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Houdini: The Handcuff King Hardcover – Bargain Price, March 27, 2007
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Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.
About the Author
Nick Bertozzi is an award-winning cartoonist based in New York.
Top Customer Reviews
Who can tell, awash as we are in the flood of current events, movies, books, comic books and other forms of entertainment? He certainly deserves to be, if only as a historical figure, a stage magician who built his reputation by being the best magician and escape artist there ever was, and by making sure everyone knew it.
"Houdini" tells this story by focusing on the events of a single day -- May 1, 1908 -- and a single publicity stunt, in which Houdini leapt into the near-frozen Charles River in Cambridge, Mass., wearing only a bathing suit and shackled at the wrists and ankles. Writer Jason Lutes follows the magician as he works at his craft, is interviewed by the press (and, like modern athletes, showing that he's capable of making them laugh, but also bringing out the claws to defend his reputation) and working with the police while rehearsing his stunt. And even though we know what to expect, he still pulls several surprises, working the reader as well as the audience.
Historical figures do not operate in a vacuum, and neither did Houdini. While watching him work, we're also made aware of the support network he built around him, starting with his loving wife, Bess, who he relied on for emotional support off-stage and as an assistant on-stage. Houdini also needed someone to promote his shows, and to protect him from unscrupulous rivals. It's a measure of the respect he engendered that he took to the grave the secrets of his most spectacular stunts.Read more ›
Houdini's Jewish identity is mentioned only briefly when a Boston policeman wonders aloud if it is true that the showman has horns. As he is being inspected before the stunt, Houdini rebukes the policeman by saying, "mind the horns." A series of panel discussions round out the volume, and one of these explains Houdini's Jewish background and the anti-Semitism that was prevalent at the time.
Fans of the graphic novel format will delight in this creative and suspenseful book, and since there have been a glut of recent books about Houdini, for both children and adults, curious readers who want a more in-depth biography will have an ample selection from which to choose. For ages 10 and up.
Reviewed by Wendy Wasman.
It's easy to miss much of this on a quick pass. But the authors included a 5-page explanatory section at the end of the story that provides more details about why, for instance, a police officer would think Harry might have horns on his head. A 3-page introduction by author (and illusionism fan) Glen David Gold, provides more background material about Houdini and his times.
"Houdini, The Handcuff King" is a fun and informative exploration of an extraordinary individual whose work in establishing his own fame continues to pay dividends. Accessible for readers 9 and up.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
My daughter loves Houdini so we added this to her collection of books about him. She liked it.Published 2 months ago by So Every Day
Full of boasting and bragging, this book shows the planning, moodiness, showmanship, and stardom of Houdini. It shows his wife's role in helping him with his illusions, too. Read morePublished on February 11, 2011 by M. Heiss
"Houdini: The Handcuff King"
by Jason Lutes
(Hyperion Books, 2008)
A fine, fast-flowing graphic novel that tells the... Read more
The service getting the book was very good. My problem is that I didn't understand that it was a comic book. This wasn't what I expected. Read morePublished on February 15, 2010 by Paula Vaught
The book is the first-person telling of a possible Houdini escape, and gives insight into his relationship with his wife, his energy and dedication toward his ideals, and the force... Read morePublished on January 18, 2010 by Jess Smart Smiley
Houdini:The Handcuff King is a wonderful graphic novel for anyone interested in one of history's most famous magical entertainers. Read morePublished on September 17, 2009 by Ken Johanson
Of all the tens of thousands of pages of graphic novels and comic books I've read in my life, from mainstream superhero books to indie, slice-of-life strips, this is my absolute... Read morePublished on December 1, 2008 by Gall