Follow TV Tropes


Comic Book / The Legend of Zelda

Go To
The cover of the first issue.
Back in the heyday of the Nintendo Entertainment System, Valiant Comics was authorized by Nintendo to produce the Nintendo Comics System — comic book series based on some of their most popular game titles, including Super Mario Bros. and Metroid. Naturally, given the popularity of The Legend of Zelda, this too was added to the comics lineup.

Unlike the manga adaptations which would be produced for the later games, the Valiant comics did not retell the stories of the NES games. The storylines were set in the Hyrule of the original game and Zelda II: The Adventure of Link, but took place after the conclusion of the second game. These chronicled the further adventures of Link and Princess Zelda. The comics shared many similarities with the cartoon series based on the games which was popular around the same time; Zelda's costume is very similar to that worn by her animated counterpart, and certain other details were used in both media — for instance, Link owned a horse named Catherine in both the cartoon and the comics, rather than the Epona of the later games. Unlike the cartoon, however, the comic books included the existence of the Triforce of Courage.

Like the rest of the Nintendo Comics System, the series only lasted for roughly two years. Copies of the comics are regarded by some today to be collectors' items.

Compare other Zelda comics: Nintendo Power's adaptation of A Link to the Past and the Zelda manga.

The Zelda comic books include examples of:

  • 10-Minute Retirement: In "Missing in Action," Zelda takes the Triforce of Wisdom with the intention of leaving so Ganon will stop attacking Hyrule. Link's devotion to her persuades her that where she's really safest is wherever he is.
  • Adaptation Distillation: In the storyline of the second game, the sleeping Princess Zelda is meant to be the "first generation" of Zelda (at the time), as it was decreed every female born into the royal family was to be named after her. Likely due to the confusion created when the previously-rescued younger Zelda inexplicably disappeared in that title, the comic writers simplified this detail and seem to have merged both characters.
  • Adaptation Dye-Job:
    • Unlike the games, which gave Link brown or reddish-brown hair in his sprite and manual art, the comics present him as a full-on redhead.
    • Zelda has reddish hair, while in the original game she had either blond or red hair depending on what artwork you were looking at (with her most common color being brown).
  • Adaptation Expansion:
    • The storyline of the original game briefly states that Link visited Hyrule from an unspecified country. This is elaborated in these comics, where Link is explained to have originated from a neighboring kingdom west of Death Mountain called Calatia, where his family still lives. This piece of his personal history is not found in any other part of the Zelda franchise, and later Links would almost always be a native citizen of Hyrule.
    • In addition, the game-accurate map of Hyrule included with the first issue mentions Spryte from the cartoon series as the lone fairy residing at the eastern spring (and her father Oberon residing to the north), with her comic counterpart Miff as the other fairy at the western spring.
  • Anguished Declaration of Love: Zelda makes one of these in "The Price," trying to bring Link back from the dark side.
  • Ascended Extra: Bagu, a very minor NPC from Zelda II, is a central character in "Thief in the Night."
  • Battle Couple: Whenever they fight side by side.
  • Berserk Button: Threatening to harm Zelda is the fastest way to press Link's, as shown more than once.
    Link: You just said the wrong thing! Nobody threatens my girl!
  • Big "NO!": Link in "The Price", when he looks at himself in a mirror and sees that the Triforce of Power is warping his appearance into becoming Ganon-like.
  • Canon Discontinuity: Surprising few fans as the comic was alternate continuity to begin with, Hyrule Historia, which contains the series' official timeline theory, doesn't explicitly count any non-game media and leaves The Adventure of Link as the last known event of that chronology.
  • Canon Foreigner: Several, including Zelda's father and Link's family.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: Zelda behaves like one of these, about both Link and her father, in "Queen of Hearts."
  • Combat by Champion: Link defends his homeland's Queen in "Coming Home."
  • Comic-Book Adaptation: Naturally.
  • Continuity: For a derivative work, the comics are remarkably faithful to the source material on many points.
  • Cool Horse: Link's horse Catherine and Zelda's horse Storm.
  • The Corruption: What happens to Link when he manages to get the Triforce of Power from Ganon.
  • Depending on the Artist: Miff the fairy's appearance changes drastically between artists. Sometimes she looks like a winged little girl, sometimes she looks like a tiny winged adult lady. About the only thing that's consistent is that she's blonde and wears a pink dress.
  • Disintegrator Ray: Link's sword beams, off and on. While the comic did not often make a point of showing enemies being defeated, on a few occasions, enemies that got hit with this were completely enveloped in pink light and then presumably vaporized.
  • Dreadful Musician: Zelda mistakes Link's serenade for the cries of a dying animal in "Thief in the Night."
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: The stories contain some of this, such as both of Link's parents being explicitly alive.
  • Evil Is Easy: The moral of the storyline "Trust Me."
  • Evil Makes You Ugly: One of the first series to imply Ganon was once a human, in this case transformed by his misuse of the Triforce of Power. This also happens to Link when he starts to misuse it.
  • Evil Twin: Link's evil doppelganger takes over Calatia and imprisons Queen Seline (and the real Link) in "Coming Home."
  • Faceā€“Heel Turn: Link makes one under the influence of the Triforce of Power. He ends up having a Heel Realization, complete with My God, What Have I Done?, and makes a Heroic Sacrifice in order to redeem himself. Luckily, stories have happier endings than that.
  • Fairy Companion: Miff plays this role to Zelda, and occasionally also teams up with Link — though she does not get along with him. In "It's Good to be the King", Spryte from the cartoon also appears alongside Miff. Needless to say, Miff doesn't get along with her either.
  • Fairy Sexy: Miff, Depending on the Artist. In some comics, it's completely averted as she looks like a little girl... in others it's played straight as she's portrayed as a rather shapely and attractive adult woman.
  • Fake King: Link's Shadow in Calatia, in "Coming Home."
  • Fourth-Wall Mail Slot: A few issues featured Link and Zelda answering fan mail, which were actual letters sent to Valiant by readers.
  • Generation Xerox: One of the major clues regarding Zelda's mother.
  • Give Geeks a Chance: Link and Zelda aren't explicitly stated to be an Official Couple in the comics, but there's a strong attraction between the two; he calls her "my girl," and in "The Perfect Date," they're both shown thinking about how much they like each other. While Link isn't ugly, he's kind of goofy-looking, with a long nose just like in Zelda II, and appears even moreso next to the beautiful princess.
  • God Save Us from the Queen!: In "Queen of Hearts," Zelda suspects Queen Seline of Calatia of not being as noble as everyone else thinks. Averted in that she's wrong.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: In "The Power" Link manages to get the Triforce of Power away from Ganon. Not even out of the entrance to the Underworld and it already starts corrupting him, driving him to demand Zelda turn over the Triforce of Wisdom as well. All because he wants to defeat Ganon for good. Combines with Became Their Own Antithesis in "The Price" when Zelda gives him a personal Wham Line: He doesn't even need to join Ganon, he's become Ganon! Cue Big "NO!" and Morton's Fork situation.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: In "The Price", Link decides that tossing away the Triforce of Power and dying is better than living the rest of his life like Ganon. Thankfully, the Triforce of Courage restores him to life.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Long story short, Ganon falls into his own trap in "He Also Serves" after spending the entire story trying to get Link to leave North Castle.
  • Hostage for MacGuffin: Ganon kidnaps Bagu's pet frogs and forces him to steal the Triforce of Wisdom to get them back, in "Thief in the Night."
  • I Gave My Word: Link's repeated protestation about why he won't leave North Castle in "He Also Serves."
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Link's reason for helping Zelda leave Hyrule in "Missing In Action," despite his own pain.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Miff, Depending on the Writer. In some stories she's a total Jerkass with no apparent heart of gold, while in others she's a little more willing to give others a break. Her main redeeming quality is her fierce loyalty to Zelda, which will even lead her to try to charge Ganon to protect her Princess.
  • Love Is in the Air: The opening scene of the storyline "The Perfect Date."
  • Mirror Match: Link's Shadow returns to fight Link once more in "Coming Home."
  • Missing Mom: A very interesting subversion in Zelda's case. While it is never explicitly stated, there are several blatant implications in "Queen of Hearts" (such as flirting with Harkinian and displaying a curiously parental love for Zelda) that Zelda's mother is actually Queen Seline, the ruler of Link's homeland of Calatia. It's unclear whether this means that Zelda was conceived out of wedlock or if her parents have a long-distance marriage.
  • Morton's Fork: Link faces this in "The Price" when he realizes the Triforce of Power is corrupting him and the Triforce of Courage has abandoned him: Give up the Triforce of Power and die, as he (and Ganon) can't live without it or keep it and allow himself to be corrupted into something akin to Ganon. He chooses the former, and the Triforce of Courage rewards him by returning to him and saving his life.
    Link: There is a price either way. My life, if I give up the Power! My soul, if I keep it! I choose to keep...MY SOUL!
  • No Fourth Wall: The main storylines were sometimes interrupted by little sidebar strips in which Link or Zelda addressed the readers directly, such as Link offering detailed advice on how to swing in through your love interest's window.
  • Only the Worthy May Pass: According to the guardian of the chamber in "Missing in Action," only Link — because of the Triforce of Courage — is worthy to enter and retrieve the magic whistle.
  • Parental Abandonment:
    • Averted for the only time in the entire Zelda franchise. Link's parents are not only alive and well, he goes to visit them in the storyline "Coming Home."
    • Zelda's mother, also... or so it is heavily implied.
  • Playing Hard to Get: Zelda, though it's depicted as a much more endearing personality quirk than in the animated version.
  • Promoted to Love Interest: The comics do this for both Link and Zelda.
  • Red Left Hand: Link gets this after obtaining the Triforce of Power.
  • Requisite Royal Regalia: King Harkinian makes Link the temporary King of Hyrule, in "It's Good to Be the King," simply by handing over his crown.
  • She Is Not My Girlfriend: Reversed in "Thief in the Night," when Bagu comes to visit and says he's heard all about Zelda, who is not amused to learn that Link told Bagu she was his girlfriend.
  • Shout-Out: Some of the comic books contain fake ads which are blatant shout-outs to actual advertisements. An example would be the full-page ad for "Ambrosia Lite," Calatia's favorite beverage, which is a clear parody of a certain well-known beer commercial of the time.
  • Smooch of Victory: As in the cartoon, Link is forever angling for one of these, but never gets it. It's much easier to sympathize with him in the comics, however, since he doesn't ask for a kiss in the middle of a dangerous situation (and he's portrayed as a much more likable character).
  • Sour Supporter: Miff, whenever having to work with Link. She's more genuinely supportive of Zelda, but still isn't above giving her a few What the Hell, Hero? and The Reason You Suck Speeches.
  • Spotting the Thread: Link realizes that the Impa he's talking to is Ganon in "He Also Serves" when Impa claims her prophecy was incorrect, but he remembers that she had received the prophecy directly from the Triforce of Wisdom.
  • Standard Royal Court: The North Palace has one of these as its center of action.
  • Unresolved Sexual Tension: As opposed to the Belligerent Sexual Tension of the cartoon.
  • Wham Line: Zelda to Link in "The Price"
    Zelda: Don't you see what's happening?! You don't have to join Ganon! You've become Ganon!
  • What Have I Become?: Link in the storyline "The Price," when he becomes corrupted by the Triforce of Power and Zelda delivers the above Wham Line.
  • What the Hell, Hero?:
    • Zelda does this throughout "The Price," up to and including pointing out that being corrupted by the Triforce of Power has caused the Triforce of Courage to pull a Screw This, I'm Outta Here on Link. She caps it off with the Wham Line above.
    • If Miff appears in a story, she'll most likely deliver one of these to either Link or Zelda — usually Link.