The first time I read it, the story of The Escapists continually surprised me, and the art’s marvelous style represents different time periods and moods is at turns cartoony and goofy, sexy and exciting, or scratchy and dark where appropriate.
And then there’s that truly clever introduction to the book by Michael Chabon himself, author of The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, relating the one, brief sweet meeting between fictional Sam Clay, now old and lost in the hallways while attending a comic book convention, and the young and very real Brian K. Vaughan (writer of The Escapists), in the same hotel for a youth baseball recognition banquet.
Another great thing about The Escapists is its approach to the blood,sweat and tears of putting together a comic book. The illustrator talks about how her hand doesn’t cramp because drawing is the only time she feels free. The letterer loves the control of creating precise, tiny letters in precise, tiny boxes.
The Escapists is many things, all of them good. One of those things is being a love letter to those who made and continue to make comic books. It’s a wonderful life.
One of the illustrators is Eduardo Barreto, who draws Judge Parker. See my post on that comic strip here as well as a post on his leaving that strip here.