After the success of The Stuff of Legend, Th3rd World Comics has developed another title the publisher is hoping will be a hit.
The Intrepid Escapegoat, a new all-ages comic written and drawn by Stuff co-writer Brian Smith, will kick off with a #0 issue on Free Comic Book Day before launching a three-issue volume this summer.
"EscapeGoat would never have seen the light of day without Stuff being as successful as it's been," Smith told Newsarama. "It's an all-ages read that I hope will appeal to parents and kids alike."
The story focuses on Thomas Fleet, also known as The Intrepid EscapeGoat, who is a world famous escape artist, a star of the stage and screen who performs before packed houses all over the globe. The comic universe is set in a pseudo-Victorian era Earth, in a time of discovery and advances in science, but also a time of magic – be it real or otherwise.
"What separates EscapeGoat from other magicians and mediums of the time is that he knows there is real magic in the world, and on occasion it falls on him to stop the supernatural threats facing mankind," Smith explained. "He travels the world with his act, solving the paranormal riddles that plague the towns and cities he visits along the way. So in a nutshell, a bit of Houdini, a bit of Scooby-Doo."
The Free Comic Book Day issue tells the story of how EscapeGoat is in Egypt and meets his assistant and ward, a 2000-year-old mummy girl named Isis.
"Isis is a being of real magic that EscapeGoat takes under his wing," Smith said, "partly because he needs the help and partly because he can't allow the power she possesses to fall into the wrong hands."
Smith's artwork featured stylized characters, but with rich backdrops, giving EscapeGoat a look of quality despite its storybook influences. "I really wanted to make something that had a very specific look, where the characters had a very clean, strong line and the backgrounds were heavily rendered and detailed," Smith said. "Lots of cross hatching — this book drank a few gallons of ink, for sure. I looked at a ton of Maurice Sendak and Ronald Searle, Toriyama and Tezuka. And lots of Kirby and Hitch, to boot."
The writer said he's been knocking around the idea for EscapeGoat in his head for the last few years, although he's not sure when he first thought of it.
"I tend to come up with concepts that I think are funny, write them down on this list I keep and let them simmer for a bit," he said. "Every couple of months I revisit the list and see if anything stands out. EscapeGoat always made me smile, and as I started thinking more seriously on it the world started coming together very clearly: how it should look, other characters he could interact with, what adventures he could have."
After the FCBD issue, the story will launch with a three-issue volume this summer titled "The Curse of the Buddha's Tooth."