Remembering Concerned

On the first of May of 2005, almost six years ago, began the undisputable best webcomic created with Garry’s Mod, and also the best Half-Life 2 fanfiction ever made.
That comic was Christopher C. Livingston’s Concerned: The Half-Life and Death of Gordon Frohman, and recently I found myself repeatedly re-reading the whole series, so I’ve decided to update our little, abandoned blog with my ramblings about this masterpiece.

For those of you who’ve never heard of it, Concerned was the adventure of Gordon Frohman, a näive citizen under the Combine rule who worships Doctor Breen and loves living under his tyrannical reign in City Seventeen. After a brief stint working in the Citadel, Doctor Breen’s headquarters, Gordon decides to set off after a promotion and travel to Nova Prospekt, a former prison turned reeducation facility, where he hopes to become a Combine Overwatch soldier and fight for injustice against the oppressed rebels.

New comics were scheduled for release thrice a week – although, of course, Chris Livingston couldn’t always be on time, which led to a change from Monday-Wednesday-Friday to Tuesday-Thursday releases later on. Obviously, it doesn’t really matter now that it’s finished, but his systematic releases were pretty great back in the day, as you almost always had a new comic to read when it was supposed to be out.
Concerned follows the storyline of Half-Life 2 from Gordon’s point of view, eventually concluding after a whopping two hundred and four issues. On what was a controversial move at the time, Chris refused to follow the Half-Life 2: Episode One story with Frohman, stating that the game didn’t really fit his plans for a continuation.

Now let’s get one thing straight, in case I haven’t made that point clear enough: I absolutely love Concerned. I could try to do an unbiased critical analysis of the comic’s story and production, but I’d fail terribly. It made me laugh when I was keeping up with it and, five years later, it still does. Many of its jokes are pretty memorable, but none more than the main character himself – Gordon Frohman is an icon of the Half-Life fan culture and a symbol of the early days of Garry’s Mod. It’s no wonder that you can still find half-assed “humor” comics whose leads are cheap “idiot savant” knock-offs of Frohman.
Besides, there’s also the fact that, unlike other classics – like, say, Brashfink’s Apostasy, which is not available online anymore -, it’s aged very well. The last time I read Apostasy some months ago, which blew my mind when I first read it, I kept noticing editing flaws and plot holes. Don’t get me wrong, it was good – and I really haven’t made anything better than it myself -, but it just doesn’t hold up these days. Concerned, on the other hand, is still hilarious and better than most comics released on the Facepunch forums these days.

Garry’s Mod comics have been on the verge of death for three-four years. The big majority of the guys that made great comics in the early days have long grown up and moved on, and I can’t really blame them. The sites that began the GMod comic-mania are all but gone, too, except Facepunch – but FP was never as cohese as some of the others, simply because its community is way too large.
I don’t want to make this about me, but I have to state this: I got into comics because of Concerned. Unfortunately, I’m very far from being half as good as Mr. Livingston, and I’m not ashamed of admitting it. I made this site as a way of trying to bring back the spirit of those early days, but a very busy real life and lack of commitment, inspiration, and, very honestly, personal talent have prevented me from doing so. The team I started gathering shares my lack of enthusiasm – except Lt_Commander, who still puts something here every now and then -, and, while we’re few, we’re pretty much a sample of what’s become of a niche that began with Chris Livingston’s great masterpiece. Simply put, he’s the best and he’ll always be.

Chris Livingston himself has moved on. He started preparing 1Fort, a new humor comic based on Team Fortress 2, but, to the disappointment of many, gave up on that project. From what I gather, he then created the First-Person Shouter, a PC gaming blog, which hasn’t been updated since April of last year. Finally, he created the First-Person Observer, an online newspaper with reports from inside games – which, honestly, is pure genius -, but that, too, stopped after a few monts. Right now, he has a Twitter account, and that’s pretty much it.
As for Concerned, well, it ended four years ago and it had a pretty conclusive ending. Of course, some people tried to continue it, but I never even bothered to read the comic. Why? Because this comic is Chris’s baby – he wrote and made it, and I won’t check out “unofficial” sequels out of respect for that. If somebody is going to invest that much time into trying to make a self-admitted bad sequel to someone else’s fan work, instead of coming up with their own ideas, then I don’t expect much quality from that “homage” anyway.

Well, as I expected, that’s a big pile of ramblings. Like I said, I didn’t set out to make a critical analysis or anything – I just wanted to inform or remind the five or six people who’ll check the site of Concerned. If you’ve never read it, you owe it to yourself to try it. If you have, re-read it again and see if it isn’t as good as it was back when you first checked it.
Oh, and just for the record: my favorite issue is #71. I’ve memorized the damn lines and all, but it still makes me laugh.

Of course, I need to finish this up with some of Gordon Frohman’s wise words, so here they are:

Neither do we, Gordon. Neither do we.

Images used from, obviously, Concerned: The Half-Life and Death of Gordon Frohman. Issues #5, #70, #79 and #197.

    • SargentGunney
    • January 28th, 2011

    This needs a 21 gun salute.

    • CJR
    • January 28th, 2011

    D’aww, you’ve got me feeling all nostalgic now! Concerned was what got me into webcomics in the first place.

    • Oh, hey, Chuck! Long time no see! 😀

        • CJR
        • January 29th, 2011

        Hey Mythos! 😀 I’m liking what you’ve got going on here, seems quite a neat site…

      • Thanks! It would be better if I found the time and motivation to work more on it, of course… I’d like it to have more stuff and a forum sometime, but real life keeps getting in the way.

    • crog
    • August 31st, 2011

    Sigh…LIVINGSTON give us a sign!

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