Astro City Vol. 1: Life in the Big City
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Astro City Vol. 1: Life in the Big City (Astro City #1)

4.1 of 5 stars 4.10  ·  rating details  ·  5,681 ratings  ·  136 reviews
This first Astro City volume looks at a day in the life of the Samaritan, the worlds busiest super-hero; an invasion of underground dwellers that is thwarted by the super-team the Honor Guard; a small-time criminals growing paranoia as he comes to believe that the colourful hero called the Jack-in-the-Box is after him; plus stories introducing the First Family, the Hanged...more
Paperback, 192 pages
Published June 23rd 1999 by WildStorm (first published 1995)
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Community Reviews

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mark monday
i have a favorite fantasy, although it is more of a fantasy world or even a fantasy way of how a big city could look and feel. it is a version of 1940s/50s america, but minus the stifling straight whiteness of it all, minus the prejudice and racism and sexism, and definitely minus the atrocities happening around the world during those decades. it is a world of fast-talking, wise-crackin' ace reporters in glorious black-and-white; ambitious young ladies taking on the big city in glorious technico...more
 Danielle The Book Huntress (Angels Weep For Goodreads)
Astro City captures the sort of awe this superhero fiction lover has felt since being a young kid and watching shows and movies about superheroes. I grew up in the 80s and we had the Christopher Reeve Superman movies, which were huge for that time period. I watched them again a couple of months ago, and while some aspects are a bit cheesy and dated, the essence is pure and still meaningful, and will bring me back to watch those movies again and again. Having said that, I've never been as huge a...more
Sesana
I love Marvels. It's one of the few graphic novels that I've read over and over, and loved every time. So it's hardly surprising that I also loved Astro City.

I think the best and easiest way of describing Astro City as Marvels, with original heroes. There are a few more differences in setup. Marvels was essentially the history of the Marvel U to that point, while Astro City is more a series of slice-of-life vignettes in a superhero world. And honestly, I didn't love each of them equally. The fif...more
Sam Quixote
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 re...more
Jonathan

So, this finally concludes my borrowed pile of graphic novels. As a result I have become a fan of Kurt Busiek's graphic novel work. His work on Marvels is unparalleled in the Marvel Comicverse and his work here in Astro City Volume 1 is likewise excellent.

Busiek explains in the foreword (one of the best forewords for a graphic novel in my eyes) how often individuals comment that his work makes the world of superheroes realistic. He pointedly argues: actually I don't. There are vampires and othe...more
William Thomas
Who remembers when Busiek and Ross's 'Marvels' hit the stands and made history with it's new take on capes storytelling?

That was the only time I really ever loved Busiek's work. And that's because I never picked up a single issue of Astro City. Around 96-97 I started falling in love with music an spent all of my money on concert tickets for Ozzfest and new CDs and fell out of love with a lot of comic books, although I often reread my collection hundreds of times without buying anything new for...more
Paul
Astro City - the beginning. - Collects Kurt Busiek's Astro City #1-6 (the original miniseries). Originally printed under the Homage Comics imprint at WildStorm in 1995. Most recently got a new edition at DC in 2011 in both trade paperback and hardcover format.

Astro City Volume 1 Life in the Big City marked the beginning of Kurt Busiek, Alex Ross and Brent Anderson's take on superhero comics.

Busiek and Anderson take the superhero genre and, sort of, turn it upside down.

Welcome to Astro City, home...more
Rosa
This was so much more then a super hero graphic novel. This tells the story of Astro City by following some very different residents through their everyday life. All of the stories are interesting and reveal something not only about the city but the characters who people the stories as well. The art style was also gorgeous, capturing a retro/future feel that can usually only be seen in pieces written in the past that believed we would all be driving flying cars by now. I can't wait to see where...more
Lu (Sugar & Snark)
This was a really unique volume of comics, where you get to see the Superhero's and Supervillian's of Astro City. I found Astro City quite interesting. You get to see Samaritan who does so much and who must be exhausted all the time. The stories go back in time as well and you get to see the beginning members of the Honor Guard. You also get to see life outside of Astro City and how people function there. And to see all those superhero's in action was great! I want to know more about the Hanged...more
Anne
Yeesh. I must not be artsy-fartsy enough to appreciate Astro City's...whatever it is that I'm supposed to appreciate.
It was boring. And the art was fugly. However, everyone else seemed to love it, so it's probably just me.
Sarah
I think I'm going to have a hard time describing how much I enjoy Astro City, even in its first six issues. Kurt Busiek has long been one of my favorite comic writers, because he has a strong sense of story movement and his characters' humanity always shines through in the action, creating a total world where the exploits of a hero are not simply calculated but come from someplace deeper.

But that trademark sensibility is only part of what makes Astro City: Life in the Big City so special. By cre...more
Fizzgig76
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, an...more
Mike
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 i...more
Nicholas
Wow! Three 5-star reads in a row. I'm lucky this summer. I love Kurt Busiek (he wrote my favorite Superman story of all time). I have to say that my summer comic reading started off disappointing with the Grant Morrison Batman stuff, but I've learned to stick with what I know is good. Astro City is a love letter to comic books. It's a self-contained universe in which Busiek is not restrained by continuity and character history and can basically do as he wants with the superhero genre, and boy do...more
Tyler Hill
I was slow to warm to Astro City, actually. I think that I'd presumed that the stories in it would be all more "average Joe on the street, living in a super hero world" (a la Marvels), so when it opened with a tale focusing on the Samaritan (Astro City's version of Superman), I was a bit underwhelmed. That said, I enjoyed most of the other stories more, and beyond the art (which I could never really get into), I thought this series represented a neat little thought experiment and foray into worl...more
Evan
Mar 14, 2014 Evan rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: comics
What a fun freaking comic! The 'a day in the life' introduction to the characters and mythology of Astro City worked wonderfully. The first issue, focusing on Samaritan (a thinly veiled Superman clone) gets across the point that being a super hero in this universe is a lot of work, and sacrifice of any possibility of a normal life. These are themes that get brushed under the rug in the actual Superman books, but go a long way toward making Samaritan, a nearly invincible person, seem infinitely m...more
Matt Mongiello
This might be the best graphic novel I've read. This includes the more original and adult oriented books of Alan Moore and the standard super hero fare. I'm pretty sure the first issue/chapter is the best stand alone comic I've read. Why is it so good?

Well, Busiek's introduction hits the nail on the head. The most acclaimed comics of the past few decades ask what superheros would really be in our world. The answer is invariably psychotic/damaged: Miller's Dark Night or Moore's Rorschach are the...more
Derek Royal
Great trade, but what else would you expect from the creator of Marvels? What I like about this, and what the Astro City series has over Marvels, is Busiek isn't playing with someone else's toys. He's constructing this from the ground up. And the word "ground" is appropriate here, since much of what we learn of the superhero world of Astro City is from that perspective, street-level observations of the capes in action.
Paul
LOOK, UP IN THE SKY,
IT'S A BIRD!
IT'S A PLANE!
IT'S not who you think it is

Busiek takes clichéd stories from the golden, the silver and the modern age, and gives them a new twist.
Delving and expanding into the writings to go deeper into the psyche and motivations of both the superheroes and the ordinary people that surround them while still keeping us, the readers, entertained and wanting for more.
Chris
I really don't know why I haven't read the rest of these comics, as I love this volume. A "what if super-heroes were real" premise, but perhaps the best executed of any I've read. Each issue is a stand alone tale that explore aspects of this world - the weight of "great power / great responsibility", the challenge of reporting super-hero activities, et cetera. Both fantastic and human, an excellent read.
Andrew
This is a light and quick read. Busiek's Astro City is filled with a variety of villains and heroes with unusual powers. He says in the introduction that it's nothing like his book Marvels, but the stories from "normal" people's point of view are very similar to Marvels.

All of the issues are stand-alone stories, so this basically introduces you to the city and some of the main players by seeing them from multiple perspectives. Because of that, there wasn't much depth to most of them. I was on t...more
Dale
It was okay

Let me start with this: I am not a big comics fanatic. I read some of these bigger collections from time to time for entertainment, but I've never been to a comic book shop, I don't own a Green Lantern shirt and there's no Superman sticker on my car.

But, I do know what I like and, for me, Astro City was an "okay" collection of new superheroes. This collections includes 5 stories, 2 of which I found tedious. In the intro, Busiek claims to want to get back to basics and stop the "decon...more
D.M.
It may come as a surprise to anyone who knows me as a comics geek, but I don't really care for superheroes. I've got nothing against them, I just can't get into them.
That considered, I can't really help liking Astro City for some reason. Busiek's writing works perfectly within the world of superheroes, while telling fairly un-superhero stories. Anderson's art does likewise, hanging just at the acceptable edge of superheroic comic art. And of course Alex Ross' covers were the perfect choice for a...more
Shawn
I've read the stories in this volume many times since 1995. You know what? They still hold up today and I'd put them up against most books on the shelves right now. As mentioned in his intro, Busiek doesn't provide a realistic approach to superheroes. That's been done by others, some brilliantly and some....not so much. Either way, what would be new about deconstruction superheroes? We've broken them down, tore them up, disected them to the microscopic level. Now, Busiek, Anderson, Ross and comp...more
John Phythyon
This is one of those books I've been meaning to read for years. I'd heard so many good things about it, and I wanted to check it out but somehow never did. I finally got a copy as a gift, and so I sat down with ASTRO CITY at last.

I wish I'd read it sooner, because the material feels dated. Busiek treats superheroes as human beings with lives rather than as gods, but these days that feels very done. What was billed as new and fresh is now almost 20 years old and so isn't. I had to keep reminding...more
Jowel Uddin
Astro City Review

Astro City was simply amazing. The cover itself is very serene and very welcoming. Welcoming, that is the tone that Kurt Busiek creates in his Astro City, which is definitely a masterpiece. Astro City serves to be a new, more fresher look on the superhero and comic book genre –as heroically and very boldly stated by Kurt Busiek in his introduction to the work.

The characters within Astro City are simply marvelous. From a Superman-like hero called Samaritan, who is from the f...more
Paul
Kurt Busiek's love letter to superheroes.

After their breakthrough work Marvels, Busiek and Alex Ross launched Astro City to explore the deeper implications of superheroes. Astro City itself is a fully realized superhero setting right off the bat, with distinct neighborhoods, protectors, and villains. But, as Busiek insists in his introduction, it's not a deconstruction or a "realistic" take on superhero universes, but rather a chance to really poke around and explore the implications of them. An...more
Chip'sBookBinge

I've been hearing nothing but rave reviews for Astro City for quite some time now. But I always had another book to read first and I just kept putting this one off. So, I finally got around to reading Astro City: Life In The Big City. So, did it live up to the hype? Unfortunately no. It's not a bad read, but I do think it's a bit overrated.

Look, I like Kurt Busiek's writing, but I think I'd be doing a disservice by just caving into peer pressure and agreeing with everyone about the awesomeness o...more
Belarius
Jul 27, 2008 Belarius rated it 5 of 5 stars Recommends it for: Astro Citizens
Kurt Busiek has done something unusual with Astro City. Unlike workaday comic book authors who treat their subject matter as trivially as much of their readership does, Busiek is interested in what superheroes mean as ideas. With this, the first entry into a superhero setting of his own creation, he can get right to the guts of the superhero metaphor.

Life In The Big City tells six separate tales, each from a different perspective. Most strikingly, only two of the stories are told from the viewp...more
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Kurt Busiek is an American comic book writer notable for his work on the Marvels limited series, his own title Astro City, and his four-year run on Avengers.

Busiek did not read comics as a youngster, as his parents disapproved of them. He began to read them regularly around the age of 14, when he picked up a copy of Daredevil #120. This was the first part of a continuity-heavy four-part story arc;...more
More about Kurt Busiek...
Marvels Superman: Secret Identity Astro City Vol. 2: Confession JLA/Avengers Conan, Vol. 1: The Frost Giant's Daughter and Other Stories

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