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Chadwick, Paul:

The World Below

In 1999, Paul Chadwick, famous as the creator of Concrete, created a new series: The World Below. The series explored the sci-fi trope of lost civilizations and species buried underground, a trope that had fallen out of fashion within science fiction, as well as from monster comics of the 1950s (such as the Challengers of the Unknown). Another way that the series was a throwback: it bucked the trend towards decompressed, extended storylines, instead telling a complete episode in each issue. Any given issue might feature bizarre occurrences, strange subterranean creatures or natural phenomena, and old-fashioned action — all mixed with the kind of characterization for which Chadwick was known.

The result was a charming oddity. However, the series did not sell well, and it was cancelled after four issues, only to be relaunched the following year as a black-and-white series, subtitled Deeper and Stranger. This series also didn’t sell well, and the entire concept of the series was quickly revealed and resolved in the final, fourth issue (the eighth issue overall).

In 2007, Dark Horse Comics collected all eight issues in a black-and-white digest, echoing the format (and even the trade dress) that the publisher was using for its revised Concrete collections.

The World Below #1

“The Flock” -- 21 pages

  • written by Paul Chadwick; pencils by Paul Chadwick; inks by Ron Randall

first issue; cover by Paul Chadwick; published by Dark Horse Comics; $2.50; cover-dated Mar 1999

The World Below #2

“The Rock Eaters” -- 21 pages

  • written by Paul Chadwick; pencils by Paul Chadwick; inks by Ron Randall

cover by Paul Chadwick; published by Dark Horse Comics; $2.50; cover-dated Apr 1999
The World Below #3

“The Spire” -- 21 pages

  • written by Paul Chadwick; pencils by Paul Chadwick; inks by Ron Randall

cover by Paul Chadwick; published by Dark Horse Comics; $2.50; cover-dated May 1999
The World Below #4

“The Stove” -- 21 pages

  • written by Paul Chadwick; pencils by Paul Chadwick; inks by Ron Randall

final issue; cover by Paul Chadwick; published by Dark Horse Comics; $2.50; cover-dated June 1999

The World Below: Deeper and Stranger #1

“The Spare!” -- 20 pages

  • written by Paul Chadwick; pencils by Paul Chadwick; inks by Ron Randall

first issue; cover by Paul Chadwick; published by Dark Horse Comics; black and white

The World Below: Deeper and Stranger #2

“Zombies!” -- 20 pages

  • written by Paul Chadwick; pencils by Paul Chadwick; inks by Ron Randall

cover by Paul Chadwick; published by Dark Horse Comics; black and white
The World Below: Deeper and Stranger #3

“The Brain!” -- 20 pages

  • written by Paul Chadwick; pencils by Paul Chadwick; inks by Ron Randall

cover by Paul Chadwick; published by Dark Horse Comics; black and white
The World Below: Deeper and Stranger #4

“Pets!” -- 20 pages

  • written by Paul Chadwick; pencils by Paul Chadwick; inks by Ron Randall

final issue; cover by Paul Chadwick; published by Dark Horse Comics; black and white

The World Below

collects The World Below #1-4 and The World Below: Deeper and Stranger #1-4 in black-and-white; digest size; cover by Paul Chadwick; published by Dark Horse Comics; 192 pages; black and white; cover-dated Jan 2007

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