Jan 16th 2010 By: Laura Hudson
Since adapting "Dante's Inferno" into a video game, and then adapting that video game into a comic book
wasn't ridiculous enough, EA will be releasing a new "novelization" in bookstores next week. While that initially sounded like they'd commissioned an original work of fiction based on the first cantica of Dante Alighieri's 14th century epic poem "The Divine Comedy," that's not exactly it, although it's just as nuts.
They're actually just republishing Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's existing translation, but completely rebranding it as a video game tie-in, complete with cover art featuring a "300"-esque warrior and a giant scythe that's like 8-feet tall and straight out of "Final Fantasy." Basically, if there were a commercial for this book, it would have a nu-metal soundtrack, and this (actual) back cover copy would be read by the guy who does spooky voiceovers for movie trailers:
All hell is breaking loose. Electronic Arts' thrilling video game, 'Dante's Inferno' has exploded onto the scene, and this is the book that provides unique insight into its creation... Presented in its entirety, here is the foundation and inspiration for the game. Then learn how the game's creators turned Dante's notorious Nine Circles of Hell into the hottest game around... Welcome to Hell -- let the nightmares begin.
Again, this is completely insane, but it's basically just putting a disingenuously kickass gloss on one of the greatest poetic works of medieval Italian literature in hopes of convincing young people to buy it. And as Tycho at "Penny Arcade" pointed out
, tricking teenagers into reading classics is hardly the worst thing in the world:
Maybe it isn't entirely forthright, putting a crusader badass [on] the cover of your medieval allegory - but I don't care. In fact, I support this kind of thing wholeheartedly: fact is, sometimes you got to lie to a motherf--ker. If showing a dude holding a giant spine with an aftermarket scythe affixed is what it takes to get young men to read a single page of the classics, than so be it. I hope these shenanigans work like gangbusters. We've got your backs on this thing.
Naturally, "Penny Arcade" has also addressed the complete insanity of this video game rebranding through their own style of parody, similarly reimagining Herman Melville's "Moby Dick" for today's youth: