Today at C2E2, Namco Bandai’s group ShiftyLook held a panel discussing the use of webcomics to increase brand awareness. There was also a special announcement.
The panel was moderated by ShiftyLook’s Editor-in Chief Rob Pereyda and featured writers Mike Costa, Ben McCool, and Jimmy Palmiotti as well as artists Dax Gordine and Mike Norton. The event began with discussions of Namco Bandai and ShiftyLook’s attempts to broaden their IP use into webcomics. Pulling from the vast array of classic arcade titles at Namco Bandai’s history ShiftyLook turned many into a new series of webcomics. To clarify, these are not tie ins to the existing games but rather attempts to keep the names and ideas behind them fresh and interesting. Put another way, not many people are clamoring for a new Sky Kid game but few can complain about reading a four panel comic telling tales of the characters.
After providing insight from the creators about the current titles, based on retro games Bravoman, Genpei Toma Den, Sky Kid, Warp and Warp, and Xevious and upcoming titles Alien Confidential and Rocket Fix, they moved to two new announcements. Coming in May comics based off Rolling Thunder and Japanese only game Wonder Momo.
The Rolling Thunder comic, titled “Rapid Thunder,” will be written by Palmiotti known for his work on Power Girl, Jonah Hex, and Deadpool. Describing the comic he said it will focus on old style spy agents similar to James Bond. However rather than stick to the tried and true the comic will push into the territory of, what Palmiotti calls, “crazier James Bond.” Keeping with that theme the first issue, previewed for guests, starts with our heroes dangling upside down over a shark tank. Readers can look forward to a sense of self humor as well as intense action when the comic begins this May.
The second title, based on the Japanese only Wonder Momo game, will be cowritten by Erik Ko and Jim Zub and drawn by UDON artist Omar Dogan. The game involves a young woman who dreams of becoming a pop idol but also has the ability to transform into a superheroine to defeat insectoid aliens. In a recorded video Ko expressed his desire to combine many facets of Japanese television programs into the comic, including aliens, magical transforming girls, and fight scenes. This may be the most interesting part to note as Dogan is well known for his work on UDON’s Street Fighter comics. Whatever the comic turns out to be it’s bound to be weird but beautifully drawn. While Wonder Momo has never seen an official release date in the United States Pereyda noted that the popularity of the comic could bring the title overseas.
With all the emphasis being on some of the more obscure titles in Namco Bandai’s past, one can’t help but wonder if some more notable releases will get the webcomic treatment. When asked about the possibility of seeing games like Galaga or Dig Dug, Pereyda only paused, smiled, and said cryptically “…Maybe,” before adding that there will be some announcements within the next few months.
Be sure to keep an eye on their official website for more information and to read the work being done now.