Confessions of a Failed Comic Book Artist (a.k.a. My Adaptation of ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK)

My favorite film in the summer of 1981 was a movie I had not actually seen. I was just shy of my 13th birthday that year (though I looked like I was about eleven), and was obsessed with Escape from New York, which was rated R. I spent most of that summer trying to sneak into theaters to see Escape from New York, but failed every time. I fueled my obsession with the film by reading the novelization multiple times, and studying articles in magazines like Starlog and Prevue (two awesome publications that were staples of my youth). Eventually, I decided to make my own comic adaptation of the movie.

Now, as some of you may know—because I’ve said it plenty of times—I wanted to be a comic book artist when I grew up. Looking back, I had a ton of ambition that was balanced out by a startling lack of talent. Honestly, I was a terrible artist, especially in the summer of 1981, when I was twelve, and sat down to adapt Escape from New York. Perhaps I should be embarrassed by these pages I created (which are terrible), or the audacity to even consider making a comic out of movie I had not even seen. But the fact of the matter is that I’m kind of proud of what I set out to do that summer (even though I didn’t get that far). Sure, everything about the comic was terrible, but the fact of the matter is that I tried my best. I spent an entire summer thinking of ways to sneak into see a movie that I spent the rest of the summer reading and rereading the novelization for, and finally trying to turn into a comic book. Man, being a kid was awesome.

Here is the cover for my Escape from New York comic adaptation. The thing I love about this cover (and the entire comic) is that I have Snake Plissken’s patch over the wrong eye.And here is the first page of actual story and art. Some of you may be wondering what the hell is going on. Well, keep in mind that I was “freely” adapting from the Escape from New York novelization, which opened with a scene that never made it into the theatrical version. Best part of this page? I misspelled “fastest.”
The scene I’m depicting, which again, is from the novelization, shows how Snake Plissken was caught for robbing the federal depository. Notice the sweat on Snake’s forehead.And this is where I ran out of steam. To be honest, I’m not sure why I stopped doing the comic. I may have given up in favor of the Wolverine solo comic I did that summer (which I will post later). The best part of this page is the first panel. If you look carefully, you’ll see that Snake is hiding behind that giant computer (at least I think it’s supposed to be a computer).

Even though I never finished the comic (or even the third page of the comic), I did do a bonus pin-up page (below). This was also one of my first attempts to ink something. “Get outta here,” you’re saying. No, I’m being honest…I wasn’t much of an inker back then.

Eventually, I manged to get into see Escape from New York in the summer of 1981, though my obsession did not end there. Actually seeing it on the big screen only helped solidify its place in the ranks of my all-time favorite movies. Three years after the movie came out, I drew this illustration, which was me trying to do some sort of movie poster style design. As you can see, my artistic skills had improved a bit during that time, but I still pretty much sucked. The best part of this picture is the fact that you can tell who most of the characters are. Notice how I said “most”? I also love the fact that I finally got Snake’s patch over the correct eye.

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