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The Escapists

"Wizard Top Ten" and multiple Eisner Award-winning writer Brian K. Vaughan tells the tale of three aspiring comics creators with big dreams, small cash, and publishing rights to one forgotten Golden Age hero - The Escapist! Inspired by Michael Chabon's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel "The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay", this is Vaughan's love letter to his chosen medium, a story about what it takes to start out with nothing in Cleveland, Ohio and end up with a comic so hot a major corporation wants to steal it from you! Brilliantly interweaving the lives of the creators with the world of their creation, artists Steve Rolston and Philip Bond bring the comic-booking trio Maxwell Roth, Case Weaver, and Denny Jones to life, while the inimitable Jason Shawn Alexander and Eduardo Barreto illustrate the thrilling trials and exciting extrications of the new - and old - Escapist!
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Ambition outpaces execution in Vaughan and company's graphic novel semisequel to Michael Chabon's celebrated novel The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay. Most installments in the "Escapist" comics franchise to date have been perfunctory affairs; Vaughan raises the stakes by setting his story not in that character's fictional world, but in a present-day setting in which nerdy Max Roth, son of the late king of Escapist collectibles, acquires the rights in order to publish a new comic book series with the aid of a love-interest illustrator and a burly letterer. The book's plot-including an ill-fated publicity stunt and challenge from a charming corporate manipulator-is outlined with the same broad strokes as its characterizations, sometimes echoing the source text's events, but achieving none of the novel's texture. Rolston's dominant cartoony visual style fails to credibly ground the book's characters or setting, and alternates with darkly overwrought "Escapist" pages by Alexander. The book's moral-that inspiration is best honored by total originality-is striking and seems to call for more inspired comics than this. (Dec.) Copyright 2010 Reed Business Information.

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