The Legend of Zelda (Valiant Comics)
The Legend of Zelda is a series of comic books published by Valiant Comics in 1990 as part of the Nintendo Comics System. The comics are based on the first two games from The Legend of Zelda series and is the first comic published in America which is set in the Zelda universe (multiple Zelda-themed manga were already released in Japan). The artists use a character design similar to what was developed for the American The Legend of Zelda TV series in 1989. There were a total of five comics published, although you could count Nintendo Comics System issue #7 as a sixth since it is completely Zelda-themed. Despite being officially sanctioned by Nintendo of America, the comics are not viewed as canon due to the fact that they often stray far from the source material.
The comic was originally published in 1990, but was reprinted in 1991. The original run has a price of $1.50 and the reprint is $1.95. Also, in the reprint, the covers on issues 2 and 4 were incorrectly swapped.
I never saw these comics when there were published, and didn't learn about them until adulthood, thanks to the power of the Internet. I sought out digital copies online to read them.
I do not own these comics, but I have read them.
- The comics expand quite a bit on the Zelda franchise which was desperately wanted while the US waited patiently for the next game installment which took another year to release.
- The art is pretty decent for a comic targeting children.
- In most of the comics, Zelda is actually a strong capable character with her own mind.
- Various game hints are scattered throughout the comic.
- The comic included some attractive maps of Hyrule.
- Some of the character design is bad. Link's bulbous nose looks silly (from game's 2's manual). Ganon's upper tusks are frequently drawn weird (from the cartoon). Zelda frequently looks stoned.
- Both the first two games are used for source material, but the artists merged them haphazardly, placing enemies exclusive to the second game in the dungeons of the first game, and vice-versa. Towns and cathedrals are also jumbled up.
- The Triforce of Courage is described as not being a solid object, but being embedded in Link's heart, which doesn't make much sense. And, the dialogue sometimes refers to there only being two Triforces.
- While I'm sure the children who wrote in were thrilled to see their letters being published, they're pretty annoying to read.
- The comic is targeted toward kids, so this is forgivable, but most of the stories are juvenile, the humor is childish, and the morals are ham-fisted. Also, the story jumps around in a schizophrenic manner that is hard to follow and there isn't much of a cohesive narrative. It's just a bunch of vignettes that never resolve anything.
Nintendo Comics System, Issue 7.
- valiant.fandom.com/wiki/The_Legend_of_Zelda_Vol_1 - Valiant Wiki.
- zelda.gamepedia.com/The_Legend_of_Zelda_(Valiant_Comics) - Zelda Wiki.