Earth-K Timeline

All characters and prose © 2000 by Michael Chabon.

 A man named Nanok, who schools himself in the ways of bloodshed and black 
magic, sets himself upon an obsidian throne.  He sends his armies of demons
into battle against the peace-loving and matriarchal Queendom of Cimmeria; 
men take over the world, the Cimmerian moth-goddess Lo is banished to the
nether kingdoms, and Cimmeria is plunged into a legendary perpetual night.  [All Doll #1]

circa 875
 The Caliph Vathek, who, for the sake of empty pomp and forbidden power, 
sullies himself with a thousand crimes, becomes a prey to grief without 
end, and remorse without mitigation.  [Classics Illustrated]

10th century
 The Cimmerian moth-goddess Lo creates the latest in a line of human 
champions, a woman warrior with the power to help right the world's many 
wrongs.  [All Doll #1]

15th century
 In France, the giants Gargantua and Pantagruel have adventures.  [Classics Illustrated]

16th century
 Rabbi Loew of Prague creates the Golem.  [The Golem graphic novel]

19th century
 Greta Gatling has first public case as a cowgirl.  [All Doll #1]
 Crack Carter, with his bullwhip, fights evil amid the tumbleweeds.  [Racy Adventure]
 The Lone Wolf has first public case, eventually accompanied by Cubby.  [Frontier Comics #1]

 Max Mayflower, a spoiled young playboy, is kidnapped from his family's
mansion on Nabob Avenue.  He is rescued by a member of the League of the
Golden Key, who is fatally shot in the process.  Max becomes a member of 
League, whose members roam the world, acting anonymously to procure the 
freedom of others, always opposed by sinister agents of The Iron Chain
(who had been responsible for Max's kidnapping in the first place).   [Amazing Midget Radio Comics #1]

 The Iron Chain realise their dream of ruling an entire nation.  As a 
result of their manipulations, Atilla Haxoff, leader of the Razi party, 
is elected chancellor of Germany (see note).   [Amazing Midget Radio Comics #1]

 The Gray Goblin has first public case.  In the many years which follow 
his adventures would include "Strange Frigate," "Pyramid of Skulls" 
(which involved a giant Olmec head with a secret compartment in the left 
ear), and "Death Wears a Black Sarong".  [Racy Police Stories]
 Sharpe of the Mounties has first public case, accompanied by Whiskey, 
the husky dog with whom he shares an almost uncanny bond.  [Racy Adventure]
 Tom Mayflower becomes involved in the Spanish Civil War as a member of
the Abraham Lincoln Brigade.  He has a brief relationship with Mignonette
Beaufort before her battalion is betrayed by Pascal Fortier.    [The Amazing Adventures of The Escapist #6]

 Max Mayflower, aka "The Great Misterioso," is assassinated by members 
of The Iron Chain.  He gives his gold key to his adopted nephew Tom 
Mayflower, which cures his lame leg and allows him to become The Escapist. 
He is based in Empire City and accompanied by "Big Al" Alois Berg, the 
brilliant Viennese eight foot tall giant; the man known as "Omar", the 
Great Misterioso's assistant; and Miss Plum Blossom, an aged Chinese 
seamstress.  They are later joined on occasion by the old Portuguese
stagehand, Pedro.  [Amazing Midget Radio Comics #1] 
 For the next several months, Tom Mayflower along with his eccentric 
company tours the dark European bastions of the Iron Chain, including
Zothenia, Gothsylvania and Draconia, while secretly going about his
real business of arranging jailbreaks for resistance leaders and
captured british airmen, helping great scientists and thinkers out
of the clutches of evil dictators, and freeing captives, missionaries, 
and prisoners of war.  [Amazing Midget Radio Comics #1-3]
 The Escapist and his assistants visit the Royal Festival of Magic in Hyde Park,
and breaks The Shackle, a new link of the Iron Chain which drugs wealthy tourists
to relieve them of their valuables, and kidnaps young women to sell them into
slavery on the black market.  [The Escapist at the Royal Festival of Magic Big Little Book]

 The Black Hat, wealthy playboy by day, has first public case.  [Amazing Midget Radio Comics #1]
 A doctor develops Synth-O-Blood from ground-up iron meteorites from
outer space.  But when some enemy agents break into his laboratory to 
try to steal it, shooting him when he resists, he managed to hook 
himself up to the Synth-O-Blood pump just before he dies.  The liquid
meteorite brings him back from the very brink, and when he comes to,
he can fly, and begins his career fighting espionage as the winged hero
known as The Swift.  [Amazing Midget Radio Comics #1]
 The Snowman, in his blue-and-white union suit, a gun that fires freezing
gas and an ice-blue roadster, accompanied by his Korean houseboy Fan, has 
first public case.  His adversaries include the claw-fingered, monocled, 
Obsidian Hand.  [Amazing Midget Radio Comics #1]
 Radio Wave, able to transmit himself through the air on the invisible rails
of the airwaves, has first public case.  [Amazing Midget Radio Comics #1]
 The Escapist battles Miss Plum Blossom's evil sister Poison Rose and her
giant henchmen.  [Amazing Midget Radio Comics #3]
 The League of the Golden Key, in its secret mountain sanctum at the edge of 
the world, calls for a rare convention of the scattered masters of the globe, 
including a Chinese master, a Dutch master, a Polish master, and a Lapp master.
The assembled masters agree to vote Tom Mayflower an emergency Champion of
Freedom, increasing the power of his key twentyfold.  [Radio Comics #4]
 Poison Rose (apparently) dies. In the Grand Opera House on the Bund in 
Shangpo, she had thrown herself between a bullet meant for Tom Mayflower and
the pistol of a Razi agent with whom she had, until that moment, been allied. [Radio Comics #4]
 Slugger O'Toole, a brawling, rough-and-tumble, wise-cracking tough guy from 
"the mid-western stockyards of Windyanapolis," is a crooked boxer who got 
double-crossed in a thrown fight and is treated for his broken arm by a kindly 
refugee doctor who, it turns out, has just invented a riveted-steel "motorized 
suit" to enable paralytics to walk. When the doctor is subsequently gunned 
down by the Forces of Oppression, Slugger dons the battleship gray suit, 
"enhancing the abilities of his own powerful physique," and goes after the 
murderers, adopting the name of "another iron-clad that fought in the name 
of freedom," The Monitor.  [The Monitor #1]  He is eventually accompanied 
by the Liberty Kid.
 Dr. E. Pluribis Hewnham, The Scientific American, fights, as his nickname 
implies, by means of the [not always accurate or well-understood] principles 
and applications of science, equipped with a satchel-sized, [rather 
unscientifically miraculous] "mini-laboratory" from which he draws an endless 
supply of incinerating optical gizmos, Archimedean screws, antimagnetic compounds, 
etc.  [Triumph Comics #1]
 The Four Freedoms (four teenage boys Kid Einstein, Knuckleduster O'Toole,
Tommy Gunn, and Mumbles), a reformed gang of hooligans who abandon street
fighting and pinked derbies in favor of the Axis menace and matching suits 
of tricolor tights, have first public case.  [Triumph Comics #1]
 Ben Vanderslice, an O.S.S. agent, is captured while investigating Baron Von
Karben in Germany.  The scientist in residence, Karlheinz Speckler, amputates
Vanderslice's right hand, replacing it with a mechanical prosthesis which 
converts into a gun.  Vanderclise turns the weapon on his captors and 
escapes, donning a leather tuxedo, top hat, and domino mask to become Mr. Machine Gun;
he is, simply, a killer, armed with "acrobatic strength" and his eponymous, 
overheated gat.  [Triumph Comics #1]  As he comes to identify more with the
other individuals involved in what he calls "the hero biz," he briefly dons a
a flag-inspired costume that was among the most stylish of the Golden Age: an 
old-glory blue bodysuit emblazoned with a single, enormous white star whose five 
points reached down to his feet, out to his hands, and up to mask his face.
 The Escapist is on display at the closing of the 1939 World's Fair in Empire 
City.  An agent of the Iron Chain attempts to have him buried in the Fair's
time capsule, not to be opened until the year 6940.  He escapes, leaving 
behind a mesage for the future.  [The Amazing Adventures of The Escapist #6]
 The Escapist flies to Europe (in a midnight-blue autogyro) to rescue Plum
Blossom from the tower of the nefarious Steel Gauntlet, who battles inside a
diesel-driven suit of armor.  [Radio Comics #10]

 The events of The Escapist and the Pirate Fiend Big Little Book occur.
 The events of The Escapist and the Harem Girls of Arabia Big Little Book occur.
 Judy Dark, Under-Assistant Cataloguer of Decommisioned Volumes at the Empire
City Public Library, rescues the sacred The Book of Lo from a library robbery.  
Lo appears to her, to transform her into her avatar.  Judy Dark takes the name 
Luna Moth.  [All Doll #1]  She battles in the wonderworld against spectres 
and demons, and defends unsuspecting dreamers against attack from the dark realms 
of sleep.  By spring of 1941 she has twice flapped into battle against slavering 
Elder Creatures readying vast interdimensional armadas of demons.
 On an alternate possible Earth, Judy Dark becomes the nonpowered heroine, the
Masked Moth.  She is frequently summoned by the Empire City police to battle
against foes such as the Deceptor.  [The Amazing Adventures of The Escapist #3]
 Kid Vixen, a crime-fighting female boxer, has first public case.  [All Doll #1]
Her opponents include Battling Brunhilde, a champion Razi girl boxer (see note).  [All Doll #6]
 Venus McFury, a hard-boiled girl detective who is the reincarnation of one
of the classical Erinyes, has first public case.  [All Doll #1]
 The Escapist breaks open a Razi spy ring whose screw-nosed "armored mole" had
been trying to dig under Fort Knox.  "I wonder what that head-in-the-sand crowd
of war ostriches would say if they could see this!"
 The Four Freedoms achieve the goal of killing Haxoff, only to learn that their
victim had been merely a mechanical double (see note).
 The Escapist encounters The Villainess, the woman behind the Iron Chain.  [Radio Comics #17]
 The denizens of Kane Street in Empire City, hearing the news that The Escapist
lies near death in the hospital, recall in turn the way he has touched their 
lives and the lives of everyone in town, only to have it all turn out as a cruel
hoax perpetrated by the evil Crooked Man.  [Radio Comics #19]
 The Escapist's many foes by now include Kapitan Evil; Kommandant X; The Panzer; 
Siegfried; Swastika Man; the Four Horsemen; the Reaper; Wotan the Wicked; and 
The United Snakes of America (The Fifth Columnist; Mr. Fear; Benedict Arnold, Junior;
and The Escapist's arch-foes The Saboteur and his companion Renata von Voom, the Spy 
 Luna Moth's foes by now include The Machinist and The Handsome Devil.
 On an alternate possible Earth, a young kamikaze pilot who has eight times survived
attempts to give his life for the Emperor, fights against a series of demons to free
the souls of his ancestors, as The Escapist.  After enduring the battle and acting as 
Japan's protector over the course of centuries, he finally completes his mission 
through an act of freeing himself from his own body.  [Shukan Shonen Magazine]

 Tom Mayflower reunites with Mignonette Beaufort, who has since married Pascal Fortier.
The trio embark on a mission to rescue a display of experimental artwork from being
removed to Germany.  A sequence of betrayals leads to Fortier's death, and Beaufort
absconding with the art to the Soviet Union.    [The Amazing Adventures of The Escapist #6]

1945 (Pharoah Comics publications)
 The Pharoah, a reincarnated Egyptian ruler sporting an elaborate Tutankhamen 
headdress, foils evil with the mystic power of his Scepter of Ra.  [Pharoah Comics #1]
 Mack Granite has first public case.  [Brass Knuckle #1]
 The Argonaut has first public case, eventually accompanied by Jason.
 Earthman, with his superhuman control over rocks and dirt, has first public case. 
 The Rolling Rose, with her shiny red skates, has first public case.  
 The Snowy Owl, with his supersonic hoot, has first public case.
 Kommandant X makes a postwar transition from Nazi to Communist agent. [Escapist Adventures]

 A young girl named Ellie becomes involved in a tragic misunderstanding which leads
to her death at the hands of a man on whom she'd developed an infatuation.  [Weird Date]

late 1940's - early 1950's
 The Escapist's equipment now includes the Keyjet as well as an array of specialised 
crime-fighting uniforms.
 The Escapist battles Dr. Magma.
 The Escapist acts to discredit U.S. Senator McCraven, to help prevent anti-Communist
Senate hearing from becoming an Inquisition.  [The Amazing Adventures of The Escapist #1]
 The Escapist, bored as anyone by the dull routine of crime-busting, deliberately
introduces obstacles and handicaps into his own efforts the thwart the large but
finite variety of megalomaniacs, fiends, and rank hoodlums he fights in the years
after the war; in order to make things more interesting for himself, he would agree
with himself beforehand, say, to despatch some particular gang of criminals "bare-
handed," and to use his by now vastly augemented physical strength only if one of
them uttered some random phrase like "ice water," and then, just after he was almost
licked and the weather too cold for anyone ever to ask for a glass of ice water, hit 
on a way to arrange things so that inoxerably the gang ended up in the back of a 
truck full of onions.

 In between acts of saving the Earth from the evil Omnivores, the Escapist attempts,
with the help of a lisping decorator, to renovate the Keyhole, his secret sanctum
under the boards of the Empire Palace.  [Radio Comics #130]
 The Escapist, blindfolded and bound to a thick post with his hands behind his 
back, faces a grim-visaged firing squad; the signal to fire about to be given by, 
of all people, Tom Mayflower, leaning on his crutch, one arm raised high, his face 
diabolical and crazed.  "How can this be?" the Escapist cries out, "I'm about to 
be executed by my own alter ego!!!"  He escapes, of course.  [Escapist Adventures #54]
 Tom Mayflower is forced to serve on the jury trial of a man he'd captured as the
Escapist, and in so doing uncovers a plot by the Iron Chain.  [The Amazing Adventures of The Escapist #1]

July 4
 Willem Schulz, formerly of the Razi SS, assassinates and impersonates U.S. Senator
Abraham Cohen, as part of a ploy to transform President Eisenhower into a puppet
Atilla Haxoff before being defeated by the Escapist.  [The Amazing Adventures of The Escapist #3]

 The Saboteur attempts to murder two star court witnesses against the Iron Chain.  
The Escapist manages to prevent him, but the Saboteur nevertheless manages to get
away.  [Radio Comics #179, Score Comics edition]

 The Escapist escapes the siren song of Circe O'Shaughnessy.  [The Amazing Adventures of The Escapist #5]

 The Escapist foils an assassination attempt on President Lyndon Johnson.  [The Escapist, Fab Comics edition]
 The Escapist defeats Hammer N. Sickle. [The Escapist #37, Score Comics edition] 

 The Escapist escapes the grip of Kommandant X's horrific henchman, the Snapping 
Turtle.  [The League of the Golden K.E.Y. #2, Fab Comics edition]

 An African-American man prowls the streets of Empire City as The Escapist for
several months.  [The Black Power of The Escapist, Conquaire Comics edition]

  The Escapist has a showdown with The Tsar. [The Black Power of The Escapist #5, Conquaire Comics edition]

 The Escapist falls prey to a villain named the Junkman, who employs an "atom spike"
to administer a dose of "superjunk" that first plunges the Escapist into a deep 
coma and then subjects him to an endless string of unbearable nightmares.  [The Escapist, Fab Comics edition]
 The Escapist battles The Imprisonist.  [The Escapist, Fab Comics edition]
 The Escapist, in the midst of a moral dilemma, assists terminal cancer victim 
Lewis Washington in an escape from life itself. [The Escapist, Fab Comics edition]

 Tom Mayflower travels undercover to Viet Nam, near the Cambodian border, to assist 
in the liberation of American prisoners of war.  [The Amazing Adventures of The Escapist #6]

 Luna Moth makes a deal with Death to allow a young child a final farewell with her
deceased mother.  [All Doll #123]
 Senator Ben Vanderslice gains a reputation as one of the foremost advocates of gun 
control.  When his wife commits suicide, he begins a series of narcoleptic adventures
in which he returns to the Mr. Machine Gun role.  Attempting to end the gun's neurotomic
influence on him, he attempts to end his own life.  [Heavy Heroes #1, Sunshine Comics]

 The Escapist begins to be tormented by dark dreams and waking visions of a
mysterious "Dark Lady" whose face he can't quite see.  [The Escapist, Sunshine Comics edition]
 During an otherwise easy tangle with the villainous Sagebrush, Tom Mayflower is
so distracted by thoughts of the "Dark Lady" that he takes a hard punch to the jaw 
that allows the prickly villain to escape.  [The Escapist, Sunshine Comics edition]
 When Shiwan Khan, master of the Orient, attacks The Escapist using the astral
plane, Tom is led away by a vision of the "Dark Lady."  [The Escapist, Sunshine Comics edition]
 The Gotham Sniper kidnaps six children from a school under The Escapist's
protection, and Tom Mayflower, who seemed almost criminally unprepared, vows to
retrieve them.  [The Escapist, Sunshine Comics edition]
 The Escapist finally encounters the "Dark Lady," a female counterpart to himself.
He is forced to abandon any hopes of a relationship with her because of fears that
it would compromise his effectiveness as a crimefighter.  [The Amazing Adventures of The Escapist #2]

 The Escapist is captured by two members of the Iron Chain in an attempt to learn 
his secrets by connecting him to a computer which will analyse his brain activity.[Escapist minicomic]

 Yao-Shi becomes the Escapist of the country of Quodesia.  [The Amazing Adventures of The Escapist #5]
 Anton D'Gardo, aka Doctor Hypnosis, mystifies the Escapist and is defeated by Omar.  [The Amazing Adventures of The Escapist #5]

early 25th century
 The Iron Chain allies with the Eighth Reich during World War VI, after which they 
resume thir plans for global conquest.  [The Escapist, Fab Comics edition]

 Tim Ma-Fare, the Escapist, destroys an Iron Chain outpost largely inhabited by 
artificial Chaindroids, thus saving the Earth.  [The Escapist, Fab Comics edition]

mid 30th century
 T@m Ma-4-R, the Escapist, resides aboard the Key-Satellite with his artificial 
cat, Tinker.  Among his adventures he supports the 'Free Uranus' movement to free 
themselves from their slavery by the Iron Chain.  [The Escapist, Fab Comics edition]
 The Escapist battles the Roboputer, designed and built by the Iron Chain for one 
purpose: to destroy the Escapist.  He manages to defeat Roboputer, imprisoning him 
on the prison planetoid Al-Katraz.  [The Escapist, Fab Comics edition]

 The Escapist escapes from an attempt by Roboputer to possess his body, the villain 
allied with other criminals such as Forj, Opto, and Vap'r. [The Amazing Adventures of The Escapist #4]


 Once America entered WWII, the publishers of Empire Comics allowed direct 
criticism of Adolph Hitler and the Nazis by name, rather than through obvious 
pseudonyms. Nevertheless, I have retained use of the original pseudonyms for the 
sake of consistency (and variety), although it does not reflect actual published 
Empire Comics of the time.

 Other Escapists operating between Tom Mayflower and T@m Ma-4-R include: one who 
rescues a Mister Trumpefeller from an Iron Chain attack on big business; one who
travels back to ancient Rome to destroy an Iron Chain time machine; one who rescues
the first rocket to Saturn stuck in orbit; and one who finishes off the Iron Chain's 
attempt to fix the Interplanetary Comet Races.

 It is unclear whether the existence of Shiwan Khan in The Escapist continuity
implies the existence of his most common nemesis, Kent Allard.  Likewise, it is
unclear whether the Escapist's metafictional encounter with the Spirit implies the 
existence of an Earth-K counterpart to Denny Colt.

 An inverted parodistic counterpart exists as the Escapenot, whose universe also
sports the heroic Human Cavefish.  Other parodies include The Escape-Goat, The
Escaper (Mad Comics, 1954) and The Escape-Fist (Not Brand Echh #2, 1967, unpublished).

 Many of the characters created by Joe Kavalier and Sam Clay lasted for decades,
and were produced by more than one publisher (including Score Comics, Hi-Tone
Comics, Fab Comics, Conquaire Comics, and the Sunshine Media Group).  Consequently, 
and given the lack of aging of the supporting casts, there are probably Earth-1/Earth-2 
type divisions which could be made.  This is supported by the story "Three Hundred 
Fathoms Down" from The Amazing Adventures of The Escapist #2, which depicts an 
older Tom Mayflower in semi-retirement by the year 1966.  Parsing out adventures 
between the different counterparts is left as an exercise for the reader, although 
the last canonical adventure of the original Escapist probably occured in May 1954, 
when the Empire Comics label was purchased by Joe Kavalier and the characters 
were sold to DC Comics.  Since the Escapist who appears in the LGK Press version of 
The All-New Adventures of the Escapist circa 2006 received his costume and lineage
from an extremely aged Tom Mayflower, it is likely he (and a new version of Luna 
Moth who claims to be the original Escapist's daughter) exists in continuity with 
the original Empire Comics rendition of the character, or else it takes place in the 
alternate universe of the Masked Moth.