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Electronic Arts' amazing comic book adventures!

July 24, 2008 |  3:24 pm

Dead Space comic book cover Electronic Arts, known for its technologically dazzling sports simulation and action games, is diving into old-school comic books.

EA, which took in nearly $3.7 billion in revenue primarily from game sales its last fiscal year, today announced it has teamed up with DC Comics to create a comic book series called "Mirror's Edge." The comic is based on the video game of the same title, which is scheduled to ship later this year. The announcement was made at Comic-Con, an annual comic book convention that counted 125,000 attendees last year.

It's not EA's first venture into comics. In March the Redwood City, Calif., company launched "Dead Space," a six-issue comic book miniseries. The comics were drawn by Ben Templesmith, an artist known for his horror comics, including "30 Days of Night," which last year was made into a movie starring Josh Hartnett. The series will be combined into a graphic novel, which will have distribution by large retailers, including Barnes & Noble and Amazon.

EA won't say how many copies of the comic it has sold. Derek Chan, EA's product manager for "Dead Space," said the venture was profitable and that sales have "exceeded expectations."

"Dead Space" originally started as a concept for a science fiction, survival horror game. But as the game developed, so did the elaborate story line about an alien infestation on a distant space colony. Last year EA signed with Templesmith to co-create the comic book version. It also signed a contract with Starz Media's internal studio Film Roman to make an animated feature movie to be released on DVD Oct. 28, a week after the game is set to launch.

The three-prong comic book-game-movie approach is the result of ...      

...EA Chief Executive John Riccitiello's grand plan to build original franchises, and deploy them across multiple media. Within the company, Riccitiello refers to the strategy as IP3 -- short for "intellectual property cubed."

EA this week signed a deal with United Talent Agency to do just that -- find partners in the movie and TV business willing to make shows based on EA's game franchises. It has four projects underway, including "Dead Space," a movie based on the Sims game with 20th Century Fox, as well as two animated children's shows based on its MySims and Zubo games.

"We're not doing this because we want to be a movie studio," said Patrick O'Brien, vice president of entertainment at EA. "We're doing this to increase awareness of our core products and to reach out to consumers wherever they are."

This week, it seems, many of them are at Comic-Con.

-- Alex Pham

Comic book cover art courtesy of Electronic Arts