We may be a little late to the party here, but comic books are back, baby! Some of you may argue that they never went anywhere, but there’s no denying that the box-office explosion that is Marvel’s MCU – and the subsequent rise of nerd culture – has seen everyone’s favorite print medium come well and truly to the forefront.
Not only that, video games are also getting bigger and better, becoming the entertainment platform of choice for millions of people around the world. So it’s only fitting that these two bastions of nerd culture would come together and produce some of the finest examples of the medium there is. This list will run you through the best comic books based on video games out there, so when you want to expand your collection, you’ll know exactly where to start!
1. Injustice: Gods Among Us
Superheroes are everywhere at the moment, from comic books, video games, films, and even comic book-inspired slot games! This one practically picks itself. A comic book based on a video game based on comic book characters, it’s got all the ingredients for the perfect adaptation. Taking place years before the events of the game, this comic book details the rise of Superman as an all-power tyrant and the efforts of Batman, along with his small band of followers, to stop him.
As a prequel, separate from the main plot of the game it’s based on, the writers explore tons of backstory not present in the main game, including character motivations, relationships, and the fates of certain characters. Injustice: Gods Among Us, the comic, does what all great comic book adaptations do, it adds texture to an already vibrant and interesting world, and it’s well worth a read!
2. The Last of Us: American Dreams
How could a comic book prequel to one of the most critically acclaimed video games of all time not be amazing? Taking place years before Joel and Ellie ever meet in the main campaign of The Last of Us, and even before the Left Behind DLC, American Dreams focuses on Ellie’s formative years under an oppressive regime which implements martial law.
Opting for a much more cartoony art-style than the beautifully designed game, the artists create a fantastic juxtaposition between the youthful antics of the protagonist and the dark, harrowing world in which she lives. On top of that, the story encapsulates everything we love about The Last of Us’ world: it’s poignant, it’s bleak, and it has something to say. If you want a better look at how Ellie became the character she is in the game, this is definitely the best place to start.
3. Dragon Age: Magekiller
Dragon Age: Magekiller is one of the best examples of a comic book based on a video game series, mixing all the best elements of its source material to create a compelling standalone story with excellent artwork and interesting characters.
Produced by Darkhorse Comics, this comic focuses on Marius and Tessa, two mage hunters who’re attempting to suppress a coup in their homeland of Tevinter. Set before and during the events of Dragon Age: Inquisition, the writers explore parts of Thedas that haven’t been introduced to the players of the game, making it perfect for those who want to discover more about the Dragon Age mythos. Furthermore, the artwork is phenomenal, matching the style of in-game compendiums, making this an easy switch from video game to a comic book.
4. Halo: Fall of Reach
No list of the best video game comic books would be complete without mentioning the Chief. This fully completed series details three distinctly important parts of Master Chief’s life: his early childhood and Spartan training, the inciting incident of the Human-Covenant war, and the invasion of Reach. For anyone who wants to dive back into the good old Bungie days and experience different aspects of the Halo canon, this is a great option.
Not only are the three stories compelling, action-packed, and visceral, the artwork pops with vibrant colors and harrowing imagery, breathing new life into a world that so many gamers know and love. If that’s not enough to get you intrigued, Halo: Fall of Reach was produced by Marvel, and if that’s not a sign of quality, we don’t know what is!
5. World of Warcraft
If you’ve been around the gaming scene for a while, the chances are you’ve played, or at least seen someone play, World of Warcraft. Once the most popular game around, it’s no surprise that Blizzard’s mega-hit spawned countless comic book adaptations, most of which are excellent examples of the medium.
The first of the series, A Stranger in a Strange Land, follows an amnesiac human who wakes up in hostile territory after an apparent shipwreck and his attempts to get home. The comic brings the world of Azeroth to life brilliantly, combining unique, stylized artwork with interesting characters and a deep and engaging lore. For any fans of fantasy or WoW, this is a great comic book to simply pick up and read.
What is your favorite comic series or book that got turned into a video game? Let us know in the comments below!
Founder and Editor-in-Chief of The Nerd Stash. An avid gamer since I could walk and can be found in Ashland, KY, where he hopes to find inspiration and uniqueness in life by meeting awesome people, development friendships with companies, and become more nerdy.