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Astro City Life In The Big City HC New Ed (Kurt Busiek's Astro City) Hardcover – 7 Sep 2011

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: DC Comics; New edition edition (7 Sept. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1401232612
  • ISBN-13: 978-1401232610
  • Product Dimensions: 18.1 x 1.4 x 26.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,126,746 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

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.

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Andrew McColl on 7 Aug. 2013
Format: Paperback
With Astro City, Busiek celebrates everything that got us reading comics in the first place in a city filled with archetypical heroes whose stories echo pivotal moments in the continuities of Marvel and DC from the early 60s to date. It won't be to everyone's taste: I'm given to understand there are comics readers today who will dismiss, unread, the Silver Age of Lee and Kirby and Ditko, and their counterparts at DC, in preference for modern tales thin and tedious and awash with gimmicks, and these will doubtless spot the references but will do so without any real depth of understanding. Possibly I'm being too harsh in my estimation, but I'm guessing the readers who think Marvel Zombies was worth their cash, that Deadpool kicks and Ennis' The Preacher was really really clever simply won't get why Astro City matters.

The comic heroes are the folk heroes of the modern age, battling impossible odds in impossible tales just as Arthur and Charlemagne and Renard The Fox did in ages past, and Busiek's Astro City strips that down just as Alan Moore's Watchmen did in the 80s, but where Moore was deconstructing to expose the psychology of the superhero, Busiek's deconstruction is about the mythology.
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By Jay on 21 Nov. 2013
Format: Paperback
I realised after reading a few volumes of Kurt Busiek's 'Astro City' that it was all a bit unsatisfying. Busiek is good at what he does and in that sense succeeds, hence the 3 stars and I stuck with it because initially I liked the premise and had quite enjoyed Marvels. The difference with this and the earlier book was not only the conceit of seeing superherodom from the eyes of the average Joe a unique one, but the wonder Busiek was attempting to create in the readers eyes, for our brightly clad favourites, was hugely aided by Alex Ross' artwork (if you are trying to instill a sense of awe then a realistic as possible depiction will more successfully achieve this). 'Astro City' not only goes down this path again but also attempts to address what it's like to be a superhero. What do they think, how do they feel, what are their lives really like in and out of costume? The problem with this approach is simply: who cares? Or to quantify that a little: who cares that much?
Alan Moore's 'Watchmen' was a book that looked at superheroes from a different angle and gave them to us in a way we had not seen before. All of this was done in the context of a story, where his own opinions and psychological insights of what these protagonists would really be like were a part of, not the only purpose of the book - for Busiek it's different. He is primarily interested in a study of the superhero and little else drives the work. Not only that but the characters on offer in 'Astro City' are no different than your run of the mill, american comic book hero. So unlike 'Watchmen' we are not getting anything new. But, I do love superheroes of this nature; it's why I read comics. There is no genre and medium that allows an imaginative and intelligent writer, or artist, to go truly hog wild with their creations.
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By Sam Quixote TOP 500 REVIEWER on 13 July 2013
Format: Paperback
A couple of years ago I tried reading Kurt Busiek and Alex Ross' Marvels, a book I was assured was a superhero classic and an incredible comic. It feels like superheroes could exist in our world! is the general sentiment around that book. I got about a third of the way through before I gave up. Terrible art - I don't like Ross' ultra-realistic painted style, the figures are too static - and boring characters telling unimpressive superhero stories made me drop the book long before the end.

More recently I read Superman: Secret Identity and finally saw why Busiek is praised, so I decided to try another of his books, the critically acclaimed Astro City from 1995. I got further than I did with Marvels but I also gave up on this one too - it's essentially Marvels with a different artist.

The city is full of Busiek-created superheroes, all of them analogues of DC/Marvel characters (and forgettable to boot) and the chapters are told from the perspective of different narrators in the fictional town of Astro City. The comparison to Marvels isn't immediately apparent as the first story is told from the perspective of the Superman analogue but from then on we get a string of ordinary people telling you their stories encountering superheroes in their everyday lives, one of whom - the newspaper editor - seemed exactly like the Marvels narrator.

It doesn't help that the narrators are bland and uninteresting or that the superheroes are equally dull, but the stories feel decidedly one note - narrator tells you their ordinary life, a superhero saves them from a crime of some sort, the end. It's exactly the same formula as Marvels minus the Alex Ross art, though Brent Anderson's art is a long way from impressive either.

It's not that it's badly written, it's just a really dull read. I suppose if Marvels is your bag, you'll love Astro City - if like me you didn't enjoy Marvels, you definitely won't like this one.
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Format: Paperback
Probably the best superhero series I have read in ages. Wonderful writng, and exquisite art. I will certainly be reading the other collections. A true masterpiece in superherois stroytelling.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 10 reviews
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
The beginning. 3 May 2012
By para - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Why would a man who could fly dream of flying?
What's news in a world where anything can happen?
What should a small time crook do with the greatest of all secrets?
What is it that defines home?
How would our lives look to an outsider?
Is there time for superheroes to take a night off?

Life in the Big City collects Astro City vol. 1 issues 1-6. This is the complete original miniseries.

A tad over 15 years ago, Kurt Busiek introduced the world to Astro City. It was his attempt to tell stories of depth in the medium of superhero comics, as both a celebration of them and to push the boundries of what they were capable of. In his own words from the prologue: "We've been taking apart the superhero for ten years or more; it's time to put it back together and wind it up, see what it'll do."

What it did was create wonderful stories in a world of heroes, that answer the question above and tons more like them. This is not a comic about a hero - it's a comic about all of them. Most of the six standalone stories here star a different character, from heroes to criminals to bystanders. This is a comic about life as much as anything else.

Astro City was an enormous undertaking. Busiek did not want to limit his stories to a single perspective, nor establish a setting that felt hollow or could change to suit events. He created an entire world to explore, with fully realized geography, denizens of all types, and depth and consequences to the stories he tells there. There is a full history to this world, which we get wondrous glimpses of here and there until later trades fill us in. The careful groundwork set up here connects to and is built upon by all the future trades. All the stories (including the individual ones here) read fine alone, but together they have amazing depth and resonance.

Since he was creating an examination of heroes, Busiek used many familiar archetypes. You will see similarities between Samaritan and Superman, Winged Victory and Wonder Woman, etc. But to equate them or dismiss Astro City's heroes as imitations would be a mistake. Even while using the archetypical nature of these characters as a point of discovery, Busiek makes them compelling, complex people in their own right.

The consistent art is also a strong positive. Alex Ross provides his usual astounding work for the covers, and the interiors are all Brent Anderson. Anderson's art has a unique style and can take some getting used to. It's not quite as crisp as the typical comic art, but it suits the stories extremely well and his habit of leaving some details a little obscured pays off beautifully when the scene requires more detail (which he provides in amazing fashion - emotion comes across strongly from his characters). Personally I love it, but it's worth mentioning that it's not everyone's cup of tea.

Life in the Big City is the start of a truly phenomenal comic and should be read by any comic book fan. The most impressive part is that Astro City would get even better in the second trade...

Highly recommended.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
The finest comic book title published today 27 Feb. 2013
By K. Jemison - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I love Kurt Busiek's "Astro City". It distills and refines the heart of what a comic book can be. It draws you into a world where all the standard hero archetypes are present, but then it puts you inside both their head and their world in a way that almost no other comic book attempts to do. Stories are divided between those that focus on the heroes themselves, and those that show what is really like for normal people to live in a world inhabited by super heroes and villains. This is the first graphic novel I give to non-comic fans to show them what the medium is capable of.
Unqualified five stars. 2 July 2015
By C. Clinton - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I read these in real time and each new issue was the best comic I bought that month or just about any other month. They were fresh takes on archetypes and have stood the test of time. The reason I read comics.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Real superheroes are back again. 4 April 2013
By Spanish reader - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Lots of papers have been written about this series. Most of them are about how Mr. Busiek brought the old characters and sense to wonder back to live.
I don't wanna write about that. I wanna write about how much I enjoyed every single comic included in this volume. Moved by the way Samaritan felt powerless to really change things; thrilled by the formation of the Honor Guard; intrigued by the decision a petty thief is going to make in relation with the big secret he has discovered; sympathetic towards the decision of an ordinary citizen; amused with the superhero who, without his knowledge, has been elected as the last chance of humanity to avoid an alien invasion; and softened with the story of (impossible?) love and responsibility of two of the most important superheroes of this universe.
Must read for comic lovers 31 May 2015
By jkthomas - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Astro City is a favorite because it provides a different angle on superheroes. It's both entertaining and thought provoking.
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