Astro City: Life in the Big City

astro city life in the big city cover trade paperback alex ross art kurt busiek
9.5 Overall Score
Story: 10/10
Art: 9/10

Fantastic story and great art

Leaves you wanting even more

Comic Info

Comic Name:  Astro City (Limited Series)

Publisher:  Image Comics

Writer:  Kurt Busiek

Artist:  Brent Anderons/Alex Ross (covers)

# of Issues:  6

Release Date:  1996

astro-city-#3

Astro City (Limited Series) #3

Reprints Astro City (Limited Series) #1-6 (August 1995-January 1996).  Welcome to Astro City…a place that can be scary or wonderful…depending on your perception.  Astro City is a place where a superhero like the Samaritan can dream of enough free time to fly, a reporter witness the world being saved and can never tell anyone, a low-level crook can learn the secret identity of a hero, a girl from Shadow Hill can feel more threatened in the city, an alien can secretly be walking among the people, and two superheroes can enjoy a night on the town.  Welcome to Astro City…a place you might never want to leave.

Written by Kurt Busiek, illustrated by Brent Anderson, and with covers by Alex Ross, Astro City:  Life in the Big City collects the six issue limited series what introduced Busiek’s world.  It was well-received by fans and critics and this collection won an Eisner and Harvey award for Best New Series with issues #1 and #4 receiving particularly noted and awarded.

Astro City is a great comic and one of my favorite comics from the ’90s.  Spinning off the ideas explored in Marvels, Busiek looks into a real functioning city with superheroes.  What do superheroes interact with the people they protect and each other?  If there is a world of superheroes, how does the public really view them?  These are the themes of the series and Busiek does it great.  This theme of “real world superheroes” really influenced many of the comics of the late ’90s and early 2000s and the comic’s almost retro approach to superheroes, I think also helped spawn (with other series like Alan Moore’s Supreme) the retro boom which had mainstream comics like Superman even returning early ideas like Krypto to action.

astro-city-#6

Astro City (Limited Series) #6

Astro City also boasts some of the greatest covers.  Alex Ross who did Busiek’s Marvels joined up for this series covers.  I think Ross sometimes is overplayed and in the big picture scheme, his art sometimes looks alike, but here it really draws the reader in to Astro City.  Brent Anderson follows it up with solid art and is usually credited by helping co-create the series.

In this volume, Busiek starts to introduce characters and themes that will come into play later in the series.  With little hints and introductions, the world of Astro City is enriched.  Here we hear mention of the Confessor (who comes into play later in the continuing series) and the alien invasion is initialized in issue #5.  The First Family who plays an early role in the main series is shown in issue #4 and characters like the Hanged Man and Jack-in-the-Box are introduced but explored later.  It is a great format that has you wishing for more issues.

Astro City:  Life in the Big City is a great collection and addition to the library of anyone who really loves comics.  It is really for the comic book reader who will see the clichés and standard superhero references made by Busiek and recognize how even clichés can become something new if explored correctly.  Astro City:  Life in the Big City is followed by Astro City:  Family Album.

Related Links:

Astro City:  Family Album

Astro City:  Confession

Astro City:  The Tarnished Angel

Astro City:  Local Heroes

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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