The use of comic characters in gaming

The use of comic characters in gaming

Photo: Van Dos Santos via Pexels

The gaming industry is heavily influenced by comic books series. Many successful games are based on the characters and storylines of Japanese Manga, American comics and European comics.

On the flipside, there are also a number of high-profile comic series based on popular games. After witnessing the success of characters within games, publishers are quick to repurpose them or sell the rights to developers to display them in other mediums, such as video games, mobile games and even online casino games.

Utilising characters across different platforms allows audiences to enjoy their favourite protagonists in many different ways. As well as providing commercial success and higher profits for both industries, it creates unforgettable entertainment and experiences for fans of these comic and game franchises.

Let’s investigate which popular comic book series have made their way into the gaming industry and take a look at comics that have taken their inspiration from the gaming industry.

Games based on comics

Ultimate Spider-Man

Marvel superhero fans will be well aware of the game Ultimate Spider-Man. This video game was widely released across consoles such as Xbox, PlayStation, Nintendo DS and Gameboy. This 2005 action adventure game followed on from the 2004 release Spider-man 2.

Both games allow players to explore New York city Manhattan and take part in thrilling challenges. However, Ultimate Spider-Man was the first game to introduce the character Venom from the comics. Venom is a self-aware symbiote who attaches and controls a host body. Both Spider-Man and Venom are distinct characters in the game.

The game received generally positive reviews upon its release and was one of the most popular comic book inspired games so its time.

Josh Hild via Pexels


Video games aren’t the only type of game to be inspired by comics, the gambling industry is inspired too, with many casino games like slot machines also featuring comics. Slot game themes are often influenced by popular culture, taking inspiration from hit films and TV shows, as well as literature and comics.

One slot game theme that has proven popular among Marvel and DC fans is the X-Men slot game. First published in the early 1960’s, the X-men are a team of mutant superheroes that fight crime. They are different to other Marvel as we cannot be sure of the origin of their superpowers. While superheroes such as Spider-man or Hulk began as normal people and are known to have gained their abilities through accidents involving radiation or exposure to radioactive materials, the X-men are born with their powers.

Using themes such as comic book characters has proven to make casino games more exciting and enticing for customers to try. This has been proven with slot games being one of the most popular online casino games due to the variety of games and themes now offered by a wide range of providers. The variety of spins and pay-outs offered has also allowed this industry to grow.

Comics based on games

Assassin’s Creed

The Assassin’s Creed franchise first began as a video game and has since made its way into film, books and comics. The series follows a power struggle between Assassins that spans across hundreds and years.

The first action-adventure stealth video game was released by Ubisoft in 2007 and has been followed by a number of other titles in the series. In a limited edition of Assassin’s Creed an eight page graphic novel was included.

French writer Eric Corbeyran and the artist Djilalli Defaux have released a series of comics based on it in the French language. These have achieved some success in a number of European countries. They do not follow the original storyline to the letter, however they have received a good reception from fans of the franchises game series.

This illustrates how the use of characters across different facets of the entertainment industry helps franchises to reach new audiences. These audiences may be different age groups, have different hobbies and even speak in different languages. However, they are all able to immerse themselves in the stories and lives of these characters.

Photo : Wallace Chuck via Pexels

Sonic The Hedgehog

Inspired by the universally popular retro game franchise Sonic The Hedgehog, a comic book series has been published by American publishers Archie Comics. This comic book series was a hit when first released in the 1990’s and was actually crowned as the longest comic book series to be based on a video game in 2008.

The main protagonist is Sonic, a blue hedgehog with the ability to run at supersonic speeds. Sonic is challenged with protecting himself and his friends from the evil Doctor Eggman and other villains. Sonic is joined by his best friend Tails and love interest Princess Sally Acorn.

Reading Sonic comics is a reminiscent experience for a generation of fans who grew up playing the Sega game on their retro consoles. It has since also been turned into television cartoons and a film.

The comic series has been praised for giving Sonic a more complex and interesting backstory and interaction with the character than was given in the Sega game.

The use of comic characters in the gaming industry (and vice versa has allowed for much more in-depth character development and more rich experiences for franchise fans. It has proven hugely profitable for the likes of Marvel of other global entertainment corporations. Therefore, it is certain that the use of characters across these different mediums will continue and game developers and publishers will continue to grow these mutually beneficial relationships for many years to come.

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