Kurt Busiek

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Kurt Busiek
Kurt Busiek Stumptown.jpg
Kurt Busiek at the Stumptown Comics Fest, 2012
Born (1960-09-16) September 16, 1960 (age 54)
Boston, Massachusetts
Nationality American
Area(s) Writer
Notable works
Astro City
The Avengers
Awards numerous; see below

Kurt Busiek (born September 16, 1960)[1] is an American comic book writer notable for his work on the Marvels limited series, his own title Astro City, and his four-year run on Avengers.

Early life[edit]

Busiek was born in Boston, Massachusetts. He grew up in various towns in the Boston area, including Lexington, where he befriended future comic book creator Scott McCloud.[2] Busiek did not read comics as a youngster, as his parents disapproved of them.[2] He began to read them regularly around the age of 14, when he picked up a copy of Daredevil No. 120. This was the first part of a continuity-heavy four-part story arc; Busiek was drawn to the copious history and cross-connections with other series. Throughout high school and college, he and McCloud practiced making comics.

During this time, Busiek had many letters published in comic book letter columns, and originated the theory that the Phoenix was a separate being who had impersonated Jean Grey, and that therefore Grey had not died—a premise which made its way from freelancer to freelancer, and which was eventually used in the comics.[3][4] Busiek explains, "A couple of years later, after I’d broken in, I attended my first convention as a pro, in Ithaca, New York, and I stayed at Roger Stern's house. And we were talking about how much we liked the new X-Men, and he said, 'It's just a pity there's no way to bring Jean Grey back,' and I said, 'Sure there's a way, there's always a way.'"[5]


During the last semester of his senior year, Busiek submitted some sample scripts to editor Dick Giordano at DC Comics. None of them sold, but they did get him invitations to pitch other material to DC editors, which led to his first professional work, a back-up story in Green Lantern No. 162 (Mar. 1983).[2] After writing four fill-in issues of Power Man and Iron Fist, he was given the series as his first regular assignment.[6] Busiek was a fan of the work his predecessor, Mary Jo Duffy, had done on Power Man and Iron Fist, and emulated her lighthearted, humorous approach, not knowing that the editorial staff disapproved of this approach and had taken Duffy off the series because of it. He was fired from the series for the same reasons as Duffy, after only six issues as its regular writer.[6] In 1985, he wrote a Red Tornado limited series.[7]

In 1993, Busiek and artist Alex Ross produced the Marvels limited series which, as comics historian Matthew K. Manning notes, "reinvigorated painted comics as a genre, went on to become an acclaimed masterpiece, and spawned more than its own fair share of imitators."[8] Busiek and Pat Olliffe crafted the Untold Tales of Spider-Man series beginning in September 1995.[9] He created the Thunderbolts, a group of super-villains disguised as super-heroes, with the final page of the first issue of the series revealing that the Thunderbolts were actually the Masters of Evil, a surprise twist carefully guarded by Marvel.[10] In February 1998, Busiek launched The Avengers vol. 3 with penciler George Pérez[11] and Iron Man vol. 3 with artist Sean Chen.[12] Busiek and Carlos Pacheco collaborated on the Avengers Forever limited series in 1998–1999.[13] This replaced the Avengers: World in Chains series which the two had previously planned to work on.[14] Busiek continued as writer of The Avengers through 2002, collaborating with artists such as Alan Davis and Kieron Dwyer. His tenure culminated with the "Kang Dynasty" storyline. In 2003, Busiek re-teamed with Pérez to create the JLA/Avengers limited series.[15]

Busiek has worked on a number of different titles in his career, including Arrowsmith, The Liberty Project, The Power Company, Shockrockets, Superman: Secret Identity, JLA, and the award-winning Kurt Busiek's Astro City.[16] In the 1990s, work on some of Busiek's more challenging, less mainstream projects, most notably Astro City, was repeatedly delayed by health problems brought about by mercury poisoning.[17][18]

In 2004, Busiek began a new Conan series for Dark Horse Comics.[16] In December 2005, he signed a two-year exclusive contract with DC Comics.[19] During DC's Infinite Crisis event, he teamed with Geoff Johns on a "One Year Later" eight-part story arc titled "Up, Up and Away!" that encompassed both Superman titles. In addition, he began writing the DC title Aquaman: Sword of Atlantis from issues #40–49.[16] Busiek became the sole writer of the Superman series with issue No. 654 (September 2006) and Carlos Pacheco became the series' artist.[20] Busiek and Pacheco developed an extended storyine featuring Arion coming into conflict with Superman.[21] The plotline concluded in Superman Annual #13.[22] Busiek wrote a 52-issue weekly DC miniseries titled Trinity, starring Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman. Each issue except for the first featured a 12-page main story by Busiek, with art by Mark Bagley,[23] and a ten-page backup story co-written by Busiek and Fabian Nicieza, with art from various artists, including Tom Derenick, Mike Norton and Scott McDaniel.

Busiek teamed with Alex Ross on Dynamite Entertainment's Kirby: Genesis, an eight-issue miniseries which debuted in 2011. The series, which was their first full collaboration since Marvels 17 years previous, featured a large group of Jack Kirby's creator-owned characters, the rights to which were acquired by Dynamite, such as Silver Star, Captain Victory, Galaxy Green, Tiger 21 and the Ninth Men. Ross co-plotted, handled designs, and oversaw the series overall with Busiek, who scripted the story.[24][25]

In June 2013, Busiek relaunched his Astro City series as part of DC's Vertigo line. Busiek commented that "Astro City's always been aimed at a more sophisticated reader, which I think suits Vertigo. Plus our backlist sales are closer to a Vertigo pattern than DCU."[26][27]

Personal life[edit]

Busiek is married to Ann Busiek. Both Kurt and Ann Busiek were rendered by Alex Ross as New Yorkers who react to the invasion of Silver Surfer and Galactus on page 17 of Marvels No. 3. Kurt is later used as the model for a wandering drunk on page 33 of the same issue.[28]


Busiek's work has won him numerous awards in the comics industry, including the Harvey Award for Best Writer in 1998[29] and the Eisner Award for Best Writer in 1999.[30] In 1994, with Marvels, he won Best Finite Series/Limited Series Eisner Award[31] and the Best Continuing or Limited Series Harvey Award;[32] as well as the Harvey Award for Best Single Issue or Story (for Marvels #4) in 1995.[33] In 1996, with Astro City, Busiek won both the Eisner and Harvey awards for Best New Series.[34][35] He won the Best Single Issue/Single Story Eisner three years in a row from 1996–1998 for Astro City,[34][36][37] and for Conan: The Legend #0 in 2004.[38] Busiek won the Best Continuing Series Eisner Award in 1997–1998,[36][37] as well as the Best Serialized Story award in 1998.[37] In addition, Astro City was awarded the 1996 Best Single Issue or Story Harvey Award,[35] and the 1998 Harvey Award for Best Continuing or Limited Series.[29]

Busiek was given the 1998 and 1999 Comics Buyer's Guide Awards for Favorite Writer,[39][40] with additional nominations in 1997 and every year from 2000 to 2004.[citation needed]


Dark Horse Comics[edit]

  • Army of Darkness #1–3 (text articles) (1992–1993)
  • Conan #1–28, 32, 39, 45–46 (2004–2007)
  • Conan: The Frost-Giant's Daughter and Other Stories #1 (2005)
  • Conan: Book of Thoth #1–4 (2006)
  • Jonny Demon #1–3 (1994)
  • Young Indiana Jones Chronicles #1–8, 11 (1992–1993)

DC Comics[edit]


Milestone Media[edit]


  • Arrowsmith #1–6 (2003–2004)
  • Astro City:
    • Astro City: A Visitor’s Guide #1 (2004)
    • Astro City: Local Heroes #1–5 (2003–2004)
    • Astro City: The Dark Age Book One #1–4 (2005)
    • Astro City: The Dark Age Book Two #1–4 (2007)
    • Astro City: The Dark Age Book Three #1–4 (2009)
    • Astro City: The Dark Age Book Four #1–4 (2010)
    • Astro City: Supersonic
    • Astro City: Samaritan (2006)
    • Astro City: Beautie #1 (2008)
    • Astro City: Astra #1–2 (2009)
    • Astro City: Silver Agent #1–2 (2010)
    • Astro City/Arrowsmith #1 (2004)
    • Astro City Special #1 (2004)

Dynamite Entertainment[edit]

  • Darkman vs. The Army of Darkness #1–5 (2006–2007)
  • Kirby: Genesis #0, 1–8 (2011–2012)
  • Vampirella Masters Series #4–5 (2011)

Eclipse Comics[edit]

Harris Comics[edit]

  • Creepy 1993 Fear Book No. 1 (1993)
  • Vampirella vol. 2 #2–4 (1992)
  • Vampirella: Morning In America #1–4 (1991–1993)

Image Comics[edit]

  • Kurt Busiek's Astro City #1–6 (1995–1996)
  • Kurt Busiek's Astro City vol. 2 #1/2, #1–15 (1996–1998)
  • New Shadowhawk #1–7 (1995–1996)
  • Regulators #1–3 (1995)
  • Shockrockets #1–6 (2000)
  • Spartan: Warrior Spirit #1–4 (1995)
  • Superstar: As Seen On TV #1 (2001)
  • Shadowhawk Special #1 (1994)
  • Shadowhawks Of Legend #1 (1995)
  • Shattered Image #4 (1996)
  • Tooth & Claw (renamed The Autumnlands: Tooth and Claw) #1- (2014-)
  • Velocity: Thrill Of The Chase #1–3 (1995–1996)
  • Youngblood Strikefile No. 8 (1994)

Marvel Comics[edit]

  • Amazing Fantasy #16–18 (1995–1996)
  • The Amazing Spider-Man Annual '97 (1997)
  • Avengers:
    • Avengers No. 0 (1999)
    • Avengers vol. 3 #1–15, 19–56 (1998–2002)
    • Avengers Annual No. 19 (backup story) (1990)
    • Avengers/Squadron Supreme '98
    • Avengers 1999
    • Avengers 2000
    • Avengers 2001
    • Avengers Forever #1–12 (1998–1999)
    • Avengers: The Ultron Imperative (2001)
    • Avengers/Thunderbolts #1–6 (2004)
  • Captain America/Citizen V '98 (1998)
  • Darkman #1–6 (1993)
  • Defenders vol. 2 #1–12 (2001–2002)
  • Iron Man:
    • Iron Man vol. 3 #1–25 (#14–25 co-plot) (1998–2000)
    • Iron Man/Captain America '98 (1998)
    • Iron Man 1999
    • Iron Man: The Iron Age #1–2 (1998)
  • Marvel Age Annual No. 1 (1985)
  • Marvel Holiday Special No. 4 (1995)
  • Marvel Super-Heroes No. 9, 12–13 (1992–1993)
  • Marvel Year-In-Review '92 (1992)
  • Marvels #1–4 (1993–1994)
  • Marvels: Eye Of The Camera #1–6 (2009–2010)
  • Maximum Security #1–3 (2000–2001)
  • Maximum Security: Dangerous Planet #1 (2000)
  • Night Thrasher #15–18, 20–21 (1994–1995)
  • Open Space #1 (1989)
  • The Order: Defenders Against The Earth #1–6 (2002)
  • Power Man and Iron Fist No. 90, 92–100, 102, 105 (1983–1984)
  • The Spectacular Spider-Man #176–177 (1991)
  • Spider-Man Team-Up No. 7 (1997)
  • Spider-Man Unlimited #2–5 (1993–1994)
  • Strange Tales vol. 3 No. 1 (1994)
  • Tales of the Marvel Universe No. 1 (1997)
  • Thor: Godstorm #1–3 (2001–2002)
  • Thunderbolts:
    • Thunderbolts No. 0 (1999)
    • Thunderbolts #1–34 (1997–2000)
    • Thunderbolts '97
  • Untold Tales of Spider-Man:
    • Untold Tales of Spider-Man #1–25 (1995–1997)
    • Untold Tales of Spider-Man '96
    • Untold Tales of Spider-Man '97
    • Untold Tales of Spider-Man: Strange Encounter #1 (1998)
  • Web of Spider-Man #81–83 (1991)
  • What If No. 13, 23, 26, 44, 46, 47, 60–62 (1990–1994)
  • What The--?! #3–4, 8, 17 (1988–1992)
  • Wonder Man Annual No. 1 (1992)

Topps Comics[edit]

  • Jack Kirby's Silver Star No. 1 (1993)
  • Jack Kirby's Teenagents #1–4 (1994)
  • Satan's Six No. 4 (1993)
  • Topps Comics Presents No. 0 (1993)
  • Victory No. 1 (1994)


  1. ^ Miller, John Jackson (June 10, 2005). "Comics Industry Birthdays". Comics Buyer's Guide. Archived from the original on October 29, 2010. 
  2. ^ a b c B., Sergio (April 15, 2006). "Kurt Busiek Interview (4/15)". Comic Book Gazette. Archived from the original on October 24, 2012. Retrieved December 8, 2008. 
  3. ^ Cronin, Brian (December 15, 2005). "Comic Book Urban Legends Revealed #29!". Comic Book Resources. Archived from the original on July 31, 2013. Retrieved December 7, 2008. 
  4. ^ DeFalco, Tom; Gilbert, Laura, ed. (2008). "1980s". Marvel Chronicle A Year by Year History. Dorling Kindersley. p. 227. ISBN 978-0756641238. Writer Kurt Busiek offered a solution: what if Jean Grey had never been Phoenix? 
  5. ^ Forsythe, Elisabeth (April 27, 2009). "Kurt Busiek: Marathon Man". Things From Another World. Retrieved July 8, 2009. 
  6. ^ a b Callahan, Timothy (December 2010). "Power Man and Iron Fist". Back Issue! (TwoMorrows Publishing) (45): 3–11. 
  7. ^ Manning, Matthew K.; Dolan, Hannah, ed. (2010). "1980s". DC Comics Year By Year A Visual Chronicle. Dorling Kindersley. p. 213. ISBN 978-0-7566-6742-9. Writer Kurt Busiek took the Justice League of America's fabled android, Red Tornado, for a spin in this four-issue miniseries drawn by Carmine Infantino. 
  8. ^ Manning, Matthew K. "1990s" in Gilbert (2008), p. 268
  9. ^ Manning "1990s" in Gilbert (2008), p. 274: "Kurt Busiek and artist Pat Olliffe stepped in to fill the void for the kind of classic Spider-Man stories that Stan Lee and Steve Ditko had imagined as the character's inception."
  10. ^ Manning "1990s" in Gilbert (2008), p. 283: "Busiek and company ignored the pleas from Marvel's marketing division who thought that sales would be affected by not revealing the comic's twist. They managed to conceal their comic's confidential ending until the release of the first issue, and indeed shocked their entire fan base with their dramatic reveal."
  11. ^ Manning "1990s" in Gilbert (2008), p. 289: "At the top of [Marvel's] short list of dream artists for the Heroes Return project was George Pérez...But when asked to both write and draw the title, Pérez declined the invitation, stating he would rather just pencil the book...He did, however, suggest a writer that he wanted to work with – Kurt Busiek."
  12. ^ Manning "1990s" in Gilbert (2008), p. 289: "Tony Stark returned in style...in this new ongoing series by writer Kurt Busiek and artist Sean Chen."
  13. ^ Manning "1990s" in Gilbert (2008), p. 291: "Kurt Busiek and Carlos Pacheco teamed together to tell a time-spanning adventured in the twelve-issue limited series Avengers Forever."
  14. ^ Cronin, Brian (March 13, 2008). "Comic Book Urban Legends Revealed #146". Comic Book Resources. Archived from the original on July 31, 2013. 
  15. ^ Cowsill, Alan "2000s" in Dolan, p. 311: "[JLA/Avengers] was an event that...proved to be one of the biggest and best of the DC and Marvel crossovers, incorporating many of the two companies' greatest heroes and villains."
  16. ^ a b c Kurt Busiek at the Grand Comics Database
  17. ^ Kurt Busiek (October 10, 2001). "OT Q for Kurt". Newsgrouprec.arts.comics.marvel.universe. Retrieved February 9, 2007. 
  18. ^ Spurgeon, Tom (December 29, 2008). "CR Holiday Interview #7: Kurt Busiek". The Comics Reporter. Archived from the original on June 16, 2013. 
  19. ^ Weiland, Jonah (December 28, 2005). "Kurt Busiek Signs Exclusive With DC Comics". Comic Book Resources. Archived from the original on October 23, 2012. 
  20. ^ Busiek, Kurt (w), Pacheco, Carlos (p), Merino, Jesus (i). "On Our Special Day" Superman 654 (September 2006)
  21. ^ Khouri, Andy (October 23, 2006). "Talking Superman with Kurt Busiek". Comic Book Resources. Archived from the original on July 25, 2012. Retrieved July 25, 2012. Arion of Atlantis, unseen for years until Infinite Crisis, appears before Superman to warn him of hellish times to come. 
  22. ^ Busiek, Kurt (w), Pacheco, Carlos; Merino, Jesus (p), Merino, Jesus (i). "The Fall" Superman Annual 13 (January 2008)
  23. ^ Cowsill "2000s" in Dolan, p. 333: "Writer Kurt Busiek and artist Mark Bagley (in his first project for DC) guided the travails of the three heroes as they struggled to find the secret of a cosmic force."
  24. ^ Biggers, Cliff. "Kirby Genesis: A Testament to the King's Talent"; Comic Shop News #1206; July 2010
  25. ^ "Alex Ross & Kurt Busiek Team for Dynamite's Kirby: Genesis". Newsarama. July 12, 2010. Archived from the original on February 18, 2014. 
  26. ^ Ching, Albert (April 1, 2013). "Astro City Moves to Vertigo with New Series in June". Newsarama. Archived from the original on June 26, 2013. 
  27. ^ Truitt, Brian (June 3, 2013). "Busiek takes fans on another trip through Astro City". USA Today. Retrieved September 30, 2013. 
  28. ^ Brick, Scott (March 2007). "Alex Ross". Wizard Xtra!: 92. 
  29. ^ a b "1998 Harvey Award Nominees and Winners". Comic Book Awards Almanac. Archived from the original on February 20, 2012. 
  30. ^ "1999 Will Eisner Comic Industry Award Nominees and Winners". Comic Book Awards Almanac. Archived from the original on July 25, 2012. 
  31. ^ "1994 Will Eisner Comic Industry Award Nominees and Winners". Comic Book Awards Almanac. Archived from the original on July 25, 2012. 
  32. ^ "1994 Harvey Award Nominees and Winners". Comic Book Awards Almanac. Archived from the original on February 20, 2012. 
  33. ^ "1995 Harvey Award Nominees and Winners". Comic Book Awards Almanac. Archived from the original on February 20, 2012. 
  34. ^ a b "1996 Will Eisner Comic Industry Award Nominees and Winners". Comic Book Awards Almanac. Archived from the original on July 25, 2012. 
  35. ^ a b "1996 Harvey Award Winners". Comic Book Awards Almanac. Archived from the original on February 20, 2012. 
  36. ^ a b "1997 Will Eisner Comic Industry Award Nominees and Winners". Comic Book Awards Almanac. Archived from the original on July 23, 2012. 
  37. ^ a b c "1998 Will Eisner Comic Industry Award Nominees". Comic Book Awards Almanac. Archived from the original on July 23, 2012. 
  38. ^ "2004 Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards". Comic Book Awards Almanac. Archived from the original on August 25, 2012. 
  39. ^ "16th Annual Comic Buyers Guide Fan Awards (1998) (for books published in 1997)". Comic Book Awards Almanac. Archived from the original on September 25, 2013. 
  40. ^ "17th Annual Comics Buyers Guide Fan Awards (1999)(for work done in 1998)". Comic Book Awards Almanac. Archived from the original on September 25, 2013. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Thunderbolts writer
Succeeded by
Fabian Nicieza
Preceded by
Walt Simonson
Avengers writer
Succeeded by
Geoff Johns
Preceded by
Jim Lee and Jeph Loeb
Iron Man writer
(with Roger Stern in 1998–2000)
Succeeded by
Joe Quesada
Preceded by
Greg Rucka and Geoff Johns
Superman writer
(with Geoff Johns in 2006)
Succeeded by
James Robinson