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    Uses of concrete in the media. Episode 1: Comic books

    Despite being a massively widely used material and an everyday sight, concrete doesn’t seem to have excited writers, painters and other artists as much as, say, trees, or the sky or the sea. Well, you might be thinking, that’s because concrete’s boring. Or maybe, if you haven’t seen the remarkable possibilities of pattern imprinting and colouring concrete, you think that concrete is ugly.

    Well, in this series of blog-posts we’ll be bringing some concrete-related bits of art and media to your attention.

    Concrete is a (relatively) modern material. Despite being originally used by the ancient Romans, it was “forgotten” until the 19th century, and only in the 20th century did it become the construction industry’s material of choice. So it’ll come as no surprise that the majority of the creative works that we’ll be looking at are very modern. In fact, there are few things more modern than the format of our first example: it’s a graphic novel. (Also known as a comic book…)

    Concrete, published by Dark Horse, America’s largest independent comic book imprint, began its run in 1986. As with many graphic novels, it isn’t much concerned with realism, preferring to use fantastic, impossible events to communicate truths about the human condition. Hence, the Concrete series tells the story of a political speech writer who has his human body replaced with a new super-tough, concrete-like body. By aliens.

    If you’re struggling to see where “communicating truths about the human condition” mentioned above would fit into that story line, here is a very interesting interview with the author of Concrete, in which he explains the complex thought processes behind the story of a concrete-bodied speech-writer.

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