Comic fans got some good (or at least promising) news yesterday, with word that two of the best series in recent years — The Walking Dead and Fables — will be turned into video games. They're a...start. I guess.
But they're not enough! While Hollywood seems hell-bent on turning every obscure graphic novel it can find into a two-hour blockbuster, video games are - big names like Spider-Man aside - reluctant to explore comics in the same way. Maybe it's because there's less ground for exploitation, maybe it's because lots of comics won't "work" as a game, maybe devs simply feel they can do better at world-building that comics, who knows.
Fact is, all those assumptions are wrong - especially the world-building one - and there aren't enough comic book video games. There should be more. Starting with these.
DMZ - The story of a young journalist stranded on Manhattan at the height of a future American civil war, DMZ is not only an acclaimed and popular series, but also perfect for a game adaptation. Not for the story of the comic's star, Matty Roth, but for the vision of America it depicts, the "Free States" of middle America rising up against the United States in a war that rages from town-to-town across the country.
If THQ think Homefront's vision of a war-torn America is interesting, imagine what it would look like if the bad guys were American. And the good guys. And neither side was really good or evil.
Batman: Gotham By Gaslight - This one's simple. You take Arkham Asylum and Red Dead Redemption, and you put them together. Brian Augustyn and Mike Mignola's classic "Victorian" take on the Dark Knight has him looking rougher and more primitive than usual, which would work well in a video game. Regular Batman has enough fancy tech that beating up bad guys is a cinch. But some guy in a leather mask who has little but his fists? Who doesn't have a car, or a plane, but a horse? That would be awesome.
Unknown Soldier (2008) - I'm not actually the biggest fan of this as a comic, but the story of a psychotic African running around Uganda meting out brutal justice is perfect for a game. It's violent, it's straightforward, it does Africa without the need for large white men and there's even plenty of flashback and dream sequences should a developer want to make their own Max Payne tribute.
Tom Strong - He's perhaps the greatest superhero to never grace the silver screen, but there should be nothing stopping Alan Moore & Chris Sprouse's creation from battling evil in a video game. Strong has gadgets, plenty of unique adversaries presenting plenty of unique opportunities (a Modular Man or Pangaea battle would be amazing) and enough storied locations to keep things fresh.
Bone - The big one. And yes, I know, an attempt was made by Telltale a few years back to get this off the ground, but it stalled after two episodes, so it doesn't count. Also, it was the wrong genre. While the tale of the Bones and Thorn is the stuff of fantasy legend, as a game, Bone would work best if you pulled back and looked at the bigger picture: the war between the forces of good against the Hooded One's forces.
The Lord of the Locusts. The Veni Yan. The Rat Creatures. The Atheia forces. The people of Barrelhaven. So many different factions, so many unique powers, so many great characters.