Welcome back to Rachel and Miles X-Plain the X-Men, a weekly podcast in which X-Perts Rachel Edidin and Miles Stokes explore the ins, outs, and retcons of fifty years of Marvel’s greatest superhero soap opera!
This week: Special guest Kurt Busiek is the J. Rober Oppenheimer of X-Men, Rachel and Miles learn to love the Silver Age, Cyclops gets a job, Bernard the Poet falls from grace, we really wish X-Men: The Secret Years was a real book, everyone recites poetry, and we still don’t get around to Marvels.
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.
If you tell me that there's a new comic out from Kurt Busiek, Ben Dewey, and Jordie Bellaire, then you have my attention, but if you follow that up by telling me that it could be accurately described as "Conan meets Kamandi," that's when I start just throwing money in random directions hoping that it hits someone who can hand me this book. It's a bad strategy for buying things, but it's just too hard to wait for November and the release of Tooth and Claw #1.
Set in a brutal world of violence and magic, Busiek and Dewey's Tooth and Claw was announced at Image Expo during San Diego Comic-Con. The book is billed as a "world-building fantasy" focused on a society of animal people that's coming apart at the seams, and as you can see from the new pages Image released this week, it is absolutely beautiful.
In the final few hours before San Diego Comic-Con opened its doors to the public for Preview Night on Wednesday, Image Comics Expo took place in an upstairs ballroom at the nearby San Diego Bayfront Hilton, where the publisher welcomed a group of press, creators, and fans to watch as the company announced, discussed and otherwise promote a great variety of upcoming Image titles.
The Marvel Unlimited app is a gigantic, messy cache of awesome and terrible old comic books: a library of 13,000 or so back issues of Marvel titles, available on demand for subscribers with tablets or mobile phones. Like any good back-room longbox, it’s disorganized and riddled with gaps, but it’s also full of forgotten and overlooked jewels, as well as a few stone classics. In Marvel Unlimited Edition, Eisner-winning critic Douglas Wolk dives into the Unlimited archive to find its best, oddest and most intriguing comics.
Ego the Living Planet is one of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby's trippier creations: introduced in 1966 in Thor #132, he is literally a planet who is also a dude. With a face. (His first appearance was one of the photo-collages that Kirby was occasionally doing in those days; the gaunt, bearded face that Kirby pasted onto a planet shape was significantly different from most of the characters he designed.) Understandably, it's a little bit hard to do much with a planet-sized character who has to interact with humans, but nearly every artist who's gotten to work with Ego over the years has clearly relished the chance to draw his massive, scowling visage.
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.
Last week, DC Comics released a new paperback of Kurt Busiek and Stuart Immonen's Superman: Secret Identity, and if you haven't read it, this is a pretty good time to remedy that. It's got a premise that's immediately interesting, starting from the simple question of what Superman would be like if he existed in the real world -- our world, the one that already has Superman as a fictional character -- and builds from there into a four-part series that follows him through his life, using his powers, helping people and building his own family
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