Dear Mr Kavalier and Mr Clay
I would like to start off by saying what an incredible honour it is, as a life long fan of The Escapist, to write to both of my childhood heroes. My excitement is only outmatched by my recent completion of that fantastic autobiography, and winner of the coveted Pulitzer Prize, all about your lives and creative history. It is truly a wonderful book of pulse pounding thrills and incredible human drama, with tons of behind the scene craziness.
But darn it all, I still wonder how The Amazing Adventures Of Kavalier And Clay, written and researched by the fantastic Mr. Michael Chabon ever came out. And I am not just talking about its over 600 hefty pages of glory, or the occasional informative footnote, but the amount of information, both private and public, that you both reveal is astonishing.
I gobbled this book down, all because it told the complete story of how you, Mr Joseph Kavalier and My Sam Clay, created the greatest comic book character of them all, The Escapist. From that first fateful meeting, late one night in 1930’s New York, to your walk the next day that gave the world your greatest gift, almost everything is chronicled.
In fact the massive detail put into virtually all aspects of how The Escapist, and almost all of your other wonderful creations, came about is fantastic. Even the parts about the ones you helped make are amazing. I knew your fingerprints were on those characters as well, just like the legends and lore had suggested!
And the astonishing, prolonged, flashback telling the often hinted about tale of how Mr. Kavalier escaped the prosecution of his people in Europe, and the long and winding road that brought you to your cousins, Mr Clay’s doorstep. So many psychological implications to all to all these sensational adventures! My mind raced to connect the dots to all your other published works, just to try to guess their origins. And Mr. Clay, the smaller flashbacks about your time growing up in New York were equally thrilling, with the performing aspect you imputed into The Escapist being part of your DNA. The casual fan might attribute this to Mr. Kavalier and his stage magician training, but only diehards like myself can see where it really came from.
After the play is all set and your famous character is about to premiere, Mr. Chabon does the mighty yet again by gently moving us fans forward in the narratives in your impressive lives. All these myriad and uncanny details of those early fun adventures in that oh so young industry brings about the most fantastic tingles in my Geek senses. While the comics are undoubtedly thrilling, these true life, and sometimes two-fisted tales, of life before Pearl Harbour provides so much context for the unparalleled creativity you both exhibited.
The old and familiar adage that real life is stranger than fiction becomes even more apparent as time marches on in your lives. I was thoroughly caught off guard by all the later developments in your journeys. By the end of this suspenseful trip so many secrets and lies are revealed, some predating the start of your marvelous collaborations, that it is amazing this story is not labeled as fiction.
Much of the credit for the verisimilitude of your biography goes to Mr. Chabon. The author has done a wonderful job researching all these thousands of facts, getting everyone to open up so very much, and weaving it all together into a complete, detailed, and metaphor laded narrative. Mr. Chabon must be a real detective, comics piled up all the place, in order to get all this geek history right.
Some of my friends have argued with me, both online and off, that your tale is very similar, at the beginning at least, to the famous story of the creators of Superman. While I do see some parallels with Mr. Siegel and Mr. Shuster, anyone who gets past the first hundred pages or so can tell the difference. No slight to those mighty giants, both no longer with us unfortunately, but Kavalier and Clay are more a pure world parables of what might have been. Or does that explanation sound to fanboyishness?
With all that said, I still greatly enjoyed the crossover event in the late 1970’s between The Escapist and Superman. It was wonderful for you two to return and work on the comic with Siegel and Shuster, all to tie into the major motion pictures featuring these wonderful characters. And Paul Newman was such a fantastic Escapist! Having Tracy Bacon play Max Mayflower was also a stroke of genius and brought tears to this fan’s eyes.
But one of the main reasons for this long drooling (I admit it) letter was to ask a favour. Is it possible for me to send copies of Mr. Chabon’s book AND the Masterwork Archives edition of The Escapist for you both to sign? I know it is a lot to ask, but I am an even huger fan than ever before, all thanks to now knowing the true story of everything about The Escapist.
Many thanks to you both, Mr. Kavalier and Mr. Clay, for all your hard work in creating one the greatest characters of all time. And thank you for allowing Mr.Chabon to chronicle the entire smashing story.
…is currently reading Once Every Never by Lesley Livingston.
Author’s Note: This letter was delivered to me, the wrong Scoopriches. It came by Owl Mail, which popped up through a wormhole generated by a bean grown by a giant. It is obviously from a different dimension, possibly Earth-Prime, because on our Earth The Amazing Adventures Of Kavalier And Clay by Michael Chabon is listed as fiction. But we all know, this entire tale happened to someone in somewhere at someplace, don’t we?
P.S. This post is one of several I hope to do this year to celebrate the 75th Birthday of Superman. Happy Birthday Kal-El! Superman created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster.
P.P.S. Superman Man Of Steel opens Friday, June 14th 2013. For an indepth look at the creation of this landmark movie, check out Jeffrey Taylor’s columns.
Saturday, April 13, 2013
For awhile, as my #fridayreads #attests, I have been into The Amazing Adventures Of Kavalier And Clay by Michael Chabon. #kavalierclay #fb
So I am about to do something I have not done since my Harry Potter summer, and that is live tweet a book. #kavalierclay #fb
Page 15. This is the beginning of a beautiful friendship, all started over the aroma of a Brooklyn night. #kavalierclay #fb
Part 1, Chap 3. Have done some stupid things when I was young, but these boys take the cake. I almost stopped breathing. #kavalierclay #fb
Page 49. A sad way to get results. It works, but breaks Kavailer’s soul a little bit. #kavalierclay #fb
The most beautiful suits I ever saw belonged to a dead giant.” #kavalierclay #fb
Page 117. Last paragraph. Love This. History is made of the strangest moments, and this one proves it. #kavalierclay #fb
Almost Dead Flying Guy is the best superhero name in all of existence. #kavalierclay #fb
Part 2, Chapter 4. Meeting a fan. In a strange sort of way. #kavalierclay #fb
Page 210. This cop is having the worst day ever. Never mess with a comic artist. #kavalierclay #fb
Part 2, Chapter 9. There are stupid ways to die, and there are really stupid ways to die. No one dies, but should have. #kavalierclay #fb
“Take care – there is no force more powerful that that of an unbridled imagination.” #kavalierclay #fb
Deasey veers from saint to sinner like a pendulum. #kavalierclay #fb
Part 3, Chapter 15. The last sentence blew me away. The Quantum Leap like history here gives me a warm glow of happiness. #kavalierclay #fb
Saturday, April27, 2013
Finished #fridayreads of The Amazing Adventures Of Kavalier And Clay by Michael Chabon. Best book I have read all year. #kavalierclay #fb
So again I am about to live tweet a book. That’s how great this one is!!! #kavalierclay #fb
Part 4, Chap 5 – Okay, this part scares the bejeevus out of me. #kavalierclay #fb
Page 352. Between here and Sleepless In Seattle, the Empire State Building is very romantic. #kavalierclay #fb
Page 364. Paragraph 4. The truth is spoken. None know how to respond. #kavalierclay #fb
Page 401. Last line. Knew he was going to say that. Tragedy. Horror. Pain. #kavalierclay #fb
Part 5. Bad meets worse. Or, “why mail SHOULD be opened right away.” #kavalierclay #fb
“Typewriters have personalities, like fingerprints.” #kavalierclay #fb
Page 501. Last paragraph. I used to do this as well when I was a kid. Gave me a giggle. #kavalierclay #fb
Page 575. Now that is a lot of comics! Not sure if I should salute this or not. #kavalierclay #fb
Page 593. The ending seems all laid out before us… or is it? #edgeofmyseat #kavalierclay #fb
The last two chapters just slam you with emotions. Lives move in mysterious ways. #kavalierclay #fb
Highly rec’d. Best book I have read all year. The Amazing Adventures Of Kavaleir And Clay by Michael Chabon. #fridayreads #kavalierclay #fb