Comics Features

REVIEW: Epic Escape

Written by Patrick Smith

What is Epic Escape? “A Funny Webcomic Cartoon About The Ups and Downs Of Life as A B-List Super Hero – American Comic Style, Full Colour, Superhero Humour Parody (Updated Weekly).” So reads the introductory sub-head above each page and it’s a description that needs no amendment. It is however just the tip of the iceberg.

Epic Escape’s creator, John Cross, has been creating and producing comics ever since he was 11, using a black and white copier as his printing press. After giving up on comics after university, Cross decided to finally fulfil his dream of creating comics after becoming unexpectedly unemployed.

Cross is clearly a fan of the superhero genre and takes much joy in using and abusing many of the tropes commonly found in the crazy parallel universes of superhero-dom. What’s clear from the outset is his mission to apply these stylings to the every-day details of our lives and our concerns of today. And tomorrow.

On the first page, we’re introduced to key character, Timothy Morgan, a rising attorney whose alter-ego, Strongman, is a leading member of the League of Super Justice. Unfortunately. After Timothy is laid off from said law firm, his super-team is also made redundant due to budgetary constraints. Their doubtless noble activities have been outsourced to divisions in India and China.

As one reads through subsequent instalments, one’s introduced to a varied host of heroes and villains and we learn more about them as we see them struggle their way through dilemmas that will certainly be no stranger to most readers: managing rising debts, finding a new job,  and coping with the problems of friends and colleagues. We see these characters trying to get on with living a life and fulfilling a purpose. Reassuringly, their circumstances border on the ridiculous and then happily skip over that line to become sublime.

Like all fine comic-strips, each weekly offering is a piece to be enjoyed in and of itself, whilst over time there’s expansion and the building of a fun continuity. I’m loathe to give away much detail here regarding subsequent plots, which are many, varied and consistently entertaining. So much of the enjoyment lies in the detail. This is often well observed, highly amusing, sometimes poignant and persistently achieved with rich and snappy dialogue. From the power-sets of certain individuals, which are specifically hilarious, to the names of various heroes and villains that are throw-away yet not without laconic wit. There’s much for a reader to admire.

The art is cleanly and thoughtfully laid-out, with great efficiency and a fine use of space. There’s visual variation to accompany each moment and the colouring is simple, bright and effective. It all successfully adds to the irreverent and mischievous tone of this webcomic.

Along with the various predicaments of the protagonists, there is much satisfaction to be gained from the parodies of arcs and story-telling devices that are used along the way, bringing the reader along for the ride in a manner that feels collaborative. Love, death and irritatingly bitchy team-mates.

Here’s a few hints to whet your appetite whilst not letting too many cats out of the bag; The power of chunky-monkey ice-cream; a wonderful reverse-homage to Marilyn Monroe’s billowing skirt moment; “Food shouldn’t be interesting”.

I heartily recommend this webcomic and with the current instalment being the 57th, there’s plenty of material to enjoy and to get you up to speed. As for me, I’m very much looking forward to next week’s chapter!

You can find all of Epic Escape available to read for free at www.EpicEscape.com.

About the author

Patrick Smith