VirCL: I decided to try interviewing you after reading Astro City #1 and #2… #2, in particular, was one of the best stories I’ve read in years.
KB: Thank you; I’m glad you’re enjoying it.
VirCL: 1) Have you ever been interviewed by e-mail? :-)
KB: A couple of times, yes.
VirCL: 2) “Who the heck is Kurt Busiek??!?” (i.e. where are you from, how old are
you and other boring questions)
KB: Born in Boston, Massachusetts, September 16, 1960. Grew up in the Boston area,
mostly Lexington, MA. Attended Syracuse University (in Syracuse, NY), 1988-1992, graduating with a BA in English Literature. Started selling comics scripts upon graduation, to Marvel and DC Comics. Been working as a freelance writer ever since, plus have been an editor, sales manager and literary agent. Currently a full-time writer. Anything else?
VirCL: 3) What was your favourite comic book, when you where a child?
KB: The kids in my family weren’t allowed to bring comics home when I was a kid, so my favorites were the ones my mother thought were good enough to buy for the family — ASTERIX and TINTIN albums. I also liked Batman a lot, but didn’t get to read many American comics. Once I hit age 14 and stopped following that particular rule, my favorite comics were DAREDEVIL and the original X-MEN.
VirCL: 4) How were you involved in the comic industry?
KB: During high school, I was headed for a career as a computer programmer and discovered I didn’t much care for it. Around that time, I realized that people actually got paid to write comic books, and that sounded like more fun.
So I started practicing, writing and drawing comics with my friend Scott McCloud (who later created ZOT! and UNDERSTANDING COMICS).
I wrote for the fan press and I had a lot of letter published in Marvel letters pages, so by the time I started showing script samples, the editors had some idea that I was a reasonably intelligent guy.
I sold my first story (to DC) just before college graduation, and started writing my first ongoing series (POWER MAN AND IRON FIST, for Marvel) later that summer. And it’s just gone on from there…
VirCL: 5) (The stupid question everyone’s asking since the end of “Marvels“) Will we ever see “Marvels II“?
KB: I think so, but I’m not the right guy to ask. Marvel is producing a MARVELS II, written by Chuck Dixon and painted by Tristan Schane.
I think they’ve had some production delays, but the book should come out eventually.
But ASTRO CITY is _my_ follow-up to MARVELS, so that’s where my energy’s been concentrated.
VirCL: 6) I liked the figure of Samaritan… I think he’s the incarnation of a famous Yellow Kid sentence: “Gee, I’m so busy I haven’t got time to do anything or anybody” :-)
I noticed a similarity with the opening episode of Alan Moore‘s Miracleman (“A dream of flying”): were you influenced in some way by that story?
KB: Not directly — Miracleman opens with a dream that’s really Mike Moran trying to recapture suppressed memories, so it’s not the same sort of thing. But when I realized that the story I was considering for AC #1 opened and closed with a dream, and that Miracleman‘s first story was “A Dream of Flying” and Neil Gaiman‘s Sandman is largely dream-concerned, I figured it made a nice tip of the hat or something. So I called the story, “In Dreams” as a nod to both Alan and Neil. The actual story had been conceived years earlier, at the urging of Scott McCloud. It was my idea for one of his infamous 24-hour comic experiments, and while I never got around to doing it as a 24-hour comic, I held on to the story because I liked it and wanted to do it somewhere.
Turned out ASTRO CITY was the place.
© 1995-2000 Nicola Battista
Note: “Marvels II” became later known as “Code of Honor“.
[This short interview was conducted via e-mail around December, 1995 for the e-zine VirCL (later simply called City Lights, originally published at http://www.olografix.org/citylights; now offline.
Also republished in 2000 on my original “Dj Batman World Headquarters” home page at Metro Olografix, http://www.olografix.org/djbatman/writings/busiek1995.htm]