When I wrote my review of Michael Chabon’s 2011 Pulitzer-winning novel, The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, I wrote:
Once in a blue moon, a novel comes along that is so epically epic that it almost can’t contain itself. It spills over its edges or runs off the rails…Then there are books that actively try to be epic in scope, in which the author is just throwing everything at the wall and seeing what will stick. When this is the case, many times, the author fails miserably and the book results in becoming a parody of itself.
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, indeed, is a book that is epic in scope. When I wrote the above sentiment, though, I had no idea just how truly epic it is. My expression “it spills over its edges” was even more apropos than I knew. As it turns out, the one thousand or so pages of The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay weren’t enough to contain the “amazing adventures” of their comic book character, The Escapist. So in 2004 Michael Chabon teamed up with Dark Horse Comics to create an actual series of comic books about The Escapist, appropriately titled, Michael Chabon Presents: the Amazing Adventures of the Escapist. This series of comics was later collected in three volumes.
Then, in 2006, famed comic book writer Brian K. Vaughan (who wrote the likes of Ex Machina and Saga) paid homage to the fictional character with a six-part miniseries of his own entitled The Escapists.
Let’s get one thing straight: Michael Chabon is an incredible writer. An absolute master of his craft. His imagery is so incredibly vivid and detailed. So much so that, while reading The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, not only I could perfectly visualize the action that was happening on the page with Kavalier and Clay, I even found myself visualizing the action of the Escapist! I could picture him leaping from rooftop to rooftop, breaking chains with his mighty arms, and beating up Nazis as he single handedly brought down the Third Reich.
I kept thinking to myself throughout the novel “Somebody has got to make this character into an actual comic book!”
And somebody did. A few somebodies, actually.