The Truth About Cake: Portal 2 Comic Debuts

Valve, the company responsible for the darkly humorous and addictive action puzzle game Portal in 2007, has released the first part of an online comic that bridges the story between the original game and the upcoming Portal 2 (April 19). Titled Portal 2: Lab Rat, the comic, created entirely in-house at Valve Studios with the help of comics legend Michael Avon Oeming, will expand the Portal world and narrative, and introduces a character we all love but have never actually met, or even seen. (Not to mention brings back my #100 favorite character in modern pop culture.)

Part 1 of the tie-in debuted this Friday on IGN Comics. Part 2 will premier Monday, April 11.

UPDATE: And here it is.

UPDATE 2: Check out my review of Portal 2.

Goodnight Folks: Remembering Andy Hallett

Fred once told me, after a sinful amount of Chinese food and in lieu of absolutely nothing, ‘I think a lot of people would choose to be green, your shade if they had the choice.’

Krevlornswath of the Deathwok Clan was unique among his people: he could hear music. Mystic tomes and dimensional portals aside, I choose to believe this is what brought him to our world. In a sense this is actually kind of true since Joss Whedon created the role of Lorne on the series Angel specifically for actor Andy Hallett after hearing him sing. Lorne came from a savage world filled with violence and death and ended up in… well, Los Angeles, so not much changed in that regard. However OUR world of violence and death at least had music, and with that music he found a kind of peace. And he managed to share some of that peace with the lost souls of his adopted home. He opened the karaoke bar Caritas, the Latin word for “mercy”, and used his power to read peoples auras (while they’re singing) to offer advice and comfort to his patrons. He allowed anyone, good or evil, to patronize Caritas, which became a safe haven for many. Lorne was non-judgmental, accepting everyone and treating them all as equals and friends.

With his gifts for reading people (and demons) and his web of connections with the supernatural underworld of Los Angeles it didn’t take long for the folks from Angel Investigations to seek him out. He was an invaluable source of information for our heroes throughout much of the second season, and after his beloved bar was destroyed (by humans) in the third season he found himself joining up with the Fang Gang full time.

As with so many of Joss’ characters it’s the red wash of tragedy that makes Lorne so compelling and unforgettable. He began the series as a carefree, lighthearted beacon in the darkness of Angel’s world. He became the heart of the show, and his kindness and love oftentimes was the only thing that made all the pain surrounding these characters we loved bearable. And in the Whedonverse, as soon as your goodness proves essential to the happiness of others, particularly the audience, you are doomed to suffer.

Of all the tragic figures from all the Joss Whedon series, Lorne is possibly the most depressing. He was filled with life and humor and wanted nothing more than to bring joy to others, and maybe a really good Sea Breeze. But his association with Angel, while it did allow him to do good, to make a difference, it also lead him so deep into the darkness of our world that he wasn’t able to pull back out. His time with Wolfram & Hart damaged him, and he never fully recovered from what happened to his friends there, particularly Fred. His breaking point, performing one last mission as a member of the Fang Gang, was to kill enemy-turned-ally Lindsey after the battle with the Circle of the Black Thorn. Though Lorne’s empathic sight told him that Lindsey would never be one of the good guys, the act of murder damages him in a way he may never recover from. The tragedy of Lorne is the death of his spirit. His final words of the series, as he drops the pistol and walks away, hunched under the weight of his moral compromises… “Goodnight, folks.”

One month after filming the final episode of Angel Andy Hallett suffered a dental infection that weakened his heart, and five years later, on March 29, 2009 he passed away. He was 33 years old. He was a magical presence in this, the real world, and his performance was a true and inspiring gift to us all.

Krevlornswath of the Deathwok Clan, the character, and Andy Hallett, the man, was unique among his people: he could hear music. Through them both we ALL could.

 

Originally presented as part of Gobbledygeek’s Top 100 Characters in Fiction series.

Top 100 Characters in Modern Pop Culture: #10-1

Last night, Paul and I reached the conclusion of our countdown of the Top 100 Characters in Modern Pop Culture. Here are choice excerpts from our top 10’s, but be sure to listen to the whole show to hear everything we said:

#10

PAUL: Calvin & Hobbes (Calvin & Hobbes)

The series was not only the funniest comic strip of all time (and on this point I will brook no dispute), but it was almost the most philosophical, satirical, and thought-provoking.

AJ: Death (The Sandman)

With the usual concepts and presentations of Death’s visage from Western culture so ingrained in my mind, just the idea that Death didn’t have to be gloomy or terrifying, and instead could be a radiant beacon of hope, felt stunningly fresh and bold to me.

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Top 100 Characters in Modern Pop Culture: #20-11

Last night, Paul and I continued our countdown of the Top 100 Characters in Modern Pop Culture with our penultimate installment, detailing our picks for #20-11. Be sure to listen to the show to hear everything we said, but here are some choice excerpts:

#20

PAUL: Westley/The Man in Black (The Princess Bride)

He bested the greatest swordsman, overpowered a giant, and outwitted a brilliant strategist. And then he got to be the one true love, thought lost at sea, now returned to his princess.

AJ: SS Colonel Hans Landa (Inglourious Basterds)

What makes Landa so terrifying is that he seems entirely bereft of a sense of morality; he manipulates himself into a position of power with whatever group seems to be on the winning side, caring little for past alliances or relationships.

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Top 100 Characters in Modern Pop Culture #30-21

On last night’s show, Paul and I continued our countdown of the Top 100 Characters in Modern Pop Culture with #s 30-21. Be sure to listen to the show for our full run-downs, but here are some choice excerpts:

#30

PAUL: Scott Pilgrim (Scott Pilgrim series)

The series is about Scott growing up, about his evolution, and if you as a reader are patient and invested, it absolutely pays off by the end.

AJ: Norma Desmond (Sunset Blvd.)

Norma is a bizarre, grotesque caricature, wanting to hold a funeral for her pet monkey at the film’s beginning and given to lots of other disturbingly narcissistic actions.

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Top 100 Characters in Modern Pop Culture: #40-31

On last night’s show, Paul and I continued our countdown of the Top 100 Characters in Modern Pop Culture with #s 40-31. Be sure to listen to the show for our full run-downs, but here are some choice excerpts:

#40

PAUL: Jesse Custer (Preacher)

He’s a good ol’ Southern boy, with a hard-drinking work ethic and a code of honor that he follows to an almost fundamentalist extreme.

AJ: The Joker (DC Comics)

Though the Joker is frightening on his own, as has been explored in many comics and filmic adaptations, he would mean nothing without the Batman. He is Batman reflected through a funhouse mirror, living to terrorize and provoke Gotham City as much as Batman exists solely to protect it and keep watch over it.

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Top 100 Characters in Modern Pop Culture: #50-41

On last night’s show, Paul and I continued our countdown of the Top 100 Characters in Modern Pop Culture with #s 50-41. Be sure to listen to the show for our full run-downs, but here are some choice excerpts:

#50

PAUL: Toothless (How to Train Your Dragon)

In my opinion, the character’s progression throughout the film is pretty spot-on with what feels like natural behavior, from the frightened, wounded animal in the cove to the trusting “pet” that accepts help from his human to ultimately the loyal friend and protector.

AJ: Rick Blaine (Casablanca)

Humphrey Bogart is one of the greatest actors of all time, and no role better defines his appeal than that of expatriate café owner Rick Blaine.

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Top 100 Characters in Modern Pop Culture #60-51

Last week, Paul and I reached the halfway mark of our countdown of the Top 100 Characters in Modern Pop Culture. Here are excerpts of our thoughts on our picks for #s 60-51, but be sure to listen to the show for our full rundowns.

#60

PAUL: Vincent (Beauty and the Beast)

Speaking with a gruff but gentle whisper and all but hidden beneath an impressive leonine Rick Baker prosthesis (which didn’t, but absolutely should have, won awards), Perlman was the very definition of Romantic-with-a-capital-R misunderstood emo monster heroes for a generation.

AJ: John Locke (Lost)

His regained ability to walk gave him a new lease on life, and he looked at the island as a beautiful, supernatural force. He refused to leave, and tried to get the rest of the group to stay as well, believing them to be there for a greater purpose. The constant push-and-pull between Jack, the man of science, and Locke, the man of faith, became the series’ core thematic conflict.

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Top 100 Characters in Modern Pop Culture #70-61

Catching up! In episode 17, Paul and I continued our countdown of the Top 100 Characters in Modern Pop Culture with #s 70-61. Be sure to listen to the show for our full run-downs, but here are some choice excerpts:

#70

PAUL: Daniel “Oz” Osbourne (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)

Buffy the Vampire Slayer was a series filled to the gills with loquacious and snarky characters, but Oz was unique: he was taciturn and snarky!

AJ: Enid Coleslaw (Ghost World)

Enid is so cynical about everything, from her parents to her friends to the customers at the local diner. She can be hard to like at first, especially because she spends most of the book insulting anyone and everything, but eventually the walls she’s built up start to crumble.

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Top 100 Characters in Modern Pop Culture: #80-71

Well, better late than never, right? On last Friday’s show, Paul and I continued our countdown of the Top 100 Characters in Modern Pop Culture. We’ve each got our own lists, and on Friday, we revealed our respective #s 80-71. Be sure to listen to the show for our full run-down, but here are our picks with excerpts of what we said:

#80

PAUL: Chief Martin Brody (Jaws)

Falls into one of my favorite categories: the reluctant hero.

AJ: C.C. Baxter (The Apartment)

So many of Billy Wilder’s movies are so cynical, but The Apartment is one of the few where hope is allowed to shine through.

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