Video game, comic book, movie collaboration make for towering 'Inferno' brand

It's taken about 700 years, but Dante Alighieri is finally going to see a big boost in his royalty checks. The 14th century author's Divine Comedy is the focus of a new video game, comic book and animated feature tie-in hitting in 2010.

The divine intervention will focus on part one of the Comedy, the Inferno, and comes courtesy of video game studio Electronic Arts and its collaboration with DC Comics and Starz Media. The collaboration was announced this week as a lead-up to the Comic-Con International 2009 in San Diego, where attendees will have a chance to play the game and pick up issue #0 of the comic book.

According to the Inferno site, "the hero of the game is a soldier who defies death and fights for love against impossible odds. The Italian mercenary Dante returns home from the wars to find that his beloved Beatrice has been murdered, and her soul pulled down into Hell by a dark force."

OK, so that's not exactly how I remember it. Still, while adapting a classic work of world literature like this will most likely make English professors everywhere cringe, there's no doubt it is an inspired convergence of media. The epic poem where the author makes his way through the afterlife is pretty awesome as is, and who hasn't wanted to slay their way through the seven circles of Hell?

Sure, it would be nice to have the poet Virgil as a sidekick, and something tells me that gamers won't see the bland-by-comparison parts two and three of the Comedy where the author hangs out in Purgatory and Paradise. But hopefully Dante's Inferno will be a successful bit of paranormal pop culture that tunes people into the original piece.

-aaron sagers