Although we recently covered the superheroes that deserve their own video games, that barely scratches the surface of the medium of the comic book. Aside from the Lycra-bound, wisecracking heroes of the likes of Marvel and DC Comics, there are a wealth of characters and stories that are in desperate need of a good video game adaptation. After all, Telltale Games has already shown exactly how well comics transfer to games through the likes of The Walking Dead.
As such, there are plenty more non-superhero comic book characters that need to make a step into gaming. Here is our pick of ten properties that deserve it the most.
This sci-fi epic from Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples has everything: incredible action, emotional plotlines, engaging characters, and plenty of humor to boot. The series already has an army of fans behind it, and there’s a good reason for that. Saga is one of the most impressive comic works of the 21st century, delivering a level of quality that few have been able to achieve.
As such, fans of the franchise have desperately desired a video game adaptation for some time, and they are not alone in their longing. Indeed, Brian K. Vaughan himself has dropped some not-so-subtle hints that he would be open to talks, should the right developer come along. Specifically, the writer has suggested that the aforementioned The Walking Dead game creator Telltale Games could be a perfect match for his work.
Hellboy fans have been clamoring for a video game for years, and it’s easy to see why. The hero himself has a fantastic array of powers, the setting of the comic just begs to be explored, and the villains are as formidable as it comes. In short, Hellboy seems like the perfect choice for a video game adaptation.
Indeed, Hellboy has already had a video game of sorts, but it was actually derived from the Guillermo del Toro-helmed movie series. Named Hellboy: The Science of Evil, the title was released by Konami back in 2008 to a far-from-stellar reception, and did not exactly grab a strong following. Hopefully, a video game based directly on the source material could prove to be a bigger pull.
8 100 Bullets
This award-winning comic needs no introduction. A story of revenge and violence, the Brian Azzarello-created series packed a real punch, taking the reader much deeper than initially expected based on its early noir sensibilities. Eventually descending into conspiracies centuries old, 100 Bullets is truly deserving of its reputation.
What’s more, the framework of the comic could quite easily transform into a video game. With characters being given 100 bullets with which to kill the one that wronged them in their past, the player could quite easily fill these shoes. This could lead to a fantastic, action-focused game that could keep users hooked to the very end.
This Warren Ellis-penned sci-fi satire holds pride of place among the libraries of many a comic book aficionado. Combining acerbic wit with bouts of ultra-violence and some of the most unique characters in the medium, there’s a reason why Transmetropolitan is so well regarded. What’s more, the comic has huge potential as a video game.
The only question is exactly what kind of game Transmetropolitan could become. With the City such a fascinating setting, it would be a shame to keep the player stuck to a single path. As such, an open-world environment akin to that seen in the Saints Row games, with the irreverent humor kept in, could be a perfect fit – particularly if mystery-solving elements a la LA Noire were included.
This comic, which combines historical settings and events with fictionalized characters and plots, holds a rather unique selling point. Northlanders takes place during the Viking Age, with different stories spanning from 700AD through to the turn of the Millennium. As interesting as it is vicious, the comic series could no doubt turn into a fantastic video game.
This choice of setting has already found plenty of love within the gaming community. Both Skyrim and The Banner Saga have shown that a Nordic setting can work extremely well in gaming, so there’s certainly room for Northlanders to find some love in video game form. The only question would be which of the many story arcs the comic holds should be the focus of a video game version.
Hellblazer, the comic that focuses on well-known antihero John Constantine, is one of the most successful in Vertigo comics history, and with good reason. The series created a fascinating and dangerous world where magic and the supernatural are real, and populated this setting with a cast of incredible characters. With Constantine himself still going strong, this character certainly deserves a game of his own.
Much like the similarly demonically-tied Hellboy, John Constantine has also appeared in a video game, but it was not directly influenced by the comic itself. Instead, 2005 saw the release of Constantine for PC, PS2, and Xbox, a title that was tied to the movie adaptation that starred Keanu Reeves as the titular character. This game had little to do with the Hellblazer comics, however, so perhaps a more focused comic adaptation could prove to be a better experience all round.
Although there are some pretty heavy topics present in a number of the comics on this list, the world of comics is far from fused to the notions of extreme violence and brooding plots. Indeed, plenty of comics and graphic novels are more than capable of keeping readers entertained through good, old-fashioned humor. That’s where Lumberjanes, created by Shannon Watters, Grace Ellis, and Noelle Stevenson, excels.
The comic, which focuses on the adventures of a group of girls at a scout camp that come across a number of supernatural beings, is chock full of humor and excitement alike. Having a strong set of lead characters could lend itself to either party management or a changeable playable character, while the series’ focus on the scouts could easily transfer over into a strong mission structure. Lumberjanes may be getting a live action adaptation, but it could just as easily become a great game.
3 Battle Royale
This hugely influential manga from Koushun Takami and Masayuki Taguchi has a huge cult following, particularly after the success of a movie based on the comic that appeared in 2000. However, that’s not where the story of Battle Royale adaptations should end. Indeed, this extremely violent work could work incredibly well as a video game.
As it stands, the Battle Royale formula has already been tried multiple times within gaming. Death sports have been the theme of a wide variety of games, including the Rockstar-developed Manhunt, and one could even argue that many multiplayer deathmatch modes play with similar themes. With that in mind, why not make a direct adaptation of one of the best examples of that idea in action?
Neil Gaiman’s horror comic holds a special place in the hearts of many comic fans. Decidedly unique, its tale of otherworldly dream realms and ancient beings is captivating and dense, and is perhaps one of the most addictive comics available. Winning multiple awards over its runtime, the series could no doubt also become an excellent game.
There’s only one caveat for a video game based on the Sandman series – the subject matter needs to be handled carefully. Many adaptations of different forms have been tried over the years, with spin-off Lucifer reaching TV screens earlier this year to a mixed response. Get a Sandman video game right, however, and there’s no limit to just how fantastic an experience it could become.
1 Sin City
Frank Miller’s seminal Sin City is perhaps the perfect example of neo-noir in action. Combining intriguing mystery with vicious characters and a brooding setting, the series has found plenty of love since its debut in 1991. The comic was once actually planned for a video game adaptation, but this eventually turned out to be nothing more than vaporware.
The art style of the comics has already had an influence on gaming, however, with 2009’s Wii exclusive MadWorld taking aesthetic cues from the acclaimed comic series. As such, the monochrome style has already been tested in the medium, and with the added oomph of modern consoles and PCs, there’s a chance that current hardware could truly deliver on the potential that the series holds. If a developer with the right blend of artistic flair and penchant for violence took the helm, then a video game based on Sin City could be unstoppable.
That brings us to the end of our choices, but with so many comics around it was hard to narrow it down to just ten. What comics would you have picked to join this list? What developers and publishers do you think would be perfect picks for the properties above? Sound off in the comments below.