ComicBoards Interview

Welcome to Alvaro's

Welcome to Alvaro's
An Interview with Kurt Busiek
by Randy "Moonstonelover" Burtis

ComicBoards Exclusive!

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 now?
  • A: It just seemed to be time to go. I'd had a lot of fun and done a lot of character stories I wanted to do, and while I had more story ideas, they were largely action stories, not stories about the Avengers as characters. So it seemed like, rather than find character stuff to do just for the sake of keeping the run going, it was time to do other things, and let someone else 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?
  • A: I've gotten to work with terrific artists -- George, Carlos, Alan, Steve Epting, Kieron, Ivan and more -- gotten to continue my long and very enjoyable working relationship with Tom Brevoort, and gotten to work with a bunch of characters I've loved since I was reading the book over 25 years ago. Those are all highlights for me. Speaking specifically, it was a blast to work with Warbird and Hank Pym as characters, and to reestablish Ultron and Kang as heavyweights. Always fun to write Cap, Iron Man and the Wasp, too -- and the Vision, Wanda and Wonder Man were a delight to write, as well. I could keep going, but I'd wind up listing the whole cast...

  • Q: Looking there anything you would've done differently?
  • A: I'm sure there is, but I wouldn't go back and change it. I'd rather let the 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?
  • A: AVENGERS FOREVER, the "Ultron Unlimited" story, and revitalizing Warbird are the first things that come to mind. Plus getting to work with all those terrific artists...


  • Q: JLA/AVENGERS.How far along is the project?
  • A: George is working on #3. I'll be plotting #4 soon.

  • Q: Have you been deluged with "who should beat/meet who" emails from fans?
  • A: Of course. Many of them will be disappointed, of course, since we got just as many people insisting that Thor should beat Superman decisively as people insisting that Superman should beat Thor decisively. And we got so many 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 fit them all in. But this book is about teams, not about solo battles. And for that matter, the two teams -fighting- has never been the main point, only part of the story.

  • Q: As you have been working on this project, what has been some of the surprises you have encountered?
  • A: There've been some surprises about how the plot developed, as we discovered nice bits that fit in easily, or moments that made the whole project that much better -- but I can't tell you about them. In terms of the working arrangement, there haven't been surprises -- it's gone more or less the way I'd have expected. Slower, but as expected.


  • Q: DC has certainly shown good support for this project with the one shots etc, yet there is the perception that the book is sagging. What do you say to those who say this book isn't making it?
  • A: 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 -- the only criteria that should matter to a reader is whether they like the book or not. If they like it, then they should enjoy reading it whether it's in the top ten or the bottom 150; if they don't like it, they shouldn't read it regardless. DC, Tom and I have been working out some promotions to get the book more attention -- the reaction has certainly been that the book gets better and better every issue, so if we can get some of the readers who gave up early on to try it again with #8, when the "Power Loss" story kicks off, then I think we'll win 'em over.

  • Q: What are some of the things fans can look forward to with Power Company?
  • A: Well, #6 brings Green Arrow in for a brief involvement that runs through #6 and #8-9, and will bring him back later. It also creates some friction between the firm's partners. #7 is a solo spotlight on Striker Z, which fleshes him out some more and has some dandy art by Steve Sadowski. #8-9 is our "Power Loss" two-parter, which blows the team out of their comfortable working arrangements, setting them at each other's throats leaving the future of the firm very much up in the air. There's more coming -- including a hysterical cover on #10 -- but I'll be saying more about that when we roll out the promo plans we've been making.

  • Q: Which characters are you most enjoying exploring, and why?
  • A: Honest, whichever one I'm writing dialogue for at the moment. I like them all, and I think of them as an ensemble, so it's really not about liking this one or that one more than the others. I like Skyrocket as a straight-up hero trying to function in a very different environment; I like Manhunter as a consummate sonofabitch; I like Witchfire as a self-interested gloryhog with an ultimately good heart, Josiah as a protective and caring boss in a whole new business, Striker Z as a naive hero who doesn't know what he wants out of life, Bork as a blue-collar joe who just wants to stay out of trouble and keep his job, Sapphire as a mostly-capable young woman with a tough exterior but a lot of vulnerability... I like 'em all. I particularly like playing them off against each other.


  • Q: Fans eagerly await news on this, we know DC won't publish until there are 3 stories set to go, what is the status of your work on Astro?
  • A: I'm working on the last script I need to write before we're back on track and back on the schedule. We hope to be making an announcement soon.

  • Q: Can you tip anything about what these stories are about?
  • A: Well, we're still in the middle of a six-issue arc of single-issue stories, which may get extended to a seven-issue arc. Among the stories coming up are 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 "Evil Twin Defense," the story of a city girl sent to the country for the summer 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"?
  • A: I'm delighted they like it, and it does make more money than any other series I could do. But the problem has never been lack of time -- the problem's been lack of health. A few months ago, I could spend all my available time on ASTRO CITY and still not get anything usable done. But as my health gets better, my brain works better, too, and I'm better able to write the kind of stories ASTRO CITY demands. That's not to say that ASTRO CITY stories are "better" than AVENGERS stories, just that they're different, and while I've been ill, I simply haven't been able to make that kind of story work. It's like being a juggling unicyclist -- both the juggling and the unicycling take balance, timing and dexterity, but if you've got a broken ankle, you can juggle just fine, but can't make that damn unicycle work. That's how it's been for me -- the juggling was going well enough (if more slowly than my editors and I would like), but the unicycle just wasn't workable... Thankfully, I'm getting better and better at riding it again. As it were.

  • Q: Arrowsmith is a new project just announced, The Order is finishing, so what are plans for Kurt B in the months ahead?
  • A: Once I'm done with AVENGERS and the ORDER, I've still got POWER COMPANY, JLA/AVENGERS, ASTRO CITY and ARROWSMITH to work on, plus another project or two that aren't yet announced. So I'm staying busy -- though PCo may be the only thing I have on the shelves for a while, until the new stuff starts coming out and ASTRO CITY comes back.

  • Q:How are you doing health wise?
  • A: Slowly getting better. It used to be, I didn't have any seasonal allergies, because my sinuses were messed up year-round. Now, though, one of the signs of me getting better is getting wiped out by pollen -- I'm actually healthy enough to notice. But we're going in the right direction, and I'm keeping my fingers crossed.


  • 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 say?

  • Q: Would you ever consider going back and taking the writing chores if Fabian stopped?
  • A: I don't know. Probably not, at least not in the near future, but I've seen way too many people say "never" and then wind up doing just what they said they wouldn't do to make any firm promises. You never know what might happen.

  • Q: What storylines did you most enjoy doing on Thunderbolts?
  • A: I had a good time with all of it. The first issue was a ton of fun to do 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 stuff -- notably with Atlas, Songbird and MACH-1 -- was a treat to do. And Zemo and Moonstone are incredibly fun to write.

  • Q:What storyline would you like to have done differently, and how?(or why?)
  • A: Same answer as on AVENGERS, I'd say. I'm sure I'd do things differently in hindsight, but I'd rather let those stories be what they worked out to be, and concentrate on making the next project as good as I can rather than looking back.

  • Q: You started this book and ran with it for 33 odd issues, now Fabian has at 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?)
  • A: I have no inside information -- I've been off the book for three years, and they don't keep me updated on it. I didn't even know Tom wasn't going to be editing it any more until I heard it from Pat Zircher, while working on AVENGERS #55. Personally, I don't think the book needs revamping -- I think Fabian's been doing a swell job. But I'm not the editor, so I don't get to make that call. 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 - Your place to discuss comics