Under the Radar: “Dark Horse Presents” #1 – The First Appearance of Concrete (Monochrome May Special)
Welcome to a special Monochrome May edition of Under the Radar, a segment where we spotlight comic books that don’t have the widespread attention of the comic book community that they should. Today, we’ll be looking at the black and white comic book Dark Horse Presents #1, which not only launched the flagship anthology series from Dark Horse Comics, but also contained the first ever appearance of the character Concrete by Paul Chadwick.
Dark Horse Presents was published in July 1986 and was the first book ever released by the brand-new start up publisher, Dark Horse Comics. Dark Horse was founded by comic book retailer Mike Richardson in Milwaukie, Oregon. The company would go on to become a comics powerhouse in later years, launching titles such as Sin City, Hellboy, 300, and obtaining the publishing rights to such great movie franchises as Star Wars, Aliens, and Predator. Of course, one of its defining characters for many years was the aforementioned Concrete.
Created by Paul Chadwick, Concrete follows the unique adventures of a Ron Lithgow whose mind has been transplanted into a concrete body. He’s developed strength and a certain amount of invulnerability from his new body. Stories revolve around him adapting to his new life and abilities, all while trying to fit into the world he once knew. Concrete appeared in a number of issues of Dark Horse Presents, had a short-lived series of his own, and then furthered his adventures across numerous mini-series and one-shots.
There were of course other stories in Dark Horse Presents #1. It is an anthology series, after all. Other creators who contributed to this issue include Chris Warner, John Workman, and Randy Stradley. Still, it was this first appearance of Concrete that made this issue so memorable.
This is the priciest of the under the radar issues I’ve ever spotlighted. I’ve chosen to do so because even though you’ll never find this book in the $1.00 bin, it’s still priced way too low for the significance it holds. I regularly see copies of Dark Horse Presents #1 in the $5-$10 range, which is no more than a regularly priced comic book off the shelf these days. This comic book is a fun read from start to finish and really is like holding a piece of history in your hand. Without knowing the actual print run, I do suspect it was low based on the circumstances surrounding the new publisher. That’s why I think this issue is a nice find. Don’t expect to find it displayed prominently at your local comic retailer or at a convention. To find this book, you’ll need to do some digging. This type of treasure is only found under the radar.
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