Comic Book Cats, number 184: Astro City #44

Comic Book Cats, number 184: Astro City #44, cover drawn by Alex Ross, published by DC Comics / Vertigo in July 2017.

With the breaking news that Astro City is returning to Image Comics in March 2022 with the special Astro City: That Was Then, it felt like the ideal time to spotlight a cat-centric issue of Kurt Busiek’s incredible series.

Crimefighting duo Nightingale and Sunshrike have adopted a stray cat they have named Kittyhawk. Unbeknownst to them, Kittyhawk is ALSO a super-powered vigilante, possessing the abilities to sprout wings and to become intangible. “The Cat Who Walked Through Walls” is written by Kurt Busiek, penciled by Rick Leonardi, inked by Ande Parks, colored by Peter Pantazis and lettered by John Roshell & Jimmy Betancourt of Comiccraft. Regular Astro City cover artist & character designer Alex Ross turns in another exemplary cover painting featuring Kittyhawk and her two humans.

Alex Ross first broke into the comic book biz in 1990 with his stunning, highly-detailed painted artwork for the five issue miniseries Terminator: The Burning Earth published by Now Comics. In 1994 Ross first collaborated with Kurt Busiek on Marvels, a miniseries that re-examined the history of the Marvel Universe from the perspective of everyman Phil Sheldon, a photographer for the Daily Bugle newspaper. A year later Ross, Busiek, and interior artist Brent Anderson first collaborated on Astro City at Image Comics, and they have continued working on the series near-continuously since then, producing over 100 issues in total through Image, Wildstorm and DC Comics.

Among his numerous other credits, Ross has also created the Kingdom Come miniseries with writer Mark Waid for DC Comics, the Earth X trilogy with writer Jim Krueger, revamped a number of Golden Age public domain superheroes with Krueger in the Project Superpowers line of titles from Dynamite Entertainment, and illustrated several tabloid-size specials written by Paul Dini featuring DC Comics’ major characters.

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