comic also perfectly illustrates the horror of outbreak and quarantine. If you are at all into horror, I would pick this one up. It’s available on various website, but your best bet is probably eBay.
The Last of Us: American Dreams
The Last of Us: American Dreams is a four-issue series published by Dark Horse Comics Lead writer on The Last of Us, Neil Druckmann, also penned the comic, and the art is by The Last of Us lead artist Faith Eren Hicks. The TPB is available on Amazon.
The Last of Us: American Dreams is a prequel to the game. It follows 13 year-old Ellie as she goes to middle school at meets a new friend and rebel, Riley, who you may remember from the Left Behind DLC. This is a great read in order to get to know more about the relationship between the two girls and their involvement with the Fireflies. While a bit on the short side at 100 pages, this comic is great. If you were a fan of Ellie in the games, I am certain you’ll enjoy reading more about her and her tragic beginnings before meeting Joel.
What are your favorites?
I’ve given you my list, what’s on yours? What video games do you thing would work really well as comics? Let us know in the comment section below.