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Concerned: The Half-Life and Death of Gordon Frohman is a Machinomic by Christopher C. Livingston based on Half Life 2. An Affectionate Parody, it blurs the line between Machinima and a traditional comic: all images are in-game screenshots taken from Garry's Mod, which allows the user to pose ragdolls and play around with the scripted events of the game, that have had speech bubbles and whatnot added. The name of the strip comes from a letter from "A Concerned Citizen" read in the game by the administrator of Earth, Dr. Breen, which the comic provides an explanation of.
The (concluded!) story follows the misadventures of Gordon Frohman, happy-go-lucky if none-too-bright resident of City 17 and former file clerk at Black Mesa, as he precedes/follows in Gordon Freeman's footsteps and attempts to ingratiate himself to the Combine overlords, catch Dr. Breen's latest show, cleanse the city of evil Vortigaunts, find an apartment, survive the horrifyingly friendly residents of Ravenholm, get his trans-human surgical upgrade, and stop that crowbar-wielding jerk from ruining everything. As the comic's name suggests, Frohman dies at the end. What? It's right there in the title!
Despite the fact that Frohman did actually die at the end; an unofficial sequel titled Concerned 2: A Concerned Rip-Off-The Continuing Adventures of Gordon Frohman by Norman N. Black demonstrates that our loveable dumbass survived due to a lack of Gameplay and Story Segregation.
Provides examples of:
- Accidental Aiming Skills: Frohman manages to take out three metrocops early on with three shots from a pistol, blind-firing from behind cover.
- Action Girl: Sandy, Frohman's unfortunate temporary traveling companion.
- Ambiguously Jewish. Gordon Frohman, Lampshaded.
- Animal Athlete Loophole: In a flashback to the first Half Life, for Frohman's pet Gargantua:
Frohman: There's no rule against having a Garg play soccer! This is gonna be the best season ever!
- Anyone Can Die: Well, almost everyone.
- Author Appeal: The reason the strip exists is precisely because the creator loves a great deal of the things Half-Life 2 does. Read his notes for more in-depth information.
- Battle Couple: Frohman thinks of Sandy as his girlfriend. Sandy thinks of Frohman as a liability.
- Bilingual Bonus: Froh means happy in German.
- Black Comedy
- Black Shirt: Frohman is staunchly pro-Combine and an avid fan of Dr. Breen, but is fortunately such a screw-up that he ends up helping the good guys by accident.
- Boss Room: Confused for "a perfect place to rest" by our hero.
- Brick Joke: In the very first comic, two members of Civil Protection comment that the train is running late. In the very last comic, the rebels comment that the train to Episode Two is running late, with one of the group commenting "again?"
- The T.G.I. Friday's, but it doesn't come up 'till the unofficial sequel.
- Call Back: A lot, but especially here.
- Don't forget how at the beginning when Frohman leaves the train station, he cannot find any TGI Fridays. Then, in the sequel, he passes by a TGI Friday as he's evacuating the city. Too bad it would explode even if Frohman got to stop in.
- Card-Carrying Villain: Wallace Breen fulfills this role basically.
- Catch Phrase: You got Frohwned!!!
- Chekhov's Gun: Described here. Or lampshaded. Or both.
- Cigar Fuse-Lighting: When Frohman meets his squadmates at the start of the revolt (who all introduce themselves by their character archetypes), one of them claims to be a demolitions expert who'll do exactly this.
- Continuity Nod: Several jokes in Concerned 2.
- Companion Cube: Gordon's *ahem* forward relationship with the gravity gun, coming to a head *ahem again* in strip #77.
- In Concerned 2, a "Breen Idol" and a Lawn Gnome play this role.
- Cool Ship: G-Man's magical hovercraft.
- Crapsack World: It wasn't great to begin with, and then Frohman helped make things worse...especially Ravenholm.
- Heck, before our hero got there, Ravenholm was nicer than most of the real world.
- Downer Ending: Read the title.
- Due to the deserved death of Frohman and Dr.Breen the ending could be seen as a subversion.
- Dumbass Has a Point: Used here, here, and here. Made all the more jarring considering Frohman's utter dumbassery.
- Eleventh-Hour Superpower: The truth behind the blue gravity gun revealed!
- Everything Fades: Played straight.
- Evil Laugh
Roommate wanted for 2 bedroom, 2 bath home. Hardwood floors, tool shed. Close to church, schools, and public teleportation. Cats, robotic dogs okay. $325 a month. Ravenholm area. Contact F. Grigori.
Note: Non-smoker preferred. Must enjoy sermons and shotguns.
PS: Heh heh! Hah hah! HAH-HAH-HAH-HAH-HAH-HAH-HAH!
Welcome. Welcome to City 17... also known as... HELL! HELL! YOU'RE ALL GONNA DIE! YOU'RE ALL DEAD!!! HA HA HA HA HA HA!
- Followed by Is This Thing Still On?
- Evil Twin: Subverted with Norman Frohman, a former special ops agents working for the Resistance and who is actually effective in combat--the total opposite of his twin.
- Exploding Barrels: And Frohman, being Frohman...
- The Faceless: The shots are always taken so that Gordon Freeman's face is never seen.
- To the point where even his picture on the character page is broken, so you still can't see his face!
- Fauxtivational Poster: Frohman made a few in an attempt to liven up the Combine Citadel. Incidentally, if you save the comic JPG and crop them right, you can make some kickass custom sprays.
- Flash Back: Nicely lampshaded. See the page quote on the Flash Back entry.
- Fourth Wall Observer: Early on in the comic, Frohman occasionally makes it clear that he's aware he's in a video game.
Civil Protection Officer: Pick up that can.
Frohman: How the heck do I do that?
[Hot-tip appears: "E Pickup object"]
Frohman: Oh. Whoah! I can pick up things in this game! I mean world. It's a little odd that I don't actually have to use my hands, though.
Civil Protection Officer: I was just thinking that myself.
- Genius Ditz: When Frohman suddenly comes across something that does not make sense in terms of game logic, he suddenly launches into a long-winded explanation of what is wrong and how it could be fixed, and goes back to picking his nose in the next comic. Author Filibusters have never been so subtle.
- He also once built a fully-operational Strider (though he never turned it on) because he didn't have enough dystopian oppression in his life in Ravenholm.
- Although you have to wonder where he got an alien to modify for it.
- He also once built a fully-operational Strider (though he never turned it on) because he didn't have enough dystopian oppression in his life in Ravenholm.
- Genre Savvy: The Rebels in strip 160, before Frohman accidentally vaporizes them with the pulse rifle's secondary fire.
- Hellish Copter: Some time in Bike Lane 17, Frohman attempts to discreetly dispose of his Combine disguise by tossing it off a cliff. The body gets caught in the rotors of a passing Combine Gunship, which then proceeds to cause a hilarious case of Disaster Dominoes.
- Here We Go Again: The series' bookends are snide comments on Valve's missed release dates.
- Horrible Judge of Character: Frohman has a kill-on-sight response to the friendly Vortigaunts and wants to join the Combine.
- I Call It Vera: Gordon becomes quite... attached to the Gravity Gun...
Frohman: There is no Gordon, Judith...There is only...The Claw.
- Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Norman.
- Improvised Weapon: As Freeman had his crowbar, Frohman wields a shovel.
- Informal Eulogy: "I'll never forget the day I met him. It was today. About a minute ago, when my head collided with his neck, breaking it. His neck, I mean. Not my head. My head is fine, not that anyone asked. Anyway. He seemed like a great guy with a lot of strong traits. Except for his neck, which was as brittle as glass. Amen."
- Insurmountable Waist High Fence: Lampshaded, of course.
- Is This Thing On?: See Evil Laugh above.
- Lampshade Hanging: Damn near everything.
- The Millstone: Frohman tries to help the Combine at every turn, but fails at all of said turns - and more besides.
- My Eyes Are Up Here: Frohman is fascinated by the Combine Elite outfit that somehow renders everything in 2D. He then exclaims things are 3D again when he stares at Judith Mossman's breasts, causing Judith to state the trope.
- Mythology Gag: Frohman, at the beginning of Sandtraps, states that "jumping puzzles are for effeminate Italian plumbers". This is a reference to the author's original site, Not My Desk, where he once did an article suggesting that Mario was gay.
- Name's the Same: Subverted, as described above.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Where to begin...?
- Ravenholm is a good place to begin. It used to be a peaceful sunny community, with only one whackjob priest who is ignored as a loon. Then Frohman comes by...
- He takes a short break from thoroughly screwing up the world of Half-Life to ruin the only good Counter-Strike server.
- No Animals Were Harmed: Subverted.
"Working with live seagull spawns is no picnic, either, as they're very fragile. Brush them with the physics gun beam or an object and they squawk and die immediately. Many, many seagulls were killed in the making of this comic."
- No Kill Like Overkill: Referred to by name
- Not the Fall That Kills You: It's evidently the ruptured organs and internal bleeding.
- Of Corpse He's Alive: Well, he tried.
- Orphaned Punchline: "So anyway, I said to Tony, 'Strider? I hardly KNOW 'er!'"
- Patrick Stewart Speech: Gordon's brother Norman is an expert.
Gordon: (thinking) Same old Norman, still thinks he's some bitter, world-weary action hero, spitting out sardonic, overly dramatic responses and acting like a camera is doing close-ups on him. Maybe I can trip him up... (aloud) Golly! I've got terrible hemorrhoids all up my butt! What say you?
Norman: You think it's painful sitting down? Try taking a stand!
Gordon: (thinking) Damn he's good.
- Pre-Mortem One-Liner: Frohman nearly succeeds in assassinating Gordon Freeman and saving Dr. Breen, but takes so long coming up with one the battle is over by the time he's ready.
- Product Placement: Parodied in the notes for this comic.
- Punch Clock Villain: Most of the Combine. As is Gordon while he's working for them.
- Quip to Black: Gordon's brother Norman is fond of doing these.
- Running Gag: Whenever Frohman orders in bulk, he ends up ordering far more of the item in question than needed, usually 100,000. He blames the keys being stuck.
- Shoot the Medic First: Tired of being shot at by both sides, Frohman attempts to adopt neutrality by dressing as a medic. It doesn't work.
- Shout-Out: To Ferris Buellers Day Off.
Townsperson: You're not Gordon Freeman.
Townsperson: You're... Gordon Frohman.
Townsperson: The Sausage King of Chic--
- Shovel Strike: Frohman's trusty shovel.
- Shur Fine Guns: Mr. Henderson's pulse rifle.
- Spanner in the Works: From the abundance of medpacks to aid the resistance, to the surplus supply of Exploding Barrels the Combine is forced to take cover behind, Frohman is his enemies' greatest ally.
- Sprint Meter: Lampshaded along with the Ten-Second Flashlight.
- Stealth Hi Bye: Sometimes Frohman gets the better of the G-Man, and sometimes he doesn't.
- Suspiciously Specific Denial
Judith: What? What? I don't know Dr. Breen! Who told you I know him? I don't! I've never met him! I've never even heard of him! I don't sleep with a picture of him under my pillow!
- Frohman does this. A lot.
Frohman: No need to come here and look over my shoulder or anything! Even though it looks like I'm just slapping my hands randomly on the keyboard, I'm actually placing the order! For GUNS! You're not being duped or lied to like you might think! Ha ha! Hey, everyone, I think Barney here thinks I'm not actually placing the order for guns! Okie dokie, the real order is placed and isn't fake at all! If the guns never show up then I don't know who to blame except that it's not me because I ordered them and didn't fake-order them like you seem to think for some reason!
Computer: Your real order for guns has been placed. Thank you for using Citadel purchasing.
Barney: Wow! Sorry I doubted you, Gordon!
- Suspicious Videogame Generosity: Lampshaded.
Rebel: And if you come across a huge cache of ammo, weapons, health packs, and armor chargers, what does that mean?
Frohman: That I'm about to get my ass kicked?
- Take That: Chris made more than one jab at Donnie Darko during the comic's run.
- That Cloud Looks Like...: Hmm, that thing in the canal looks like a guy in a little boat..
- Throw It In: In one of the very first strips, the creator "paused" things just as he'd cued everyone to look at Gordon. He just so happened to take the screenshot when the video of Doctor Breen on the wall had his mouth closed and appeared to be looking right at Gordon as well, creating an unintended but hilarious impression that even Doctor Breen had stopped to stare, despite the screens not being two-way.
- Too Dumb to Live: Frohman, who bypasses a puzzle by flinging him and his boat over an obstacle by shooting exploding barrels, nails boards to his feet to cross sandtraps, and gets the "take pictures of you" and "chop you up with a whirling blade of death" flying drones mixed up. Also done with the first Counter-Strike server Frohman's accidentally launched into. And again, surviving zombification by having the headcrab starve to death on his head. He only stays alive due to a cheat code. He even literally fulfills this trope by being so dumb he turns off the code because he thinks "Buddha" is a funny word. And even that wouldn't be enough if he hadn't screwed his last chance by shooting at the Vortigaunts, who quickly give up on saving his life. Frohman dies soon after.
- Lampshaded here.
Frohman: I don't have any idea about a lot of things.
- Tranquil Fury. "He's [Freeman got. My. Gravity. Gun.]"
- Unhand Them, Villain!: In Concerned 2, Frohman threatens a barnacle with a lawsuit unless it lets go of his Breen Idol. Upon finding out that it's inedible, the Barnacle complies by dropping the bust...on Frohman's head.
- Vertical Kidnapping: Poor Sandy
- Villain Protagonist: It's easy to forget because he's such a lovable goofball, but Gordon Frohman is actively trying to be the best traitor-to-humanity he can be. He's just terrible at it.
- Webcomic of the Game: Though according to the comic, the events of Half-Life 2 are happening in Frohman's wake.
- What Do You Mean It's Not Heinous?: "There's nothing worse than having to pose the same scene twice. Well, maybe genocide. But posing the same scene twice is pretty lame, too."
- What Measure Is a Mook?: Unintentionally Deconstructed Trope with the "Frank Tangent" quartet of comics. Giving a faceless mook a life, family, goals and dreams, and a sympathetic point-of-view was intended for comedy, due to "the ludicrous concept of it all". It, uh, didn't really work out as expected.
- Wreaking Havok: There's a reason Frohman loves the Gravity Gun so much.
- You All Look Familiar: Lampshaded repeatedly.
- In a meta-example, the same character model used for Frohman (male_07) was also used in the machinima of Full Life Consequences as John Freeman who was Gordon Freeman's brother.
- You Have Failed Me: As much as Dr. Breen wants to, he doesn't actually have this power.
Frohman: Well, my throat is sorta scratchy. But it could be all those SunChips I just ate.
- Your Brain Won't Be Much of a Meal: After Gordon walks away with a headcrab on a head for the better part of a chapter, it eventually falls off, having died of malnutrition. Gordon provides a Lampshading in the background.
- Zombie Apocalypse: The idea of shelling beautiful, isolated Ravenholm with headcrab-filled artillery came from, you guess it...