IDW has announced a new “Skylanders” comic book series based on the popular Activision video game franchise. Written by Ron Marz with art by Mike Bowden and David Baldeon, the “Skylanders” series serves as a prequel to the upcoming “Skylanders Trap Team” video game releasing later in October. A special zero issue will debut at Comic-Con International in San Diego 2014 in both print and digital, and features an introductory 16-page story as well as additional backup info about the “Skylanders” world.
“We are thrilled to be combining Skylanders, the pioneer of the toys to life video game genre, with IDW, one of the industry’s leading comic-book publishers in the U.S.,” Activision VP of global licensing and partnerships Ashley Maidy said via press release. “The comic-book series will offer fans a glimpse into the backstories of their favorite Skylanders characters, expanding on the universe that they’ve embraced so enthusiastically in the franchise’s short history. To explore the world of Skylands beyond the game is an opportunity we know our fans have long been awaiting, and we couldn’t be more excited to see this manifested through a comic series.”
Since its launch in 2011, the “Skylanders” franchise has become wildly popular amongst all ages of gamers, due to its unique gameplay twist of bringing physical toys to life in the game, through a special “Portal of Power” peripheral. Players place special “Skylanders” toys on the Portal of Power, and the character appears onscreen for the player to control. All data — including stats, levels, nicknames and power-ups — are stored on the toy, making it easy to bring each player’s favorite characters into other games via couch co-op play.
The “Skylanders” franchise has had three core installments since its launch: “Skylanders Spyro’s Adventure” (piggybacking off the “Spyro the Dragon” franchise); “Skylanders Giants,” which featured oversized figures; and “Skylanders Swap Force,” which allowed players to change the tops and bottoms of special “Swap Force” figures to make new combinations. The October-launching “Skylanders Trap Team” introduces the new concept of Traptanium — a fictional metal that allows players to capture enemies in special crystals, turning them into new player characters for the game in a “Pokemon”-like twist. The franchise has also launched a web-based browser game and three different mobile games.
Regardless of where the comic goes, it’s likely that Marz, Bowden and Baldeon have their work cut out for them. As of “Skylanders Swap Force,” there are over 80 unique playable characters in the “Skylanders” universe — and that’s not counting the many supporting characters that have appeared in the games over the last 3 years. Hopefully, the creative team will be able to capitalize on some of the characters’ pun-laden catchphrases.
“Skylanders” debuts in July at Comic-Con International 2014.