Concrete: Depths – Paul Chadwick

From Goodreads.

From Goodreads.

After an alien operation swaps his brain into a stone body, a young speechwriter uses his new abilities to become the world’s most robust adventurer. Taking the name Concrete, he climbs mountains, rescues miners, and swims the Atlantic. Yet it is ultimately the human side of life that will continually confound this superhuman.

So I’m practicing pitching books for a Uni course, and what you read up above was once such pitch. This was a really great book though, it reminded me a lot of Will Eisner’s stuff. I’m talking about a black and white comic that’s concerned more with emotional drama than super-heroics. Don’t let that put you off – there’s still aliens!

What makes it work is that I liked the characters. Concrete is a philosophical protagonist who willingly acknowledges the absurdity of his situation, while his assistant is believably baffled and the government scientist sent to research him is appropriately fascinated. I’m detecting a love triangle between all three parties, and I’d like to learn how it resolves itself.

I’m surprised I haven’t heard of Concrete before. I guess the publisher, Dark Horse, just doesn’t have the same marketing resources as DC or Marvel. I was aware of series like Fables and Doom Patrol as soon as I finished my first Sandman paperback, which admittedly makes sense as they were all under DC’s vertigo imprint. Still, Concrete deserves to better known than it seems to be.

The copy I read was from my university library. I fully intend to chase up the rest of this series. There’s seven volumes left, I can probably get them somewhere.


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