With DC’s announcement that Kurt Busiek, Brent Anderson, and Alex Ross will be publishing new issues from Astro City beginning TODAY, it got us thinking about our favorite moments and story-arcs from Astro City. Astro City is a wonderful little stand-alone world with a rich history. It has transcended companies and achieved greatness, no matter who is publishing it. Heroes like The Samaritan, Cracker Jack, The Confessor, Winged Victory, and The Hanged Man patrol the bustling streets below and we get to see the human side of some extra-ordinary people. Anything can happen in Astro City. Here are our Top 5 Favorite Moments From Astro City.
5. The Old Villain With The Money (Volume #2, Issue 10)
One great thing about Astro City is that the heroes are just as interesting as the villains. In a series that typically focuses on a different hero, the story of Hiram Potterstone aka The Junkman, stands out. The motivations behind Hiram’s actions and the genuine emotions that rrun through him are particularly intriguing to the reader. We see The Junkman get away with a crime and then suffer through the discomfort of going unnoticed. The tale of this older man is relatable and entertaining.
4. The Story With The Reporter Re-living Everything (Volume #1, Issue 2)
Busiek’s world of Astro City is bustling with activity, but is also rich with history. In this snapshot of Astro City, we are introduced to some of the older heroes in their hay day through the eyes of a reporter, now in the twilight of his life, who was there. We get some really inventive storytelling from Kurt Busiek, who unfolds the type of story that you would read in a silver age comic through modern sensibilities. The tale, while firmly grounded in reality, is fantastical and campy. It’s a great homage to that which is aged by something which is current. Also, it features the Old Soldier, so there is that. Which is awesome.
3. The Girl From Shadow Hill (Volume #1, Issue 4)
Astro City does a good job breaking things down to where although there is a large cast of characters, most issues have intense focus. This story focuses on an ordinary young woman from the mysterious suburb of Astro City known as Shadow Hill. Busiek lays some excellent groundwork into subtly describing the place and not giving too much away to keep you intrigued. Although this story features the Furst Family, The Hanged Man, and various others, the young woman is the one who shines through. To Busiek, every character is important.
2. The Date (Volume #1, Issue 6)
As an adult, I have found that many times, unless I try hard, my wife and I can spend tons of time occupying the same space, but not really being together. Life is busy and we both have a lot of stuff going on. It’s often hard to connect and one could even say that sometimes, I feel like my ability to enjoy recreation is stripped away. This issue is great because it REALLY humanizes the heroes. Everyone wants Superman and Wonder Woman to date, but what would that really be like. In this story, The Samaritan and Winged Victory can barely detach long enough to enjoy a meal. The reason that Astro City is great is how realistic their take on super heroes is.
1. The Confessor Story Line (Volume #2, Issues 4-9)
The first big crossover of Astro City focuses on the rise of a sidekick and the dramatic fall of an enigmatic hero. One part Batman, two parts Buffy, the Confessor story line hits on all of the right notes and pays off the big alien invasion threat that has been looming throughout Volume 2. So many good things happen in this story. Christian superheroes are featured positively…weird right?! Almost all of the heroes introduced up to this point are featured prominently and Busiek’s great ideas like “super hero supper clubs” abound. The Confessor story line is very compelling and might not be the first trade paperback from Astro City that I would recommend that someone read, but it would be the unquestioned second. Otherwise, it also has the power to stand alone as a great comic book story.
That’s what is so special about Astro City. It is incredibly old school and issues written in 1995 feel like they could be classic silver age books. At the same time, the plotting is very tight and it is very well done. Astro City transcends most categories that you try to place it in…except the excellent literature category…fits right in there. So buy all of it! The new series from DC started TODAY. Go get it at your local comic book store!
~ Scott Deaux ~