On my way home from the local comic book store I started to think about how great it would be to develop a game including some of my favourite characters from this medium. But these characters can't just co-exist willy-nilly (well, they can, but while you don't need a realistic plot a coherent one certainly helps); Astroboy isn't going to team up with Pacman and a character of your own creation to battle the Blue Meanie for control of Pepperland.
When DC were questioned what their biggest asset was their response wasn't an individual top selling character or brand but the Multiverse itself; the intricate development of a universe that allowed their characters to coexist.
But onwards with my original topic; there are certain benefits of drawing from a pre-existing story:
-Characters (and their relationships to other character) already exist
-Artwork for these characters also already exists (at the creator's permission)
-Complex and compelling plots already exist, and with crossover events such as DC's Crisis on Infinite Earth or Marvel's Civil War there is greater leniency for creating your wonder team, although in comic books teamups are fairly common anyway.
-These themes already have a fanbase, increasing the likelihood of someone actually wanting to play your finished product
While the amount of resources that already exist might sound like an attempt to limit your creativity they would be a great way for someone new to the engine to play around with it and still create an enjoyable game, that someone would actually play and provide feedback for.
And, of course, there's no need to fully obey a pre-existing plot, leave your mark on it, tell it how you thought it should have been told (other chars perspectives, etc.) And don't feel restricted to one theme; want to see Medieval Batman? You've got it. Steampunk Superman? You've got it. Just try to ensure that once you've established your theme you don't damage it by breaking into inexplicable tangents.
Finally, these benefits extend beyond this specific subject, comics, to clear relations like manga/anime, inter-platformally like film and television, and even to other pre-existing games.
Hope this gives you a few ideas
This post has been edited by Kaust: Jan 15 2012, 07:07 AM