Video Game-to-Comic Book Adaptations: A Pondering

I sit here at my desk a broke college student.  I scrape up whatever cash I can by taking on security jobs here and there.  I tend to stay up late, I’m underpaid, I’m given few hours, and I hate my job.  Money’s tight, and I try to manage it as wisely as possible.  My few expenses consist of gas, food, video games, and comic books.  As I sit here having just seen the beautiful Olivia Wilde on The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien, I can’t help but look over repeatedly at my pile of graphic novels.  There’s Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth, V for Vendetta, Daredevil Noir, Batman: The Killing Joke, and, at the top of the pile, Gears of War.

I have yet to read the WildStorm publication, but that isn’t due to a lack of interest.  I’ve never read a comic book based on a video game, so I have nothing to compare it to.  Perhaps I fear that this publication will suffer the same fate that video game-to-film adaptations suffer.  Granted I’m not the biggest Gears of War fan out there.  I doubt I even qualify as a fan.  Truth be told I enjoy my Zelda more than anything else.  Anyway, I’ve played both Gears games—albeit not extensively—and enjoyed them for what they are.  As I flip through the pages of Gears of War Volume 1, which collects issues 1 through 6 of the series, I see a lot of things I like: great art, gore, and intense action.

But now I would like to address you, the gamer.  Video games have gone mass market and appear in different formats such as films, novels, and now comic books, with the most recent example being Dante’s Inferno.  Is this a good thing?  Many fans will eat up any content they can regarding their favorite games.  Others won’t care.  Still others will conjure up feelings of disgust and give their two cents on the devs taking advantage of the franchise and cashing in on its success.

This sort of thing falls heavily on opinion.  After all, there are different types of fans out there.  Would Dante’s Inferno, the comic book, appeal to a non-gamer?  Would it appeal to a comic book aficionado?  Is it being created exclusively for the gamer who eagerly awaits the video game release?  Is it an attempt to lure the comic book fan into buying the video game?  It’s hard to know what the creators of these works are shooting for.

An anonymous scholar once said that pondering for the sake of pondering is like exercise for the brain.  I hope you gamers out there think about this topic—the video game-turned-graphic novel topic—and give your brain a light work-out.  I’ll be turning these thoughts into actions shortly: I, a gamer who can honestly say he’s not really a Gears fan, will embark on a 160-page journey in the hopes of reading what will hopefully be a great graphic novel.  I will read Gears of War not as a Gears fan, but as a comic book fan.  I sincerely hope I enjoy it, and I hope other gamers out there give comics a chance.  You never know.  You may just find something you enjoy, even if you’re not a fan of the original source material.

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  1. It’s perfectly possible for a comic to be as good, if not better than the thing it’s based on. Problem is, people who haven’t played the game might miss out on references and terminology that isn’t explained.

    Deviating from the source material and clashing with established canon can cause issues as well. It just depends on how well you pull it off.

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