The circus has always held a great allure for storytellers–who can resist the wonderful contradictions of the center ring and the freak show, the blaring showmanship and the everyday lives of the performers? In Escapo, Paul Pope draws inspiration from a very familiar circus trope: scarred but talented escape artist Escapo loves the beautiful trapeze artist, though she seems to be unmoved by his affection. Working his way through a series of terrifying escape machines, Escapo tries to figure out if he can profess his feelings or if he should simply leave well enough alone. Pope’s fluid and sinuous black and white style lends the long moments of escape and contemplation energy and melancholy beauty. You’ll also find that though this tale has been told many times, this time around it doesn’t work quite as you’d expect, with a satisfying and affirming finish.
by Paul Pope
NBM Publishing, Inc. 1999