Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Escapists, Part 1

“You don’t know about me, without you have read a book by the name of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, but that ain’t no matter. That book was made by Mr. Mark Twain, and he told the truth, mainly.”

Before reading The Escapists, written by Brian K. Vaughan and illustrated by bunches of people, it might help to have read Michael Chabon’s novel The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay. But, as with the irrelevant reading order of Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, don’t let that hold you back.

The story-within-a-story carries the conceit that a young man named Max Roth buys the publishing rights to a World War II-era comic book character named the Escapist, created by Joe Kavalier and Sam Clay, with the intent of reviving the series.

Except we know Kavalier and Clay are the fictional protagonists in Michael Chabon’s book. And there’s the added touch that The Escapists takes place in Cleveland, Ohio, birth place of Jerry Siegel and Joe Schuster, creators of Superman.

With that faux and real-life heritage laid before us, The Escapists weaves its story in and out of Max and his friends’ efforts to publish their new comic book series, the adventures of their new Escapist hero in the comic book … and in between, with the costumed crime fighter’s plights overlapping Max’s troubles.

And there’s even an early nod to Huck Finn — the letterer has been transcribing the novel to perfect his craft ….

More to come on this excellent series in Part 2.

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