Paul Chadwick is one of my favorite people in comics. Few people know this, but my first paid freelance job was doing a Concrete timeline for one of his short story collections. Talk about an awesome gig. I got every Concrete book for free and was given money to read them. All I had to do was put the stories in order. Yeesh, way to put me through the sweatshop.
So, to have Paul pop up in my google alerts this morning saying:
"As for favorite titles, my mind rushes back to my childhood, which seems irrelevant. We’re in such a rich period at present, everything we could have dreamed of for our medium during the dark days of the seventies, when it seemed to be a dying ghetto. Right now I’m reading Jamie Rich and Joelle Jones’ graphic novel You Have Killed Me, and enjoying it quite a bit. And speaking of Shane White, everyone should read his autobiographical book, North Country."
Well, I couldn't be more chuffed by this. Paul has actually been so amazing and supportive to me as a creator, just by the simple act of finding me at conventions and saying hello and telling me that he reads the books. The first convention Joëlle and I did together, actually, he gave marvelous feedback on 12 Reasons, the kind of response you can only get from a master storyteller.
Which Paul is. I was lucky enough in my time at Dark Horse to be there when Paul gave the editorial department a lesson in storytelling. He used some of his Concrete pages as an example, and worked us through the process panel by panel, explaining his choices and detailing how he intentionally lead the reader's eye to follow a specific visual line. If you are ever in a situation to get the same kind of sitdown, do it. By all means, DO IT.
And of course, read all of the Concrete books and buy Paul's collaboration with Harlan Ellison--who is, of course, a personal hero of mine--as soon as it comes out. The Concrete series is one of the most human, thoughtful, and creative series in all of comics. You won't find a more fully realized metaphor than the main character's predicament, nor a concept executed with such sophistication and flair.
And read the interview where the excerpt came from right now. It's over at Guerrilla Geek.
By the way, I have said this before, but my first actual freelance gig was writing the backs of the Madman Trading Cards, but I didn't get paid for them. I only got paid for the second set, which came after the Concrete assignment. Just in case someone wanted to call out for a continuity error. (Like anyone is paying that much attention...haw!)
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