Monday Comic Corner – Inspired by Superbrothers

DaveyDecember 31st, 2012 by Davey

If you’ve ever played Superbrothers: Sword and Sworcery EP, you can probably anticipate what this Zac Gorman comic will be like. Minimalistic, wordless, yet powerful. And Zac Gorman has done an excellent job interpreting the Sword and Sworcery style for both his own artwork and with a Zelda theme.

Though the comic seems simple, Link in the rain, after a few reads you’ll start to get an idea of what Zac Gorman was trying to convey. Hit the jump to see the comic!

On the page for this comic, Zac Gorman briefly explains the comic.

I wanted to challenge myself to write a wordless Zelda comic that sort of played with the subtle magic of the series; exploring, discovering mysterious caves, etc.

This comic was based on the Superbrothers article: Less Talk More Rock. It acts almost like an ultimatum to the video game industry. Games have more capacity for complex ideas, intricate themes, and descriptive graphics, but instead the potential is wasted on meaningless text and empty gameplay.

And the game Sword and Sworcery demonstrates it beautifully. The minimalistic art style speaks loudly and clearly, and the mood is set with the music. Everywhere in the game, these visual and audio cues feel like they have a purpose. Text is used scarcely. It feels a bit like an NES game, but more immersive. The game uses the advances in modern technology to its advantage, not because it “should”.

Now I’ll admit, Superbrothers: Sword and Sworcery EP is not a game for everyone, and I bet the developers of this game have realized this, too. But if you think about it, you might realize that a lot of the complaints about modern video games are really that their appeal is very on-the-surface, and the game doesn’t feel immersive.

Like the article explains, most games target the intellectual part of the mind, which is learned, and almost synthetic. What Superbrothers describes as a good game is one that targets the whole mind. Intellect has a good relationship to the whole mind, but a video game experience can be much more than appeal to intellect, especially with modern technology.

Translate this into a comic, and you find what Zac Gorman has created. It seems awfully simple, but the artwork conveys much more than what you see. You may remember a time when you were stuck in the rain, or when you were playing a Zelda game and rain was pouring outside, or even just when you found a secret in a video game. The comic doesn’t explain anything to you and can express a set of multiple ideas, emotions, and memories which can all be more complex than the comic itself.

Overall, a very good comic by Zac Gorman, and an excellent article by Superbrothers. I highly suggest you take a few minutes to read the entire article (by clicking the picture below) and perhaps reflect on your own video game experiences with this new knowledge in mind.

Source: Magical Game Time, Superbrothers

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  • pokefan

    cool comic

  • firecrb

    Nice how he discovered the cave

  • baileygirl99

    that was pretty cool. I like how it moved 8-D

  • Linkfan99

    Uggh, I am used to the Zelda manga, reading right to left, so it took me a little to figure out how this worked.

    • lan lan cow


  • The Hylian Monolith

    I’m quite surprised by how powerful this comic is. Well done, Zac Gorman. You’ve made something that truly reached me, in a way I have not been reached in a very long time, and this is hard to do.

  • Emma Mix

    I love that comic :’)

  • shadowlink13

    im not understanding

    • The Hylian Monolith

      Read the article, it all becomes clear after that.

  • TheMaverickk

    I absolutely agree with Super Brothers attitudes towards the video game industry.

    Sadly the shift and focus of video games has long… LONG… left from being about game play and putting focus on the experience of that play (all aspects, from music, to game play, immersion in general).

    Personally that blame falls on the Hollywood-ization (as I refer to it) of video games. Basically the push in the gaming industry to create games that are “more cinematic”, or “more realistic”, more “story/script drive”…. to basically make video games like “Hollywood” movies.

    It’s this process that has brought such increased growth in the video game industry, but simultaneously stagnated it. They’ve brought in these new gamers, who specifically play video games for that “Hollywood” experience (as opposed to playing a video games for the experience of the game play)… which brought in the funds to produce bigger and bigger games, but the only way to financially be successful and continue getting the support of those gamers, they end up having to sell out and produce games to meet this larger gamer user base, who is only interested in such an experience.

    In essence creating a dumb cycle, that is what is in turn creating the endless cycle of franchise over production and franchise rehashes. Although smaller developers are finding more freedom in creativity due to the smaller production costs and by relation smaller expectations profit wise.

    Anyway, that’s just my little input on the whole topic… not saying that these huge franchises are bad, I think many such franchises still produce amazing games…. yet at the same time they are becoming less and less … well game like.

    • Jcl

      The thing is, I don’t even think the superbrothers article is even adressing gameplay specifically. Simple video and audio cues can make a game, and evoke feelings and create a great atmospheric experience and world to get lost in… That can be enough in realizing the world of a game over a complex narrative or cinematic experience. If you play sword and Sworcery EP you’ll understand this. You wander through this world and just soak it all in. The visuals and audio work wonderfully to achieve this, but the gameplay is woven in together beautifully as as well. It just works. It feels right.

      After digesting the superbrothers article, here are my thoughts. Many games have gameplay down. I see a lot of innovation these days and this generation. Gameplay isnt a problem. Whether or not the game works with tons of cinematic effects and story elements or whatever is the issue. It needs to feel right, the “talk” and the “rock”, as superbrothers would put it, need to feel like they are a seemless whole. Games like uncharted are a lot of fun while bringing these 21st century gaming sensibilities to the table. The cinematic set pieces, the platforming, the shooting, the story – its assembled masterfully and usually feels right. Do other games that try to achieve what uncharted has succeed? No. And that’s one of the problems with the industry. These different parts of a game are disproportionate and feel shoehorned in, or like too much. It needs to feel natural.

      • Jcl

        On the flip side, we have games like dark souls, which is just as equally effective game. It pushes gameplay. Its a game that’s a shining example of what superbrothers wants to see in games. The subtlety. The beautiful world. Story is hinted at but never forced down your throat and adds to the haunting atmosphere of the game. A feeling is created through the audio, visuals, text – it works. Just like uncharted, but for entirely different reasons. So as we move into the next generation of games I think developers just need to keep this question in mind, “does it work?” is the game created a realized whole, or a mess of different parts that dont function well together at all? Whatever kind of game it is, it just needs to be a good, and effective at what it’s trying to achieve.

      • TheMaverickk

        “Simple video and audio cues can make a game, and evoke feelings and
        create a great atmospheric experience and world to get lost in…”

        I don’t think you understand what game play is.

        When I say game play, I’m not just talking controls, I’m not just talking how you play, I’m not just talking about the mechanics of battle, or exploration…. sound and music are just as much a part of game play. Look at the original Zelda and you will see that. The iconic “mystery” fanfare was a part of the game play, it set triggers off in peoples heads and the player immediately knows there’s something else at hand.

        Game play is all the parts of a game working together, working in unison. They are all connected and not separate from each other. So often I’ll play video games today and they clearly put effort into one specific area and everything else kind of feels like an after thought. Sometimes it’s good, it’s icing, and it helps the game out, but it never seems like an essential part of the experience. By essential I mean you can’t play the game with out it.

        Swords and Sorcery has you relying on all parts of the game. The visuals, the sound, the text, the interface…. even those intermissions where they kind of have you break from the game play in order to encourage you to talk and reflect about the game with others (much similar to the school yard dynamic of old gaming). They are all connected and used in the whole of the game play.

        Either way all these aspects are a part of the entirety of the game play.

        I also wanted to point out that I don’t think you grasp what the “talk” or the “rock” is at all. The “talk” refers to how video games basically spell it out for the gamer today. Through literally cinema scenes and scripted story events. The “rock” refers the act of “playing” the game. By playing I mean experiencing the gaming world through game play.

        Why do you think all the games they listed as their ” Less Talk, More Rock” hall of fame, are games that have very little in the form of dialogue (whether character text, or cinema scenes) and instead focus on telling you the story by simply participating in events (for example in Metroid Prime you fight the ghosts of the Chozo…. who are there as a result of the poisoning of the planet…. and there is no cinema scene to spell it out for you).

        Uncharted is all talk…. characters talking left right and center playing out the story for you.

        I have no idea what article you were reading… but I think you missed this nice blurb that makes the point of the article nice and clear;

        ” audiences who have become accustomed to these bloated cross media
        confections loaded with various kinds of talk and nonsense, and
        consequently the primacy of the [b]native language of video games*[/b] tends to
        be ignored, de-prioritized or forgotten.

        An entire generation seems to have become used to experiences clogged with menus and text, spammed with awkward cut scenes, choked by voice acting, mangled by in-congruent narrative, segmented by load times, stalled by informational messages.”

        *The native language of video games is game play… how you play … which is your personal experience of the game.

  • Maria Müller Felton

    Ooh, I really like this :) it’s kinda cute

  • M

    Good article (it’s actually Sworcery, but whatever)

    • ralphpotato

      All this time I was thinking it was “Sorcery”. Thanks for the heads up!

  • TwilightMirror11

    Hey nice SUPERBROTHERS article, Davey. This has to be the best ZELDA article i’ve seen so far!

  • itsameluigi1290

    MAN. The Wii U made me miss so many news articles ;_;

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  • Lâm Thùy

    Uggh, I am used to the Zelda manga, reading right to left, so it took me a little to figure out how this worked.


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