Michael Chabon's The Escapists TP
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Release Date: October 11, 2017
Price: $19.99
Creator(s): Brian K. Vaughan (writer); Steve Rolston, Jason Shawn Alexander, Philip Bond and Eduardo Barreto (artists)
Format: 128 pgs., Full-Color, 6-5/8" x 10-1/4", Trade Paperback
ISBN: 978-1-5067-0403-6
Age Rating: 14+
ICv2 Rating: 4 Stars out of 5

This is an excellent example of "meta" graphic fiction, in that it’s a comic about the comic in a fictional prose work, Chabon’s award-winning novel The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay.  In that book, the main characters created an escape artist/superhero in the Golden Age of comics.  Then, Chabon collaborated with Dark Horse Comics in the creation of those previously non-existent comics, as interpreted by different creators.  This, then, is Vaughan’s sequel to that universe, in that the characters here are trying to revive the Escapist character, in publishing oblivion for years.  Their successes and failures are at the heart of the book.  It’s well-written, and most of the art is outstanding.

That said, because it’s so thoroughly meta-fictional, it would be difficult for a new reader to pick this up and get the same experience out of it.  Without reading the novel or the earlier comics, there are still some great moments, especially when you see the pages of the comic within the comic.  In context, those are brilliant.  Out of context, they’re just very good.

Also, this is a collection of material which came out a decade ago, when Chabon’s novel was fresher in the minds of readers.  So, a new generation of readers will have homework to do in order to fully enjoy this book.

Recommended for teens and up, due to violence.

--Nick Smith: Library Technician, Community Services, for the Pasadena Public Library in California.