Sunday, December 7, 2014
Comic Review: Concrete Park
I hadn’t heard about this comic before I saw it on the shelf and it piqued my interest. An inexpensive hardcover about a bunch of street gangers and disenfranchised shipped off to a colony world? I’m in. The book is written by a husband and wife team, Tony Puryear and Erika Alexander (both are Hollywood veterans, Puryear a writer, Alexander an actress, which normally makes me wary of 'stunt casting' creative teams). And I gather the original run appeared in the resurrected Dark Horse Presents. This gives the book a somewhat choppy feel, covering some bases multiple times to keep anyone who hadn’t caught the previous installment up to date.
Getting past some of the wonky issues caused by its original presentation, I do like the comic. I enjoy the setting, which blends the gritty, ugly, crime filled streets of 80s L.A. with the harsh, near prison-like conditions of a colony world. It’s very cyberpunk, which of course, I dig. And there’s a lot of world building, including a lot of slang (with a helpful glossary in the back).
The characters have potential to be interesting, but sadly, the volume is quite short. And that leads me to my main complaint. The combination of the Dark Horse Presents short story format and the very briefness of the volume make it all feel extremely introductory. I wanted more time with the characters and the setting. I wanted more time to find out what the overall story is going to be. I gather there is a second arc coming out on its own (not in Dark Horse Presents). So hopefully, that will have more story/character content. And of course, I should mention the art. I have to admit, I’m not in love with it. It has an intensity that I like, but it feels very, very digital, and I guess I don’t respond to that as much. But the art certainly isn’t awful, and it doesn’t take away from the story. So, here’s hoping things will improve and grow with the comic. I’m plenty curious enough to see what’s next.
Concrete Park Vol. 1: You Send Me
Authors: Tony Puryear & Erika Alexander
Artist: Tony Puryear
Publisher: Dark Horse Books
-Matthew J. Constantine