With a slow but steady incline in the relationship between video games and comic books, it's difficult to keep our minds from speculating the possibilities. We've seen a regular flow of game-based comics for years now, from the good (Assassin's Creed: The Fall) to the awful (Modern Warfare 2: Ghost), but there are a number of franchises that would benefit from lending their name to a comic.
We put on our nerdgasm hats and thought long and hard about not only the game franchises we'd like to see in comics, but also the dream writer/artist teams that would make them shine. Some of these picks have seen comics (or manga) in one form or another in the last couple of decades, but none with results that have adequately quenched our thirst as super nerds.
Dream Team: Grant Morrison & JH Williams III
We realize that your mind was probably just blown, so we'll take a moment for you to pile your brains back into your skull.
The inclusion of Williams on art duties would serve to underscore Morrison's penchant for building a multi-tiered narrative. Our vision for Williams on Fallout would combine his work from mainstream superhero books like Detective Comics with his more experimental work in something like Promethea. In the latter series especially, Williams' satirical "Weeping Gorilla Comix" is an example of how the artist could work within the confines of the established Fallout art design. Put in the hands of these two creators, a Fallout comic could become one of the most compelling comics in the industry, licensed or not.
Dream Team: Bill Willingham & Peter Gross
With fantasy comics' sorcerer supreme Bill Willingham at the helm, the two-dimensional participants of The Legend of Zelda could become something so much more. Though the comic would have to be finite, Willingham could build a series that holds "The Hero of Time" legend as a center piece for the world's mythology, similar to what we saw in Wind Waker. From there, the Fables scribe would have enormous opportunity to create new races, characters, locales, and weaponry. While Link's quest is traditionally contained within 20-30 hours, a comic has the ability to diverge greatly from the main quest while keeping the overarching plot alive. Think of it like this: a side-quest to attain a key that's required for the next step of Link's journey could be turned into a three issue arc of the ongoing series that introduces an intriguing new race to the Zelda canon.
Similar to Willingham, artist Peter Gross has defined his career with the fantasy genre. As one of the forces behind the acclaimed Lucifer series and now co-creator of The Unwritten, Gross has shown his ability to render all types of art styles. Particularly with The Unwritten, a book that changes between real-world locations and a Harry Potter-esque fantasy land at the drop of a dime, Gross confirms that he would be an inspired choice for a comic based on Zelda. His art would infuse Hyrule with a much-needed sense of emotion that would work in conjunction with Willingham's words to create a fully realized universe. Ocarina of Time may be headed to the 3DS, but Nintendo is still a ways from making its characters as three-dimensional as its visuals.
Dream Team: Joe Hill & Ben Templesmith
BioShock the game also gets a whole lot of mileage out of ambiance and art design. In comics, Ben Templesmith is a master of atmosphere and strangeness; a perfect fit for BioShock. The combination of art deco and utter chaos sounds like it'd be a welcome home to Templesmith, responsible for the effective Dead Space comic book from 2008 and of course, 30 Days of Night. With Hill's habit for subtlety and Templesmith's more outward approach to visual horror, that difficult balance between writing and art would be found.
Dream Team: Jason Aaron & Dale Eaglesham
Dale Eaglesham's involvement would be icing on that sweet, sweet tumbleweed cake. Eaglesham has few rivals in mainstream comics that can tell a story as cleanly as he can, in addition to creating memorable splash pages and effective figure work. By definition, he's a well-rounded comic book artist. With so many characters and events happening in these pages, Eaglesham's distinctive characters and settings will help to keep the reader on track.
Plus, we'd be able to look forward to a zombie-infused Halloween annual co-written by Robert Kirkman. In our dreams, that is.
Dream Team: Peter & Bobby Timony
The cartooning style of Night Owls would carry over to Sly as well, using thick line work and simple, bright colors to replicate the style of the video games. The Timonys have a great handle on the classic comic strip format, but a Sly Cooper comic could give them a chance to stretch their muscles into long-form storytelling. And hey, if Ratchet and Clank can have their own mini-series, why not Sly and company?
Dream Team: Gail Simone & Darwyn Cooke
Meanwhile, Darwyn Cooke's recognizable style meshes with the pulp adventure throwback that the Uncharted experience offers. While other artists may be able to provide a more realistic approach to the Uncharted world, Cooke's classic style would infuse the comic with the spirit of the adventure comics of the past; something key – if often unmentioned – to the success of Uncharted.
Dream Team: Greg Rucka & Chris Sprouse
To help with bringing Metroid to life would have to be Chris Sprouse, co-creator (with Alan Moore) of Tom Strong and recent contributing artist to Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne. As he's shown with Tom Strong, Sprouse has talent with the acting of his characters as well as giant robots, alien creatures, and explosions. Not only that, but Sprouse is able to shift his trademark style to something completely different should the material require it in the form of an alternate reality or new planet. Much like Tom Strong visited alien worlds and parallel dimensions, we imagine a comic book Samus would be handling similar duties in her effort to take out Space Pirates.
Dream Team: Brian Azzarello & Daniel Zezelj
GTA is as much about sheer violence as it is lampooning the crime genre, so reuniting Azzarello with his Loveless artist Daniel Zezelj is a natural choice. Zezelj's chaotic line work is greatly suited for street-level tales. It would provide the series with the necessary grit that the games are missing in their presentation. That said, if the series were to jump from decade to decade, the art would have to reflect the time period, just like Vice City reflected the 1980's and San Andreas the early 1990's.
Grand Theft Auto has a reputation for its violence, sure, but often overlooked is its dedication to crafting detailed characters that are often never seen for more than 15 minutes in any given game. A GTA comic book could perhaps do some justice to those creations.
Source: Joey Esposito, Video Games That Need Comics, IGN Comics, 8 February 2011