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The Amazing Adventures of Chabon & Vaughan

I attended a Michael Chabon appearance the other night and, not surprisingly, comics came up in the Q&A which followed the author’s reading.

Cover of 'The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay'Funnily enough, the specific question which was asked was almost a dead-ringer for the one I was planning to ask Chabon while he signed my copy of his new book, The Yiddish Policemen’s Union. Before I get to the question, however, let me provide a little background for those unfamiliar with his work or its relevance here. Chabon won a Pulitzer prize for his sprawling novel, The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, which (in part) explores the origins of the American comic book industry. In that book, a couple of young Jewish kids create a comic book starring a costumed crime-fighter called the Escapist, the rights to which they sell (on the cheap, a la Siegel and Shuster) to a comic book publisher who goes on to make millions off of the young boy’s creation (again, alas, a la Siegel and Shuster).

If you haven’t read the book and you’re a comics fan, trust me, you NEED to read this book. Also, I envy you the reading experience you’ve got in store.

Anyway, if you’re unfamiliar with the novel, you might have heard of the Dark Horse comics series Michael Chabon Presents the Amazing Adventures of the Escapist, an anthology title which presented original Escapist tales (some written by Chabon himself) in comics form. If you’re unfamiliar with that title, however, you may have heard of the recently concluded six-issue mini-series, The Escapists, also from Dark Horse and which was written by Brian K. Vaughan with artwork by Philip Bond and Eduardo Barreto … and which was, in a word, awesome.

Frank Miller's cover art for 'The Escapists' #1Easily the finest comics story based on Chabon’s creation to date, The Escapists also stands as one of Brian K. Vaughan’s finest works to date (which is saying something in itself). All issues of the six-issue series appear to still be available, but there’s almost certain to be a collected edition in the near future, so you might want to wait for that. Just make sure that you read this sucker if you love any or all of the following: comic books, the source novel, or BKV.

And now, with those background necessities out of the way, on to the question to which I alluded earlier … during the audience Q&A, one young man asked Chabon if there would be more Escapist comics, specifically citing how much he had dug the Brian K. Vaughan series. Now, what follows is from memory, but it’s pretty close to accurate. Chabon, by way of reply, said, “I know, I thought he did a fantastic job. I’d love to see more Escapist comics from him, and I suggest someone start a petition … but he’s really busy these days. I hear he’s writing for television now, writing for LOST … so I don’t think we’re gonna see that guy again.”

What say we call this blog entry that petition? Anyone who’s with me, by all means, do consider using the comments to voice your approval!

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