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The Escapists HCWriter: Brian K. Vaughan
Artist: Jason Shawn Alexander, Steve Rolston, Philip Bond, Eduardo Barreto
Michael Chabon's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, about two men who come together to create The Escapist, a Golden Age hero, has spawned several real Escapist comics. Most have fallen flat, victims, perhaps, of the shadow of the novel.
The Escapists' main storyline utilizes the same triangle of talent that the novel does -- two boys and a girl. Max's mother dies, leaving an insurance policy that enables him to purchase the rights to the long-dormant Escapist. He enlists his best friend and a girl he meets by chance (all classic comic tropes) to revive the character
Interspersed are lusciously drawn snippets of the Escapist stories they create. The transitions, which could be rocky (the art varies wildly), always make sense within the narrative (Max's buddy tries on the Escapist costume, a new Escapist is born in the comic-within-a-comic). Brian K. Vaughn's clever writing brings the whole enterprise together, melding Golden Age beauty with modern-day graphic novel preoccupations into a seamless thrilling whole. 9 out of 10. (Jim Scott)