Writer Kurt Busiek was the money superhero writer for both Marvel and DC from the 1990s to 2010, but for the last seven years he has focused on his creator-owned work, like the long-running anthology series Astro City, a massive center full of super-powered beings that changes the vantage point from heroes to villains to average people.
Then there’s his more recent Image Comics series called The Autumnlands, which he discusses with us in the video below. It's an intricate fantasy epic that’s often described as Game of Thrones mashed-up with Jack Kirby’s Kamandi: The Last Boy on Earth. It has jaw-dropping art by Benjamin Dewey and an exciting color palette by Jordie Bellaire, who are both tasked at rendering an entire hierarchical society of anthropomorphic woodland creatures and just one human being. The base of The Autumnlands is about a band of wizards who cast a spell to bring back the savior, a human soldier named Learoyd, to save their world that's teetering on the brink. But the champion is more of a mystery than a stock hero.
Busiek would never be satisfied with presenting the same-old fantasy tale that we're all used to seeing. He is an expert at presenting new approaches to tired settings, redefining them, and creating something new. He does that wondrously here. The Autumnlands draws from many different genres; it’s pulpy, it’s science-fiction, but it's also a commentary on humanity (often masked by the fur and feathers of animals). And it takes an unlikely protagonist in Learoyd, and evolves him slowly and carefully. There is genuine heroism, humor, and a lot of unexpected turns. This past January, the second arc came to a close with issue #14, leaving fans with more questions, which they likely can't wait to get answered.
I welcomed the multiple Harvey and Eisner Award-winning writer to the SYFY WIRE interview studio at San Diego Comic-Con to talk about The Autumnlands, its ever-changing DNA, Busiek and Dewey’s creative process, and the upcoming third arc. Check out the interview below and let us know if you’ve been reading The Autumnlands, or if this has inspired you to add it to your must-read pile.