|Ad Astra: Astro City: General introduction: Homage Comics press release|
I promised I'd be telling everyone the details of ASTRO CITY's return from hiatus just as soon as the details were concrete and announceable. Well, they're concrete now, so here I am.
San Diego, 3/2/96-- Jim Lee announced today a new imprint of creator-owned comics, to be published as Homage Comics, launching in August with the hotly-anticipated return of Kurt Busiek's Astro City.
The new Homage Comics line will not be part of Image Comics, and will be solicited separately from the other titles published by Lee's WildStorm Productions. Homage Comics will be exclusively distributed by Diamond Comics.
August marks twelve months from the release of Kurt Busiek's Astro City #1, in 1995, and six months since the release of the final issue in the popular title's first run. The new Homage Comics series will be numbered Volume 2, #1. Writer Kurt Busiek, artist Brent Anderson and letterer/designer Richard Starkings and Comicraft will continue on the series, joined by inker Will Blyberg, who has worked with Anderson on Anima, and who is Busiek and Anderson's first choice for the job. Interior colors on the relaunched series will be handled by WildStorm Effects.Alex Ross, of course, will continue to provide painted covers for the series.
While Kurt Busiek's Astro City Vol. 2, #1 doesn't ship until August, the launch actually begins in July with the publication of ASTRO CITY: LIFE IN THE BIG CITY, a trade paperback compilation of the title's first six issues. Also in July, WildStorm Emporium will solicit a poster of one of Alex Ross's cover paintings from the first six issues.
"Homage Comics is something I've wanted to do for a long time," Jim Lee said. "I want to publish the best of the creator-owned projects out there. It was basically a matter of finding the right property to kick it off with, and we've done that with Astro City. Kurt's a great writer doing his best work ever on this series, and it's one of the real standouts of 1995. I'm thrilled to be bringing it back, and I'm sure it'll be every bit as good as it was -- or better!"
Of his book's new home, Busiek said, "I'm delighted with this deal, and I'm very pleased to be working with WildStorm. We originally put Astro City on hiatus for schedule reasons. Working directly with Image Comics has been a ball, and I'd like to stress that in terms of creative freedom, control and support, it has easily been the best publishing relationship I've ever been in. But it's also been an enormous amount of work, as I found myself acting as writer, editor, packager, promotions and sales person, and so on. It's work I enjoyed doing, but along with the rest of my workload, it was extremely draining. So the thought of another publisher, who could take some of that work off my shoulders without taking creative freedom along with it was a welcome thought, and right from the start, talking with Jim Lee about bringing Astro City to WildStorm was relaxing and encouraging. Jim's a very smart guy, and he's been full of suggestions on how to promote the book better. At the same time, though, he didn't want me to sign over any rights I didn't want to give up, or add spin-offs or ancillary products that I just wouldn't want to do. Jim knows how important being in control of WildC.A.T.s has been to him, so he knows how I feel about staying in charge of Astro City.
"So far, I've been talking with WildStorm managing editor Mike Heisler about the content of the book, since he'll be the one who'll be watching over us to make sure we get our stuff done on time and to encourage us to realize our own creative vision as best we can, and with Jeff Mariotte about the relaunch and promotion of the series, and I've got to say I'm delighted. I'm very confident in their dedication and their abilities, and I'm glad that I'll be able to concentrate on the creative end of things, secure that the business side is in good hands.
"I'm also very flattered to be chosen as the series that'll launch an imprint. I'm glad Jim has this kind of faith in us, and I hope we'll be able to make Homage a terrific home for creator-owned work."
Busiek went on to describe the direction Astro City will take at Homage Comics. "Astro City will relaunch with a single-issue story that details one eventful night in the life of Astro City, and examines the question, 'Why would people choose to live in Astro City, anyway?' We'll see the city under siege by a major, powerful, cosmic and evil force, with the heroes of the city rallied against it, a threat equivalent to the coming of Galactus or some other such cosmic danger. By following the events, news reports, public reaction and such, we'll get a portrait of the city that'll serve to introduce new readers to the concept of the series, showcasing various of the Astro City heroes from the cosmic to the street-level crimefighters, along with various established Astro City neighborhoods and bits of Astro City history.
"Following that, we'll do our first two-part story, taking a look at the Astro City heroes on whom we've received the most requests for more information: The First Family. We'll learn about who they are, what their background is and how they fit into the Astro City world, all as seen through the eyes of Astra, the youngest member of the team. She's a third-generation superhero, and has grown up in the public spotlight all her life. What life is like for her and how she deals with the expectations that swirl around her will be at the heart of this two-parter.
"With #4, we'll at long last get to the story that was originally planned to follow-up the first six issues -- a six-part "epic" about a young teenager who comes to Astro City with dreams of becoming a teen sidekick. How he tries to accomplish this, and what he discovers about himself and his dreams along the way, will be the heart of a story that sprawls through all the facets of Astro City that we've seen so far -- there'll be crime-fighting, aliens, social upheaval, political turmoil, mysticism, character origins, religion and more, and we're champing at the bit to get to it.
"After that, the sky's the limit. We've got plans for stories about super-villains, talking gorillas, Astro City history, the personal lives of Honor Guard, Astro City's future ... I've literally got years worth of material planned for this book, and I'm confident we'll be able to keep it exciting, surprising and involving for a long time to come."
Other titles in the Homage Comics line of creator-owned books will be announced soon.
That's the news. Thanks for your patience, all, and I hope you're as happy about this as I am.
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Webpage created march 1996, last updated 18-06-2000.