Comics

Tuning Up the Band, the Beethoven Edition: Exclusive Preview of "Astro City #7"

Winter, is all about complexity, a point made by Beethoven, tuned into by magician Derren Brown, and refined to the point of grace, by Kurt Busiek in his majestic Astro City.

EXCLUSIVE PREVIEW

How do you not cry when you hear that final movement of Beethoven's 9th for the first time? It's probably equally hard to fight back the wonder when you see Derren Brown's orchestra suddenly starts to play a single tune. Between fighting back the tears, and fighting your way through to the wonder, you'll find yourself in exactly the country Kurt Busiek describes in Astro City.

How do you not cry when you hear that final movement of Beethoven's 9th for the first time? It's probably equally hard to fight back the wonder when you see Derren Brown's orchestra suddenly starts to play a single tune. Between fighting back the tears, and fighting your way through to the wonder, you'll find yourself in exactly the country Kurt Busiek describes in Astro City.

It would have been far too cruel a world if Derren Brown's trick with that BBC conductor had ended with the orchestra playing Rachmaninoff's 3rd or Mozart's "Paris" or even Beethoven's 5th. Why? You know the answer, or in this day and age, you can google for it. But, it's because none of those other concertos or symphonies have the drawing together of disparate voices and instruments that that final Presto movement, the Ode to Joy, of the 9th has.

Listen carefully, strain against the tininess of the youtube clip, and you'll be the first to hear the magic. Or don't strain against your limits and you'll hear it also. It's the 9th, you really can't not hear it. And it's really no different with Kurt Busiek who can weave together such strands as the majesty of the Winged Victory's temple, the focus of her divine mission to elevate women, the sincere penitence of a would-be devotee (even though he's male) and the smear campaign perpetrated against Winged Victory herself.

In a year that's brought us as majestic a vision as any in the form of Metallica's Into the Never, but has also witnessed such close calls as the Syrian Chemical Weapons Crisis, Kurt Busiek's Astro City feels like the best parts of winter--a warm, safe home, where the idea that complexity is an opportunity and not a challenge, can finally take root.

In a fitting winter tradition, enjoy an extra cookie--an exclusive preview of the first Astro City graphic novel published by Vertigo. Happy Holidays, all.

EXCLUSIVE PREVIEW

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