|An Interview with Kurt Busiek
by Randy "Moonstonelover" Burtis
My thanks to Kurt for taking the time out of his very busy schedule to do this.
Q: You have wrapped up a 5 year run on the Avengers...what made you leave
It just seemed to be time to go. I'd had a lot of fun and done a lot
character stories I wanted to do, and while I had more story ideas,
largely action stories, not stories about the Avengers as characters.
seemed like, rather than find character stuff to do just for the sake
keeping the run going, it was time to do other things, and let someone
have a turn.
I've had a great time, but it's time to try some different stuff.
Q: What has been some highlights over your time on the book?
I've gotten to work with terrific artists -- George, Carlos, Alan,
Epting, Kieron, Ivan and more -- gotten to continue my long and
enjoyable working relationship with Tom Brevoort, and gotten to work
bunch of characters I've loved since I was reading the book over 25
ago. Those are all highlights for me.
Speaking specifically, it was a blast to work with Warbird and Hank Pym
characters, and to reestablish Ultron and Kang as heavyweights. Always
to write Cap, Iron Man and the Wasp, too -- and the Vision, Wanda and
Man were a delight to write, as well. I could keep going, but I'd wind
listing the whole cast...
Q: Looking back...is there anything you would've done differently?
I'm sure there is, but I wouldn't go back and change it. I'd rather
work stand as the best I could do at the time and move forward with new
stuff, rather than think about what I could obssess over and "fix."
Q: Looking back...What are you most "proud" of during your run there?
AVENGERS FOREVER, the "Ultron Unlimited" story, and revitalizing
the first things that come to mind. Plus getting to work with all
Q: JLA/AVENGERS.How far along is the project?
George is working on #3. I'll be plotting #4 soon.
Q: Have you been deluged with "who should beat/meet who" emails from
Of course. Many of them will be disappointed, of course, since we got
as many people insisting that Thor should beat Superman decisively as
insisting that Superman should beat Thor decisively. And we got so
lists of who-should-fight-who that even if this book -was- called
JLA/AVENGERS: TAG-TEAM FIGHTS, we'd run 12 issues and still wouldn't
all in. But this book is about teams, not about solo battles. And for
matter, the two teams -fighting- has never been the main point, only
As you have been working on this project, what has been some of the
surprises you have encountered?
There've been some surprises about how the plot developed, as we
nice bits that fit in easily, or moments that made the whole project
much better -- but I can't tell you about them. In terms of the
arrangement, there haven't been surprises -- it's gone more or less the
I'd have expected. Slower, but as expected.
Q: DC has certainly shown good support for this project with the one
etc, yet there is the perception that the book is sagging. What do you
those who say this book isn't making it?
I'd say there's not much point to treating the comics industry like a
horserace and gauging books by how successful they are or whatever --
only criteria that should matter to a reader is whether they like the
not. If they like it, then they should enjoy reading it whether it's
top ten or the bottom 150; if they don't like it, they shouldn't read
DC, Tom and I have been working out some promotions to get the book
attention -- the reaction has certainly been that the book gets better
better every issue, so if we can get some of the readers who gave up
to try it again with #8, when the "Power Loss" story kicks off, then I
we'll win 'em over.
Q: What are some of the things fans can look forward to with Power Company?
Well, #6 brings Green Arrow in for a brief involvement that runs
and #8-9, and will bring him back later. It also creates some
between the firm's partners. #7 is a solo spotlight on Striker Z,
fleshes him out some more and has some dandy art by Steve Sadowski.
our "Power Loss" two-parter, which blows the team out of their
working arrangements, setting them at each other's throats leaving the
of the firm very much up in the air. There's more coming -- including
hysterical cover on #10 -- but I'll be saying more about that when we
out the promo plans we've been making.
Q: Which characters are you most enjoying exploring, and why?
Honest, whichever one I'm writing dialogue for at the moment. I like
all, and I think of them as an ensemble, so it's really not about
one or that one more than the others. I like Skyrocket as a
trying to function in a very different environment; I like Manhunter as
consummate sonofabitch; I like Witchfire as a self-interested gloryhog
an ultimately good heart, Josiah as a protective and caring boss in a
new business, Striker Z as a naive hero who doesn't know what he wants
life, Bork as a blue-collar joe who just wants to stay out of trouble
keep his job, Sapphire as a mostly-capable young woman with a tough
but a lot of vulnerability... I like 'em all. I particularly like
them off against each other.
ASTRO CITY & MISC
Q: Fans eagerly await news on this, we know DC won't publish until there
stories set to go, what is the status of your work on Astro?
I'm working on the last script I need to write before we're back on
back on the schedule. We hope to be making an announcement soon.
Q: Can you tip anything about what these stories are about?
Well, we're still in the middle of a six-issue arc of single-issue
which may get extended to a seven-issue arc. Among the stories coming
the story of a young woman determined to expose a superhero's secret
identity, the story of a lawyer who has to go into court and argue the
Twin Defense," the story of a city girl sent to the country for the
and what she finds there, the story of a retired hero dragged out of
retirement for one last battle, and more.
Q: How do you respond to
those who say, "Leave the other stuff you are
doing and focus on Astro, it has to make you
more cash, it is amazing stuff...etc"?
I'm delighted they like it, and it does make more money than any other
I could do. But the problem has never been lack of time -- the
been lack of health. A few months ago, I could spend all my available
on ASTRO CITY and still not get anything usable done. But as my health
better, my brain works better, too, and I'm better able to write the
stories ASTRO CITY demands.
That's not to say that ASTRO CITY stories are "better" than AVENGERS
just that they're different, and while I've been ill, I simply haven't
able to make that kind of story work. It's like being a juggling
-- both the juggling and the unicycling take balance, timing and
but if you've got a broken ankle, you can juggle just fine, but can't
that damn unicycle work. That's how it's been for me -- the juggling
going well enough (if more slowly than my editors and I would like),
unicycle just wasn't workable...
Thankfully, I'm getting better and better at riding it again. As it
Q: Arrowsmith is a new project just announced, The Order is finishing,
what are plans for Kurt B in the months ahead?
Once I'm done with AVENGERS and the ORDER, I've still got POWER
JLA/AVENGERS, ASTRO CITY and ARROWSMITH to work on, plus another
two that aren't yet announced. So I'm staying busy -- though PCo may
only thing I have on the shelves for a while, until the new stuff
coming out and ASTRO CITY comes back.
Q:How are you doing health wise?
Slowly getting better. It used to be, I didn't have any seasonal
because my sinuses were messed up year-round. Now, though, one of the
of me getting better is getting wiped out by pollen -- I'm actually
enough to notice. But we're going in the right direction, and I'm
Q: Thunderbolts is a book
that has the perception of being a struggling
book that isn't for a wide group of fans. I
think that is a false perception, as someone
who has been around and knows the comic market,
what has to happen for Thunderbolts to be seen
as a quality book worth supporting?
A: Beats me. When we started,
there were people saying the book wouldn't last
eight issues. Then they said it wouldn't last
twelve issues. Then twenty-five. Then fifty.
I guess if it does get relaunched, they'll be
saying "Look, look! I was right all along!"
I don't worry about that. As long as the book's
holding an audience and pleasing that audience,
who cares what people who aren't reading it
Q: Would you ever consider
going back and taking the writing chores if
I don't know. Probably not, at least not in the near future, but I've
way too many people say "never" and then wind up doing just what they
they wouldn't do to make any firm promises. You never know what might
Q: What storylines did
you most enjoy doing on Thunderbolts?
I had a good time with all of it. The first issue was a ton of fun to
because of the surprise, and I like pulling the rug out from under the
characters and the readers in #10-12. It was a blast to work with the
Lightning Rods, and to play with Graviton. Plus all the character
notably with Atlas, Songbird and MACH-1 -- was a treat to do. And Zemo
Moonstone are incredibly fun to write.
Q:What storyline would you like to have done differently, and how?(or
Same answer as on AVENGERS, I'd say. I'm sure I'd do things
hindsight, but I'd rather let those stories be what they worked out to
and concentrate on making the next project as good as I can rather than
Q: You started this book and ran with it for 33 odd issues, now Fabian
this point equaled your run, there are rumors of a revamp, or something
happening with the book. Any opinion(or inside info you can share?)
I have no inside information -- I've been off the book for three years,
they don't keep me updated on it. I didn't even know Tom wasn't going
editing it any more until I heard it from Pat Zircher, while working on
Personally, I don't think the book needs revamping -- I think Fabian's
doing a swell job. But I'm not the editor, so I don't get to make that
As to what's coming, I'll be as curious as anyone else...
For the place to discuss the interview check out the:
Avengers Message Board Thunderbolts Message Board
Power Company Message Board