A quick note before we delve into this history: Unlike RPGs, first-person shooters, fighting games, or what have you, comic book games don’t really constitute a genre of video games on their own. Instead, they’re more like a skin applied over existing genres. Think of it this way: RPGs have always been RPGs, and fighting games have always been fighting games, but comic book games have been RPGs, fighting games, platformers, point-and-click adventures, and just about every other type of game under the sun. They’re primarily a form of licensed games, which are not beholden to any set mechanics or systems.
This genre potential fits because comic books often have traits that seem ready made for any video game--leading characters with charisma in both personality and combat, stables of supervillains that make for natural bosses, lived-in worlds with rich histories, etc.--so game creators of all sorts have tried taking advantage of that. But one side effect of comic book games’ malleability is that it makes chronicling their history a little uneven. There’s no clear progression of genre trends here, just a massive smattering of all kinds of comic book games strewn about the market; some good, but most bad. So again, we’ll just try to stick to the most notable events here.