Heck, why not just count this as an official extra Top Five entry? – BC Cronin shouldn’t have all the fun, should he? Besides, this will both annoy Burgas and allow me to combine two of my favorite social life killing pursuits in a nerdtastic chocolate/peanut butter esque fusion. 5. Prince of Persia
The high concept pitch- Spider-Man meets Arabian Nights
Why I want to see it- It’s Spider-Man meets Arabian Nights! Well, sort of. The most recent incarnation of the venerable series which began on PCs in the ’80s is one of the finest examples of storytelling in the video game medium. In two of the three games in the Sands of Time series, he was a very likable, relatable character, coming of age and coming to grips with his new found powers, which is where the Peter Parker comparsions come in. Also, he’s an amazing acrobat, so there’s that similarity as well. Really, I’d just like to see an adventure comic with an Arabian Nights feel to it; the setting, and all of the accomopanying traits of the genre (deathraps! Okay, mostly the deathtraps!) make for a refreshing experience, and I think it could translate to comics well. I could see this working as a Dark Horse book, given that they have a great track record for doing well with licenses and non-superhero adventure comics. I could also see a whacked out Vertigo series. The second game in the trilogy was, in fact, a darker, edgier take on the Prince, but I wasn’t much for that.
Ideal creative team- Neil Gaiman and P. Craig Russell, or just Russell by himself.
4. God of War
The high concept pitch- Preacher meets Clash of the Titans
Why I want to see it- Again, the setting plays a big part in this; we don’t get a lot of comics about Greek Mythology, especially not set in Ancient Greece. The game uses the setting to great advantage, and I think a comic could do a similarly great job with the right creative team.
Beyond that, lead character Kratos’s story of revenge against the Gods makes Jesse Custer look positively like a pussy. In the first game, he sets his sights on avenging himself against Ares, the titular God of War. Not lacking ambition, he’s waging war on the entire Greek Pantheon by the end of the second one. Of all the testosterone charged, alpha males in video games, Kratos is head and shoulders the baddest of all bad asses in the medium, and makes comics’ biggest roughnecks cower in fear at the very sight of him. Wolverine? Punisher? Lobo? Hopey? None of them stack up to Kratos’s unmatched fury (okay, maybe Hopey). This is a guy that kills Centaurs, Madusas, and any other mythological being that gets in his way without breaking a sweat and, in case you forgot, murded a god! Not just any god, either, but the god of god damn war! Top that, Deathstroke!
Another thing that makes God of War a great candidate for comics translation is the fact that Kratos has a pretty involved backstory, as he was a great Spartan warrior and general, and then spent many years working for the gods before the events chronicled in the first game. While the upcoming PSP game will delve in to some of that backstory, there’s a lot of material for the kind of “untold tales” stories that you see in all kinds of licensed books, and would be worth reading in their own right.
Ideal Creative Team- Although Frank Miller would seem perfect, given his love of Spartans, ultraviolence, and knocking gods down a peg or 12, the game has a lot of emotional moments that don’t play to Miller’s strengths, unless you were doing a straight blood and guts tale of Kratos’s warrior days, which could fit in to an anthology series nicely. As an ongoing, though, I’d like to see Michael Avon Oeming handle the writing; he did a great job with the Greek Pantheon in his Ares mini-series for Marvel, which I reviewed here. I’m not sure who I’d want on art; someone capable of grit, but who could draw the setting well. Or, because these are all pipe dreams anyway, get John Romita Jr. to do it. He could make it work.
The High Concept Pitch- An X-Men movie directed by Tim Burton and written by the best Simpsons and Futurama writers, and also sort of like the Amazing Screw On Head, and enough like a Grant Morrison comic that I can give him his obligatory mention in a CSBG post; that said, much better than any of that.
Why I want to see it- Tim Schafer is one of the few video game developers to become associated with his work through an idiosyncratic style. He developed that style working on some well regarded, often humorous, Lucas Arts PC adventure games before striking out on his own. Psychonauts was the first project released by his company, Double Fine Productions, which is currently working on a project involving Jack Black as a heroic roadie in a post apocalyptic heavy metal universe. I told you the dude was indiosyncratic.
The game was a critical darling that apparently sold poorly. Games, as much as any medium, can be hell on new concepts and characters. Without the hype of a big company like Mircosoft, Sony, or EA behind it, the game didn’t never was able to build up the kind of massive hype that turned something like Gears of War or Halo in to a sales juggernaut and, in the case of the latter, a cultural phenomenon. Also, videogame fans can be as resistant to new concepts as the most died in the wool X-Men or Batman zombie, which partially explains how games like this bomb while every mediocre to bad Sonic the Hedgehog sequel sells so well.
It didn’t help that it was so damn weird, and really had to be played to be appreciated. I mean, I can tell you that it’s about the misadventures of a runaway acrobat at a summer camp for psychics; how each level involves going inside the mind of a character and interacting with environments that reflect their psyches, including on where you’re a giant, Godzilla-esque monster, and another involves interacting with Picasso-esque paintings. But really, this is the kind of thing you have to experience for yourself. And should. Even luddites like Burgas.
All that said, the game developed a cult following, and the majority of people who played it adored it. It reminds me of Veronica Mars, in some ways. At any rate, given the game’s poor sales and the fact that Schafer is known for not doing sequels, comics is the perfect place for the characters to live and recieve the further adventures they’re crying out for, much like this medium may be the only place where Neptune’s favorite plucky girl P.I. gets a new lease on life. I hope.
Ideal creative team- Mignola’s Screw On Head one-shot is the closest thing in tone, but even that isn’t quite right. It’s in Morrison’s wheelhouse subject matter, but I’m not sure he’d quite have the right tone for the humor, either, as it’s absurd, but not in the same way that Grant trades in. The artist is hard to pin down, too; you’d need someone extremely versatile to do all of the different mental landscapes, but someone who could still evoke the Burton-esque characters. In an ideal world, the writers behind the game would contribute the scripts, and you could get a rotating team of the best artists in comics to draw them. Or just give Morrison and Cameron Stewart the game, a lot of drugs, and a long weekend to get it done.
2. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney
The high concept pitch- An anime/manga-esque lawyer dramedy that’s more Boston Legal than the Practice, making up in absurdist humor and tense drama what it lacks in William Shatner.
Why I want to see it- Wacky legal hijinks with a sketchy enough grip on the law to keep Loren Collins busy for months. I mean, I’m no lawyer; hell, I can barely sit through an episode of Boston Legal. That said, Phoenix can swipe any evidence he sees fit and, at least in the first game, trials can only last two days. I don’t think that washes with our legal system, although maybe that’s how they do it in Japan, where the game originates from.
The real reason I put this on there- To make Chris Sims happy. And to increase the possibility that this will become the greatest team/faceoff in comics since Archie met the Punisher. Also, I only had three games I really wanted to write about when I started this, and I haven’t been able to fill in the gap since I started.
Ideal Creative Team- Bendis and Maleev. It can’t be any more ridculous than having them do a Halo adaptation.
The High Concept Pitch- It’s shapes. And you combine them. And a Russian made it, back when they were still our most hated enemy, instead of just being vaguely sinister now. And the music is the best part. So the comic would be kind of screwed there.
Why I want to see this- I told you I was reaching.
Ideal Creative Team- I think only the combined talents of Alan Moore and Steve Ditko could do this justice. Moore, because he can make anything from a walking plan to Victorian literary porn work, and Ditko because he is the definitive cartoonist of weird, trippy shapes, considering his legendary Dr. Strange run. Besides, Moore has run out of mainstream comics companies to have grudges with; I think it’s time for mainstream video game company Nintendo to alienate him. And, if things happened to work out, we might get the Wii version of From Hell, complete with motion sensitive prostitute mutliation!
Conversely, any fellow gamers in the audience can tell me which games should be turned in to comics properties. I’m not counting pre-existing adaptations like Halo, Bloodrayne, Tomb Raider, or the Super Mario Bros., although that is screaming out for a grim and gritty revamp.
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