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[personal profile] laughing_tree


I originally conceived it in the wake of Trinity, when Dan Didio invited me to do something else for DC and encouraged me to come up with some sort of dream project.

I was exhausted from the weekly treadmill of Trinity, and my “dream project” ideas got pretty weird - at one point, I had this outline for an interlocking series of mini-series involving the Dreambound, Tomorrow Woman, and a few others, including an old Steve Ditko hero named the Odd Man. And my idea was to make him odder still, a character who wasn’t quite connected to his reality, to the point that he could see ours, and was using it as part of a plan to coordinate all these other heroes in some epic struggle that was happening on an unimaginable plane of reality.

Anyway, I really didn’t have the health to pursue any of the ideas I’d come up with, so they all fell by the wayside. But I realized that the ideas I’d cooked up for the Odd Man would fit some thematic elements that had gone on in the background of Astro City, and some characters already in there. So we built the Broken Man out of that, and he fit into Astro City wonderfully.


-- Kurt Busiek

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[personal profile] laughing_tree


We always need new superheroes. But actual new ones, reflecting the modern day, rather than reflecting yesterday. Unless reflecting yesterday is the point of the story. But the idea that we don’t need new superheroes is like not needing new romances or new detectives. The moment you don’t need new characters in genre stories, the genre is as dead as Latin. It’s not a crime that superheroes don’t age, but it’s a problem that superhero series don’t more often age and die and get replaced. Imagine if Kinsey Millhone and V.I. Warshawski and other modern (well, relatively) PIs couldn’t get an audience because Sam Spade and Race Williams were taking up all the shelf space. If you’re writing X-Men and your metaphors are about Martin Luther King and Malcolm X, that’s not all that much more modern than if your metaphors are about the Red Scare and McCarthyism. Ask yourself new questions, and put the results in your stories. Steve Englehart juiced up Captain America by asking what Captain America meant to the early 1970s. What does he mean now? What does Superman represent to the world? How does that, whatever it is, fit into the world today? Same for Batman, same for Wonder Woman. Tell stories you couldn’t tell ten, twenty, fifty years ago. -- Kurt Busiek

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[personal profile] laughing_tree


Too many first issues think it's enough to tell you who the characters are, and the immediate situation, but assume you already know the world, the context, the overall foundation. Particularly at Marvel and DC. A first issue that walks you in to the world, like a good novel or movie, that tries to be a foundation, rather than just the next chapter, feels like a rarity these days, all too sadly. [...] Too many first issues, though, are like "Here's the names and powers, you know the drill." Well, no, maybe we don't. Walk us in, give us a place to stand, a sense of the setting, the foundation. -- Kurt Busiek

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[personal profile] laughing_tree


'When I was first pitching ASTRO CITY, Lou Bank at Dark Horse described it as "Like WATCHMEN...but cheerful!" I don't think cheerful was the right word, but I appreciated the sentiment.' -- Kurt Busiek

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[personal profile] laughing_tree


"Sam Spade and Philip Marlowe are different characters. Tim Hunter and Harry Potter are different characters. Derek Shepherd and Doug Ross, yeah, you got it, different characters. If you’ve got a cool new take on some preexisting character, you may be most of the way toward having a whole new character instead. You don’t need to ask permission to refurbish some company-owned character, but only to the point they’ll let you, and give away all rights. Take those cool new ideas further. Make them into your own character. You wind up with control and ownership. No one can tell you what you can and can’t do with it, and you get to reap the benefits." -- Kurt Busiek

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[personal profile] laughing_tree


"It was more because we don’t see that sort of thing in stories of the Skrulls or the Kree or the Khunds or whatever that spurred the story, so the inspiration was in the absence of material more than anything else, I think." -- Kurt Busiek

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[personal profile] laughing_tree


'I don’t try to use anyone in ASTRO CITY as an analogue. There are people in the audience who see every character we introduce as a stand-in for someone else, but that’s not really how we approach it. I wanted archetypes, character who it’s easy to understand from a distance, because we’d see the heroes in the background a lot. But I didn’t so much want “a Superman character” or a “Batman character,” so much as I wanted “a noble savior type” or “a nighttime vigilante type.” Batman’s the primo example of that kind of character in comics, but there are lots of them, even pulp characters that predate Batman and influenced him, like The Shadow.' -- Kurt Busiek

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[personal profile] laughing_tree


"We're dealing with something that many comic book universes haven't ever dealt with before, which is that all the characters they started out with are 20 years older. Exploring the changes in these characters and the changes in the world around them and how they cope with it is a way of exploring larger issues about humanity and how we age and what we think about and how we respond to crisis, from a position of, is this generation becoming irrelevant as the next generation's taking over? What's going on?

"It's a bunch of new questions to wrestle with that a superhero universe rarely gets to wrestle with at all."
-- Kurt Busiek

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[personal profile] laughing_tree


"I’m not sure I’d be able to tell a story like his in AVENGERS. Well, maybe I could, but it would (a) take a lot longer, and (b) involve a lot more superhero action and fighting, as I wove the plot in and out of traditional action-focused superhero storytelling. And we’d get lots of mail from readers wondering why I couldn’t just use the Beast instead, as if we could tell a story like this with the Beast. And readers unhappy that someone so goofy was showing up at all, much less for an extended period." -- Kurt Busiek

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[personal profile] laughing_tree


"I’ve always said that a superhero universe that doesn’t have talking gorillas in it simply isn’t done yet, so it’s good to get such an essential element established here, after almost twenty years." -- Kurt Busiek

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[personal profile] laughing_tree


"I want the mainstream to stop being company-owned and shift to creator-owned stuff with a vision." -- Kurt Busiek

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[personal profile] superboyprime


"Back when we started, there was nothing like Astro City on the stands, but since then there’ve been a lot of books that take an internal, reflective approach, or explore what it’s like to live in this kind of world. I like to think we’ve had some influence on the industry (though certainly it ain’t all us!), but it means we’re telling stories now in a different world, where Astro City isn’t as different as it once was. So we’re eager to see what else we can do, how we can make it all different still, and surprise people again the way we did in the early days." -- Kurt Busiek

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