Is Astro City Leaving DC Comics Too, For New Graphic Novels?

Recently, Kurt Busiek gave a number of PR-friendly interviews regarding the return of his superhero worldbuilding series with Brent Anderson, Astro City, as an original graphic novel. Of late, Astro City has been published by DC Comics after they bought its former publisher, WildStorm. But it has been through a few imprints and publishers – and it appears it may be doing the same again.

Is Astro City Leaving DC Comics Too, For New Graphic Novels?
Astro City artwork.

The first volume of Astro City was published from 1995 to 1996 by Image Comics,  In 1996, a second volume was launched under the Homage Comics imprint of Image partner studio WildStorm, with a half issue published by Wizard Magazine. WildStorm was then acquired by DC Comics, where the series later transitioned to the WildStorm Signature Series imprint and continued until 2010. During this period it switched from a regular ongoing series to a sequence of periodic mini-series and special issues. A third, ongoing volume was launched under DC's no-longer-existing Vertigo imprint in 2013 and concluded in 2018, reverting to occasional miniseries and original graphic novels. Counting all series, mini-series and special issues, over 100 issues have been published.

But a quick look at the current ComiXology listings for Astro City shows that all copies have been sent to the cornfield. All links are dead, all searches bring up nothing. This is often the case when a series is moving from one license to another. Could it be that the graphic novel may find its original home at Image Comics? There are many other attractive creator-owned options around today as well, including AWA, Ahoy, Albatross Funnybooks, AfterShock and other publishers who don't begin with A, such as Boom, IDW and Dark Horse. Or even traditional book publishers like Scholastic, Simon & Schuster, Random House and more.

Busiek told GamesRadar, "What I've been telling people who ask is, 'We hope to be making some exciting announcements soon,' and I think 'soon' might be very soon — but it's not quite here yet, so that's all I can really say." Previously, Busiek had told people that Astro City would switch from monthly comics to original graphic novels, recommended by then-DC editor Mark Doyle. In the last few years of Astro City's run, most of its sales were digital copies and collected editions – "why not do it in that format first, and put the prime solicitation and promotion into the form that most people will be reading it in? This way, we can do longer stories without the need to get them published 24 pages a month, which is good, because we've got a number of them built up we've been wanting to get to," Mark Doyle is no longer at DC, of course and that was two years ago.

Could the new format, recommended by DC, be published by someone else in 2021?

About Rich Johnston

Founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world, since 1992. Author of The Flying Friar, Holed Up, The Avengefuls, Doctor Who: Room With A Deja Vu, The Many Murders Of Miss Cranbourne, Chase Variant. Lives in South-West London, works from Blacks on Dean Street, shops at Piranha Comics. Father of two. Political cartoonist.

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