cover image Michael Chabon’s The Escapists

Michael Chabon’s The Escapists

Michael Chabon and Brian K. Vaughn. Dark Horse, $19.99 (176p) ISBN 978-1-50670-403-6

Vaughan (Saga) takes a playful metafictional approach to imagining the rebirth of a classic comics hero, set within the world of Chabon’s The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay. Chabon opens the volume with a prose introduction in which his Sam Clay character, the co-creator of the comics hero the Escapist, meets a young Vaughan at a Cleveland comic con in 1986. The graphic novel portion begins with contemporary teen Maxwell Roth discovering his deceased father’s collection of Escapist comics and memorabilia. When his mother also dies, leaving him a large life insurance policy, Max buys the rights to the series so he can relaunch it. He recruits pal Denny Jones as letterer and newly met artist Case Weaver for the rest. Vaughan tells a very human tale of young fans turned creators, as they promote their labor of love while confronting legal troubles and the threat of “selling out.” An excellent stable of artists—Jason Shawn Alexander, Eduardo Barreto, Philip Bond, and Steve Rolston—create the interstitial breaks into new Escapist comics, which flow from the story line of Max’s ongoing saga. Max’s universe is illustrated with an accessible and colorful feel, while the comic within the comic has a darker and edgier mood. There are even bonus pixelated “Golden Age” pages from the “original” Escapist, contrasting with the updated look developed in the relaunch, and an appendix collecting various covers imagined by the artists including Paul Pope. Great fun for pop-culture fans. (Oct.)