What’s been happening with Astro City? It seems it was supposed to move to a graphic novel format, and then… nothing. Now we know why – Kurt Busiek is moving Astro City to Image Comics, and launching Arrowsmith and more in 2022.
“I’m thrilled to be back at Image and glad to be working with Eric Stephenson and the whole crew here,” said Busiek. “Image is the best comics publisher for creator-owned work, so it’s very nice to be bringing my books together here, where they can be available as a group, supported by the team here—and sitting alongside such great series as Saga, The Walking Dead, Criminal, Savage Dragon and so many more. And not just because Image is only about twenty minutes from where I live, so I can actually drop by the place, once the pandemic is in the rearview. My creative partners and I are looking forward to a having a home for the work we’re doing now and lots of new ideas to come.”
Chief Creative Officer and Publisher at Image Comics, Eric Stephenson, is just as excited Kurt is making the move to Image. “When I was editing comics for Extreme Studios back in the ’90s, one of my big regrets was that I couldn’t close the deal on getting Kurt Busiek to write Supreme, so working with Kurt to make Image the home for all of his creator-owned work—from Astro City to Arrowsmith to Autumnlands and more—has been nothing short of a thrill. In addition to being one of comics’ finest writers, Kurt is also a magnet for equally talented artists, and we couldn’t be happier to see the Image ‘i’ on work by the likes of Carlos Pacheco, Brent Anderson, Alex Ross, Ben Dewey, Stephen Mooney, Jordie Bellaire, and Alex Sinclair.”
Arrowsmith returns in January 2022 with Arrowsmith: Behind Enemy Lines, a six-issue mini-series from Busiek and artist Carlos Pacheco.
It’s World War I—but a war of wizards and dragons as much as bullets and barbed wire. Young airman Fletcher Arrowsmith plunges back into the heat of war—and finds himself behind enemy lines, facing a threat that could doom the Allied Powers. Old friends and new favorites will appear, and the world of Arrowsmith will be deepened, as previously-secret history and machinations are revealed.
“Stepping back into this universe at long last, and writing these characters again feels like coming home, and visiting with old friends—admittedly, old friends we do dangerous, stressful things to in the name of adventure,” said Busiek in a press release from Image Comics. ‘And the art, by Carlos, Rafael, and Jose, is just astounding. Arrowsmith fans have been very patient, but have never been shy about letting us know they want more—and I can’t wait for them to see both the new series and the re-mastered original in the kind of hardcover edition we think it deserves.”
Then, in March 2022, Astro City returns with collaborators Brent Anderson, Alex Ross, and Alex Sinclair, which will set the stage “for upcoming dangers for the city and the world” Image will also release new collected editions of the Astro City line.
“Alex, Brent, and I have been planning this for a long time—we’re introducing a teen-hero team, The Jayhawks (and more), in the special, and setting off a mystery as important to Astro City as what happened to the Silver Agent or the story of the Broken Man,” continued Busiek. “Alex has designed a cornucopia of new characters, and Brent is going to town on the artwork. It’ll be a very fun ride—and yes, longtime readers, we will get to the story of the N-Forcer, I promise! Plus, I think The Gods on Sunday Morning will be a treat, both for Astro City readers and others. It’s a standalone urban fantasy graphic novel about a group of long-forgotten gods in the world today, taking a similar approach to fantasy as what Brent, Alex, and I have done with superheroes, and it’s looking just gorgeous.”
Longtime fans will also be treated to a new urban-fantasy graphic novel, The Gods on Sunday Morning, from the whole Astro City team, after which they begin a new ongoing run on the acclaimed series.
Also in the works is Free Agents, a new series launch from Busiek with co-writer Fabian Nicieza and artist Stephen Mooney and the return of Autumnlands from Busiek with Benjamin Dewey and Jordie Bellaire, all planned for late 2022.
Image Comics will also work with Busiek on Shockrockets and Superstar: As Seen on TV with Stuart Immonen, Wade von Grawbadger and Jeromy Cox, and The Wizard’s Tale with David Wenzel.
And that is not all! Autumnlands returns in 2022 as well!
Kurt Busiek’s creator projects have been on the back burner for far too long, and it is great to know more is coming next year.