One of my favorite parts of the internet from the mid-2000s was the burgeoning Half-Life 2. (opens in a new tab)cartoon scene. Using a combination of Garry’s Mod’s model pose feature and a rudimentary knowledge of Adobe Photoshop, it was possible for artistically inept people like me to create exciting, fun, or just plain weird comics revolving around the Half-Life 2 universe. Originally posted in places like Facepunch (opens in a new tab)forums and the defunct PHWComics website, some of these comics have established a cult following, such as PC Gamer writer Chris Livingston’s own comic series, Concerned (opens in a new tab).
Now over 700 of those comics have been rescued from history’s recycling bin and archived on the Metrocop site. (opens in a new tab). It’s an impressive collection that includes most of the major HL2 comic book series, such as Kenny the Cop comic adventures (opens in a new tab) and Jeff (opens in a new tab)the horror epic My Last Night in Ravenholm (opens in a new tab)and of course, Apostasy (opens in a new tab)probably the most professional Half-Life 2 comic ever made.
The site is operated by Mythos, also a prominent Half-Life 2 comic creator. “The old website started in 2012 basically as a way for me to continue publishing my Half-Life comics online, but has eventually evolved into an archive of other people’s Source Engine comics,” he told PC Gamer. “I ended up having the idea a year later to recreate it from scratch both as an archive as before, but with even more content, and a website for articles on the subject of Half- Life.” It should be noted that all available comics have been hosted with permission from the original authors.
Metrocop is certainly a much smoother operation than the websites these comics were originally hosted on, with a clean layout, live thumbnails, and a great reading experience. “I prioritized simplicity, accessibility, and speed, so that each page loaded almost instantly,” says Mythos. The site is also frequently updated, having recently received accessibility options such as alt text for each archived comic and tabbing for keyboard navigation.
It’s great to see these comics preserved in this way, as wonderful artifacts that showcase the intense creativity that grew around Half-Life 2 and Garry’s Mod. If by any chance you have a Half-Life 2 comic lingering on a hard drive somewhere that you would like to add to the collection, you can drop the Metrocop team a line here (opens in a new tab).