Monday, June 4, 2012

Concrete vol. 1: Depths by Paul Chadwick

Concrete is a non-traditional superhero created by Paul Chadwick.  Chadwick has tried a multitude of times in different stories to explain Concrete's origin story, but let's just say it involves aliens.  Concrete has superpowers akin to more traditional superheroes, but his stories are characterized by using his powers for noble causes, such as rescuing miners from a collapsed cave.  Below are discussion questions for the next book club:

1.  Paul Chadwick seems to want Concrete to be a non-traditional superhero.  In what ways does he accomplish this?

2.  Were you satisfied by Concrete's origin story?  Was it superfluous?

3.  What is the significance of Concrete being a former Senatorial speech writer?

4.  What commentary on products and promotion is Chadwick making with all of the Concrete memorabilia?

5.  Did you find the art or layout of Concrete to offer anything of note?

6.  Chadwick has said these stories are semi-autobiographical, such as the one about hiking.  Compare what Concrete tells us about its author versus what Shortcomings says about its author.  Does the lens through which the author reflects upon him or herself make a difference in the end result?

7.  Was it wise for Chadwick to focus on the human element of these stories?  What is offered here that isn't offered in say, The Thing plot arcs?

8.  Concrete was written in the early 80s.  Has this graphic novel aged well?  How so?  What modern conventions are we missing/now accustomed to?

9.  Chadwick seems content with Concrete doing the mundane in his stories.  Is this purposeful to better focus on the human elements of the characters?  Why not have the best of both worlds: big exciting set pieces and human elements?  

10.  Concrete, who wants to write of his adventures, is surrounded by two writers: one for a scientific journal and one aspiring novelist.  What is the significance of this combination of people?

11.  The aliens who transplanted Concrete's body were never heard from again and probably died on their way back to their home planets, Poochie-style.  Why?

12.  The cover up story is that Concrete is a cyborg created by the U.S. government, as opposed to the whole alien thing.  How is this possibly a better alternative  for the masses to know?

13.  Concrete clearly loves Maureen on some level.  Can a doctor/patient relationship or a rock person/non-rock person relationship work?  Why is this important to the series?