With the recent release of Splatoon 3, the Manga series has made a comeback to coincide with the anticipated launch of Nintendo’s latest game. Those who have enjoyed this fun and unique take on the Splatoon world won’t have to wait too long for the fifteenth volume as it will be expected to hit shelves next month.
But believe it or not, there have been plenty of Nintendo characters from a whole host of their hit franchises who got their own comic book series. Some may have been published in the pages of Nintendo Power back in the nineties, while others received standalone releases, so all budding Nintendo fans might want to find them to put on their bookshelves.
Fox McCloud – Star Fox
Released in 1993, Star Fox bought 3D gameplay to the Super Nintendo Entertainment System before it helped to pave the way for 3D gaming with Star Fox 64. Despite the challenges the series has faced with major competitors in the market, many can jump into an Arwing and shoot down Andross’ army via the Nintendo Switch Online.
To get fans excited about the original SNES game, Nintendo Power published a comic book run that lasted for eleven issues that introduced its readers to Fox McCloud as he led the Star Fox team on a series of missions against Andross. While it did introduce a whole host of characters that would be featured in the game, it did open up to Fox’s backstory with his deceased father that the games couldn’t quite pull off.
Springman – ARMS Crazy Arms Gag Fight!
The newest IP by Nintendo, ARMS introduced Switch owners to a cast of colorful boxers with elastic appendages as they attempt to win the championship belt. Until a sequel is announced, many fans of this obscure game can at least enjoy playing as Min Min in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate that many others learned about her in one of the introduction videos.
But other characters did get some love outside the game as Springman starred in a gag Manga where he and some other fighters from the game appeared as chibi-style characters. Filled with humor that fans of the game will certainly get a kick out of, it’s one of the oddest comic books to feature video game characters.
Ness – Pollyanna: Mother Official Comic
While some have unfortunately never played the Earthbound (also known as Mother) games, they would have undoubtedly heard of Ness and Lucas, stars from the series who have been in the Super Smash Bros. games. In the first game, players would be introduced to Ness as he attempts to save the world against an alien threat with his friends.
Released in 2020, Pollyanna: Mother Official Comic bought together thirty-five artists from the world of Manga to celebrate Shigesato Itoi’s JRPG. Whether its one-page art or a short story, these artists express their love for Ness as he explores the zany world around him with his friends.
Samus Aran – Metroid Prime
Following in the footsteps of female protagonists in video games, Samus Aran became one of the most celebrated players back in 1986 when she explored an alien world filled with horrifying creatures. Since then, many have continued to enjoy the side-scrolling entries like Metroid Dead while exploring her earlier adventures in the FPS prequel Metroid Prime.
Until the fourth Metroid Prime game comes out of development, some might want to check out the comic of the same name by Nintendo Power. As she doesn’t speak throughout the game, it was refreshing to see how the writers expanded upon the world and her reactions to the many towering aliens she came across that followed a similar pattern from the Super Metroid comic.
Donkey Kong – Donkey Kong Country
Nintendo fans rejoiced when the Wii U title, Donkey Kong Tropical Freeze, was given a second life on the Switch that introduced the unfamiliar to the Donkey Kong Country series. But old school players will unquestionably still have a soft spot for the SNES game that started the series all the way back in 1994.
German gamers might remember the Club Nintendo magazine as it featured a comics section featuring a host of Nintendo characters. Among them were Donkey and Diddy Kong, who go through some emotional arcs that one may not expect from a game about retrieving stolen bananas, but that’s exactly what happened in this twelve-page run that some may remember.
Roy – Fire Emblem: The Champion’s Sword
The star of one of the best in the Fire Emblem series, The Binding Blade, many will be more familiar with Roy as one of the many sword fighting characters in the Super Smash Bros. series. Whether fans were fortunate to have picked up the classic Game Boy Advance game or not, some might be interested in the Manga adaptation.
Published by Shonen Jump and running between 2001 and 2005, fans were treated to seeing Roy teach Al, the young protagonist who joins his army. Diving into the characters and their journey to defeat the forces of evil intrigued many Japanese readers at the time and introduced newcomers to what made Roy such a brave and strong leader.
Kirby Manga Mania
Since Kirby’s debut on the Game Boy back in 1992, audiences have been captivated by the adorable, pink sphere and has only grown in popularity over the years. This has been especially true on the Switch this year as many fell in love with him all over again with Kirby and the Forgotten Land and Kirby’s Dream Buffet.
Many might be interested to know that arguably one of the strongest Nintendo characters received his own Manga series that was finally translated and published to Western markets last year. Featuring Kirby and the many friends and foes from the series, each volume features many comedic and fun stories that suited the character and Dream Land perfectly.
Inkling – Splatoon
Since it’s release on the Wii U back in 2015, Splatoon has only grown in popularity after it was followed up with two sequels on the Switch that introduced many more players to the colorful third person multiplayer shooter. Standing out from the massive crowd of shooter gamers available, it’s recently released third game has become a big success in Japan.
Taking the beloved customizable Inkling characters, Sankichi Hinodeya was able to make a fun and light-hearted spin on the series that dived into the world in ways that the games haven’t quite been able to do. Those who enjoyed Splatoon 3 should consider picking up the series as it also plays on many highly imagined scenarios that can only take place in this game.
Link – The Legend of Zelda
One of the greatest video game franchises of all time, The Legend of Zelda has been a major influence on the industry as a whole, being able to tell grand fantastical stories in the many iterations of Hyrule. Soon, the iconic characters from the series will return to the Switch with the exciting follow-up to Breath of the Wild, Tears of the Kingdom.
But until its release next year, fans can pick up one of the many comic adaptations of the games, from Ocarina of Time to Twilight Princess. With each of these comics featuring Link in new ways from his various source materials, anyone who loved any of these classic titles will see them in a whole new way through the eyes of the hero and the many characters he encounters.
Super Mario – Super Mario Adventures
Anyone who loves video games will have definitely heard or played one of the many games within the Super Mario series. Whether it’s his classic 8-bit games or his recent smash hits, the Italian plumber shows no sign of slowing down anytime soon.
And many can continue his adventures away from the consoles with Super Mario Adventure, which collected his comics published in Nintendo Power in the nineties into one book. The comedic comic took Mario and Luigi on some wacky adventures through familiar locations from his earlier games from his days on the NES and SNES that many fans of retro games will appreciate and see Mario in a whole new way.