iFanboy Video Podcast

iFanboy #126 – Welcome to Astro City

Show Notes

Astro City is published currently by Wildstorm/DC but originated at Image Comic, allowing writer Kurt Busiek to team up with his art partner on Marvels, Alex Ross, to design a new universe of superheroes, illustrated by Brent Anderson. The end result is one of the greatest, freshest and most unique takes on the superhero genre within an imaginative world full of heroes, villains, history and great stories.

The first mini series is collected in trade paperback, Life in the Big City, and is an anthology of one issue stories about several of the characters, such as Samaritan, Crackerjack, Jack in The Box and Winged Victory. It’s the perfect introduction to the world of Astro City.

The first mini series paved the way for the second trade paperback, and probably the best story arc in Astro City‘s history, “Tarnished Angel,” telling the tale of Steeljack, a low level villain who served his time and tries to live the straight life. The recent stories in Astro City, The Dark Age, are a period piece of a darker time during the 1970s in Astro City.

One of the near perfect comics in existence, Astro City continues to be one of the shining spots in comics and we hope that Kurt Busiek and Brent Anderson continue their series for a very, very, very long time.



Get Involved

Doing the podcast is fun and all, but let's be honest, listening to the 2 of us talk to each other can get repetitive, so we look to you, the iFanboy listeners to participate in the podcast! "How can I get in on the fun?" you may ask yourself, well here's how:

  • E-Mail us at contact@ifanboy.com with any questions, comments or anything that may be on your mind.

Please don't forget to leave your name and where you're writing from and each week, we'll pick the best e-mails to include on the podcast!


  1. I haven’t read those back issues in years. You guys got me excited about the Confessor storyline and I’m going to go back in my long boxes and reread it, because honestly I’ve forgotten what happens.

  2. You mean….there’s a comic out there that did Civil War AND Secret Invasion the right way?

    I must have this.

  3. shocked that queen and country was omitted from the cold open.

  4. I love it when you guys talk about something you’re really passionate for. It shows, and it’s infectious as all hell.

    I’ve recently done what Josh did and have tracked down every last back issue for the series. I haven’t read them all — yet. But will be finishing them soon

    "Astro City" is one of those books where, as a writer, I look at and go, "I got nothing compared to this." What a great comic.


  5. I am in class and can’t watch the video, but I just want to say, I love Kurt Busiek. He is my favorite writer. Astro City is my favorite series. It single handedly got me to by my first comic in well over 10 years, while I have only been buying trades. This was just to keep up with Dark Age. Tarnished Angel is probable my favorite trade. The first 2 books of Dark Age are great. If you have not read these books you are truly missing out.

  6. Wow. So much hype for one issue…

    I have the first volume in my stack and it gut bumped up considerably. Thanks. 

  7. It’s been years since I read all the trades, and I hadn’t realized a new collection was finally out! Thanks for the heads up! Awesome episode, guys! 

  8. I agree completely with JamesSeals.  When you guys are excited about the material the quality of the show jumps up a few pegs.  I have put all the Astro City trades on my Amazon wish list (and Father’s Day is Sunday!!).

  9. Nice timing. It makes an appearance in the TRS episode as well.

  10. Nearly every library I’ve been to, including the one in my building, has a copy of the first trade, and I always wondered why.  I read some of Busiek’s Superman, and found it unbearable.  The enthusiasm in this podcast has convinced me to give him another shot.

  11. This series has a habit of slapping superhero stereotypes in your face and make you appriciate it even more.

  12. One of my favorite single issues is the story of the average man who lost his wife in the "Crisis" like event.

  13. Damn guys, that was a freakin’ gush-fest 😉

    It worked though, I’m sold.  The amount of love you guys have for this is more than enough to convince me to check it out.  I’ll pick up the first trade some time this week and take it with me on my vacation.  

  14. Great show guys.

    I was at a small convention in Portland about 7 years ago, and didn’t find out until I was there that Kurt Busiek, Brent Anderson, and Alex Ross were all at the same table. I booked it back to my house to grab my first issue and made it back just in time to have them all sign it. Classy guys, all of them. That was the first time I ever went out of my way to get something signed.

    I couldn’t agree more about this series. Keep up the good work.

  15. Nice show.

    I have a problem with Astro City…that i tried to read the first trade after reading ABC comics (mostly Tom Strong, Promethea and Top 10), and for me it felt slow and boring. Maybe i’ll give it a try.

    And it would be nice to see an episode on ABC comics.

  16. Thanks a lot, more stuff to put in my Amazon wishlist.

  17. We’ve done shows on Alan Moore and talked about all the ABC comics we had anything to say about.

  18. This series sounds really good, and i’m not much of a superhero-book fan.

  19. Astro City 1/2 (included in the Confessions trade) is one of my favorite comic stories.  I cry every time I read it.

  20. Jeff Reid (@JeffRReid) says:

    You know, I’ve seen that first trade cover a bunch of times and had no idea what was under it.  Thanks for shedding some light on this series.  Looks like I’ve got more things to add to my piles o’ comics I need to read.

  21. @PudgyNinja: it made me hate retcons even more

  22. I’ve been meaning to start these trades for awhile now.  I think this episode just pushed me over the edge.

  23. @ RICHARDS – is it hard to flip through your long boxes with none of the tabs on your mylars taped down.  I tape all mine down.  Am I wasting my time?

  24. And within 3 mins of finishing watching the episode I have the first 3 trades ordered. I think iFanboy has cost me over a thousand dollars by now – yay!

  25. I’m really happy that people are going to be discovering ASTRO CITY now. And jealous that they get to do so for the first time.

  26. phenominal gentleman.  I loves me some Astro City.  I actually agree with all 3 of you about something.

  27. I watched the new show, and 15 min after it was done I was on amazon ordering the first 2 trades. Looking forward to reading it, Thanks for the recomendation.

  28. Nice show this week guys.  I too am a huge fan of Astro City.  While the storyline with the Confessor is majorly awesome, I was actually more partial to the Tainted Angel storyline.  It’s probably because it has more of a noir feel to it, which is what I love.  I haven’t read any of the Dark Ages yet, but I’m looking foward to scoping it out at some point.

  29. You know, I love the first 4 trades and Local Heroes is good, but for whatever reason Dark Age has failed to grab me. 

  30. So what order should I read these in?  And can I pick everything up in trades?

  31. Nevermind… I found what I was looking for.  If anyone else needs to know.  Here you go.

    • Astro City: Life in the Big City (ISBN 1-56389-551-X, collects Astro City Vol. 1 #1-6)
    • Astro City: Confession (ISBN 1-56389-550-1, collects Astro City Vol. 2 #1/2, 4-9)
    • Astro City: Family Album (ISBN 1-56389-552-8, collects Astro City Vol. 2 #1-3, 10-13)
    • Astro City: Tarnished Angel (ISBN 1-56389-663-X, collects Astro City Vol. 2 #14-20)
    • Astro City: Local Heroes (ISBN 1-4012-0281-0, collects Astro City Vol. 2 #21-22, Astro City: Local Heroes #1-5, Astro City Special: Supersonic, "After the Fire")
    • Astro City: The Dark Age Book One: Brothers and Other Strangers (ISBN 9781401220778, Astro City: The Dark Age Book One #1-4, Astro City: The Dark Age Book Two #1-4, Astro City/Arrowsmith: The Flip Book one-shot)
  32. The trades are all listed here too.

  33. I just went to my one of the comic book stores in Pittsburgh and picked up an old dusty copy of Astro City: Life in the Big City.  I will be reading it when I get home today

  34. Sorry Conor I didn’t see a list anywhere (still don’t) but Im sure it is.

    I just ordered the first trade from barnes. Thanks for the great pick guys. Can’t wait to dive into this. Sounds like everything you could want from a super hero comic.

  35. @CharlieBlix: Hmmm… does the link I provided not work for you?

  36. No..? I don’t see a link. Maybe because I’m on the site on my phone? I’m not sure… Weird. I’m on an iPhone. Maybe it’s a glitch with the moble site?

  37. Click on Listed Here in conor’s post

  38. If Charlie’s on his phone he won’t see the iink.

  39. I did and every other word. It doesn’t do anything. His name takes me to his profile and that’s about it. Don’t know what gives. Still think it’s something screwy with the moble site. I’m on an iPhone running OS 3. If that helps any. The links in the show notes work but it doesn’t show any links in the comments, other than the fact that it thinks the ISBNs are phone numbers.

  40. @Conor well good to know, haha. Thanks for clearing that up.

    Sorry if you thought I was being a jerk or something. I didn’t mean you any disrespect. It seems I slays get on your bad side some how.

  41. Always not slays… Darn iPhone.

  42. Like always you guys made my ears stand up. I’ll check out the 1st trade. How is the content, all ages/Teen/Mature?? 

  43. Thanks for the show guys.  I recently started reading Astro City, and I think it’s fantastic.  It’s another book I would’ve probably ignored if it wasn’t for you guys.

  44. I’m going to check this out.  As soon as I get some money together, I’m picking up the first trade.  


  45. I’m going to check this out.  I’m speculative about the Dark Age stuff but I’m going for it.

  46. Astro City is everything you guys say and more.  Great episode, thanks!

    My favorite issue – the "Lois Lane" issue…wow, what a great sick twist ending.  You guys rock that you brought up the great Junkman issue, and also mentioned the Barbie issue.  Brilliant.

  47. I found Astro City volume one on Ebay for five dollars, but they want nine dollars for Priority Shipping?!  It all equals out in the end except it’s not a near mint copy either.

    Fuck it, I’m down.  You guys so got me into reading this when I finally finish Preacher.  I’m gonna finish volume eight today before the podcast is out, watch!

    You guys should do a show about Preacher.  That’s one I can honestly admit I found on my own though

  48. Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    They did an episode on Preacher.

  49. What’s Preacher?

  50. I am ashamed to say that I never read any Astro City books :/ But that will soon be rectified thanks to Ifanboy!

  51. I dont know if it’s been mentioned, but the first trade of Astro City is going to be reprinted this summer. If the solicts dont change then it is suppose to come out on July 15th. So if my LCS or BK gets it; I’ll go pick it up.

  52. I love Astro City aswell. but when the damm book went to $3.99 at the start of this story for no extra pages an card stock cover that makes Alex Ross’s colours look worse. I had to drop the book

  53. That’s awesome. Great show, awesome recommendation.

  54. I’m reading the first trade now and loving it!  This is a great recommendation for me!  I just finished the Hangman in the morning, First Family in the afternoon story, which was probably issue #4 in issues from Life In The Big City.  I’m about to read some more of it afterwards.

     I’m not sure where I am going to get the rest of the trades, my LCS doesn’t have these!!  I guess Ebay is the place to go?

  55. I read book 1 due to the recommendation.

    And it was underwhelming.  Pretty much an alternate DC world.  And book 2 is described as a "Batman & Robin" book on Amazon.  Big "No thank you" on that one. 

    Jeez, it feels like this was waaaay overhyped.  I’d give it a "B" rating while iFanboy made it seem like "A+" quality work when even by their own standards today, it isn’t.  Yet the "A" quality work that does come out today, they complain and moan about as if it’s "C" quality work.

    I feel like nostalgia played a big part in overhyping this book.  Again, I think by their own standards, if they were to take a step back and re-read this today for what this truly is, it’s not as good as they said it was on this video show.  But that’s "par for the course" here.

    And why iFanboy’s ratings seem to be all over the place at all times?  I don’t know, that’s tough to say.  I think when they became "Critics" they upped their own bars for what passes as quality comics.  Yet something like this that they read before the time they were critics, gets a pass.  Because to them at the time, this was an "A+" quality book.  Books today that are in fact better than this get dumped on.  They turn their noses up at modern instant classics with a "Give me a break!" type attitude that comes off as hypocritical after having listened to a few episodes.  To the point where if they had read today’s classics back when they were first reading "Astro City," it would have blown their brains out.

  56. @Kickass – There are a lot of great writers that were influenced by books that came in the past and are able to build upon them. But they would not be able to create as sucha high level had it not been for people who came before them, like Busiek. I skipped the first book, but read The Confessor, it’s an amazing book. You NEED to read it.

  57. @KickAss – "(We are) standing on the shoulders of giants." – Bernard of Chartres (or Issac Newton if you want the one who popularized it)

  58. i have to pick up this title. great show. vid #4 of my sick day marathon.

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