Valve is teaming up with IGN Comics to bring a Portal 2 comic named “Portal 2: Lab Rat” to not just all the Portal fans out there, but the people who love Portal but don’t know it yet also.
As always, the comic has been created entirely in-house, with the help of quite a few Valve employees, including the well-known Michael Avon Oeming, who first started working at Valve two years ago and also worked on last year’s “Left 4 Dead: The Sacrifice” comic.
IGN Comics: How did you get involved with the Portal 2 comic? I assume you’re a big fan of the game?
Michael Avon Oeming: I came to work at Valve about two years ago. Until then I’d never played the game, but I fell in love with it right away. I came here wanting to learn more about the digital interface between comics and games and to work with and learn from the amazing talent here.
We’d been working on comics for L4D and TF2 when Portal 2 began to develop. Andrea Wicklund is one of the artists here (She’s also the hand of Left 4 Dead) who has always wanted to do comics, and she’s worked on the design end of the actual game. She’s done a fantastic job at painting her first full comic; it’s like she’s been doing it for years.
She handled the body of the story while I did the layouts and illustrated the flashback scenes in a contrasting, yet complimentary style. Ted Kosmatka did most of the writing.
Early on, we all sat in a room with writers Marc Laidlaw, Chet Faliszek, Erik Wolpaw, Jay Pinkerton and team leader Josh Weir, and we pulled the story together in typical Valve collaborative style. Ted pushed forward from there and wrote his first comic script and really knocked it out of the ballpark. We’ve all been learning to letter together. It’s a group effort, and I’m as proud of this as any comic I’ve ever done outside of Valve.
The comic fills the gap between the first and the second game, focusing on Doug Rattmann, or as we like to call him: “the Ratman”, a former Aperture Science technician known for his psychotic scribblings strewn about the walls of Portal’s test chambers.
IGN Comics: Will the comic be detailing the background of Aperture Science at all?
Michael Avon Oeming: We won’t find out GLaDOS’s last name, but yes, we’ll see a bit more behind the curtain. Not that we’re saying there are curtains in Aperture, not officially anyway. But if there were, what would that mean?
Of course there are, Mr. Oeming! Aperture was founded for the sole purpose of creating shower curtains, so I wouldn’t be surprised there is a massive room somewhere in the Enrichment Center filled with tens of thousands of curtains. The real question is, of course: what is behind them?
IGN Comics: Perhaps the most important question: is there cake involved?
Michael Avon Oeming: Actually yes, we hid the truth about cake pretty deep in the story. If anyone finds it, be sure to go out and have some fun, it means you have too much time on your hands!
The full interview and some comic previews are over at IGN Comics, right here.
Stay tuned, as Part 1 of the comic will be released this Friday! Can’t wait to see it.