Escape From Alcatraz #1

Reviewed by R. Krauss

Escape From Alcatraz #1
Reviewed by R. Krauss

Artist: Steve Lieber
Writer: Sara Ryan
Colorist: Jeff Parker
Publisher: Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy

Steve Lieber and Sara Ryan were contracted to produce this comic for the Alcatraz Gift Shop by the Parks Conservancy. Normally that's the only place you can buy it, but Steve had a few copies on hand at the recent Stumptown Comics Fest so I was lucky enough to score a copy. (However, you can order it from the Gift Shop online.)

The issue is numbered as the first and features the most famous escape attempt. It was in fact the thirteenth attempt, but the only one considered successful since the prisoners were never seen again. There were thirteen other attempts to draw on should the publisher want to a second issue.

The story for this one was based on Jolene Babyak's book, Breaking the Rock. Besides the drama of this famous escape, the comic is filled with lots of fascinating details and trivia thanks to Babyak's expertly researched volume.

The story, The Dummy Head Breakout, is named after the fake heads the convicts molded and placed in their bunks during their nighttime preparations and the night of the escape itself. When the guards passed by to check on the prisoners, the dummy heads were realistic enough to trick them. The comic includes a photograph of the actual dummy heads as one of its bonus features.

This is a terrific comic book. Ryan did a nice job adapting Babyak's book and Lieber's layouts and artwork keep the action moving forward from the opening page. Parker's color palette captures the drab institutional feel of the aging prison beautifully.

The bonus features include short bios of the four felons and the comic's creative team. There's also one-page write-ups on the escape and on the prison itself. The production values on the book are top-notch-paper, printing, and full color reproduction throughout. What a great souvenir and a wonderful new venue for a custom made comic book.

Take A Look Inside

Reviewer Bio

R. Krauss reviews small press and mini comics on Midnight Fiction, Poopsheet Foundation and Comic Related.

Name: Richard Krauss

Been reading comics: since I started reading Marvel comics in Junior High School.

Review Bio: After several years I discovered titles like Zap and Bijou at a headshop and was seduced by the freedom and variety they offered. When the new-wave comix era sprouted from the seeds of the undergrounds, I quickly joined the ranks of other struggling cartoonists with phenomenally low print runs. After almost a decade of small press comix, I retired and made a solemn vow never to return. Several years later the Internet happened and over time many of my favorite new-wave cartoonists got online. The bug bit again and I started exploring the new crop of small press cartoonists. Today's explosion of small press comics is more exciting than any time I've ever seen.

Favorites: Papercutter, Not My Small Diary, Slam Bang, Comic Eye, stuff from Main Enterprises and Weird Muse, to name a few.


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