Printed Perversions: Midway’s Mortal Kombat Collector’s Edition comics

MK comic back coverMidway 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.


MK Coll Ed cover MK coll Ed artwork 

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).


MK II coll ed MKII coll ed artwork 

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.


MK vs DC cover Batman vs Scorpion 

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.

Written by Paxton Holley

A funny, ridiculously awesome guy who sometimes likes to wear pants, Paxton can regularly be found at his pop culture/humor blog Cavalcade of Awesome or co-hosting the Nerd Lunch and Cult Film Club podcasts.

176 posts
  • Strange Kid

    Dark Kahn kicks balls! He reminds me of a cross between Dormammu and Ghostrider.

  • Ahhhh yes. The MK comics.
    As a diehard devotee to the Mortal Kombat videogames I had the MK1 & 2 comics that I sent away for. I remember standing at that arcade machine waiting for the address to come again in “attract mode”… pen and paper in hand to grab the address.
    Even bought the MK2 soundtrack mail-away.

    A few years ago I found all of them in a forgotten longbox and sold them on eBay for —what I thought would be pennies— what turned in to kerbillions of dollars.
    I had no idea they’d go for so much.

    Just goes to show you the power of MK… and how forgetting about something you bought 15+ years ago can sometimes be a great investment. ; )

  • Always wanted to check out these comics for myself; I first saw them in Nintendo Power, panels from the first, anyway, and thought it was just their own unique art for that article.

  • Mike T

    Hi, do you have the first official comic handy? I remember at the end it had a bio of all the characters. Does it mention Sonya’s birthdate and blood type? I’m trying to find out for a friend’s cosplay purposes. lol

    • I don’t have it handy, but I scanned the bio pages and put them on my Flickr stream.

      You can see Sonya’s bio here.

      It doesn’t mention birthday or bloodtype. Just age, height, weight, hair color, eyes, birth place, etc.

      • Mike T

        Thanks! That’s so weird, why would I remember it that way. And why is Sonya’s hair “brown”? lol. Thanks for the info.

  • Keith

    I have both of these mint in plastic sleeves still from the day they came in the mail almost 20 years ago, never knew they were rare. How much are these worth nowdays?

  • Wayne K

    I found a box of 29 of the original comic. I was wondering if they were worth anything