Reading the game: who else loves Mortal Kombat?

People seemed to respond well to my previous article about the selection of Uncharted books and comics available, so I thought I’d do the same with another video game I reviewed recently, Mortal Kombat Komplete Edition. Since the early nineties, Mortal Kombat has developed a negative reputation for its violence and gore, and … let’s just say the Komplete Edition, which packs in the DLC from last year’s Mortal Kombat 9 for the same retail price, doesn’t help matters—especially not with its up-close and gruesome X-ray moves, which show back-breaking and skull-slamming from the inside out.

I like fighting games (Guilty Gear in particular), but I never really got into Mortal Kombat. I rented Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe from Midway Games and Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment (WBIE) back in 2008 because of my interest in comic books, but that wasn’t exactly the best representation of Mortal Kombat, and it didn’t make me a fan of the series to say the least. On the other hand, the new Mortal Kombat is arguably the best representation one could hope for, so I’ve seen both the ugly and beautiful sides of the game.

Anyway, since I was reviewing the game for a website, I had to do a lot of playing when MK isn’t normally my game of choice. Because the game’s story retells the events of the first three games, Mortal Kombat is a perfect introduction to the series. And it helps that the game is just GOOD.

Now on to some reading! I dug up these books for all the MK fans out there.

Mortal Kombat by Jeff Rovin
Publisher: Berkley
Paperback: 293 pages
Publication Date: June 1, 1995

This one’s an oldie and definitely out of print, but it shouldn’t be difficult to track down online. Considering the live-action movie came out in 1995, this is no doubt closely tied with the New Lines film. Rovin himself was an assistant editor at DC Comics in the ’70s. One of his other novels, Tom Clancy’s Op-Center: War of Eagles, became a New York Times bestseller.

Mortal Kombat: A Novel by Martin Delrio
Publisher: Tor Books
Paperback: 216 pages
Publication Date: August 15, 1995

Delrio’s book was a direct novelization of the movie. Apparently “Martin Delrio” is a pseudonym for not one, but two people: James D. MacDonald and his wife, Debra Doyle. The adaptation contains images from the movie. MacDonald assumed many different names and wrote the Circle of Magic (not to be confused with the books by Tamora Pierce) and Mageworld series.

Mortal Kombat: Annihilation by Jerome Preisler
Publisher: Tor Books
Paperback: 184 pages
Publication Date: November 1997

Preisler’s book served as a novelization of the second Mortal Kombat film, which released in 1997 along with the book. The author has written CSI and Tom Clancy books, most notably.

Also, somebody was crazy enough to put some of these books online, so you can read those for free. Amazingly, the author of the webpage provides different formats for each book, including .MOBI files and PDF.

Mortal Kombat: The Movie: Behind the Scenes by Michael Goldman and Richard Aaron
Publisher: Prima Lifestyles
Paperback: 96 pages
Publication Date: August 16, 1995

This companion to the original film might actually be worth a look for nostalgia’s sake. The book documents the special effects, plot, and cast of the movie along with 100 stills. Richard Aaron handled photography for Mortal Kombat and other media productions, and Michael R. Goldman worked as a feature editor and staff writer for Daily Variety at the time and contributed to several science fiction publications.

Beyond Barbie and Mortal Kombat: New Perspectives on Gender and Gaming by Yasmin B. Kafai, et al.
Publisher: The MIT Press
Paperback: 400 pages
Publication Date: February 25, 2011

You can tell by the title that this is a collection of essays, written by a number of contributors, so Mortal Kombat is only one topic of discussion—and unfortunately, I’m not sure how much of that discourse it represents. I’m getting the sense that the book is more about the medium’s response to women, in games and out of them, and less about Mortal Kombat itself, an implication that’s already been made based on the key word “beyond” in the title. So I can’t say that this is the perfect read for MK fans, but I thought it was interesting nonetheless and wanted to throw it out there. After all, Mortal Kombat has a lot of scantily clad women. I’m not even sure how some of their outfits stay on. Especially Mileena’s …

What Mortal Kombat books do you recommend?

2 thoughts on “Reading the game: who else loves Mortal Kombat?”



    I never knew they created novels out of the game/movie! I read the comic book years ago (which is long out of print too I’m sure), but not the books.

    Thanks for the recommendations! Except for Mortal Kombat Annihilation. That was just poison.


    1. Haha I don’t blame you with that one. :) Thanks for reading! Glad I could give a fan a new perspective on Mortal Kombat. I was actually trying to find published volumes of the comic but couldn’t find any, booo!



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