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!
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
Is this the last hurrah? We have reached the end of this digital diversion, readers of Geek Force Network. I have shared my favorite comic book video games from before and after the year 2000, so all that remains are those select series that have no dog in the video games fight.
Historically, most adaptations of comic books have come from the big two, Marvel and DC. They have been the movie cash-ins and superhero beat ’em-ups, the fighting game cross-overs and the Lego-based collectathons. Fortunately, the rise of indie games and comics have given way to the rebirth of the point-and-click adventure genre. Studios like Telltale Games have been turning fantastic comics into wonderful video games for the world to enjoy. If it weren’t for their efforts, two of my favorite series may have remained confined to the printed page, never to grace my gaming screens (thanks for Bone and Fables, Telltale). But even with the recent glut of sequential art adaptations, there are still comic books which I would love to see translated to the digital world. Continue reading Favorite Comic Books That Should Be Video Games
SHAZAM! It’s time for another exciting installment of beloved comic book video games! This week on Geek Force Network, we will take a look at our slightly selfish scribe’s gaming picks from the 21st century (so far).
Since the year 2000, video games have been making leaps and bounds thanks to improved technology and expanded narrative, so it’s natural that some amazing titles based on comic books have hit the market. Just last year, a certain comic book series was adapted into a video game that was featured on numerous “top ten” and “best of” lists, giving further hope to licensed titles everywhere. With so many great games to choose from, I had some trouble narrowing down my list of adaptations from the last 14 years. Nevertheless, here are my favorite post-2000 comic book games for your reading pleasure! Continue reading Favorite Comic Book Video Games, post-2000
Over my many years reading comics, I have found that the best books have art that complements the story. A rollicking fantasy tale should have ethereal watercolors and wide panels for landscape views, while gritty noir fiction should have strong contrasts with tight frames to depict the narrow confines of a city. The artwork dictates the mood of a comic, providing the reader with a visual to influence their emotions while reading.
On the extreme end of art complementing a story are books where unsettling visuals match a dissonant narrative. Worlds where logic doesn’t always apply, characters who have lost touch with reality, certain time periods may have never existed; these story elements tend to shine brightest with surreal art and harsh panel layouts. So when Valve decided to create a comic around a rather offbeat side character from the Portal series, it would seem natural that the art would be as jarring as its protagonist. Continue reading Experimental Art