pre-history ========================== 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] 1900's ===================== 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] 1933 ========================== 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] 1937 ========================== 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] 1939 ========================== 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] 1940 ========================== January 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] March The Escapist battles Miss Plum Blossom's evil sister Poison Rose and her giant henchmen. [Amazing Midget Radio Comics #3] April 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. October 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] 1941 ========================== 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. Winter 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!" April The Four Freedoms achieve the goal of killing Haxoff, only to learn that their victim had been merely a mechanical double (see note). May The Escapist encounters The Villainess, the woman behind the Iron Chain. [Radio Comics #17] July 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] 1942 ========================== 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 Queen). 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] 1944 ========================== 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] 1949 ========================== September 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. 1953 ========================== March 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] September 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] 1954 ========================== 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] 1955 ========================== 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] 1956 ========================== 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] 1960's ========================== The Escapist escapes the siren song of Circe O'Shaughnessy. [The Amazing Adventures of The Escapist #5] 1963 ========================== The Escapist foils an assassination attempt on President Lyndon Johnson. [The Escapist, Fab Comics edition] October The Escapist defeats Hammer N. Sickle. [The Escapist #37, Score Comics edition] 1965 ========================== 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] 1966 ========================== June 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] 1967 ========================== February The Escapist has a showdown with The Tsar. [The Black Power of The Escapist #5, Conquaire Comics edition] 1968 ========================== 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] 1972 ========================== 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] 1974 ========================== 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] 1976 ========================== 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] November 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] December 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] 2004 ========================== 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] 2005 ========================== 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] 2437 ========================== June 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] 2966 ========================== 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] NOTES: 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.