Birthday book: Arrowsmith

arrowsmithHey, it’s Kurt Busiek’s birthday! He’s written a lot of comics that I’ve really enjoyed. He’s responsible for the last pleasant memories I have of Avengers comics, so I could recommend something like this. His first dozen issues of Thunderbolts were great, too, but I can’t even seem to find collections of those on Marvel’s web site. There’s always Astro City, that sideways glance at shared super-hero universes. I have a lot of respect for Busiek’s ethics of scripting super-hero fiction, I really do.

But for this edition of Birthday Book, I’m going to recommend something a little more obscure: the collected edition of Arrowsmith, written by Busiek and illustrated by Carlos Pacheo. This is one of those stories where actual events are reframed with an insertion of fantasy elements. It’s basically a world war with magic added, and it’s a very successful example of that genre. A small-town boy goes to war and becomes one of the military’s fearsome group of dragon wranglers. It’s a neat idea executed very well by all parties.

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