Title: Houdini: The Handcuff King
Writer: Jason Lutes
Artist: Nick Bertozzi
Publisher: Center for Cartoon Studies/ Hyperion
A couple of days ago I was at the local Border’s when I spotted Houdini: The Handcuff King. I said to myself “A graphic novel about one of my childhood idols? EUREKA!!” And then I recieved weird looks from everyone around me… Anyways, that night I read it and enjoyed it hugely.Â
Â Houdini: The Handcuff King is a story about a day in the life of Harry Houdini. Most of the graphic novel focuses on him getting ready for his stunt du jour, jumping off of the Harvard Bridge and into the Charles River handcuffed in Boston, Massachusetts. While the graphic novel focuses on him preparing, it also concentrates on Houdini’s better half Wilhelmina Beatrice (Bess) Rahner and Houdini’s own fame. Bess is as much of a loyal and caring wife as Houdini is a showman while Houdini’s fame is questioned by a couple of reporters in the story. The story ends with Houdini successfully pulling off the stunt and heading off to a theatre to practice for a performance that evening.
Jason Lutes and Nick Bertozzi did a great job of telling this story. It has enough whimsicalness, intelligence, and heart to make it a story that anybody would enjoy. Also, you can tell just by the first couple of pages that Lutes and Bertozzi have done their research (which is also shown with the helpful panel discussions in the back which has topics ranging from how Bess met Houdini to local college rivalries). Bertozzi’s art is simple yet descriptive as it captures the emotion and feel of the story perfectly. As a fan of Harry Houdini, I highly recommend Houdini: The Handcuff King to anyone who wants a story that has a little bit of everything in it.Â
Posted originally: 2007-04-08 13:11:15