Complete Concrete, by Paul Chadwick

phoenicality's review

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I actually read Concrete in its 7 volumes, but I won't star each one because they ran together.

Honestly, I was a little disappointed. The concept for the character - basically taking a superhero origin story where the character was not a superhero but trying to live a normal life - was interesting, and I liked the idea of the first bits, where Concrete takes advantage of his new abilities to do the kinds of exploration and adventure that he'd always wanted. But it started spiralling downward when Chadwick politicized the story. I have nothing against politics or messages in a story, but they seemed egregiously out of place in Concrete, as though Chadwick had said "Well I have this comic book and I'm really liberal, let's rock this!" Concrete's adventures with Earth First! or with the Overpopulation crusade just felt kind of cheesy and out of place, and made me miss the wasted potential of what started out as an adventure series.

Top this off with "comic-book dialogue" which can only be considered stereotypical at best, and you've got a package with promise which sadly wastes it.

manwithanagenda's review

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adventurous challenging dark emotional inspiring reflective sad medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes


The same man that gave me 'The Cowboy Wally Show' thrust 'Concrete' into my hands and, again, I'm grateful.

Concrete, the intelligent man trapped in a body at once empowering and limiting, is not a character I could have come across on my own. My dalliance in comic books has been slight enough that even a title this universally admired would have escaped my notice.

Paul Chadwick takes a man who goes through a horrible trans-formative experience equal to most superheroes and, after some perfunctory government prodding, is placed instead in 1980s LA at a loss as to what to do with his powers. He accomplishes some great things, but he is also very much a fallible, awkward man. I love the humor, in the writing and in the subtlety of the pictures. Chadwick can do big panels, but the real magic is performed with the shifts in Concrete's eyes as he looks at Maureen. Even when he is playing bodyguard to a fatalist rock singer or climbing Everest, Concrete is endearingly vulnerable.

Either Virginia Woolf said it, or it came from some essay commenting about her, but the thought is that even the most mundane moments, properly observed, make the greatest art. 'Concrete' is a shining example of that, however extraordinary Ron Lithgow has become.

Chadwick's labor of love continue in Concrete's 'Collected Short Stories, Vol 1'

neven's review

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There's nothing terribly wrong with Concrete, but it doesn't stand out in a big way either. The premise is rather thin and the storylines come out of nowhere; issue 4 already has our not-yet-established hero playing bodyguard for a rock star. Of all things, the book is closest to a 1990s teen soap opera, like 90210 or Melrose Place. Odd.