Mirror’s Edge: Comickybook Pickytures

By Kieron Gillen on August 2nd, 2008 at 9:14 am.

While I completely failed to pay any more attention to Stargate Worlds than reading the advert on a bus which rolled past the convention, when I was at San Diego, this did catch my eye. Wildstorm produced a short preview comic of the forthcoming Mirror’s Edge (Which has been scanned by Silicon Era). Words by the games’ writer Rhianna Pratchett and art by Matthew Dow Smith, I’m always interested by the comics/games interface. On one hand you have comics like this, which are pure promotional items mainly of use for swiftly introducing a games’ concept (And are harder to write than you may think). On the other, you have the licensed tie-in, which are hard in almost the exact opposite way. The former are pre-game-exposition, so demanding a lot to be crammed into scant pages. The latter, generally speaking, are post-game-exposition, so while people will abstractly care and know the world, you’re limited to doodling in the margins of the universe. Because, of course, you’re an auxiliary creative exercise and anything genuinely meaningful will be saved for the central games.

Not that would stop me jumping at a chance to do a Thief comic if anyone wanted to pay me to do so. Anyone else got something they’d like to see?

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42 Comments »

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  1. windlab says:

    I would say HL2, if it were not that the frohman comics have already covered it.
    Then again, it could always be done again in a more dark and gritty style.

    Also, STALKER, as it’d leave a lot of freedom to choose a storyline.

  2. Yhancik says:

    Well, what ? A Peggle comic ?

  3. Noc says:

    I like the idea of a Stalker comic. The atmosphere would make for some beautiful artwork . . .

  4. Mark Stephenson says:

    It amuses me that the even the tie-in comic can only cover that same level we have seen over and over again.

    I like to think AJ’s Wasteland is a little bit Fallout but it’s not really.

    Is Kitten’s art really the right style for a Thief comic book thou what with him being the only tracer who’ll work with you?

  5. Dan (WR) says:

    I think Fallout comics could work quite well. Well… until the rapid fanboys start attacking it for breaking canon.

    Considering that there will never be another Anachronox game, I would love to see it continued in comic book form. A quirky, inventive universe and a great collection of characters – it’d be perfect.

  6. SuperMatt says:

    Do you know why I’m looking forward to Mirror’s Edge?

    No brown.

  7. Kieron Gillen says:

    Mark: It’d wind up the fanboys in an awesome way though, wouldn’t it?

    KG

  8. Dorian Cornelius Jasper says:

    A Medieval II: Total War comic in the style of that lovely Crecy piece by Ellis, except starring a Milanese general with the Trait “Awkward Speaker.”

    What?

    EDIT: No, seriously. It’d be like Flashman with crossbows.

  9. Hobbes says:

    Thief: The Hot Goth Girl Project.

  10. Noc says:

    Mark, it’s shallow-ish because it’s promotional: the point isn’t to give people already familiar with Mirror’s Edge a deeper look into the world, it’s to have people pick up a shiny comic and go “Ooh, wait, this is a video game?”

    Makes me wonder, though, how interesting the Mirror’s Edge would will end up being. For instance, I’d jump on any bit of Half-Life fiction that I found in my path, because the games only give you a snapshot of what’s clearly an immense world. But a lot of other games have worlds that only exist to be wrapped around the game. Like WoW, or Bioshock . . . WoW has a huge world, and Bioshock has a pretty involved story, but once you’ve explored WoW and plumbed the depths of the socio-economic hypothetical of Rapture, you reach the bottom. Mirror’s Edge seems to be about a government conspiracy in a shiny but dystopian future, but I suspect that by the end of the game you’ll have gotten to the bottom of it and discovered the (singular) reason for the world’s present state of affairs.

    I’d love to read about how a society of freerunning couriers evolved out of necessity and opportunism in a world where existing channels of communication are being more and more closely monitored. But I don’t know if all of that will be nicely and neatly covered by the game’s plot or not.

    I hope not. One of my most cherished books is the manual to the original Homeworld, which spends chapters talking about the history and culture of the world that gets (spoilers!) wiped clean of life on the third mission. Homeworld, and Half-Life, both place you in a small role inside worlds that go about their own business around you, which means there’s a hell of a lot more to discover that the games have only vaguely touched on. I hope Mirror’s Edge does the same, but I don’t know if I’m holding my breath.

  11. Dorian Cornelius Jasper says:

    Homeworld: The manual, it lulls you into a false sense of security, it does.

    And it’s pretty typical of big-name games to go the “Hollywood Blockbuster Easy Pill” in terms of narrative economy. That is, to say, they lay all their cards on the table because the lowest common denominator doesn’t like to be left with those funny little things we call “questions.” And then they have to think up some new hook when sequel time rolls around.

    I wouldn’t hold my breath either. Frankly, I’d just be happy if it didn’t make me woozy playing it. Because it’s pretty, you see, and I’m a shallow bastard.

  12. Gnarl says:

    From the picture on her website the writer of this comic would also like to write about Garrett. Or at least dresses like him.

  13. Arsewisely says:

    I liked the comic through-line in World in Conflict; that could be expanded as a comic in its own right. There hasn’ been any polemic war stories of late (as far as I’m aware anyway, I’m sure more informed comic fans will correct me)

  14. Optimaximal says:

    From the picture on her website the writer of this comic would also like to write about Garrett. Or at least dresses like him.

    For someone who is Terry Pratchett’s daughter, I think she’s very understated in her dress sense!

  15. Buckermann says:

    Isn’t Rhianna Pratchett the daughter of Terry Pratchett?
    I hope she hast the same writing talent as her father.

    Edit: Damnation! I’m too slow.

  16. James T says:

    Isn’t Rhianna Pratchett the daughter of Terry Pratchett?
    I hope she hast the same writing talent as her father.

    Not if that story trailer was anything to go by!

    I hope Mirror’s Edge encourages future FPS devs to make the body of the protagonist visible; I’ve long assumed this was avoided so that they wouldn’t have to deal with foot placement when the player’s perching really precariously on the corner of a building and that sort of thing, but surely there’s a solution to be found?…

  17. Optimaximal says:

    For the record, the image of her decked in Garret garb on her website is from a PCZone supertest!

  18. K says:

    Also, Terry Pratchett used to post in the Thief newsgroup.
    When do we get Thief 4 news?

    Comic wasn’t great.

  19. nemolom says:

    An Arcanum comic perhaps.

  20. Kieron Gillen says:

    It does make me wonder – even a relatively small game which abstractly failed could actually *maybe* generate enough sales from the fans to justify it. The problem being, of course, whether or not the developers in questions own the rights to do so.

    KG

  21. Alex says:

    Argh. The comic has all the boringly familiar action-movie-like dialogue we’ve come to expect from games.

    This doesn’t bode well.

    Wasn’t there news about the cutscenes going to be 2D comic-style?

  22. Lorc says:

    You know who the perfect artist/author would be for a Mirror’s edge comic? Tsutomu Nihei.

  23. phuzz says:

    Deus Ex would work quite well as a comic I think.

  24. Jonas says:

    I would pay good money for a Thief comic.

    Get on it, Gillen!

  25. Lunaran says:

    Saw the headline image and I thought that they were using comic art as in-game exposition, in the mantle of Max Payne. Which would be awesome, especially if that halftone-process moire was intentionally preserved.

    But they’re not. Saturday ruined, Kieron!

  26. Cooper says:

    I was disappointed by the Silent Hill comics – the new characters were welcomed, but they didn’t add anything to the town’s mythos.

  27. Zarniwoop says:

    A Stalker comic would indeed be most excellent. But then, so might Thief.

  28. Cold says:

    I want KOTOR comics! Oh, wait…

  29. James G says:

    Did anyone get the Beneath a Steel Sky comic? I got the white-label version, so never saw it, but frames of it were shown in the game’s intro.

    Seems you can see it here: http://www.game-nostalgia.com/bass/beneath_a_steel_sky_goodies2.html

  30. Charlie says:

    Rhianna Pratchett is the daughter of Terry Pratchett. She used to write for Pczone and I think she writes for the Guardian too.

  31. D!D says:

    Kieron – there is a third way comics and games are feeding off each other. Epic have said they’ll be exploring original ip’s through comics which is a pretty interesting prospect (well maybe if it was someone other than Epic doing it).

    http://www.developmag.com/news/30239/Epic-Games-looks-to-comic-books-for-building-new-IP

  32. Charlie says:

    Man I loathe Epic now.

  33. Matthew Craig says:

    I’d like to write the Horace and the Spiders graphic novel.

    Also, Speedball 2. Oh, I would have fun with that. Roy of the Rovers meets The Hills Have Eyes, as sponsored by OmniConsumerProducts.

    …who DOES own the rights to Horace, anyway? Is the character in the public domain?

    //\Oo/\\ – see?

  34. Taximan says:

    The Planet Moon boys could probably make some fine comic versions of their games (Giants:Citizen Kabuto and Armed & Dangerous) funny gags and writing, nice voice-acting delivery too. Anachronox and Homeworld nominations seconded. Kane & Lynch could be alright-ish, as the game starts in media res with much of the backstory already resolved but never really explicitly detailed during the game’s timeframe, which only makes references and inferences, and the storyline ends with the possibility for continuation too. An Elder Scrolls/Morrowind comic would be neat if it were done by that mightypowerful.com concept-art/backstory writer chap. Lovely visual designs and some of the in-game books were well-written enough. Lucasart’s Outlaws had some stylish animated sequences, even if the plot wasn’t anything especially profound beyond the typical revenge tale. For sheer interesting universe/backstory stuff we’ve got The Longest Journey.

    Then there’s always Outcast or Grim Fandango. But I’m such a fanboy of these two that I’d probably even buy toiletpaper branded with the logos and never open the packaging.

    That said, one of the easiest and most functional genres to directly adapt to the illustrated page would probably be the traditional adventure game. Full Throttle anyone?

    Arsewisely:
    Well, you’ve got DMZ, which is a pretty interesting alternate-history take. Some weak storylines (Public Works was crap), but pretty ambitious and occasionally quite good. Freelance reporter stuck in the war-zone of Manhattan which is the titular demilitarized zone between two factions fighting a new American civil-war.

  35. mister slim says:

    Taximan says:

    Well, you’ve got DMZ, which is a pretty interesting alternate-history take. Some weak storylines (Public Works was crap), but pretty ambitious and occasionally quite good. Freelance reporter stuck in the war-zone of Manhattan which is the titular demilitarized zone between two factions fighting a new American civil-war.

    Kind of like Dead Rising crossed with Disaster Report. That could be pretty good. It would definitely be an expensive game to make though.

  36. Kieron Gillen says:

    Re: DMZ. And Brian Wood actually used to work at Rock Star too. He’s the guy who designed the iconic GTA logo.

    A more strongly influenced Wood-videogame would be splendid.

    KG

  37. CrashT says:

    Mirror’s Edge? More like the Thieve’s Highway.

  38. Kieron Gillen says:

    D!D: Interesting. You normally hear that kind of Rhetoric from movie people, so it’s fun to see it from a gameshead.

    KG

  39. D!D says:

    Kieron: Yeah, It’ll be interesting to see if down the road it inspires a bunch of people to start coming out with comics geared to be videogame friendly in the hopes they’ll be picked up by EA or BlActivision or whoever in the same way you get those Cowboys vs Aliens type comics designed to get picked up by movie studios.

    Expect to see more comics with platforming and puzzle elements. Possibly.

  40. Alex says:

    As soon as people start saying things like “developing our own IP”, I feel my stomach turning.

  41. Hmm-hmm. says:

    For some reason stuff like this puts me off of a game. Not the comic in itself, but the endless rehashing of the same tiny bits of information they chose to reveal.

    This is why I like Blizzard’s marketing, I think. At least it doesn’t tick me off in that sense.

  42. Wildbluesun says:

    *deep breath*

    *deeper breath*

    IT’S TERRY PRATCHETT’S DAUGHTER!!!!!!!!

    YES.

    THIS SITUATION DEMANDS MULTIPLE EXCLAMATION MARKS.

    IT IS THAT SERIOUS.