Printed Perversions: Midway’s Mortal Kombat Collector’s Edition comics
Midway released the original Mortal Kombat video game in 1993. Along with Street Fighter II, it helped to revolutionize the one-on-one fighting video game. It would inspire countless imitators. The characters in this game would even show up in another popular Midway game, NBA Jam. Being a fan of both, it was awesome seeing characters from MK show up in a completely different game, and not just a fighting game, but a basketball game! Imagine watching Scorpion flip dunk over Shaquille O’Neal. BANANAS.
Anyway, Midway wanted to help promote their video game franchise. They decided to publish a comic book that told of the events leading up to the game. The comic would also feature the introduction to all the game characters and give a little bit of how they got to where they are when the video game begins. Midway did this for at least four versions of the Mortal Kombat franchise. Let’s take a look at the comic books tie-ins released by Midway.
Mortal Kombat Collector’s Edition Comic Book
In 1993, for the first Mortal Kombat video game, Midway would release Mortal Kombat Collector’s Edition Comic Book. They originally only made it available through mail order. The advertisement for the comic appeared on the video game’s attract mode. The comic would subsequently make it to comic shop shelves, but in limited quantities.
Like I mentioned earlier, the comic fills in the back story of the tournament. It talks about how Goro won the tournament and that his victory began a dark period for Mortal Kombat. It cuts to present day and we see the seven participants getting on the boat that will take them to the island which hosts Mortal Kombat. We see Shang Tsung issue the challenge to Raiden God of Thunder to join the tournament and a little back story about Sub Zero and Scorpion. There’s a lot of dialogue and the artwork is pretty good. The book is written and illustrated by John Tobias who was one of the original creators/developers for Mortal Kombat.
Mortal Kombat II
Midway would use this exact same promotion for the release of Mortal Kombat II (MKII), also in 1993. The comic was released in comic shops, but you could also get it mail away and the ad for it appeared in the attract mode of the game (just like in the original).
This comic also told the back story for the game as well as the participating players. The events at the end of the first video game are quickly recounted by Johnny Cage. The current whereabouts of all the living combatants are revealed and they all converge on set of a commercial Cage the Hollywood star is filming for Cage Cologne. Cage is attacked and everyone starts taking sides preparing for a HUGE battle royale. Just before s**t starts getting really good, buzzkill Raiden shows up to stop the fight and relay the challenge to the group to fight the next Mortal Kombat in the OutWorld. Everyone reluctantly agrees because no one wants the EarthRealm to look weak to the Elder Gods (Raiden’s rather weak reasoning for fighting). The story was again written and drawn by John Tobias.
Mortal Kombat 3 did not receive a comic book tie in. However, Midway would release a comic for Mortal Kombat 4. It was written by Ted Adams and based on a story by John Tobias.
Mortal Kombat vs DC Universe
Then, in 2008, Midway would partner with DC Comics to release the game Mortal Kombat vs DC Universe. Of course, this game release was accompanied by a comic book published by DC, written by John Vogel (another of the original MK creators) and drawn by John Tobias.
The comic begins with the bad ass looking Dark Kahn. Dark Kahn fuses the universes of Mortal Kombat and DC causing super heroes and villains to meet the video game tournament fighters. The comic has a bunch of cool looking battle scenes like the Batman vs Scorpion page above. There is also a Superman vs Sub Zero and Shazam vs Raiden. There is less dialogue in this comic than the other comics and it’s much shorter in length. But the artwork is superior and the inclusion of the iconic DC heroes and villains make it a winner and my clear favorite of all of these comics.