In our modern world of streaming media and digital comic books, it’s pretty common to binge on a series and find yourself in a quandary. Once a series runs out, it’s difficult to stay occupied and entertained during the interim. But every so often, a major publisher will test the waters and try to add a new vessel to their fleet of comics. Such was the case in May 2009.
During the run of Street Fighter II: Turbo, Udon Comics pitched a potential new series through bonus stories at the back of certain issues. Since Cody and Guy tied so heavily into the current plot of Street Fighter, it makes sense that Udon would try to get readers interested in a standalone comic based on Final Fight. Continue reading To Be Continued…
There is a common problem that pops up in long-running series across all forms of media. After so many issues/episodes/games of good battling evil to maintain the status quo, the antagonist of a series can seem less like a threat and more like a lovable ne’er-do-well who gets into goofy shenanigans. This trope is especially apparent in prolonged battle shows and comics, where the stakes can only be raised so high by a single villain (see: Dragon Ball Z, Transformers, Power Rangers, countless others).
Like most recurring problems in media, there is a regular solution to which many writers will resort to keep a story fresh and the action intense. If your series bad guy simply isn’t bad enough, just introduce an even more heinous villain into the mix. With dark enough intentions and a scheme that threatens the world on a massive scale, the previous antagonist may even step up to help the hero save the day. This just happens to be the case in the Mega Man: Gigamix comics. Continue reading A Darker Shade of Blue
We have another unfortunate example of digital content being lost to the void: ShiftyLook will be shutting down its servers on September 30th 2014, causing seventeen different video game comics to be scattered to the bitter winds of the web.
Started in Fall 2011, ShiftyLook was a subsidiary of Namco Bandai that focused on infusing new blood into older franchises through fresh content. What started as a handful of fun webcomics drawn by great artists expanded to webtoons, anime, and even new video games. Throughout their tenure, the core goal of the ShiftyLook crew was maintained: “to unlock the hidden power of retro by understanding the core appeal of untapped classics and respecting their legacies as we turn them into webcomics.” Continue reading Read ShiftyLook Comics While You Still Can
An odd trend popped up in comics towards the end of the 20th century. Instead of producing freshly drawn adaptations of film and television, publishers would use images straight from the screen to make a comic book. With the right screen captures and well-inserted word balloons, an animated feature could become a comic book in no time.
Often referred to as cine-manga or ani-manga, these publications were widely used by companies like Disney or Tokyopop to make comics for young readers. Some of the more prolific examples are Studio Ghibli film comics like Castle in the Sky, cartoon series like Avatar: The Last Airbender, and a certain video game about battling monsters. Continue reading Pokémon Power!
Like most kids who grew up in the 90s, the bulk of my video game information came from magazines. Publications like GamePro, EGM, and Nintendo Power provided monthly dumps of news, previews, reviews, and (of course) advertisements. It was from these printed pages that I first encountered comics based on video games.
While Nintendo Power had the market cornered on adaptations of their beloved franchises, other magazines featured their own short comics, many of which promoted the hot games at the time. These paneled advertisements wormed their way into my brain thanks to numerous readings and re-readings of their magazine hosts. Let’s take a look back to the days where print media was on top, and publishers relied on sequential art to sell their wares! Continue reading Comical Advertisements
Looking across my bookshelves and boxes of video game comics, you can find a near-equal amount of art books dedicated to my electronic obsession. These books serve two functions in my apartment (other than looking pretty): provide a source of reference for my wife’s art and to serve as a sort of history book for my favorite games. And the best of these tomes of video game knowledge come from Udon Comics.
On top of their numerous video game comics, the Ontario-based studio has published several art books dedicated to many different series. Not content to simply provide the usual concept and promotional art from video games, Udon will fill these books with creator interviews, unreleased images, and even some new material for rabid fans. During a recent re-reading of Mega Man: Official Complete Works, I discovered a rare comic that I somehow missed on my previous scouring: an official origin story for the Blue Bomber drawn by Keiji Inafune! Continue reading The Birth of Mega Man
Origin stories for Nintendo characters tend to be rather ambiguous. Mario and Luigi could be plumbers born and raised in Brooklyn, or two lost children from the Mushroom Kingdom. Donkey Kong has been the son of Cranky Kong, the grandson of Cranky Kong, or just some angry ape that kidnaps Pauline. And don’t even get me started on Link and his mixed up timeline. Amidst all of this confusion, it seems that a certain Nintendo mainstay has yet to get a proper point of origin in the wide world of video games: Wario.
Making his first appearance in 1992 as the antagonist of Super Mario Land 2, Wario was already a full-grown villain with no major backstory. He wasn’t the lizard tyrant of a deposed kingdom. He wasn’t an invader from outer space. Wario was just a greedy guy who wanted a castle so he took Mario’s. That’s it.
After Mario knocked the baddie off his usurped throne and everything was returned to the status quo, Wario became a sort of selfish antihero. For the 17 games that followed, Wario concocted plenty of get-rich-quick schemes to add more treasure to his hoard (normally involving quirky platformers or hyper-odd minigames). Second only to his love for money is Wario’s contempt for his goody two-shoes counterpart.
In Wario’s mind, Mario has had it easy his entire life; getting the glory and riches for nothing and gloating about it all the way. You wouldn’t necessarily hear Wario voice this opinion in video games, save for the occasional snide comment (and constant sneer). The backstory of these two once-best friends was detailed in January 1993, through a comic in Nintendo Power. Continue reading It Should Be Called Super WARIO Adventures