Super Gaming and Comic Worlds: Looking at Comic and Gaming Crossovers

A day in the life of Samus by Zac Gorman in his webcomic  Magical Game Time.

A day in the life of Samus by Zac Gorman in his webcomic Magical Game Time.

The crossover between comics and gaming falls both ways in contextualizing narratives, creating parodies, while also demonstrating various ways of displaying artistic forms of story telling. 

As both in their own context have entered scholarship, looking at this relationship between the two deserves a function of scholarship as they do in separation, isolation from one another. Literature in gaming functions as giving narrative to the artistic art form of gaming culture, and is not done solely through application of comic intervention, but also in terms of providing story context and narrative-based gaming with literary analytics and theory. 

However, comics in gaming culture are also used to provide parody work, specifically on more narrative based games on topics highly considered heavy in content, meaning, and subject matter. The alleviation of emotionally deep content by way of parody or comedic work, and through another artistic platform, works to further the understanding of the narrative within the gaming context. It also provides more to the relationships within the game as they are stressed within the comic sphere in different elements and contexts than the gamer may perceive within the narrative of the game. 

Looking at Parody comics in gaming culture: emotions on blast

A few parody artists such as Tom Gould work with more narrative-deep games and suggest alternative ways of thinking in a more comedic sense on topics that have emotional significance such as death, marginalization, and relationships. While he covers multiple games, one I have spoken about before in this blog in terms of gender fluidity, homosexuality, and integration of these into gaming culture is Life is Strange (check out that blog post with the link to the right).

"Life is Deranged" parody comic by Tom Gould based off the game  Life is Strange.

"Life is Deranged" parody comic by Tom Gould based off the game Life is Strange.

Tom Gould's parody comic for Life is Strange is called "Life is Deranged" and uses the heavy topics of the game to construct comedic content with spoilers and in-game references that work to both promote artistic license and also provide more narrative-context for the game itself. The audience and gamer, used to the story-based gaming arc, would find Gould's comic rich with insight to the relationships and psyche of our beloved characters. 

Scholarship in Graphic Novels, Comics, and Gaming Culture 

 Become Time  Parody comic based off  Life is Strange  by Tom Gould.

 Become Time Parody comic based off Life is Strange by Tom Gould.

In relationship with graphic novels, the literary content of the work provides an experience to the reader in at once experiencing two art forms in correlation with one another, each feeding and expanding off the other. 

According to the Oxford dictionary, scholarship is defined as "academic study or achievement; learning at a high level." The perception of scholarship often misconstrues how graphic novels are accepted into the academy. However, the lack of scholarship in these areas of both literary and artistic expression does not preserve any level of academic "integrity" but departs from literary freedom and the application of literary theory in terms of analytical inquiry. 

According to the Oxford dictionary, literary criticism is defined as "the art or practice of judging and commenting on the qualities and character of literary works." Defining scholarship in relation to graphic novels and comics allows one to see how scholarship encompasses levels of high academic thinking, and does not negate graphic novels and comics. By defining literary criticism, I hardly need to argue that if literary criticism as defined is applicable to graphic novels and comics (which it is), then the question of scholarly research in these specific genres as being "legitimate" or "valid" is only circumstantial to the individual asking that question. As in - go back to studying Fitzgerald for the umpteenth time. 

Full circle

Comics in gaming and gaming in comics. The interrelationship these two achieve amplifies the narrative impact on the reader/gamer/player by implicating deeper importance on character development. Not only are we given comedic relief from heavy and emotional narrative topics, but the parodies often created also fall into the categorization of "meme." Memes are within scholarship, and often regarded in esteem with a form of communication, expression, and artistic license. Not only is there literary criticism within memes, but in terms with graphic novel and comics and gaming narrative. 

Creatively, the interrelationship of artistic art forms that work to play off one another both complicate and contextualize how the reader/player/gamer perceives the story and gleans more from character development, relationships, and impact. However, this is the beauty of applying other artistic art forms to preexisting art forms, such as comic and gaming crossovers. There is beauty in the deeper implications of reading a parody comic of a heavily emotional game, and how that impacts the reader/player/gamer in terms of becoming part of the narrative, inflicted by the story, and at once part of the game.