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Chadwick, Paul 1957–

Chadwick, Paul 1957–

PERSONAL: Born September 3, 1957, in Seattle, WA; son of Stephen F., Jr. (an attorney) and Diane (Halsey) Chadwick; married Elizabeth Moon (a painter), September 14, 1985; child: Stephen. Education: Art Center College of Design, B.F.A., 1979.

ADDRESSES: Home—Seattle, WA. Office—c/o Dark Horse Comics, 10956 SE Main St., Milwaukie, OR 97222.

CAREER: Author of graphic novels, 1985–; creator of Concrete, 1986–. Storyboard artist at Walt Disney Studios, Paramount, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, and others, 1979–85; freelance artist at Marvel Comics, DC Comics, and others; painted covers at DAW Books, Del Ray, Tor, and Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, 1980–89.

AWARDS, HONORS: Harvey Award for Best Cartoonist, 1988, 1989, and for Best New Series, 1988, all for Concrete; Eisner Award for Best New Series, 1988, for Best Writer/Artist, 1989, for Best Continuing series, 1988, 1989, and for Best Black-and-White series, 1988, 1989, all for Concrete; Harvey Award for Best Single Issue, 1991, for Concrete Celebrates Earth Day; Harvey Award for Best Finite Series, 1992, for Concrete: Fragile Creature; Inkpot Award for Outstanding Achievement in Comic Arts, 1994.

WRITINGS:

COMIC BOOKS AND GRAPHIC NOVELS

(Self-illustrated) Concrete: Complete Short Stories 1986–1989, Dark Horse Comics (Milwaukie, OR), 1990.

(Self-illustrated) The Complete Concrete (contains Concrete issues 1-10), Dark Horse Comics (Milwaukie, OR), 1994.

(Self-illustrated) Concrete: Fragile Creature (contains Fragile Creature issues 1-4), Dark Horse Comics (Milwaukie, OR), 1994.

(Self-illustrated) Concrete: Killer Smile (contains Killer Smile issues 1-4), Dark Horse Comics (Milwaukie, OR), 1995.

(Self-illustrated) Concrete: Short Stories 1990–1995, Dark Horse Comics (Milwaukie, OR), 1996.

(Self-illustrated) Concrete: Think like a Mountain (contains Think Like a Mountain issues 1-7), Dark Horse Comics (Milwaukie, OR), 1997.

(Self-illustrated) Strange Armor: The Origin of Concrete (contains Strange Armor issues 1-5), Dark Horse Comics (Milwaukie, OR), 1998.

(Self-illustrated) The World Below (four issues), Dark Horse Comics (Milwaukie, OR), 1999.

(Self-illustrated) The World Below II (four issues), Dark Horse Comics (Milwaukie, OR), 2000.

Contributor to comic-book series and graphic novels, including Dark Horse Maverick 2000, Dark Horse Comics, 2000, Grendel: Black, White, and Red, Dark Horse Comics, 2000, 9-11: Artists Respond, Volume 1, Dark Horse Comics, 2002, and to several issues of Star Wars.

SIDELIGHTS: Paul Chadwick has won a devoted fan following with his stories about Concrete, an environmentally conscious hero in a body of stone. Chadwick has won several awards for the comic-book series, which features "superb storytelling and artwork," according to Washington Times contributor Joseph Szadkowski, the critic further calling it "a sequential art legend." Chadwick is the creator of another comic-book series, The World Below, about an underground community of aliens interacting with explorers from the surface world, and he has also contributed to other comics and anthologies.

The eponymous protagonist of Concrete starts out as an ordinary human named Ron Lithgow, a speech-writer for a U.S. senator. Then beings from another planet kidnap him and place his brain inside a giant stone body. "Concrete bears little resemblance to a human, except in his eyes, which Mr. Chadwick fills with great emotion and movement," Szadkowski observed. Because of his situation, Concrete faces many challenges; "A lot of the stories are about coping with that condition in a world of ordinary people," Chadwick told Roger A. Ash, in an interview for the Westfield Comics Web site. Among other things, as Chadwick told Michael Gilman in an interview for the Dark Horse Comics Web site, "he's got an existential dilemma: how to make something of his life … how to make it worthwhile." Something Concrete frequently finds worthwhile is battling despoilers of the natural environment.

In the Think like a Mountain story arc, for instance, Concrete becomes involved with activists from the radical environmental group Earth First! The members of Earth First! are known for sometimes destroying property and otherwise breaking the law in the name of preserving nature. When they try to enlist Concrete's aid in keeping loggers out of an old-growth forest in the Pacific Northwest, he is wary at first, but they are persuasive, and his support for them grows. "I'm sympathetic to Earth First!, at the same time being uncomfortable with what they do," Chadwick told Ash. "Putting Concrete in this position is a way of sorting out my own feelings about it." Concrete's environmentalism is not the only aspect of the character that reflects his creator. The series is "autobiographical, at least emotionally," Chadwick told Szadkowski, adding that as a shy teenager, he pictured himself "encased in stone."

While Chadwick has frequently said he considers Concrete his life's work, he also has felt the need to branch out. The comic-book series The World Below is one of the things that has grown out of that need. The concept of the series is that a wealthy entrepreneur has bankrolled an underground exploratory mission; he had made a lot of money from patenting the technology of an unusual aircraft found in a sinkhole, and now he wants the explorers to find out what else is down there. "What they don't know," Chadwick told Shawna Ervin-Gore in a interview for the Dark Horse Comics Web site, "is that this was a colony for sunlight-shunning aliens who, over the centuries, imported creatures and robots from across the galaxy. Something awful happened; order collapsed; chaos reigns in The World Below. The poor saps haven't a clue what they're getting into!"

"Chadwick, known for his contemplative 'Concrete,' is showing his adventurous side in 'The World Below,'" commented reviewer Bill Radford in the Colorado Springs Gazette when the first issue came out. However, The World Below did not prove as popular with readers as Concrete. After ending the series, Chadwick began doing Concrete stories for anthologies, and also considered the possibility of a Concrete feature film, with Chadwick doing the screenplay. Film is a medium familiar to him; he worked as an art director and storyboard artist on motion pictures such as The Big Easy, Pee-wee's Big Adventure, and The Philadelphia Experiment. "I've got to keep my eye on my long-term commitment to Concrete," he told Radford. "Because the small but dedicated following that I've got is a treasure."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Gazette (Colorado Springs, CO), March 25, 1999, "New Comic Explores 'The World Below'"; April 7, 2000, Bill Radford, "Comic Strip Creator Turns Attention Back to Concrete."

Washington Times, February 17, 1996, Joseph Szadkowski, "Environmental Lessons," p. E4; March 23, 1996, Szadkowski, "Paving Concrete Career," p. B4.

ONLINE

Dark Horse Comics Web site, http://www.darkhorse.com/ (December 1, 1995), Michael Gilman, interview with Paul Chadwick; (December 30, 2003) Shawna Ervin-Gore, interview with Paul Chadwick.

Westfield Comics Web site, http://westfieldcompany.com/ (December 15, 1995), Roger A. Ash, interview with Paul Chadwick.

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