Overview

The Escapists #4

Review

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The Escapists #4

Credits

  • Words: Brian K. Vaughan
  • Art: Jason S. Alexander & Steve Rolston
  • Inks: Jason S. Alexander & Steve Rolston
  • Colors: Matt Hollingsworth & Dave Stewart
  • Story Title: N/A
  • Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
  • Price: $2.99
  • Release Date: Oct 11, 2006

Maxwell receives an offer to sell rights to the Escapist for a large sum of money, and as much as he would hate to accept, there may be no other choice.

As Max, Case and Denny debate the logistics of putting out a silent issue of their popular comic, The Escapist, Hollywood forces are working an aggressive takeover of the rights to the character. Max takes a call from Omnigrip Corporation, which is offering a substantial amount of money for the rights to the character. Meanwhile, the publicity stunt the creative trio lucked into before launching their title is coming back to bite them in the collective rear end, and Denny’s part in the charade is landing him in hot water with the law. Is it really "selling out" if you need the money to keep yourself and your friends out of jail?

Vaughan has crafted something of a cautionary tale here. There are thousands of writers and artists trying to break into the comic book business as we speak, and despite the initial success that Max and Company have enjoyed with their relaunch of a Kavalier and Clay classic character (say that three times real fast) having sold upwards of eighty thousand copies (by comparison, Dark Horse’s best selling book might get a quarter of that), they are still scraping by on royalty checks. And as lucky as they are to even see an offer from the entertainment industry on their creation, not even that is going like they wanted. Making comics might be fun and gain you some recognition, but just like any other creative profession, there are a plethora of problematic pot holes (man, I’m sorry…) that go along with that silver lining.

I absolutely adore the art in this book. The "book within the book" work is done by Jason S. Alexander with colors by Matt Hollingsworth. Alexander’s work is similar in style to Alex Maleev’s, but he has a better eye for displaying action; while Hollingsworth--who worked with Maleev on Daredevil--finishes it off by giving it a very rich, noir feel with his deeply textured colors. Steve Rolston provides the art for Max’s story, while Dave Stewart supplies the colors. Rolston has a more cartoony style that goes well with Max and his friends’ lives and dilemmas, while Stewart contrasts the slightly depressing direction of the plot with somewhat brighter colors.

All in all, this is a great book. Vaughan takes a simple, familiar story and applies his own brand of humor and humanity--not to mention interesting anecdotes about his home town of Cleveland--to breathe life into these characters. Meanwhile, he is using the "book within the book" to tell an engaging parallel between the creator and his creation.

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