Frank Lee, After Alcatraz
by David Hasteda
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Pub Date 12 Jul 2022 | Archive Date 26 Jul 2022
Titan Books, Titan Comics
Bank Robber. Escape Artist. Genius.
But on June 11th 1962, Frank Lee Morris performed the most daring feat of them all: escaping from Alcatraz. He was never found, presumed to have drowned in San Francisco Bay. The FBI’s case remains open to this day.
But what if he survived that fateful night? A free man. A second chance. What did he do then? Follow Frank in this stunning graphic novel on his journey from villainous convict to finding sanctuary and starting a new life, full of heartache, sorrow and a profound bittersweet acceptance.
Immortalised by Clint Eastwood in the 1979 film, Escape From Alcatraz, writer David Hasteda and artist Ludovic Chesnot imagine just what Frank’s life might have been like after performing one of the most dangerous escapes of all time.
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 8 members
My thanks to both NetGalley and the publisher Titan Books for an advanced copy of this historical crime and biography graphic novel.
People love the idea of escape. Be it from family, friends, responsibilities, jobs especially and definitely prisons both mental and physical. Stories of escapes fill the media and everytime there is a prison break of some sort the balance of those hoping for the person's capture is equaled by those scream run, prisoner run. Most escapes from prison end in capture. Or if there is no body found, well that prisoner must be dead. Authority dislikes those that gain and remain free, as authority hates to give up control. Frank Lee, After Alcatraz written by David Hasteda, and illustrated by Ludovic Chesnot is a comic retelling of the escape from the The Rock by Frank Lee Morris and his two companions and what might have happened after the police and search teams declared him and his companions dead.
June 11, 1962, sixty years ago, Frank Lee Morris along with two companions, brothers John William and Clarence Anglin using dummies and a raft and lift vests they created themselves escape the island of Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary, and set off in the cold waters of San Francisco Bay. Bits of a vest, part of the raft and a wallet were all that were found of the men, after search parties combed the area in pursuit. The assumption was made that the men were drowned in the freezing waters and the their bodies either dragged out to sea or sunk into the deep. However the U. S. Marshall service has never closed the case and was investigating reports still until the eighties. This is where our story begins as Frank separates from the brothers and sets out on his own, but finds that a life of freedom comes with its own walls and a cell is only just one mistake away.
The book is very well researched with a lot of information about the time, the prison and the people involved. The escape is very riveting, and what happens does make sense. Some of what happens to Frank seems very convenient to the plot, but life is always a series of lucky and unlucky steps. The characters are well written, and being a crime story, the reader does feel quite a bit of sympathy for Frank and for the people who help him. The art is very good. Not just in the characters, but in the flow of the storyline, how it tells the story and the backgrounds. Cars, buildings, bridges, the water everything is extremely well rendered and fits the era beautifully. The coloring has an almost not quite sepia, almost a black and white filter on the colors, giving it a gritty, edgy 1970's movie feeling. As if a filmed sequel to the Escape from Alcatraz movie. Really good.
An enjoyable crime what if story that is really intriguing. I always love stories like this because there are so many possibles to the story. Recommended for Ed Brubaker fans, EC Comics crime stories, or for fans of the author Edward Bunker. This is the first work that I have read or seen by either creator and will have to look for more, especially artist Ludovic Chesnot, whose art really made this book.
Thank you to Titan Books and NetGalley for the ARC.
Frank Lee, After Alcatraz tells a fictionalized story of what might have happened to one of the famous inmates who escaped Alcatraz in 1962, I like these kind of stories -- ones that take a real life event and real life people and then propose a story of what might have happened. And I think this book largely succeeds at telling a compelling "what if" story. For me the book dragged a little in the middle, which is forgivable because most of the book is a pleasure to read. I think Frank Lee was a good choice to try to tell this story. I don't think a lot is known about the real Frank, but he's believable as a criminal "with a heart of gold." There's a lot explored in this book on family and loss and what it really means to be free. I would highly recommend it.
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