Astro City TV Series in the Works

The humanistic comic book exploits of Kurt Busiek’s Astro City will soon arrive in live-action form, with a planned TV series.

Astro City continues to delight comic book fans, going strong since its 1995 inception at Image Comics and eventual 2013 migration to DC under the Vertigo imprint. Now, the cult comic brainchild of Kurt Busiek is set to take the next step toward mainstream appreciation: a live-action TV series.

FremantleMedia North America, the company that produces the Neil Gaiman-adapted Starz series, American Gods, has procured the rights for Astro City – held by creator Busiek – with intent on moving forward with a live-action TV adaptation series. The series pilot will be written by Busiek and Rick Alexander, both of whom will serve as an executive producer on behalf of FremantleMedia, joined in that same capacity by Gregory Noveck. As Busiek expresses in a statement:

“It’s a thrill to be working with Rick, Gregory and FremantleMedia on this. Everyone, at every turn, is supportive, helpful and completely focused on capturing the feel of Astro City and bringing it to life as a TV show.”

The Astro City comic is written by Busiek with art by Brent Anderson and is famous for showcasing stunning covers by the legendary comic book painter, Alex Ross (with whom Busiek created the magnificent Marvels series in 1994). The series, which takes place in the eponymous comic book style metropolitan setting, is essentially an episodic, slice-of-life showcase that follows the adventures of the array of costumed heroes who call it home, along with the regular folk who deal with their sometimes-destructive deeds.

While, on the surface, the comic appears to be satirically derivative, it has achieved acclaim in its approach, which does not settle on any individual protagonist or groups, instead constantly culling from a well of over 2,000 characters, shifting to several self-contained story arcs. The series launched in 1995 with the story of a quasi-Superman character, called Samaritan, a super-powered time-traveler trying to prevent the dystopian future from which he came.

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Consequently, it will be interesting to see how the Astro City TV show will attempt its focus. Will it take a more comic book purist route and manifest as an anthology series, shifting between story arcs? Or, will it take a conventional dramatic approach, focusing on a protagonist or group, while attempting to conjure the uniquely esoteric elements showcased in the comics as a colossal sandbox in which they exist?

For Busiek, who earned multiple Eisner and Harvey Awards for his work on Astro City, this television opportunity arrives on the back of a prolific comic book career that started in the early-1980s on Green Lantern, leading to runs on Power Man and Iron Fist, later creating the supervillains-as-heroes group title, Thunderbolts and heroes-for-hire group The Power Company, along with titles such as The Liberty Project, Arrowsmith, Shockrockets, Superstar: As Seen on TV, The Wizard’s Tale, Jonny Demon and Ransom. In 2014, Busiek and artist Benjamin Dewey launched The Autumnlands with Image Comics, a fantasy story containing elements of Game of Thrones with some Jack Kirby influences.

We’ll be sure to update you on the developments of the Astro City TV series as they occur.