This Should Be Worth Watching: Astro City to Get TV Show
Astro City is one of those high-quality, long-running comics that’s too easily ignored because it feels as though it’s always been there, and the issues are always good reads. Admittedly, the nostalgia approach it takes to the Silver Age of superhero comics may not be to everyone’s taste, but many of the stories are about a lot more than “what if Superman needed some time off?”, and for older comic readers, there’s nothing else acknowledging meaningful adult concerns within the capes-and-tights community and the people who live with them.
Astro City was created by Kurt Busiek, Brent Anderson, and Alex Ross in 1995, eventually moving from Image Comics to its current home as part of DC’s Vertigo imprint. Now comes word that “FremantleMedia North America, the studio behind the acclaimed American Gods TV series, has obtained the rights to Astro City” and will be making a live-action drama.
The pilot will be written by Kurt Busiek and “genre IP acquisition and adaptation specialist” Rick Alexander (who is also working on a TV series version of American Flagg!). Both are executive producers, along with Gregory Noveck, who is also working on a Wild Cards adaptation and produced Red.
I really hate this trend in these kinds of intellectual property announcements:
“Spanning 16 (and counting) collected, standalone yet loosely-connected story arcs containing more than 2,000 original characters, the fictional Astro City universe explores the lives of ordinary people and those of the all-too-human superhumans in their midst, and their collective, daily struggle to hold on to hope in the face of world-shaking, life-altering events beyond any single individual’s control…. The property’s vastly detailed story world represents the last, fully fleshed out superhero universe in the English language comic book business that remains unexploited for the screen.”
Everyone’s got to number their characters in the multiple thousands, because everyone’s concerned about quantity in their superhero universes. I guess the deal makers are justifying their spend to the accountants. Hope those bean counters and lawyers aren’t too concerned about many of those characters being too close to other company’s heroes! That’s the point of the series, after all. And I suppose that there’s not much else to talk about yet, since there are no scripts, no casting information, no network, and no release date. But still! I would watch this.
Update: As noted TV critic Alan Sepinwall points out,
Astro City stories about what it's like to be a normal person living in a superhero world are usually my favorites, and those also most easily lend themselves to a TV schedule and budget.
— Alan Sepinwall (@sepinwall) March 23, 2018
“Astro City stories about what it’s like to be a normal person living in a superhero world are usually my favorites, and those also most easily lend themselves to a TV schedule and budget.” Good observation! That also gets past the “is this character too familiar” problem.