Who is Concrete?

Concrete occupies our familiar USA Today world. He's no crimefighter. He doesn't quest through an exotic fantasy realm. There are no supervillains.

He tries to earn a living and help people out. A converted warehouse in a suburb L.A. suburb is home.

Yes, aliens transplanted his brain into this 1200-lb rock-coated body. They're gone, though, and a government secret.

Now he copes with a world where chairs crumble like breadsticks and car bodies dent like foil. He lacks nose, skin and genitalia. He has mood problems.

He gets blue. He overthinks. He's a people-pleaser with a temper. Often, he loses sight of his goals: to mount exepeditons and write travel books around them.

Still, he's managed some. Everest, solo. Swimming the Atlantic (partway, until the pace boat sank). He's mucked about in the Amazon Basin.

He's an environmentalist. In Think Like a Mountain, he hooked up with Earth First! and fought to save an ancient forest. In The Human Dilemma, he became spokesman for a unique Overpopulation-issue organization.

He's political. Before he was transformed, he wrote speeches for a Democratic Senator who resembles Alan Cranston. He loved the job, away from people, but in the fight of words and ideas. His new body ended that. It made him a man of action. An ambivalent man of action.

He's a specimen. Dr. Maureen Vonnegut, a biologist, studies and watches over him. Their relationship is complicated. Beauty and a not-so-furry Beast. But this is no spell to be lifted by love or anything else.

His nostalgia for love and sex is intense; an itch he'll never scratch. At least directly. One look at his painting collection tells what's on his mind. Maureen herself is odd and not unscathed by life - though just how has not yet been made clear.

Larry Munro is Concrete's typist and aide. He goes through many girlfriends. Lost his mom at age nine; it did a number on him. Charming , goofy, a great guy in a pinch, but with a knack for getting in trouble (check out his hostage ordeal in Killer Smile) - Larry is Concrete's closest friend.

Tripod is Concrete's dog. A farmer shot off one of his legs (see "No Sweat" in Heights).

Concrete's former name? Ron Lithgow (destiny shows its hand, in that, "Lith" is the Greek root for "stone"). Maureen and Larry call him Ron in private.

Now you know.

And now, comics.

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