The Gravity Gun, 45 Years Prior to Half-Life 2

Read more “The Gravity Gun, 45 Years Prior to Half-Life 2”

When Half-Life 2 was released in 2004, everyone was taken aback by the marvelous gravity gun – a beam weapon that could pick up and throw objects. It paved the way for a lot of awesomeness. Enemies could be defeated in entirely new ways and puzzles could be solved by stacking or moving stuff around.

In fact, the gravity gun was so ingenious that it has since been copied by many other video games. One of my personal favorites is Rochard from 2011, a side-scrolling platformer with an emphasis on puzzle solving. I have also seen similar gravity manipulators in e.g. Dead Space, Doom 3, and Singularity.

But did you know that Valve didn’t actually invent the gravity gun? To be absolutely fair, the honor of envisioning it should really go to the Belgian comics artist André Franquin – more than 40 years before Half-Life 2 was even conceived. Just take a look at this:

Spirou and Fantasio: The Prisoner of the Buddha

Spirou and Fantasio

Read more “Spirou and Fantasio”

This is part of a blog series about European graphic novels. See this blog post for a small introduction.

As an European, my childhood reading was dominated by the Franco-Belgian graphic novels, of which the most renowned titles today are probably Tintin, Lucky Luke and Asterix.

But right up there in top with all of those certainly was Spirou and Fantasio.

This series had amazing novels with an energy and an ingenuity that made for truly unique stories that deserve to be put up there on the golden shelf of fame. But only when we’re talking about those created by the Belgian artist André Franquin (1924-1997) and only during what I consider to be his golden age – the graphic novels from about 1950-1963.

Franquin's Signature

In most of this golden age of the series, Franquin conformed to a clear line of style (Ligne claire) – much like in Tintin. Another reason why I like this period so much.