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Astro City: Life in the Big City (New Edition) Paperback – September 13, 2011
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About the Author
Kurt Busiek was born in Boston, Massachusetts. He began writing comics professionally in 1982, selling stories to both DC and Marvel Comics in the same month, both of which appeared the same day. Since then, he’s written series and characters ranging from Mickey Mouse to Vampirella, including Aquaman, Spider-Man, Conan, Iron Man, the Avengers and more. He is best known for the Marvels series and for his co-creation Astro City, both of which have garnered numerous industry awards. He lives in the Pacific Northwest with his wife, Ann, and his two daughters. He spends far too much time on the Internet.
Top customer reviews
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Busiek proved that you can still have mature characters and examination of societal issues along with larger-than-life heroes and without the graphic violence. Busiek examines the people of his universe with a microscope, picking apart there daily lives and issues.
Now, the issue I have with this book is the scope. A lot of characters were thrown out in rapid succession, and a lot of it was not explained. And one plot thread that you think would have been a big deal was introduced in the penultimate issue but not resolved yet, which makes this series feel incomplete. And then there's the dialogue. Busiek seemed to be trying to trot out some superhero cliche's and painful wordplay to set the mood, but it doesn't make it less annoying.
All in all, this was a good beginning, but a full five-star review will take a while to be realized.
Astro City is very much about the relationship between the normal citizen and the superhero, as opposed to the standard comic fare being the relationship between the hero and the villain (Batman being the textbook example of this). In fact, villains play a fairly minor role in this series (especially this particular book, they are quite forgettable). Busiek fleshes out the concept of the superhero in the psyche of a normal person, even in a world where superheroes are fairly commonplace. The role of the superhero in society is deeply analyzed in this series.
One reviewer brought up the point of how Busiek can "only go so far" with the vignette story-telling style. This book is very much the introduction to the world of Astro City, and vignettes are perfect for this first installment. The books following this (Confession, Family Values, and Tarnished Angel) are full stories, analyzing in detail the characters presented in the first issue.
Literary grandeur aside, Busiek exploits many well-known character archetypes (i.e. Superman, Batman, Spider-Man, JLA, and the Fantastic Four) by creating his own characters with these themes. In no way is Busiek "ripping off" other comics, all of this is intentional, once again as an element of analysis. However, he creates some very interesting heroes (The Confessor and The Hanged Man being my two personal favorites).
When all is said and done, this is an amazing series, one of the best of recent years. It is (amazingly) refresingly original and very familiar. I highly suggest this first book, and it only gets better from there.
Most recent customer reviews
The book consists of 6 standalone stories.Read more