"If you can't draw, never fear, just steal some graphics from your favorite video game. And add yet another unlicensed pixel comic to the overcrowded, overstunk landfill of web comics."
A sprite comic is a comic, most usually a webcomic
, that uses sprites from video games for the majority of its visual work. A "sprite", in computer graphics, is a 2D object that moves around; the characters and enemies in video games, especially earlier ones, are good examples of these. The comic is not about pixies, more often than not.
An artist chooses to use sprite art in his or her comic for various reasons. Sometimes, the "artist" has no drawing skill but still has the desire to make a comic. In other cases, the artist's skills lie in manipulation or creation of their own sprites. In still other cases, the artist wishes to achieve a distinct look. In other cases, the artist attempts to replicate the look used in the original work, in the case of a fancomic.
Sprite comics that use ripped sprites have a reputation for being poor quality in terms of writing, humour and visuals; as they're easy to create, those with the least skill often gravitate toward them. However, there are many notable exceptions, enough to justify giving a newly discovered sprite comic the benefit of the doubt.
prevalent in the years between 2000 and 2007. But recently it seems to have gone through a decline, as more people seem to be aware of the negative thoughts associated with sprite comics, as well as many of the most influential sprite comics ending their runs.
A sprite comic is distinct from a Pixel Art Comic
in that the majority of the visuals are sprites.
See also Machinomics
- The majority of the BZ Power comics forum are these. Though rather than using video game ripped sprites, they use sprites created by artists in a different forum. It's so prolific that it's developed into its own subculture, and the amount of good ones possibly exceeds 10%, due to BZ Power's decreasing and maturing userbase.
- One of the earliest notable sprite comics was Bob and George, which played a big role in the genre becoming popular in the first place. Ironically, the sprite comic started as filler for a hand-drawn comic that never got off the ground. Instead, the author used the sprite comic to tell the sometimes comical, sometimes dramatic tale of two super-powered siblings trapped in the universe of the Mega Man games.
- Dave Anez also hosts a number of sprite comics on the Bob And George site. Two particularly notable ones would be:
- MS Paint Masterpieces a reintepretion of the classic Mega Man stories, which mixes the Gameboy-exclusive bosses into the story (and gives a plausible explanation as to why a robot with a 100% Metool alloy armor would be useless).
- Metroid: Third Derivative is a pseudo-sequel to the second Metroid Prime. (Which was written long before any notable information was released about Metroid Prime 3: Corruption. It is amazing how many details the writer has thought up that coincidentally match up to the real sequel.) Also spawned the Memetic Mutation of Flashman.EXE's Fan Nickname: Shoulderman.
- He also hosted a number of popular, now defunct sprite comics including Jailhouse Blues and Plagues Misadventures. They are still available for download on his downloads page.
- 8-Bit Theater is a fractured Sadist Show retelling of the first Final Fantasy game for the NES. The "heroes" of our tale are Fighter McWarrior (a naive nimrod obsessed with swords), Black Mage Evilwizardington (a Heroic Comedic Sociopath, though calling someone who was briefly King of Hell "heroic" is stretching the term to the breaking point), Thief Prince Elf of Clan Khee'bler (a Magnificent Bastard elf with a fondness for exploiting the stupidity of those around him with convoluted, fine-print laden contracts, enforced by his crack teams of Lawyer Ninjas), White Mage (the resident Only Sane Woman, who also plays the Deadpan Snarker when Black Mage isn't available) and Red Mage Statscowski (the Munchkin personified, complete with stat-fudging, rules-lawyering, and needlessly complicated plans thwarted by either circumstance, or blissful ignorance of his own stupidity). Quite possibly the single most successful Sprite Comic ever made, as it served as the launchpad for Brian Clevinger's general creative career and inspired countless imitators.
- Captain SNES: A Twenty Minutes into the Future version of Captain N: The Game Master, starring a new "champion" as he tries to figure out a way to save Videoland from being shot to hell. For Mature audiences only.
- Josh Lesnick parodies it in his own inimitable way here.
- Spoofed in Homestar Runner, in which one of the examples of webcomics Strong Bad gives are "unlicensed pixel comics". The site currently has a game that lets you make your own Stinkoman 20X6 comics.
- Neglected Mario Characters by Jay Resop, are probably the first sprite webcomics ever.
- Zelda Comic, inspired by 8-Bit Theater, is based on the The Legend of Zelda series; in particular, it draws inspiration from Zelda II: The Adventure of Link.
- Ben Croshaw of Zero Punctuation fame had one of these back in the day. The main characters were both protagonists from his video games. He has since disowned them.
- Ansem Retort is a comic that uses sprites from Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories and places KH characters on a FOX reality show. Its core cast also competes with the cast of 8-bit Theater in the Olympics, with the winner being largely a matter of taste.
- Holy Zen! is a webcomic that primarily relies on sprites from the Guilty Gear video game series.
- Power Rings is a Sonic the Hedgehog-based comic that essentially makes fun of all of the characters through absurd Flanderizations. Unfortunately, those not particularly familiar with the games and comics are likely to miss a lot of the jokes.
- Final Blasphemy is the story of a group of friends who (mostly independently of each other) suddenly find themselves super-powered and part of a very large multiverse, including worlds based on those of Mario, Mega Man, and the various Final Fantasies. Powerful forces threaten that multiverse, though, so the friends are charged with defending the multiverse from said forces.
- How to Make a Sprite Comic in 8 Easy Bits (8 Easy Bits, or 8EB for short) is a spritecomic focusing on The Author's (not an author avatar. Names aren't given for the characters, and as such they are referred to by their role) attempt to make a sprite comic. Two things of note about the comic:
- One is that the actual author of the comic is an English major, so it's one of the best-written sprite comics, if not one of the best-written webcomics.
- Two is that it's written as if video game sprites are actors, so his sprite comic, in context, makes more sense as a TV Serial than a comic.
- In Wilys Defense is a Mirror Universe of the classic Mega Man games set within its own universe that's presided over a God that's lazier than a sloth watching TV and with a love of widespread chaos as his angels of Death and Destruction. Original characters aside (after all, who cares about those?), Cut Man is the main character, Dr. Wily is an ex-roboticist that runs a Twinkie factory, the New York Mets (led by Don Bluehat) patrol the corridors, Dr. Light is an egomaniacal villain, X (yes, X is in here, despite it still technically being the classic series) is an Omnicidal Maniac, Heat Man has a god complex, and Gemini Man is a raving lunatic. And that's just the start. Its short-lived sequel, Tales of Southtown, goes to a new scene where SNK characters are all shoehorned into the same city, and is worth looking at just to read Geese Howard's insane rants about America. However, the comics lack any sort of brevity.
- Too Many Authors is a Mega Man sprite comic parody (supposedly), most notable for being in the CrossoverWars.
- FRIENDS 4 EVER!!!! uses sprites from various horror video games including Silent Hill and DOOM.
- Castlevania RPG (CVRPG) uses primarily custom-made sprites to parody not only Castlevania but RPG Video Games and Tabletop Games as well.
- Nintendo Acres is about five video game characters living together. Its fans have been known to start similar webcomics.
- The Perpetual Aquarium is a comic that uses graphics from the Neopets website, jumping between pop culture parodies, commentaries on daily life, and commentaries on Neopets site happenings. It differs from many Sprite comics in that it is actually authorized by the terms of the main site.
- Planet Zebeth is a comic based on Metroid that uses sprites from the original Metroid and Simon Belmont from Castlevania I.
- Subverted with Kid Radd - it is a sprite comic, but aside from a few random cameos, all the sprites were made by the creator, and the plot focuses heavily on the virtual nature of everyone in the comic.
- L's Empire: Luigi's had enough.
- Knights of the Old Coding is a comic that focuses on various knights trying to rescue Gwenevere. Unlike most sprite comics, it focuses on a wider variety of games, instead of focusing primarly on one or two games.
- Rumors of War lies in a muddy territory somewhere between Sprite Comic and Pixel Art Comic; all the character sprites are original creations of the author but the backgrounds are ripped from RPGMaker.
- Survivor: Fan Characters is a spoof of Survivor using original characters from all sorts of media.
- Shooters Epic Awesome Adventure Of Manliness is a Sprite Comic based on The World Ends with You. Sorta.
- Kristoph Gavin: Ace Attorney is a fanmade spinoff of the Ace Attorney series, featuring several heavily-edited sprites made into Original Characters.
- Like the above example, Francis Equitas: Ace Casanova (And Attorney) is a spinoff based on the Ace Attorney universe, albeit with less reference to canon.
- Bar'd focuses on the oddball staff and more eccentric patrons of the Leafy Bar. It has to be seen to be believed.
- Pebble Version is a parody of Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire. Has a lot of Lampshade Hanging with regard to Pokemon tropes. Check it out here.
- Wario Comix was an early crude sprite comic series that began in the late-90's and ended somewhere around the late 2000's. It was quite possibly the most obscene sprite comic at the time. In the later years the author gave it to someone else, and then it just disappeared from the web. It's almost impossible to find anything about the series on the internet now but it was a pretty huge series for it's time.
- The original author posted the entire series on his deviant art account along with a special webcomic strip. It's also possible to see the first couple of strips on a few websites. It's not near impossible, you just have to look harder to find it.
- There's this little-known series called Bob Squad, based on the Advance Wars series. focuses on a squadron of five Orange Star units (one of them named Bob), and the crowd-pleasing Sturm who has more than one CO Power, which he uses for mundane/stupid purposes.
- One of the better examples Edit-wise is named Heroes Inc. A webcomic based on the premise that Mario and Luigi get sick of doing everything themselves, so they hire other video game protagonists to work alongside them. VERY well done.
- Pogeymanz is a sprited Pokémon parody that is almost a deconstruction of other Pokémon sprite comics, or maybe even sprite comics in general. But you have to look really hard.
- Contra Farce is a parody webcomic of the NES game Contra Force.
- Kirby Adventure, a webcomic based on the Kirby video game series.
- Strife Strips featuring the adventures of Duke Nukem and his roommate, the Doom Marine. Noteworthy for being made almost in Duke Nukem 3D's engine Build.
- Kirby Blast, previously a sprite comic, is a comic about a human girl turned into a puffball trying to get home.
- SMGPMD, an Affectionate Parody of the Pokémon Mystery Dungeon series featuring Team SMG being sent to the world of Pokémon.
- MMBN 7 The World Tournament, a Tournament Arc comic based on the Megaman Battle Network series.