Kurt Busiek

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Kurt Busiek is an American Comic Book writer noted for seamlessly blending Silver Age sensibilities with modern storytelling expectations, all while deconstructing and reconstructing various storytelling tropes along the way. He is arguably most reknown for his work on the Marvels limited series and Thunderbolts, as well as his acclaimed run on The Avengers, (all three for Marvel Comics), and his own Kurt Busiek's Astro City. He is an unabashed fan of all comic books, and has a knowledge of canon and character history that borders on uncanny.

Busiek's work has won numerous awards in the comics industry, including several Harvey Awards for Best Writer and several Eisner Awards. He's also a repeat winner and regular nominee of Comics Buyer's Guide Award for Favorite Writer.

He is a regular collaborator with artist Alex Ross, who will often paint covers -- or entire issues -- of Busiek's work.

His website is here.

Works created or heavily influenced by Kurt Busiek include:

Kurt Busiek provides examples of the following tropes:

Busiek: "It strikes me that the only reason to take apart a pocket watch, or a car engine, aside from the simple delight of disassembly, is to find out how it works. To understand it, so you can put it back together again better than before, or build a new one that goes beyond what the old one could do. We've been taking apart the superhero for ten years or more; it's time to put it back together and wind it up, time to take it out on the road and floor it, see what it'll do."

  • Reed Richards Is Useless: Deliberately invoked in Astro City.
  • The Reveal: Perhaps the best executed twist in comics is the end of Thunderbolts #1, in which the titular team is revealed to actually be The Masters of Evil. What's really impressive is how far they went to keep secret the fact that there even was a secret. Peter David, as a favor to Busiek, even had the solicitations changed for the Hulk issue in which the Thunderbolts first appeared in order to keep the secret under the rug.
  • Schedule Slip: Occurred for nearly a decade due to mercury poisoning; this mainly affected his work on Astro City, and eventually caused the title to go from a regular monthly schedule to periodic limited series as a result.

Busiek: "I'd spend days at a time unable to concentrate enough to write, and when it cleared a little bit, I'd have to get as much done as quickly as possible in order to stay on schedule."

  • Self-Deprecation: Done in Busiek and Erik Larsen's early-2000's resurrection of The Defenders. In addition to portraying its principal characters as supreme Jerk Asses who eventually decide to take over the world so it won't need to be defended (and, more importantly, so they won't have to deal with one another), the series invoked Stylistic Suck via references to Marvel's incredibly goofy Silver Age giant monster comics, and one of its covers proudly boasted a Wizard Magazine quote proclaiming The Defenders to be "the worst comic ever produced."
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: Busiek's works tend towards the Idealistic side of the scale, with heroes who are noble and selfless models that the citizens admire. While he does veer into cynicism and disgrace at times, in the end idealism wins, and even former criminals can redeem themselves if they try. In his non-super-hero works however, this expectation is sometimes brutally shattered, such as Arrowsmith, where the lead character realizes no side of the war is living up to their ideals and millions of innocents are suffering.
  • Star-Making Role: Marvels did this for both Kurt Busiek and Alex Ross.
  • Suicidal Cosmic Temper Tantrum: In Astro City, Infidel narrates that he once destroyed the universe in a "fit of pique." After discovering even that wouldn't kill Samaritan (and Samaritan realizing the same for Infidel), they collaborated to put everything back together.
  • The Un-Smile: Invoked during his run on The Avengers, when they become a UN organization and have to get new photo IDs. Vision's attempt to smile for his photo at Wasp's urging is priceless.