Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Classics - Concrete #1

Comic books will occasionally try the "real world" approach, but it usually doesn't work - or it doesn't last.

It's a concept familiar to fans of "hard" science fiction - you allow one flight of fancy in the story, but the rest of it is true to reality.

One of the few comic books (and perhaps the only one) to manage this is Paul Chadwick's excellent Concrete.

I admit that when I first saw the character in a short story in Dark Horse Presents, I thought, "A big guy made of rocks - it's a ripoff of The Thing."

I was way off base.

Concrete was a man named Ronald Lithgow who went on a camping trip with a friend. They were captured (apparently) by aliens, who transplanted their minds into the rock-like "Concrete" bodies. The two attempt to escape, but only Lithgow makes it - and the alien ship blasts off, never to be seen again.

This leaves Concrete trying to cope with being trapped in a powerful alien form while living in the real world.

And Chadwick sticks to that concept - there are no supervillains, no supernatural or science fiction elements other than Concrete himself. (There are mysteries and plenty of adventure, of course.)

Concrete graduated to his (its?) own comic in 1987, and Chadwick does amazing work here, both with intelligent scripts that are loaded with unique and interesting characters, and outstanding artwork that balances real characters, real-world situations and an inventive sense of layout and design.

This issue is a great example of the kind of events Concrete would take part in. Some coal miners are trapped in a cave-in, and Concrete uses his great strength to attempt a rescue.

It's a tense look at how super-strength might work for real, and an interesting look at how the media reacts to the events.

It's great to see Concrete still in action these days, once again appearing in the new Dark Horse Presents series. With stories crafted by a terrific writer and an outstanding artist (who happen to be the same person), this is a great series and well worth the effort to track down.

It's the real deal.

Grade: A+


1 comment:

El Vox said...

Concrete is the real deal and I love the way Chadwick injects his own interest of the world around him into Concrete's world. He's also a great artist, which gives the book his own imprint. I certainly wish a new Concrete series would appear soon.