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Michael Chabon Presents. . .The Amazing Adventures of the Escapist, Volume 1 Paperback – May 11, 2004

3.8 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Bursting onto the scene after what must be the greatest—and most literary—publicity campaign ever mounted for a superhero, Chabon's Escapist is ready to do battle with the forces of evil and free all innocents held in the clutches of the Iron Chain's evil operatives. The Escapist, of course, is the hero first brought to life in Chabon's Pulitzer-winning novel The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay. Now a clutch of comic veterans have brought the Master of Elusion and his entourage to life and, thankfully for the legions of K&C fans, this work doesn't disappoint. Regardless of origins, the Escapist is a classic do-gooder. We first meet our hero when he's humble Tom Mayflower, ward of a Houdini-esque uncle; events conspire to make Tom an unlikely hero, and we're off on adventures that roam through the comics landscape of the 20th century. It's all great fun as we watch our hero do his good-guy thing, battle the frustration of getting called for jury duty and even match wits with an evil genie. A bonus story features Luna Moth, a startlingly voluptuous heroine who takes on Death himself and comes out on top. Meanwhile, a few interstitial essays work to establish our hero's bona fides as a genuine lost character from the golden age of comics; Chabon's introduction attests that the estates of Kavalier and Clay and the archivists at Dark Horse have been very generous in helping to assemble the history of this forgotten superhero.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Fans of Chabon's Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay (2000) who long to read the actual comic-book adventures of the Escapist, the superhero created by the novel's young protagonists, have recently had the chance, thanks to the comic book of which this is the first collection. It purports to repackage the "original" Escapist stories, dating from the 1940s. Scripting the Escapist's origin story himself, Chabon has enlisted contributions from leading comics artists and writers, including Howard Chaykin, Kyle Baker, and Chris Ware. The results seem rather inauthentic; attempting to copy the crude art and simplistic scripts of vintage comics would have been more audacious and perhaps more entertaining. There's no escaping the fact that these stories are just above-average mainstream superhero exploits that probably appeal more to comics aficionados than readers of the novel. Not nearly as impressive as the groundbreaking Kavalier-Clay collaborations Chabon's fiction suggested. Gordon Flagg
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Series: Michael Chabon Presents: The Amazing Adventures of the Escapist (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 152 pages
  • Publisher: Dark Horse Books; 1St Edition edition (May 11, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 159307171X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1593071714
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.4 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #805,447 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Lonya VINE VOICE on June 12, 2004
Format: 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.
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By A Customer on July 7, 2004
Format: 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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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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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.
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