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Kurt Busiek and His Detractors

I love superhero comic books, even though I never read them. I used to be a voracious comic book reader back in junior high (my favorite title at the time, for reasons I can't for the life of me recall, was "The Flash"), but at some point my interested waned and I went cold turkey for about a decade. Then, while I was in Bolivia as a Peace Corps Volunteer, my girlfriend (now my wife) sent me the first issue of Untold Tales of Spider-man. I think she sent it more as a joke than anything else -- it was just thrown into a care package along with a lot of other Americana reading material, Entertainment Weeklys and the like -- but she sent me every single issue thereafter, right up until the series got axed at issue #25. Later I discovered the real reason she had been buying them: she had read issue #1 before sending it to me -- perhaps the first comic books she'd ever read -- and had herself got hooked on the series.

The writer of that series was Kurt Busiek, and, since then, I have gotten hooked on another of his projects, Astro City. The Asto City stories have been collected into a number of trade paperback editions, and if you have any interest in the genre at all I'd highly recommend picking up Life in the Big City. Very enjoyable.

Recently I discovered this remarkably unsettling page devoted to Busiek. It's written by one Darren Madigan, an aspiring but frustrated comic book writer who knew Kurt in college and once carried (and seemingly continues to carry) a torch for his wife. It begins with a short and snarky message that Madigan posted to a newsgroup, and continues with a reply from Busiek himself. Then, in response to this 12-paragraph rebuttal, Madigan weighs in with a six-page screed, in which he analyzes Busiek's response line-by-line -- and often word for word -- and seasons liberally with hyperbole and fat jokes. I read the whole damned thing; it is truly fascinating in its awfulness.

Posted on February 09, 2002 to