It’s been a while since I’ve read a really good graphic novel. I thought this one was going to turn out to be a superhero type comic but it totally wasn’t. This book is a collection of the first ten Concrete comics. Concrete is the name of a guy made of concrete. You can read more about his origin story in, I think, the second chapter. He decides that since he’s stuck in a super-strong body with keen eyesight, he’s going to try to travel and help people and do some other stuff. He succeeds partly, accompanied by a pretty lady doctor and a “I’m writing a novel” personal assistant guy who is always meeting chicks.
What makes this book stand apart is the excellent illustration -- I can’t imagine how hard it must be to make a 1200 pound man made of cement into a sympathetic character -- as well as the compelling storylines. All the characters are complex and the illustrations are both very good sort of “classic” comic style while also stretching the form somewhat. I finished this book very very eager to pick up the next one.
This was an exceptional YA book. It follows a pretty standard formula -- new girl comes to town, meets weird girl who spends a lot of time in the woods. School starts, weird girl is an outcast, new girl has to make a choice about whether to hang out with normal kids or the weird kid. However, Murphy gives this story much more depth. The characters are all fleshed out, even the grouchy Dad and the weird writing teacher, and you always get multiple perspectives on all the characters. The two girls wind up going in to the big city for a writing class and discover a bit about themselves but again it’s not the pat sort of self-discovery that I’d expect (possibly my expectations are just too low) and interesting things happen.