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Astro City, Vol. 1: Life in the Big City

(Astro City #1)

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  9,925 ratings  ·  366 reviews
Volumes 1-6 of Kurt Busiek's Astro City are collected in this volume that also includes a sketchbook showing the development of Astro City a cover gallery of cover paintings. ...more
Paperback, 192 pages
Published June 23rd 1999 by WildStorm (first published August 1st 1996)
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Average rating 4.11  · 
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Jan Philipzig
The Resurrection of a Genre and an Industry

In the late 1980's, the popular success of Alan Moore's Watchmen and Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns increasingly presented the comic-book industry with a problem: What was there left to say about all those heroes whose colorful costumes looked rather ridiculous through the new, more sophisticated lens that Moore and Miller had developed? The mainstream publishers came up with this response: Let's sweep the ideological critique of Watchmen and Th
Dec 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing
One of my all-time favorite series. I'll happily recommend it to people who don't read comics.

It is a superhero comic, but it's entirely self-contained. If you read a Batman or Green Lantern comic, you'll be confronted with 35 years of soap-opera history. But with Astro City, you can just start reading. You don't need to know anything picking up the series.
Dan Schwent
Jun 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018, 2018-comics
I normally start reviews with a teaser but this is a really difficult collection to write a teaser for. Astro City was Kurt Busiek's follow up to Marvels. I'm only a couple decades late to the party but I have to say this is a good beginning.

While tales featuring The Samaritan, Astro City's Superman analogue, bookend the tale, it's more about the non-superpowered denizens of Astro City. Like the reporter who witnessed a battle between the Honor Guard and some shark men. Or the crook who saw the
mark monday
May 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: alpha-team, comicon
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
Dec 21, 2010 rated it it was ok
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.
Jan 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019, hoopla
Thought I'd go back and do a re-read of this seminal series.

I love the perspective Busiek brings to each story. Yes, it's superhero comics but sometimes it's told from eyes of a Superman who is so busy saving the world that he has no time to have a life of his own. Sometimes it's the perspective of a small time hood who learns the identity of a hero when he sees him changing in a back alley. Sometimes it's an alien spy sent to watch Earth and call in an invasion when he feels Earth is ripe for
Jun 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
A meta-commentary on the superhero comic genre, Busiek takes us into the alleyways and apartments of average bystanders, the interior thoughts and personal struggles of superheroes. As Busiek himself compares this to Marvels, he says it’s not a realist’s approach to comics, it’s a post-realism, post-Modern Age return to optimistic storytelling, a place to tell stories that matter more than cosmic bombast. Well done.
James DeSantis
Feb 15, 2018 rated it liked it
I've been wanting to read Astro city a long time. I love Kurt's stuff usually and I really wanted to love this. Did I? Well...I loved parts of it.

The volume really focuses on the city itself. We get a bunch of different stories, some intertwined with each other somewhat, but mostly it's there to build these characters in the city up. The idea is to give the people of this amazing city their own life and through their eyes learn about the heroes. On the flipside it also gives us focus sometimes
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
May 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
 Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books)
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
Jul 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Citizens of Planet Comic Books

Such a love letter to old-school comics in which the setting is the lead character, kind of like Sin City without the sleaze or Top Ten without the snark.

Can't wait to get my hands on vol. 2!
Rob Ryan
Jan 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
One of the greatest series’ of all time.
B. P. Rinehart
Nov 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is one of those series that makes me glad I started reading comic books. Since 2013, one thing that struck me about the difference between traditional novels and comic books/graphic novels is the overall setting, or "universe" that the stories exist in. In your average novel/novella/short story, the world the plot and/or characters inhabits is usually only contained in that book (and mostly by the original author). In contrast, comic books can be written by more than one author and the "wor ...more
Quentin Wallace
Nov 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Wow. Shockingly good. Astro City takes standard superhero fare and looks at it from an all new perspective. This volume was six separate stories, and every story was outstanding. We had a look a what a day in the life of "Superman" would really be like. There's a story showing what it would be like to be newspaper reporter in a city of heroes and villains. Another showed what it would be like if a common thug found out the secret identity of a major superhero, from the view of the common thug. T ...more
Jonathan Terrington

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
A re-read. Not quite as impressive as the first time I read this. I guess the difference this time is I know this book is not a standout. That there are at least ten other volumes basically just as good. And the characters are more familiar, because I've seen them before. And not familiar because they are supposed to just feel familiar.

This is not a series I even remember hearing about. Its definitely a modern take on what it means to be a superhero comic and not be Watchmen or Batman: The Dark
As morning commuters make their way to work and as kids take the bus to school, witnessing the superhuman Samaritan flying across the sky to stop a bank robbery or seeing the Winged Victory silhouetted against the sun as she heads out to stop a menace is a regular everyday occurrence. In Astro City, the metropolis is filled with superheroes rubbing shoulders with regular joes.

This long running series is an anthology detailing different stories that take place in Astro City, highlighting not only
Jesse A
Jun 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
Really good, laid back, day in the life book. I get people calling it boring but I liked it.
Rory Wilding
Feb 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have not read a lot of Kurt Busiek, but based on the few titles I’ve read of his, such as Marvels and Superman: Secret Identity, great work he has produced. Marvels in particular where he collaborated with painter Alex Ross, Busiek explored the first thirty-five years of the Marvel Universe through the perspective of an Everyman character. Reuniting with Ross, the writer pushes the idea of "everyday life in a superhero universe" further in the Image Comics series, Astro City.

As a superhero ant
Chelsea 🏳️‍🌈
The concept behind this series intrigues me. I've always been interested in the behind the scenes lives of citizens that live in worlds where superheroes exist. You only see glimpses of it in most series and there are some oddballs like Gotham Central and Marvels. I loved the bit of She-Hulk that talked about how the law works in these societies. It has always been interesting to me.

However, this series didn't really grab my attention.

The first chapter was quite good. I liked Samaritan as a char
Jul 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A refreshing collection of great vignettes and world building stories heavy influenced by the golden age of comics. Excited to keep reading this series.
Nov 04, 2019 rated it liked it
It was kinda boring actually. There were some good parts but the boring ones overshadowed what little action was in it. The writing was poor but the artwork was decent. I did like Samaritan and Jack-in-the-Box but the other super heroes/villains were just alright. I want to read volume 2 to see if it gets any better.
Aug 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Jul 06, 2019 rated it liked it
The first volume of Kurt Busiek's off centre modern life chronicle about Astro City, the epicentre of this reality's super and magically powered minority. Busiek introduces the layers of society in Astro City initially from a super powered point of view, but then going forward mostly from the views of civilians.

What really sets this series above others is; the limited continuity across issues; the stories all being told by diverse protagonists; the multi layered non-linear chronicling of the hi
Art the Turtle of Amazing Girth
Very very nicely done.
More about the city and regular people, than the super powered folk.

The little alien dude is my favorite, I'll be reading further to catch glimpses of him for sure.

This was #88 on the top 100 graphic novel of all time list.
Aug 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
Very interesting take on super heroes. THis comic brings the human story
Scott Firestone
May 21, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: graphic-novel
Kurt Busiek's Astro City seems to be a response to the grittiness of The Dark Knight and its ilk, a trend that had permeated the industry in the late '80s and early '90s. It might also be that he wanted a series of standalone stories set in a universe he created.

Whatever the true answer, this is Astro City, a new Metropolis with all new heroes and villains. Each story is self-contained, but using this same group of characters. None of the stories struck me as particularly good or bad. And none
The point of taking apart (deconstructing) something is so that it will run better when you put it back together (reconstructing), right?

That's what Kurt Busiek thought, and so, beginning in August, 1995, he (along with Brent Anderson, Alex Ross, Steve Bucellato, Richard Starkings, John Roshell, and Electric Crayon) reignited the love and affection many weary readers and his own peers had for the superhero genre and the comic book medium with the first issue of Astro City.


That love and affectio
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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;

Other books in the series

Astro City (1 - 10 of 17 books)
  • Astro City, Vol. 2: Confession
  • Astro City, Vol. 3: Family Album
  • Astro City, Vol. 4: The Tarnished Angel
  • Astro City, Vol. 5: Local Heroes
  • Astro City, Vol. 6: The Dark Age, Book One: Brothers and Other Strangers
  • Astro City, Vol. 7: The Dark Age, Book Two: Brothers in Arms
  • Astro City, Vol. 8: Shining Stars
  • Astro City, Vol. 9: Through Open Doors
  • Astro City, Vol. 10: Victory
  • Astro City, Vol. 11: Private Lives

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