Wednesday, November 21, 2012

30 in 30: Concrete - Think Like a Mountain

#15:  Concrete: Think Like a Mountain
Storytellers: Paul Chadwick
Publisher: Dark Horse
Year Of Publication: 1989-1998 (collection: 2006)
Page Count (can be approximate or in # of issues format): 198 pages

It’s an old lesson – and maybe more of a reiteration – that whenever you have characters with competing viewpoints, you have to view each character’s argument from the standpoint that “they are in the right.”  If we are lazy in contemplating both sides of the argument – spelling it out in positive terms as a true activist/believer would do – then the dialogue will not ring true, and it will come across as rhetoric rather than a story.

One thing Chadwick likes to do often is show the hidden parts of nature (whether in the underbrush or beneath the Earth’s surface) in a panel.  It not only makes for an interesting and distinct visual stamp for Concrete, but it also ties in with the main character’s personal ideology.  Utilizing the visuals to enhance characterization is an interesting tool that I’d like to try and use in my own work.
Also, incorporating the entirety of the scene into the creation of the images can be effective and engaging.  In a specific instance in chapter 1 of “Think Like a Mountain,” the scene turns to the roof of Concrete’s home, which is on fire.  Concrete has solar collectors on the roof, and Chadwick uses them as inset panels of this scene to show the reaction of those on the ground to the person on the roof who is dumping the contents of the water collection tank that Concrete threw up there to stop the fire from spreading. 

NOTES / REVIEW / SYNOPSIS This book collects the 6-issue series “Think Like a Mountain” along with a number of shorter stories that have been published elsewhere – most often Dark Horse Presents.  This was the last of the major Concrete collections for me to read and it was typical Concrete, which means it is a well-crafted book.  Chadwick managed to make the main narrative flow naturally, and his art was stunning in its detail and imaginative imagery.  Some of the shorter stories were hit or miss for me, and even when I didn’t enjoy a story, or felt like it didn’t work fully, I appreciated the experimentation incorporated by Chadwick in many of these vignettes.  If you like good comics, this is worth reading, and if you’re already a Concrete fan, then you’ll really enjoy this.

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