A new issue of ASTRO CITY is out (or is imminent, depending on when you get to read this), so hey, here we are with a new online letter column. As we did last time, and as we plan to continue doing, we started the column out in the comic, and are continuing it here on the blog.
And just as a reminder: The letters we pick to run in the lettercol each month—which we’re imaginatively calling the Letter of the Month—will get the writer an autographed copy of that month’s issue. Autographed by me alone, because it’d be too much of a hassle to have it mailed around to Brent, Alex and the rest of the gang. So if you want a crack at a signed comic, write us letters.
That said, let’s see what the rest of the comments on our new #1 look like.
First up, short and sweet, from THAD:
That was delightful. Welcome back; we missed you. (And great work by Brent, Alex, and the rest, too.)
Glad you liked it, Thad. We missed you, too, and we’re glad to be back on a regular basis.
Next, from DAVID:
Hey, hey! More ASTRO CITY after a too-long hiatus.
And how was it? Well…to be brutally honest, I found it a bit rushed. We get introduced to a bunch of new characters (at least three of whom aren’t named) and we get a brief look-in on several others AND we hear about a new threat AND we get an alien ambassador AND we get a man re-starting his life…It was all a little overwhelming, and I found myself wondering whether it might not have been better to re-introduce present-day Astro City at a slightly more leisurely pace in the first issue, and open those doors in the second.
It is nice to have a story that’s not overly decompressed, at least.
And with that said, I really liked the ambassador we got. A Kirbyesque giant who isn’t all full of himself! Aliens who are polite, intelligent, and respectful! Who knew such things were possible? The laws of narrative dictate that he’s hiding some dark secret, and I look forward to finding out what it is.
The Broken Man is intriguing. He’s visually interesting in himself, and his changing backgrounds are neat; his references to a creature called “Oubor” recall “The Worm Ouroboros”. We’ve been told that he’s someone we’ve seen before, and there are a couple of hints (I wonder…[name of guess redacted]?). His “break the fourth wall” schtick, though; the more I think about it, the less well it works for me. Captions suggesting that my thoughts are influencing the story don’t draw me in; they remind me that it’s a writer who’s arranging everything, without my input. When the Broken Man gets a word balloon saying that I can communicate with him, he turns into just lines on paper. The fourth wall isn’t wide enough to accommodate a two-way pipe; the attempt to install one just brings down the whole structure of the narrative.
I have to admit that on the last page, I did say to myself, “Just who does this guy think he is, anyway?” So it worked on me to that extent.
I’ve been buying ASTRO CITY since the very first issue (hey, I remember Kurt talking about it at the San Diego con back in 1994) and it would take a lot more than that to drive me away. I’m around for the duration. I’m confident that next issue will have a pace more to my liking, and hopeful that it’ll have a bit less metafiction.
It definitely had less metafiction, David, but since the ability to “see” the audience is one of the Broken Man’s powers, he’ll be seeing you again soon. Glad he intrigued you, at least.
And who were the new characters who weren’t named? There were superheroes who weren’t named—including the Confessor, Crackerjack and Winged Victory—but their names weren’t important to the story we’re telling, so there didn’t seem to be a reason to name them in this issue. And none of the costumed characters we didn’t name were new. You may simply not have recognized the members of Reflex 6 who were there from their debut in the ASTRA two-parter, but I didn’t think they needed to be named any more than the EAGLE agents they shared the page with. They’re superheroes, they’re making a fuss, but who they are individually isn’t germane to the story at hand.
When they next crop up in the foreground of a story, though, they’ll get referred to by name, I expect.
I wonder, though. Have we ever brought in new costumed characters and not named them? I’m pretty sure we have, here and there, just as we would with cops or doctors in the background of a crime or medical story.
Make with the clicking for the rest…