In 1995, Kurt Busiek, Brent Anderson and Alex Ross launched Astro City, and in the years since, it's been one of the most consistently amazing superhero comics on the stands. Built around the idea of looking at the lives of superheroes from a perspective that didn't always follow the major cataclysms and battles of good against evil, Astro City gave us a person-on-the-street view of things like secret identities, flight, and even shifting continuity, in a way that no other comic ever had.
With this week's Astro City #26, Busiek and Anderson celebrate the 20th year of their universe. To mark the occasion, I spoke to them about how their process has changed over the course of two decades, the way the stories are built, and their favorite moments from the book's long history.
Ever since its return in 2013, Kurt Busiek, Brent Anderson and Alex Ross's Astro City has been one of those comics that's so consistently great that it's almost pointless to talk about how great it is. That story about the superhero call center from #2 and #3 was one of the best superhero stories of all time, perfectly nailing the conceit of superheroes seen through the eyes of normal people and what that means for the world. And the series isn't showing any signs of slowing down. If anything, it's getting better, because we're finally getting around to a story about a gorilla who just wants to play drums in a rock 'n' roll band.
A little over twenty years ago, a group of creators left the confines of Marvel Comics for the wild world of indies. By forming Image Comics, Jim Lee, Rob Liefeld, Erik Larsen, Todd McFarlane, Marc Silvestri and Jim Valentino set a new precedent for comics.
Of course, the 1990s were a dangerous time for the industry. The speculative market imploded not long after the Image exodus, and the comic market still hasn't recovered all these years later. But we're not here to lament the days of old, when single issues sold in the millions and drawing comics was as big a deal as being in Guns 'N Roses (depending on how many pages Wizard devoted to you in a given month). No, we're here to talk about all the ridiculous action figure lines these Image Comics spawned (heh) that you probably forgot all about.
Since it began nearly 20 years (!) ago, writer Kurt Busiek and artist Brent Anderson's Astro City has offered up superhero tales from the perspective of the regular humans who encounter them. Clearly, it's proven to be a concept with some serious longevity. The creative team is still coming up with fresh concepts.
Take the newest issue for example. On sale now, issue #14 of the Vertigo series focuses on an elderly woman named Ellie who runs a roadside museum -- the kind one often finds on long drives out West -- full of what seem to be busted-up robot henchmen. To the superheroes who destroyed them on their way to taking down a supervillain, they were just another obstacle. To Ellie, they're showpieces, and, as the title indicates, friends.
Each week, ComicsAlliance’s Chris Sims and Matt Wilson host the War Rocket Ajax podcast, their online audio venue for interviews with comics creators, reviews of the books of the week, and whatever else they want to talk about. ComicsAlliance is offering clips of the comics-specific segments of the show several days before the full podcast goes up at WarRocketAjax.com on Mondays.
This week, Chris and Matt dig deep into talking about DC Comics Co-Publisher Dan DiDio as a businessman and as a comics creator in their discussion of his new series with Keith Giffen, Infinity Man and the Forever People. Then they pivot to talk about two great starting-point issues in the middle of series runs: Kurt Busiek and Brent Anderson's Astro City #13, and Ian Flynn and Jamal Peppers' Mega Man #37.
After almost 20 years of great stories from the same team of creators, you could probably be forgiven for thinking that a comic book might run out of steam just a little, but the return of Kurt Busiek, Brent Anderson and Alex Ross'sAstro City last year proved that wrong by a long shot. It is, with no exaggeration, as good as or better than it's ever been before, taking the idea of focusing on "ordinary people" in a world of superheroes into new directions with amazing, heartfelt stories. With May's Astro City #12, they're adding another wrinkle: For the first time in the history of the series, another artist will take on a regular issue of the series: Graham Nolan, best known for his work on Batman.
To find out why the decision was made to open up their book to another artist after so long and why Nolan was the best fit for the story, I spoke to Kurt Busiek about art, scheduling, and the return of Astro City.
On sale now from Vertigo is Astro City#3, continuing the long awaited return of this most distinctive superhero series by Kurt Busiek and Brent Anderson. Known for its vast cast of heroes, villains and civilians, the series has always viewed superheroics from the vantage that matters most: the streets; the people whose lives are impacted for better or for worse by the impossible action in the sky. The new issue delves into that in a major way as we follow the story of a superhero support staffer who contemplates the lethal depths of a very human error.
Fans of the big-city adventures of Kurt Busiek and Brent Anderson's critically-acclaimed Astro City are in luck come June. The series is returning at DC Comics as a full ongoing following a three-year hiatus, with the book's original team of Busiek, Anderson and character designer and cover artist Alex Ross at the helm.In an interview with MTV Geek,
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