The Amazing Adventures of the Escapist #8


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The Amazing Adventures of the Escapist #8


  • Words: Brian K. Vaughan, Harvey Pekar, Andi Watson, et al.
  • Art: Philip Bond, Eduardo Barreto, Dean Haspiel, et al.
  • Inks: N/A
  • Colors: Dave Stewart, Dan Jackson, Andi Watson, et al.
  • Story Title: The Escapists, Escape From the Hospital, et al.
  • Price: $8.95
  • Release Date: Nov 9, 2005

The first part of Brian Vaughan’s much hyped "Escapists" story starts here and he is joined by a variety of other creators, each looking to tell their unique Escapist story.

Up until this issue, The Amazing Adventures of the Escapist has been nothing more than an anthology series. Each issue has had various creators telling stories about the fictional star of Michael Chabon’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel. This issue sees the start of the first ongoing arc in the series. Brian K. Vaughan and Philip Bond team up to start a story of some new creators who want to follow in the footsteps of Joe Kavalier and Sam Clay in telling stories of the Escapist. More a sequel of sorts to the novel than a story starring the Escapist, this story starts with a young fan in Cleveland somehow buying the rights to the fictional character and taking the first steps towards publishing new Escapist comics.

Brian Vaughan packs quite a lot into his segment of this book. He gives the history of Maxwell Roth, a young man who grows up reading the collection of Escapist comics his father leaves him. Vaughan gives enough glimpse of Roth’s life to know that it is not ideal, and he pulls certain strings to maintain the reader’s sympathy towards the character. But Maxell Roth is strong enough not to need any sympathies. Although the story is a little too idealized at times (nobody just stumbles on an artist like that), it is still a worthy continuation to Chabon’s work. Not that anyone should feel apprehensive if they haven’t read Chabon’s novel. While having knowledge of it does make it a fuller experience, everything is perfectly laid out in the story for new readers.

Drawing this tale we have Philip Bond illustrating the modern portion of the tale, while Eduardo Barreto delivers a few pages of a vintage-looking Escapist tale. Bond’s work makes the wide eyed idealism of Vaughan’s work, sometimes even literally in his images of a young Maxwell. Not overly detailed, Bond’s work does its job with clean images and solid storytelling. But before long, it shouldn’t be presumptuous to say that Barreto’s artwork is going to steal the show. He does some very dynamic work in his throwback Escapist pages that almost seem to perfectly match the descriptions that were given in Chabon’s book.

Amazingly though, "The Escapists" isn’t even the best story in the book. "Escape from the Hospital," by Harvey Pekar and Dean Haspiel, make up for the shortcomings of their recent graphic novel and tells a tale that is truly exemplary of the impacting Harvey Pekar story. By maintaining a grounding dialogue throughout the tale, Pekar’s voice never gets stale because the Escapist is always there to provide a counter voice. Haspiel’s artwork is just as solid as it ever was, and he keeps up with the edgy emotions that Pekar writes.

Andi Watson also adds a war story that tells an escape story where the character never appears even once. Highly imaginative and wonderfully illustrated, Watson is at his best with this dialogue-driven story and iconic pictures. This is followed by a comedic page featuring Paul Hornschemeier’s creation, The Escapenot.

Finally, Jeff Parker illustrates his own throwback Escapist tale. This one is described to be a reconstruction of an old Escapist story, where the Escapist and his assistants search through a magic festival looking to solve a mystery for their friends in Scotland Yard. This one, although completely different from Barreto’s artwork earlier, also maintains a real sense of nostalgia, both in content and artwork. This story is also the most action-packed of the book, and makes a nice final piece for it.

Brian Vaughan has created some of the most unique and well received new characters in recent years with Y the Last Man, Ex Machina, and Runaways. "The Escapists" looks like it will continue this streak. This is a great place for new readers to jump in and learn of a great character with a fantastic backstory.

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