Saturday, June 27, 2009

When Concrete Became Michael Jackson's Bodyguard

The death of Michael Jackson reminded me of a story from one of my favorite comic books, "Concrete" by Paul Chadwick. It's another one of the best comic books you've never heard of. You might have, if the rumored feature film to be directed by Steven Spielberg would have come off 15 years ago or so. But it never did. And the comic book, whose heyday was in the late 1980s and early 1990s, isn't even published anymore.

"Concrete" was the sory of a writer who, while on a camping trip, was kidnapped by aliens and had his brain implanted in the large, lumbering, seemingly indestructible alien body pictured above. After he escapes, the thrust of the series became much more down-to-earth: the story of how an average (if emotionally sensitive) man would deal with this predicament, which made him a detatched and sometimes bemused observer of the world and people around him. It was not a traditional comic book in that Concrete rarely used his "powers," except those of observation.

One issue saw him accept a role as a bodyguard (and food taster) for an emotionally unstable, manipulative rock super-star called "Duke," who was part Michael Jackson and part Prince. Both paranoid and egotistical, like Michael Jackson apparently (according to Lisa Marie Presley yesterday), Duke was also preoccupied by a fear of dying young.

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