Wading through the massive hype surrounding big-name video game releases is often an inane, demoralizing process. With every publisher hoping to catch the viral wave to huge initial sales, the Internet has become flooded with promotional videos, alternate reality games, and news of concocted publicity stunts. Some of the most unpredictable products of this process are tie-in comic books, which attempt to bridge the gap between comic nerds and gaming nerds. These vary wildly in quality, ranging from Ben Templesmith’s awesome Dead Space motion comics to the listless mediocrity of Wildstorm’s comic book adaptation of Prototype.
However, a handful of promotional video game comics have brightly stood out from the crowd: Valve’s colorful, lively promotional webcomics. These increasingly ambitious stories have been posted by the developer in the run-up to various updates and new game releases – perhaps most notably in the case of the Left 4 Dead 2 add-on “The Sacrifice.” Widely praised upon their posting, it looks as if these short-subject comics will soon see print in book form: This November, Dark Horse Comics will collect all of them in Valve Presents: The Sacrifice and Other Steam-Powered Stories.
Weighing in at 304 pages, this hardcover collection will be nothing to sneeze at. Since we only have the initial solicitation of the title to go on, at this point we only know that the majority of the book will feature the aforementioned “The Sacrifice” and the Portal 2 webcomic “Lab Rat.” However, at that size, it’s likely that every one of the Valve webcomics will see paper-and-ink publication. At last, we will be able to caress the manly mustache of Saxton Hale with our own fingers.
Though the collection will probably not receive the lavish presentation of, say, the Hellboy: Library Edition hardcovers, Dark Horse is no slouch when it comes to putting together comic book collections. Expect glossy paper, solid binding, and no doubt a good chunk of extras (e.g., sketchbooks, creator commentary) after the actual stories. The $30 price point is a bit steep – but amid a market full of $100 Omnibus and Absolute editions of similar size, Valve Presents is actually in the middle range of comic book collections (so far as price is concerned). Also, we can expect a respectable discount at most online retailers once it’s listed (as of this article’s publication, the book is included in neither Amazon nor Barnes and Noble’s catalog).
Even though the comics collected in Valve Presents were initially released as free webcomics, don’t be fooled into thinking they were produced by amateurs. The stories have been most notably drawn by Michael Avon Oeming, the man behind “The Sacrifice” and “Lab Rat.” Oeming is an Eisner Award-winning comics veteran known for his work on Powers and the stellar The Mice Templar. His unique art style and sheer panache (especially in “Lab Rat,” which I unabashedly love) separate these stories from the usual promotional chaff into full-on comics art. If you haven’t yet, definitely check out “Lab Rat” for an idea of what the rest of the collection will look like.
Are you pumped for a print edition of Valve’s comics? Do you think that they should stick to digital editions? Did you enjoy “Lab Rat” as much as I did? Share your thought bubbles in the comments!
Valve Presents: The Sacrifice and Other Steam-Powered Stories is set to be released November 16.
Source: Comic Book Resources [via CVG]