When you attend a Halloween party with a Comic Book / Cartoon theme, you’re going to run into your fair share of heroes from Gotham and Metropolis.1 Batmen and Supermen are fine and all, but I’m not the type to choose a mainstream character or snag my entire get-up from a costume shop. Besides, I wanted a costume no one else would duplicate. With an award for “Most Obscure” up for grabs, I went very obscure.
I became the Escapist.
Never heard of him? Don’t feel bad; neither had anyone else. He’s only appeared in two publications, and the first of those was a novel. In Michael Chabon’s The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, two young cartoonists in the ’40s create the Escapist to profit from the popularity of Superman as America enters the golden age of comic books. Their hero roams the world looking to cast off the chains of tyranny and free oppressed people everywhere.
Thankfully, the Escapist’s second appearance was in comic book form. Otherwise, I’d have had no idea what he looked like.
If you’re wondering, the chains are real. I got them at Lowe’s. The hair isn’t. The wig was the only part of the costume procured from a Halloween store, but it looked genuine enough to even convince people who’d met me before that it was my real hair. The key is made of foam, the mask cut from a fat quarter of fabric, both items purchased at Jo-Ann’s. The rest of the Escapist’s wardrobe was furnished by Target.
So, after everyone I talked to at the party had to ask who I was supposed to be, it came time for the awards section of the evening. As expected, I was nominated for Most Obscure... and then lost out to a member of the Justice League.
Admittedly, I’d never heard of the character before. He looked familiar enough, and was confused throughout the night for either the Blank from Dick Tracy or Watchmen’s Rorschach.2 It was this confusion that netted him the award.
I’m not bitter. If the award had been monetary in nature, perhaps I would be, but instead I am merely amused. Now, if you don’t mind, I have some enslaved people to liberate.
1 The final tally from last Saturday: 3 Batmen, 3 Robins, 2 Batgirls, 2 Clark Kents, 2 Supergirls, and 1 Lois Lane. Oh yeah, and one villain for them all to fight: The Riddler. Two, if you count Hanna Barbera’s Dirk Dastardly.
2 Here’s some trivia for you: Originally, the Question was going to be in Watchmen, but Alan Moore was denied permission to use his name, and thus Rorschach was born.