REVIEW: Gaming and Comics Collide in HAWKEN:GENESIS

Archaia, who makes a strengths out of the crossroads between comics and other visual media, has taken on another estuary zone in HAWKEN: GENESIS, bringing a comic based on a free internet gaming hub, HAWKEN to readers. Flood zones between visual media can be tricky, especially in gauging the right audience for a comic, since there’s not a one to one correspondence between gamers and comics readers in this case. But there is overlap, and Archaia are setting out to find out just how wide that swath is, and how much interest gamers might take in comics and comics readers might take in gaming. What they’ve produced, however, is a graphic novel true to the traditions of comics, featuring the aspects of the comics medium that can even more fully explore the world of HAWKEN in a sci-fi tradition. Add to that a commitment to bringing in comics artists who are well-versed in the medium to interpret the world of gaming into sequential narrative.

 images-2HAWKEN: GENESIS is a hardback collection with a strong design throughout, courtesy of Scott Newman, suggesting that quality graphic novel creation was one of the priorities of the team. It not only contains individual “chapters” of the narrative, drawn by individual collaborations between artists and colorists based on the unified writing of Jeremy Barlow steering the story-creators Dan Jevons, Miles Williams, and Khang Lee, but also “interstitial story” elements between chapters that convey meta information by Andrew Nielson and Heather Nuhfer. This is an interesting choice because it harks back to gaming elements, but also ties into the kind of comics extras provided in dense comics works like WATCHMEN and LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN. These extras convey a sense of total world creation and heighten the suspension of disbelief in the comics experience.

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