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Book Title: Astro City: Vida en la gran ciudad|
The author of the book: Kurt Busiek
Edition: Planeta de Agostini
Date of issue: September 7th 2000
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 24.70 MB
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Reader ratings: 3.3
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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 The Dark Knight Returns under the rug, and let's instead highlight and exploit their "grim and gritty" aspects!
And so the "Modern" or "Dark Age of Comic Books" was ushered in, marked on the one hand by excessively muscled, ultra-violent and often psychotic anti-heroes, and on the other by gimmicks designed to fuel the speculator market: trading cards, so-called limited editions, variant covers, etc. By the mid-1990's, however, the speculator bubble had burst. Sales plummeted, and all those manufactured collectors' items started filling up the bargain bins. Many collectors had never actually read the typically brain-dead content of their bagged and boarded investments, and now that they realized they had been duped, they simply turned their backs on the industry. Hundreds of retail stores went out of business, many publishers downsized or declared bankruptcy, and the industry's very survival was in doubt.
Astro City was Kurt Busiek's attempt to revive the ailing industry by resurrecting the superhero genre, that is, by inverting the trend towards empty spectacle, by restoring the genre's sense of wonder, and by once again providing it with actual meanings. Instead of showcasing still more musclebound maniacs beating the crap out of each other in grim-and-gritty fashion, the short stories collected in Life in the Big City - carefully crafted and surprisingly quiet - actually have something to say. Some explore the human side of superheroes, others focus on the city's non-powered inhabitants while keeping the superheroes in the background.
There is a strong sense of nostalgia throughout the book, as Astro City - despite its futuristic looks - in many ways feels like an idealized version of a U.S. city from the 1950's. Newspaper journalism, for example, is alive and well here, with reporters sparing no effort to uncover the truth, and with editors religiously checking the facts. Admittedly, things can get a little cheesy here and there, but after a decade of steroid-infused, mind-numbingly violent revenge fantasies, all this was a breath of fresh air. The book's highlight is the Eisner-Award-winning "Safeguards," a well-conceived and beautifully executed story about the immigrant experience.
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Read information about the authorKurt 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; Busiek was drawn to the copious history and cross-connections with other series. Throughout high school and college, he and future writer Scott McCloud practiced making comics. During this time, Busiek also had many letters published in comic book letter columns, and originated the theory that the Phoenix was a separate being who had impersonated Jean Grey, and that therefore Grey had not died—a premise which made its way from freelancer to freelancer, and which was eventually used in the comics.
During the last semester of his senior year, Busiek submitted some sample scripts to editor Dick Giordano at DC Comics. None of them sold, but they did get him invitations to pitch other material to DC editors, which led to his first professional work, a back-up story in Green Lantern #162 (Mar. 1983).
Busiek has worked on a number of different titles in his career, including Arrowsmith, The Avengers, Icon, Iron Man, The Liberty Project, Ninjak, The Power Company, Red Tornado, Shockrockets, Superman: Secret Identity, Thunderbolts, Untold Tales of Spider-Man, JLA, and the award-winning Marvels and the Homage Comics title Kurt Busiek's Astro City.
In 1997, Busiek began a stint as writer of Avengers alongside artist George Pérez. Pérez departed from the series in 2000, but Busiek continued as writer for two more years, collaborating with artists Alan Davis, Kieron Dwyer and others. Busiek's tenure culminated with the "Kang Dynasty" storyline. In 2003, Busiek re-teamed with Perez to create the JLA/Avengers limited series.
In 2003, Busiek began a new Conan series for Dark Horse Comics, which he wrote for four years.
In December 2005 Busiek signed a two-year exclusive contract with DC Comics. During DC's Infinite Crisis event, he teamed with Geoff Johns on a "One Year Later" eight-part story arc (called Up, Up and Away) that encompassed both Superman titles. In addition, he began writing the DC title Aquaman: Sword of Atlantis from issues 40-49. Busiek was the writer of Superman for two years, before followed by James Robinson starting from Superman #677. Busiek wrote a 52-issue weekly DC miniseries called Trinity, starring Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman. Each issue (except for issue #1) featured a 12-page main story by Busiek, with art by Mark Bagley, and a ten-page backup story co-written by Busiek and Fabian Nicieza, with art from various artists, including Tom Derenick, Mike Norton and Scott McDaniel.
Busiek's work has won him numerous awards in the comics industry, including the Harvey Award for Best Writer in 1998 and the Eisner Award for Best Writer in 1999. In 1994, with Marvels, he won Best Finite Series/Limited Series Eisner Award and the Best Continuing or Limited Series Harvey Award; as well as the Harvey Award for Best Single Issue or Story (for Marvels #4) in 1995. In 1996, with Astro City, Busiek won both the Eisner and Harvey awards for Best New Series. He won the Best Single Issue/Single Story Eisner three years in a row from 1996–1998, as well as in 2004. Busiek won the Best Continuing Series Eisner Award in 1997–1998, as well as the Best Serialized Story award in 1998. In addition, Astro City was awarded the 1996 Best Single Issue or Story Harvey Award, and the 1998 Harvey Award for Best Continuing or Limited Series.
Busiek was given the 1998 and 1999 Comics Buyer's Guide Awards for Favorite Writer, with additional nominations in 1997 and every year from 2000 to 2004. He has also received numerous Squiddy Awards, having been selected as favorite writer four years in a row from 1995 to 1998,
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