One of the most acclaimed and massive superhero series of the past 25 years is heading for live action.
FremantleMedia, the same company responsible for ultimately bringing the adaptation of Neil Gaiman's American Gods to the small screen last year, announced Friday that it has landed the rights to Astro City — the award-winning creator-owned superhero anthology from writer Kurt Busiek and artists Brent Anderson and Alex Ross — and will develop the property as a television series. Busiek is on board to co-write the pilot episode alongside Rick Alexander (Strong Medicine, the upcoming American Flagg!), and will also serve as one of the show's executive producers.
“It’s a thrill to be working with Rick, [fellow executive producer Gregory Noveck], and FremantleMedia on this,” Busiek said. “Everyone, at every turn, is supportive, helpful and completely focused on capturing the feel of Astro City and bringing it to life as a TV show.”
Launched at Image Comics in 1995 (it eventually followed Jim Lee's Wildstorm imprint over to DC Comics, and is now published by Vertigo), Astro City is a series of stories set in the titular American locale, a place filled with superheroes and supervillains, as well as ordinary citizens just trying to live their lives while a world of comic book wonders unfolds around them. Some stories focus on superpowered beings, while others focus on regular people living in a superhero world. An Astro City story can be triumphant, funny, scary, and even heartbreaking, sometimes in the span of a single issue.
It's Busiek, Anderson, and Ross filtering everything they love from their respective lifetimes of comic book fandom into a single, ever-expanding universe. The series has won multiple Eisner and Harvey Awards for its stories and creative team, and has published more than 100 issues. Earlier this year, Busiek announced that this spring's Astro City #52 will be the last single issue of the series as he, Anderson and Ross migrate future stories into a graphic novel format.
Though it may not share the same public awareness level as the Marvel and DC universes, Astro City has developed into a vast self-contained world all its own in the 23 years since its debut, and it was only a matter of time before it joined the ever-growing number of comic book properties headed for live action. It's not clear yet when we might see the fruits of this endeavor, but for now it's nice to know that Busiek will be present as a guiding creative force for whatever Astro City turns out to be on the small screen.