Wednesday's edition of USA Today featured an article about Marvel's Halo Graphic Novel (based on the ultra-popular video game, see 'Marvel Announces Halo Graphic Novel'), which is scheduled for a July 12th release.  The 128-page full color hardcover Halo Graphic Novel ($24.95) contains four full length stories by some of the world's top comic book artists including Moebius, Simon Bisley and Tsutomu Nihei as well as a 26-page gallery of iconic illustrations by Geoff Darrow, George Pratt, Rick Berry, Kent Williams, Scott Fischer and other top flight creators.


Microsoft's Bungie Studios, which created Halo, a Starship Troopers-like sci-fi shoot'em up that has sold over 14 million units, actually packaged the book with help from comics veteran Maria Paz Cabardo (Magic: The Gathering, Vertigo), and pitched it to a number of publishers (Marvel won).  Bungie followed the same do-it-yourself formula with a Halo movie, hiring writers to develop a script and then shopping the project to Hollywood studios (Universal and Fox will release the Halo feature).  Blizzard Entertainment, whose World of Warcraft is one of the few video games with popularity akin to or perhaps even greater than Halo, took the opposite tack and licensed WoW to Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures to develop.  It should be interesting to see which method of development yields the best results.


In spite of the immense popularity of Halo and WoW, the Hollywood studios still have their work cut out for them--there have been lots of video game-based movies and precious few major successes among them, but when it comes to graphic novels Tokyopop's Warcraft manga, the most popular English language manga in today's market, proves that video game fans will buy graphic novels based on their favorite pastime.