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37 of 43 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An Amusing "Comic" Romp
I haven't read a comic book in close to 35 years. I picked Michael Chabon's The Amazing Adentures of the Escapist on a whim because I had read and enjoyed Chabon's novel The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay. Chabon's novel detailed the story of two young men (Kavalier, a refugee who fled from Nazi-occupied Prague after an amazing escape and Klay, his New York...
Published on June 12, 2004 by Leonard Fleisig

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Cool Concept, but that's it (almost)
If you're like me, and loved Cavalier and Clay, you probably hit "buy" before you even got beyond the title of this book. And if you're as die-hard a fan as I am, probably nothing I can say here will dissuade you. I mean, come on, The Escapist? The hero from C & C's comics? The "real" Escapist, in "real" comic form? What could be cooler?
Well, for the first story in...
Published on September 30, 2009 by R. R. Henderson


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37 of 43 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An Amusing "Comic" Romp, June 12, 2004
By 
Leonard Fleisig "Len" (Virginia Beach, Virginia) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Michael Chabon Presents. . .The Amazing Adventures of the Escapist, Volume 1 (Paperback)
I haven't read a comic book in close to 35 years. I picked Michael Chabon's The Amazing Adentures of the Escapist on a whim because I had read and enjoyed Chabon's novel The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay. Chabon's novel detailed the story of two young men (Kavalier, a refugee who fled from Nazi-occupied Prague after an amazing escape and Klay, his New York cousin)who have a long stormy career after creating a sensational comic book hero - The Escapist. The Escapist, as his name suggests, has the extradorinary Houdini-like ability to escape even the toughest bonds and fights the forces of evil, specifically the Iron League whose ultimate goal is to enslave the world.
The Amazing Adventures of the Escapist is the comic book spin off of the novel. Chabon, together with a team of well known graphic artists (including Kyle Baker, Gene Colan, and Jae Lee) and writers (including Glen David Gold, author of Carter Beats the Devil)has created a series of comics that trace the history of The Escapist. The comics begin with the 'premiere' episode in the late 1930s and move chronologically through the late 1970s. As with real comics, some stories are better than others. I particularly enjoyed the opening story, The Passing of the Key, which serves as the premiere epdisode that explains the origin of the Escapist. Prison Break, and Divine Wind (a Japanese version of the Escapist authorized by Kavalier & Clay) were also particularly good. Although I liked Are You Now or Have You Ever Been (Chabon's comic book look at the McCarthy era) I am not at all certain that any comic published in the 1950s would advance the views contained in it but I enjoyed it nevertheless.
Each section is introduced by brief overviews written by Chabon and his collaborators. The overviews put the comics in their proper 'historic' context. They are amusing and well written.
I very much liked the Amazing Adventures of the Escapist. As noted, I have not read a comic in quite some time so I claim no particular expertise in this idiom. The era of the modern comic has passed me by. Perhaps now I might look into it further. However, this lay reader enjoyed both the story lines and the art work. Reading these stories took me back to my younger days reading Batman, Superman, Sgt. Fury (and yes - even Mad Magazine). In short, this is a fun read. I particularly enjoyed the fact that Chabon and the creators played this work out with a straight face even if one can see that they all clearly had fun working on this project. The cover art on the back page which harks back to comic book advertisements of days gone by is a case in point.
I think the fact that I had read Chabon's Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay enhanced my enjoyment of this work and I would suggest this may be so for any reader for whom reading comics may be more an exercise in nostalgia than a current avocation. However, the book does stand up on its own, particularly because each story is advanced by explanatory overviews.
Again, this book was a lot of fun. I entered it with some trepidation at the thought that I was reading a comic - but as I got into it those feelings were replaced by the enjoyment of sitting down for some excellent 'escapist' reading.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Get This Now., July 7, 2004
By 
"zhalbrecht2" (New York, NY USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Michael Chabon Presents. . .The Amazing Adventures of the Escapist, Volume 1 (Paperback)
This is an excellent choice for post-reading when you have finished Kavalier and Clay. The art is outstanding, and to see the Escapist in so many different forms brought me nothing but joy. The writing/stories range from campy to fantastic, never giving you too much of one incarnation of the Escapist to induce boredom. The mythos of the Escapist throughout the years has been dutifully captured with some surprising tales featuring an aged Tom Mayflower and several (some of my favorites) of Luna Moth. The two bad things are this: 1) that is that there is not more in this volume. and 2) I don't think readers will fully appreciate this without reading Kavalier and Clay first. But if you have, go get this now. I read thorugh it way too fast the first time, but this book will have me re-reading it for years.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Cool Concept, but that's it (almost), September 30, 2009
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This review is from: Michael Chabon Presents. . .The Amazing Adventures of the Escapist, Volume 1 (Paperback)
If you're like me, and loved Cavalier and Clay, you probably hit "buy" before you even got beyond the title of this book. And if you're as die-hard a fan as I am, probably nothing I can say here will dissuade you. I mean, come on, The Escapist? The hero from C & C's comics? The "real" Escapist, in "real" comic form? What could be cooler?
Well, for the first story in this collection, it is that cool. The first escapist comic, described detail by detail in the book, is here painted with modern graphic-novel style art- not at all like an early comic book, but who cares, right?
But as the story continues, you start to notice something. At first you avoid it, but it creeps up on you... it's not as great as you imagined it.
As the book goes on, this becomes clearer. The stories simply don't stand on their own. There is so much meta and just not enough good fiction. The art is great, but the plots are sloppy and poorly conceived. Only one or two stories are good enough to stand on their own, and too much time is spent playing with concepts surrounding the fictional "Escapist" timeline introduced at the beginning of the book. It's simply no fun to read.
The last story almost redeems the whole collection, though. The Escapist here movies beyond all the corny attempted recreations of authentic originals and into the genre of graphic novel, where it could stand on it's own. If the whole collection was like this, I'd recommend it for sure.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars too self-conscious at times, but good fun, August 9, 2004
By 
Emily Held (Pittsburgh, PA USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Michael Chabon Presents. . .The Amazing Adventures of the Escapist, Volume 1 (Paperback)
Here we have the comics allegedly written by Michael Chabon's pulitzer prize winning characters from Kavalier and Clay. This collects issues one and two of the Dark Horse title in a pricey, postmodern ironic package. I bought issue 1 when it first came out, and I liked the way this collection shuffled the stories in with those of issue 2. It's comics poking fun at comics, and fun at that, but some of the scholarly articles push the humour a bit far, as in the repeated assertion that Chabon's characters' innovative ideas predated all of the other comics in the field.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Live the story through the comics, January 6, 2005
This review is from: Michael Chabon Presents. . .The Amazing Adventures of the Escapist, Volume 1 (Paperback)
After reading Michael Chabon's "The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay," I was disheartened to realize that comic described in the book might never be actualized, and that the descriptions and accounts of the comics in general were fantasized. However, when I learned that Dark Horse Comics was planning on releasing "The Amazing Adventures of the Escapist, Volume 1" I jumped at the opportunity to 'live' like the kids in the novel. Darkhorse has combined the first two of "The Escapist" quarterly comics in paper-back form, along with a good deal of comic book historical fiction similar to that found in Chabon's "Kavalier and Clay." The drawings are fantastic, showing different artists renditions of the Escapist and Luna Moth, and the story lines are great too. A wonderful addition to the world of Kavalier and Clay, and a great read for the train or for some downtime.
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4.0 out of 5 stars If you liked "Kavalier and Clay", you'll enjoy this comic spinoff., January 5, 2015
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This review is from: Michael Chabon Presents. . .The Amazing Adventures of the Escapist, Volume 1 (Paperback)
This is the comic that grew out of Chabon’s "The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay." This book is a compilation of the stories in issues 1 and 2 of that quarterly comic, along with some short essays that continue the fiction that this character and comic book were part of the Golden Age of comics, and continued thru many trials, tribulations, and mutations to the present day. The stories in this book include the origin story, as originally included in the original Chabon novel, but here done in comic style. (An interesting situation: in the original book Chabon gave the text version of the story that was supposedly told originally in the late 1930s in comic style. Here that story has given birth to the actual comic version of which it was supposedly summarizing.) It includes several other Escapist stories by different authors and illustrators, in very different styles. The essays explain this by saying they came from different eras, when the character had moved to different publishing houses and gone through various transformations to attempt to appeal to new readers in new eras. The book also includes some Luna Moth stories of wildly differing styles, and one true two-page “comic” story.
Overall, an interesting addition to the original Chabon novel, but certainly not strong enough to stand on its own. Some of the stories are interesting, but lack the depth of good narrative. It does provide an escape for the reader back to the days of his/her youth, though, a brief respite from adult concerns.
The back cover is especially clever, made up to look like an ad for novelties from the original Empire Novelty company, who became the publishers of The Escapist in the original book. Carefully read, all of the ads refer to things in the comic compilation itself, though, including an Absentee Father, and a Deluded Sense of Efficacy related to a simplistic view of good and evil as perpetuated in comic books. Someone had a good time writing that page!
This is a fun read for those who like the original Chabon novel, but would probably be a disappointment to those who just want a "comic book" that stands on its own.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Not a graphic novel, but a course in "meta", July 25, 2014
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This review is from: Michael Chabon Presents. . .The Amazing Adventures of the Escapist, Volume 1 (Paperback)
To be honest, I read The Amazing Adventures of the Escapist out of a sense of obligation. I read Kavalier and Clay and even though I hated that book, I felt that I needed to give the graphic novel inspired by the story a chance. I didn't mind the parts of K&C that were actually about comics and the Escapist was an interesting idea for a super-hero. This graphic novel is unfortunately not volume one in the Escapist series, this is a faux-non-fiction book about the history of the Escapist and the other characters mentioned in K&C. The entire book pretends that K&C was a legitimate biography of two real life comic book creators and Anapol, Ashkenazy, and Radio Comics were actually real things in our world. That pissed me off a little bit. We get an introduction where Michael Chabon talks about finding his first copy of The Escapist and all of the hard work he put into researching Kavalier's and Clay's lives and the The Escapists future with other writers. Then we get our first actual comic, The Escapists's origin story. It is fun and the art work is good, but it comes off as indulgent and pretentious. Then, we get the history of The Escapists creation and development in the world of K&C. After that, it's just random one-shot stories staring different writers and artists versions of The Escapist and Luna Moth. This isn't a graphic novel. It's the equivalent of a "best of" book. Each writer gives The Escapist and Luna Moth a different personality and different motives. This is paired with vastly different art styles, some of which look pretty nice and others are absolutely terrible. I bought this book expecting to read the first chapter in The Escapist story, but instead I got this indulgent, self-righteous meta-book. We get a couple of stories that don't connect in any way or have anything to do with K&C. It's labeled as volume one, giving the indication that this is the start of a series. The only way I see this happening is the way Reader's Digest releases new books in its condensed novels "series."
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wheels within wheels . . ., March 1, 2005
This review is from: Michael Chabon Presents. . .The Amazing Adventures of the Escapist, Volume 1 (Paperback)
A few years ago, Chabon wrote a well-received novel, _The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay,_ about two comic book impresarios in the 1930s, `40s, and `50s. Their greatest creation was the Escapist. It's only fitting that the fictional character of a fictional author in a fictional comic book come to life in a real book. A dozen or so writers and artists come together to present a series of stories from the Escapist's career, rendered in the styles of four or five decades, and Chabon and Malachi Cohen surround them with relevant history and literary/artistic criticism. One of the main supporting characters, Luna Moth, also gets a couple of stories. The best thing in this volume, though, is "The Lady or the Tiger," supposedly published in 1976 -- and which Glen Gold's introduction makes clear was the literary peak of the (fictional) series. Finally, the classic comic book "advertising" on the back cover is a hoot, especially the bit on bar codes!
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Pure fun, November 7, 2009
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This review is from: Michael Chabon Presents. . .The Amazing Adventures of the Escapist, Volume 1 (Paperback)
What fun to have real comic artists take a stab at creating the comics imagined in "The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay". It's definitely light reading, but I enjoyed the artistry and creativity.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I love Michael Chabon, December 22, 2007
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This review is from: Michael Chabon Presents. . .The Amazing Adventures of the Escapist, Volume 1 (Paperback)
I love this writer and his books and being able to see his characters in action was a real treat.
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Michael Chabon Presents. . .The Amazing Adventures of the Escapist, Volume 1
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