Potential roster – Vertigo: V (V for Vendetta), Dream (Sandman), Lucifer, Jesse Custer and the Saint of Killers (Preacher), Shade: The Changing Man; Lord Fanny, Ragged Robin and King Mob (The Invisibles), Spider Jerusalem (Transmetropolitan); Rorschach, Dr. Manhattan, Silk Spectre, Nite Owl and Ozymandias (Watchmen); John Constantine (Hellblazer).
Potential roster – SNK: Kyo Kusanagi and Iori Yagami (The King of Fighters), Rock Howard and Terry Bogard (Fatal Fury: Mark of the Wolves); Nakoruru, Hattori Hanzo and Haohmaru (Samurai Shodown); Kaede (Last Blade, Athena, Marco and Mars People (Metal Slug), Geese Howard and Mai Shiranui (Fatal Fury), Fuuma (World Heroes), Ryo Sakazaki (Art of Fighting), Cyber Woo (King of the Monsters)
Why it’d work: We admit it: We don’t actually care about seeing half of these characters in a game. All we want to see is the Watchmen and the King of Fighters crowd beating the shit out of each other, and everyone else, for hours and hours and hours. Everything else is just window dressing.
That said, there's a lot of potential in the other characters. Even in the original graphic novel, V was an extremely capable fighter, bullet-time knife tricks or no, and it'd be fun to boot around SNK's roster of pretty boys under the guise of an anarchist superhero. Meanwhile, Spider Jerusalem's bowel disruptor could turn every fight into a horrifying mess, Jesse Custer's Word of God power could simply make enemies fight themselves and the Saint of Killers' status as an invincible murder machine would make him perfectly suited to be one of SNK's crushingly difficult final bosses.
Potential roster – Oni Press: Barry Ween, Shawn and Sam (Black Metal), Sheriff Ida Red and Clint Saguaro (Mutant, Texas), Courtney Crumrin; Clover Connelly, Alan Walsh and Bleu Finnegan (Blue Monday); Alison Dare, Arsenal Hopeless Savage (Hopeless Savages), Carrie Stetko (Whiteout); Scott Pilgrim, Ramona Flowers and Knives Chau (Scott Pilgrim); Argobot (Jason and the Argobots).
Potential roster – Smash Bros.: Fox McCloud, Samus Aran, Captain Falcon, Link, Toon Link, Zelda, Donkey Kong, Pit, Bowser, Princess Peach, Yoshi, Kirby, Wario, Mario, Luigi, Pikachu.
Why it would work: Oni Press has built its reputation on publishing a broad spectrum of quirky, diverse comics, at least two of which will be made into movies in 2009. It’s time to move on to other forms of media, and because our current favorite Oni series (Scott Pilgrim) so heavily references 8-bit games, we can’t think of a better match for the publisher’s characters than Smash Brothers.
Nintendo has already shown on three occasions that its simple, anarchic fighting-game formula works beautifully for bringing together groups of characters from diverse, seemingly incompatible settings, so it wouldn’t be too big of a stretch to dump in Oni’s diverse cast of misfits. Yeah, it’d be a little silly watching US Marshal Carrie Stetko jumping around and kicking Pikachu in the face or whatever, but not that much sillier than it was watching Solid Snake or Samus do the same thing. Meanwhile, the over-the-top brawling abilities of Pilgrim, Ramona Flowers and Knives Chau would be perfectly suited to booting Kirby into the stratosphere, and the giant Argobot would make a kickass, screen-filling boss, goody-two-shoes little-kid pilot or no.
Potential roster - Fantagraphics: The Super-Man (Acme Novelty Library), Luba (Love & Rockets), Lloyd Llewellyn (Eightball), El Borbah, Maggie and Hopey (Love & Rockets), Frank, Uncle Gabby (Maakies), Buddy Bradley (Hate), Doofus, Krazy Kat, Drinky Crow (Maakies), Ignatz (Krazy Kat), Snuff (Underworld).
Potential roster – Bloody Roar: Shina the Leopard, Bakuryu the Mole, Xion the Unborn, Uriko the Half Beast, Jenny the Bat, Busuzima the Chameleon, Alice the Rabbit, Stun the Insect, Yugo the Wolf, Shenlong the Tiger, Long the Tiger.
Why it would work: OK, yes, we’re reaching on this one. Fine. But take a moment and imagine a bunch of underground characters, half of whom aren’t even fighters and all of whom are revered by the intellectual elite of comics fandom (I know, I know. Bear with me). Now imagine them thrusted into a videogame, forced to fight a cabal of Japanese werefurries in life-or-death cage matches, and then tell us that doesn’t sound like the best game idea you’ve ever heard of in your LIFE.
Besides, for all their indie cred, characters like El Borbah, Uncle Gabby and Drinky Crow have all committed some pretty horrific acts of violence over the years, so it would probably take an oversized tiger-man to give them a decent challenge. Also, Ignatz the mouse throws a mean brick. We nominate him for final boss.