Gods Among Men
This is going to surprise you, maybe even shock you, but in conjunction with the fighting game Injustice: Gods Among Us — which pits such iconic DC Comics characters as Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, and others against each other — DC Comics is putting out a companion comic book. Weird, I know. We spoke to writer Tom Taylor about how the comic magically ties in to the game.
EGM: You previously wrote DC Universe Online: Legends: The Brainiac/Sinestro Corps War, which was a comic tied into the game DC Universe Online. Was that how you got this gig?
Tom Taylor: I did have a great time with that story, and it was very well received, but I doubt it was solely this that got me on Injustice. Jim Chadwick, the editor of Injustice, and I previously worked together on The Authority for about a year. The Authority were trapped on a spaceship for most of this time. When you’re stuck on a spaceship with an editor for that long — with vampires, aliens, and superheroes, unsure if you’re ever getting home — well, a writer and an editor are bound to form a bond going through something like that together. I’ve also written some award-winning comics like The Deep and written some big Star Wars comics over the last five years. All of that probably helped.
Also, I bribed a lot of people.
EGM: What is it about you or your writing that makes you a good choice for a comic based on a video game?
TT: Well, I live my life as a video game, so that probably helps. I use portals to travel through my house. When I’m driving, I randomly throw banana skins at other motorists. And, whenever I see a turtle, I jump on it.
Honestly, I don’t think it comes down to whether or not I can write a comic based on a game. The game has a great story and we’re trying to add to it.
EGM: How does the story you’re telling in the comic relate to the one in the game?
TT: Our story serves as a direct prequel to Injustice: Gods Among Us. The game story’s is enormous, but there are a lot of mysteries in the game which will remain mysteries to people who don’t read our book. The game is set in a new world order where heroes are fighting heroes. Our story explains how we found ourselves here. We explore why these people — Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Flash, and so many others — went from superfriends to wanting to tear each other’s spines out.
EGM: How closely have you been working with the people from NetherRealm, who are making the game?
TT: I’ve been lucky enough to read NetherRealm’s script and been privy to a lot of the extra work. I have to say, based on the script and the world they’ve created, this game is going to be awesome. I wouldn’t say we’ve been working too closely, but some of us have certainly been chatting a bit behind the scenes and on Twitter.
EGM: Were there any instances where you came up with an idea for the comic, only to be told you couldn’t do it because it would conflict with something in the game?
TT: Honestly, not a lot. There were characters we couldn’t put on the cover before the public knew about them, and basic things like that. But there hasn’t, so far, been anything off the table. To tell you the truth, this series could do with some restraint. I’ve written things and thought, “I hope someone says ‘no’ to this. It’s way too brutal.”
EGM: Was there anything you suggested for the comic that they loved so much that they put it into the game? Or wish they could put in the game?
TT: No, but I will say that they’re reaction to the outline I put forward for our series was overwhelmingly positive. I think a lot of the NetherRealm people are comics fans and they want to read the comic as much as I want to play the game. We’re already planning on sending signed copies to each other.
EGM: So were you able to sneak in any references to those games, or were you told not to? Because it would be funny to see The Joker yell “Finish Him” to Bane as he stands over Batman.
TT: I hadn’t even thought of that. Now I’m going to have to write a whole scene working in Mortal Kombat quotes.
EGM: While the comic will be issued in a regular comic book form, and eventually be released in a collected edition, it’s initially being released digitally, and on a weekly schedule. Did the weekly schedule impact how you’re telling the story?
TT: The only real difference is that I’m telling stories that are ten pages long. I’m trying to make sure that every ten page comic stands strongly by itself as well as in the monthly printed series, and the collected editions. The impact of the weekly schedule is that I sleep less and drink coffee more.
EGM: Has it made you consider doing your own weekly comic, or has it had the opposite effect?
TT: I’ll tell you when, if, I reach the end of this series.
EGM: And has this experience made you want to write a video game, or, again, has it had the opposite effect?
TT: I’d love to write a game. I’ve actually come close a few times with people seeking me out but, for whatever reason — usually timing — it hasn’t happened.
EGM: Finally, if you could do a comic based on any game, what would you like to do and why?
TT: I’d like to do the comic version of Star Wars: Angry Birds. I don’t think this needs a “why?” Either that or a comic of Tetris. That would be a page turner.