The Adventures of Hercule Cubbage: Chapter 4

As per usual with chapters of the ongoing adventures of the son of Colonel Cubbage, this has been a long time coming. However, my mapper friend ErikKiller finally managed to compile the map I needed earlier today, and thus I finally completed it! Without further ado (except a few links to previous chapters as well as a short recap to jog the memory), here’s the fourth chapter of The Adventures of Hercule Cubbage! Enjoy!

Previous Chapters:
http://metrocop.files.wordpress.com/2012/08/taohc1_cover.jpg?w=333&h=471http://metrocop.files.wordpress.com/2013/04/taohc2_000.jpg?w=333&h=471http://metrocop.files.wordpress.com/2013/08/taohc3_000.jpg?w=333&h=471

Recap:
Hercule Cubbage, the son of Colonel Odessa Cubbage, and fellow refugee Lucy are making their way to the Coast, presumably to defend Colonel Cubbage from an incoming Combine attack – or so Hercule thought. On their way, they met up with Alyx Vance, who clarified the identity of “the One Free Man” to a confused Hercule. The three joined forces in order to reach a train for the Coast, but Alyx had to leave alone for Nova Prospekt while Hercule and Lucy fended off an attacking Hunter-Chopper.
Now driving a commandeered APC through the outskirts of City Seventeen, Hercule Cubbage is left to consider one distressing possibility – that all he knew about his father was a lie…

I do hope you liked the comic. Please rate and leave a reply, help keep the thread alive for more to see! And, as always, any news related to Hercule Cubbage, as well as more about GMod comics, can be found at Metrocop.net! Also, don’t forget to keep an eye on the Comic Discussion Thread here at Facepunch!

Next chapter: the long-awaited reunion of father and son. The end?

Yes, yes! More wonderful Cubbage comics!

This was definitely worth the wait. Nice comic, Mythos. Can’t wait for the new chapter, in a few months.

The comic is your usual goodness, and I greatly enjoyed the character interactions and explanation for Hercule’s desertion. The red for the kill panels is a bit too jarring, even if it’s meant to convey that suddenness. I thought the subtle grey framing was a nice touch.

I’m curious, what part of the comic did you have to delay because of the map compiling? I can only see coast_07 or whatever number the map is that has NLO on it.

You have kept us waiting in anticipation for this. And you did not disappoint.

Wonderful work as always Mythos! Poor male_07, his career was just starting to make a comeback…

Fixed that for you.

Thanks, everyone! I’m really glad you enjoyed it!

Yeah, I was afraid of that. Still, I went with it, I figured it was better to do a more stylistic and odd panel than actual gore. Appreciate the feedback, though!

This is gonna sound incredibly stupid, but the problem were the final four panels. Yes, that is the HL2 map; however, it was edited so the lighting and skybox matched those of the later Coast maps, such as the one where you first face the Antlion Guard.

Now, I did that, and waited for four months for it, because it’s extremely important for the next chapter, as that map is gonna be used a whole lot. I wanted to make the passage of time obvious, at least in chapter 5, and the regular NLO map was way too bright to work for that. It was basically useless for this chapter but, for the sake of consistency, I had to use it.

You may be happy to learn that, alongside the map that was barely used in this chapter but was needed for chapter 5, I also got, at the same time, everything else I needed to do it in its entirety. So basically there’s no more waiting for pre-production, at least for now!

However, I do have exams nowadays, so I’m only gonna start the comic at the end of this month, and I still can’t promise not to make you wait a while anyway. Just bear in mind the waits for chapters 2, 3 and 4 were due to mapping, and this time there’s no need for that.

I actually really like the red death panels. I dunno, death is so frequent in video games and action movie-type stories, even in Half-Life, that the deaths of some more male_##s at this point probably wouldn’t add up to much. The red panels kind of put an exclamation mark on them, made more of their importance than would’ve been conveyed normally.

I love it. It was a pleasant surprise to see this episode come out finally! I re-read the series up to this point too. Highly anticipated too and you didn’t disappoint at all.

Excellent stuff and top notch quality work.

The legend continues!!

I’m actually curious: which of the four chapters released so far has been your favorite and why, guys?

I’d like to see what attributes people have enjoyed, especially seeing as I’ve been told the tone of the comic varies a lot between chapters (although so did HL2’s when you think about it).

I did a very quick glance through the previous three chapters, and I’d say this is the most aesthetically pleasing of the four, so far. The editing is a lot more subtle, the sound effects blend better with the paneling, the panels themselves are larger and given more negative space rather than being placed as insets, and the maps themselves lend for more well lit panels. Past that, the writing here also felt more fun to read. Like I said previously, the character interactions were what got me interested in this chapter, even if the speaking roles mostly embodied a single trope (though, the male_04 isn’t even given a name, let alone any lines).

Thanks for the feedback! Believe me, I’d have loved to develop both Colm and Martin further (Martin in particular, because I grew oddly attached to the guy as I made the comic - it only made it harder to kill him off, which was always the plan), but seeing as I wanted to tell the flashback within the 20 pages of a chapter, I had to go with base character archetypes.
Like I’ve mentioned before elsewhere, it’s also why I went with Male_07: people have preconceived notions of the roles he “plays”. Male_07 is either a complete badass or a comedic idiot savant, and the comic quickly points out he’s no idiot and a hero, so I played on that previous knowledge to give the character some more relevance.

Now as to why I didn’t simply discard my somewhat arbitrary 20 pages rule to develop those two better? Because, for one, I like to have a set 20 pages of content for every release, and also because I feel the pacing is a lot better in my comics with that limit. That said, considering the amount of stuff I intend to include in chapter 5, I may make it a double-sized one (i.e. 40 pages, or 1000 x 56560 px).

Every expedition needs a redshirt! Plus I admittedly got a kick out of having a stoically mute character in every scene, only to kill off as soon as I could - he’s like every single background character from The Walking Dead. And the choice of the Male_04 model is part of a very obscure in-joke from Metrocop.net. It’s not so much bad writing as it was an elaborate gag for my own personal amusement… which I guess is bad writing.

I’m really glad you enjoyed the editing, because I went all out in this one in terms of creativity. I’ll probably be a bit more subdued in the next one in that regard, but to make up for it, it should have much more character interaction the way you liked it, as well as a slight comeback of some humour in certain scenes. I’m looking forward to making Chapter 5, believe me!

I really liked the third one a lot (although, honestly, I hate having to single one out as a favorite because they’re all well done so it’s hard to do). Mainly because I like the conversations between all the characters. Strong character development seems to be something I love more than, say, the action sequences.

They’re all entertaining reads all the same!

Thanks, man. Glad to read that people enjoy the character development and chatting, seeing as chapter 5 is gonna have enough of that. I do like to balance it with a little action; in fact, it’s kind of an unwritten rule to have an action setpiece in every chapter. I do try to make them necessary, not just filler, though.

Been a while since I was here, so only just now got to this.

Very certainly worth the wait. I think this is a series that gets stronger with each chapter, both in terms of writing and presentation - which considering your consistency is an odd claim to make, but I feel like there’s clear improvement every time. I really like the backstory added here and how you went about approaching it. Subtle things like Hercule addressing his father formally, the reputation he has that he hasn’t earned yet and his natural tactical approach to combat (That I assume rubbed off from his father).

I think Colm is my favourite character from this chapter because he was written very well. I thought it was cool how he saw through Hercule’s deception so easily and yet took the gamble anyway, perhaps realising what Hercule already knew - he needed to get out of that camp and see the life outside. Martin had a lot of personality too and I kind of felt like I knew he was going to be killed off, but it still struck a chord anyway. This was an excellent way to give some strength to Hercule’s exile and extra apprehension for returning home. It helps give the previous chapters more impact. Also special mention for the panel setup showing Hercule’s scope - very creative.

Don’t really have any criticisms or suggestions, like I said you’re very consistent with your series. I agree with others in that you’ve introduced some characters here that would have actually been fun to see develop, but that’s to your credit considering they weren’t around for very long. Definitely more, please.

Glad you liked it, Dactrius. You hit the nail on some of the more subtler details I tried to bring to light here. The series may have started as a somewhat lighthearted romp, but the only reason I ever managed to stick to it like this is because the character arc is a bit deeper than that.

In a way, this chapter brings to light the true story hidden behind the action-heavy previous chapters: it’s a coming-of-age story. Not literally, but in the sense that this character, initially portrayed as goofy and lost in his own fantasy, starts to grow up and put behind him the notion that his father’s immaculate and perfect, realizing that parents are flawed humans and not superheroes. In that way, I also hope to provide some depth to the HL2 character of Odessa Cubbage in the next chapter and the culmination of the arc.

The thread didn’t pick up as much steam (no pun intended) as the previous ones, but it’s not really about ratings or replies anyway. Thank you all who replied, rated and supported my little story so far. Next chapter’s already being actively worked on and I hope it can be up to your expectations, if not surpass them. Still not sure if it’s gonna be a regular 20 pages or actually extended - most likely the latter, as there’s a lot of ground to cover and a lot more complexity to add.