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Houdini: The Handcuff King (Center for Cartoon Studies Presents)

3.45 of 5 stars 3.45  ·  rating details  ·  829 ratings  ·  146 reviews

Harry Houdini mesmerized a generation of Americans when he was alive, and continues to do so 80 years after his death. This is a "snapshot" of Houdini's life, centering on one of his most famous jumps. As Houdini prepares for a death-defying leap into the icy Charles River in Boston, biographer Jason Lutes and artist Nick Bertozzi reveal Houdini's life and influence: from
Hardcover, 81 pages
Published April 1st 2007 by Disney Press
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,257)
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Friends, I may have mentioned this once or twice already, but I spent much of my formative years absolutely convinced that I was going to be a magician when I grew up. I had a couple of instructional manuals, and one of those Magician Kits that came with a set of linking rings and a finger guillotine and three colored cups with which you could make pom pom balls disappear. And as I dragged my parents repeatedly into the living room to show them how I, Monica the Magical, could stab pins straight ...more
Sep 10, 2011 Mariel rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: an illusion is something a whore does for money
Recommended to Mariel by: Harry Houdini stops by for a visit
What are secrets worth?

I'm doing my mean Michael Caine from The Prestige impersonation now. You can't hear me if you are reading this (because you are reading and not listening to me). This is an example. (The clip is of Michael Caine speaking in his own Cockney accent [more or less dampened by years of living in California smog].) "Once they know the secret the trick is worthless!" is what I'm getting around to.

If you care about secrets Houdini: The Handcuff King is not a book for you. It spil
I suppose that when I read a book wherein the structure of the story itself reflects the tone, I should be appreciative. In this case, I'm just annoyed. The artwork in Houdini: The Handcuff King is sparse, not very structured, and, honestly, a bit trite. The story is much of the same. It's a little slice of biography about Houdini's chained and handcuffed jump at Harvard Bridge. One of Houdini's minor feats, though he plied it as a marketing opportunity, which, as the book relates, he was always ...more
Seth T.
Jul 25, 2011 Seth T. rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone with 45 minutes to spare
Shelves: comics
On a recent busride down to San Diego to view the Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit at the natural history museum, I figured it’d be good to bring some reading material. From my to-read pile I pulled the recently purchased Houdini: The Handcuff King. I was excited because I love Jason Lutes’ work (as previously seen in Jar of Fools and Berlin ). And really, this book did not disappoint. There were, however, two surprises for me.

Houdini the Handcuff King by Jason Lutes and Nick Bertozzi

Surprise #1: While Jason Lutes penned the story that comprises the book’s na
Nancy O'Toole
Houdini: The Handcuff King is a graphic biography about master magician and escape artists, Harry Houdini. Instead of trying to tell about Houdini's entire life in an eighty-two page graphic novel, the comic instead tells the story behind one trick and how that one trick expressed so much about Houdini's life. Here we are able to learn about his daring, his devotion to his wife Bess, his sense of showmanship, his insatiable pride, and demand for loyalty from his employees. This paints us a pictu ...more
Shana Loven
Shana Loven
APA Citation: Lutes, Jason, Bertozzi, Nick, & Center for Cartoon, Studies. (2007). Houdini : the handcuff king. New York: Hyperion.
Genre: Biography
Format: Graphic Novel
Selection Process: Kirkus Reviews

Houdini: The Handcuff King by Jason Lutes and Nick Bertozzi tells the tale of Houdini’s daring jump from Harvard Bridge in Boston, Massachusetts in 1908 while being handcuffed and leg-shackled. The story draws attention to Houdini’s quest for fame and how he hired only the best peopl
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This took me maybe 30 minutes to read, and I really enjoyed it! Bess and Harry were absolutely the cutest and I want to read more about Houdini now! The only aspect of this that I didn't like was that it was really text-heavy at times. Apart from that, I loved the art style and the story!
Stewart Tame
Being myself a magician--strictly amateur--for around forty years now, give or take, I was predisposed to like this. This is obviously not a full biography of Houdini, more an account of a single day--not even a full one--in his life. The story is well told. Both Lutes and Bertozzi are old hands at this sort of tale. There are some fascinating end notes after the story. If this has a major fault, it's that it's a little too short. It feels more like the prelude to a full-blown graphic novel biog ...more
I have to admit, I'm a bit disappointed in this book. I'd already read Annie Sullivan and the Trials of Helen Keller, which goes into great detail of the lives of Anne Sullivan and Helen Keller, and how Ms Sullivan ultimately taught Helen Keller how to communicate. It was also very creative in how it depicted Helen Keller and the ways in which her mind might have finally comprehended her lessons.

This doesn't even come close. I've always been interested by Harry Houdini, but the lengthy prologu
I found this graphic novel to be a bit disappointing. I went into it expecting it to be a biography, but it actually only illustrates a single incident from Houdini's life. There's a lot of biographical information in the foreword and afterword, though, so it might be a good educational book for piquing a kid's interest in Houdini.
Emily Bardin
Houdini: The Handcuff King is a graphic novel that gives an insider view of one of Houdini's most famous tricks, escaping handcuffs while underwater, as well as an insider view of his personal life with his wife, Bess. The novel's plot is based on the assumption that Bess assisted Houdini in his trick by passing him a pick through a kiss. Following this assumption allowed the artists to explore the unique relationship between Bess and Houdini.

I enjoyed reading this book. It was easy to follow. T
Great book. Well-drawn. Well-written. It made me want to read more about the magician. It made me desire that this book was a graphic novel about Houdini's entire life, not just little snippet. As a matter of fact, this book felt like a chapter was pulled out from the original graphic novel and placed in this book. But, don't let that stop you. I'd check it out, but if you want to learn more about this enchanting illusionist, I'd also search elsewhere, but I'm not sure where. I'll be looking aro ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Laura Rumohr
This graphic novel was written for students in upper elementary school or anyone who truly wants to learn more about Harry Houdini. This graphic novel creatively shares a biography about Houdini's life. The story begins in the morning of when Houdini jumped into the Boston River. Then continues on through the day which included the events up to the jump, the jump itself, and the reactions afterwards. This story gave wonderful insight into Houdini's attitude towards fame. It also showed the crowd ...more
Graphic Novel
Published April 1st 2007 by Disney-Hyperion
ISBN 0786839023 (ISBN13: 9780786839025)

Ages 10 and up

This graphic novel examines Houdini's famous 1908 jump from Harvard Bridge in which his hands and feet are bound in handcuffs. Houdini is presented as a driven, hard-working man, but one who is loyal to his wife Bess--who plays an important role in this escape.

- Graphic Novel format will appeal to many ages
- Black and white illustrations match time-period well.
- Houdini is prese
Jul 19, 2008 Becky rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: kids age 8-10 who are reading below grade level
This brief graphic novel (novella? novelette? it's pretty short!) gives a fictionalized look at one of Houdini's bridge jumps. Handcuffed and in leg irons, he plunges into the cold Charles River in Cambridge, MA as thousands of people look on. He escapes in less than two minutes, of course.

I'm not sure what the point is, here. I think the people who made this book were well meaning. I get the impression that they did a lot of research, and that they admire Houdini a great deal. The book sports a
Patrice Sartor
GENRE: Fiction, graphic novel, magic. This book also has some non-fiction, biographical elements to it.

SUMMARY: This story centers on one event in the life of master magician Harry Houdini: his jumping handcuffed from a bridge in Boston into the nearly freezing water below. At the beginning we get to see a tender scene between Harry and his wife, Bess. We know that he gives her a pick, though we don't know exactly how it relates to Harry's future trick. Harry does some training, involving exerci
Jul 26, 2007 Rebecca rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: ages 10 and up
Shelves: graphic-novels
This graphic novel biography presents one of Houdini's most famous escapes -- jumping, handcuffed, off the Harvard Bridge into the freezing Charles River -- and a theory of how it was done.

The grayscale pictures are very fitting, and the artwork reminds me of Persepolis. Nick Bertozzi really captures Houdini's glowering looks, dark brows, and famously parted black hair. He also does some nice things with empty white space (and, in the case of the underwater scenes, black space). The only critic
Best Book (Realistic) ,Graphic novel, 5Q/4P/MJSA {Review}
Flip Book Momentum. Houdini:The Handcuff King is a snapshot biography of the most famous escape artist of all time. The graphic novel depicts one of the most famous death-defying leap into the icy Charles River in Boston. As well as reveal the mechanical secrets behind his handcuff escape, the author Lutes/Bertozzi pull back the iron curtin to show his ego, his adulation of the American public but mostly his loveing relationship with his w
Jan 04, 2009 Dan rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Magic Enthusiasts, and Graphic Novel Fans, also middle school aged jewish kids
This is a graphic novel detailing one of Harry Houdini's exploits of escapology during his career. Specifically, jumping off a bridge in Boston into the Charles river, while hand cuffed and escaping underwater.

The book is more of a text on some of the aspects of Houdini's life and tells the story in a way that details and highlights much of the important factors in Houdini's life and career. There are also nice for/afterwords with lots of good historical background and explanations.

The artwork i
Jerald Belofsky
What I found most interesting was the psychology. Houdini had a huge ego and did not suffer fools. But he was an aggressive self promoter in an era without television, radio and with only primitive movies. I can't say you like him but you can respect him for his focused talents. The cartoons are in shades of dark blue and black and work as a compliment for the story of Houdini's plunge into the icy Charles river in Boston.
Shoshana G
This was ok. I was expecting a more comprehensive treatment of Houdini. I was a little disappointed because text intro and panel discussions were really interesting and added a lot of material - why couldn't they have been included graphically?

The actual graphic part illustrates one day when Houdini's did a trick where he jumped in the Charles River - it's sort of a day in the life of Houdini, but I wanted more.
Daniel Clark
Very good read.

Instead of falling into the trap of trying to tell a person's entire life story in one volume leaving a graphic novel with entirely too many words, this book follows the characters for one day. By doing this, the art becomes important and the author has time to add depth to the characters.

In a short story there still is anticipation, humor, action, and love. It has it all.
Erin Forson
Houdini The Handcuff King
by Jason Lutes and Nick BertozziPart
I found this story about Ehrich Weiss, a.k.a. Houdini, very interesting and easy to read, even though the writers aren't exactly sure if they guessed Houdini's escape methods accurately. In this day and age, Magician Chris Angel is burning up the tube, but back then, before T.V., the entire nation (and the world actually) all knew who the Magician Houdini was. It was said that no bonds, no matter how strong, could hold him. The only
Anthony Moreth
This book is about painting a bold portrait of the legendary escape artist, this graphic biography traces Houdini's fascinating life, from the anti-Semitism he dealt with to the adulation he received from the American.

HE gets famous for his hand cuff exape

I Highly recommend this book to teens and children 9+

Houdini follows the great escape artist though one day in his life as he prepares to jump off a bridge while handcuffed. We see Houdini as he practices the jump from the bridge, inspects the handcuffs he will be using and interviews with the press before the big event. With the help of his wife, loyal employees and friends Houdini is able to perform the feat with no problems. The story is short but still conveys a large amount of information about the great escape artist, including his fear of b ...more
Houdini:The Handcuff King is a straightforward slice of the life of Harry Houdini. It's nicely drawn, and appears to be written for a student's reading level (there are also study helps in the back of the book). The authors make some assumptions about Houdini's escape techniques, and even if they are accurate, they describe things that only Houdini himself would know. The book does a good job placing the reader in the pre-electronic media time period and some of the prejudices of the day, and de ...more
Gekonnt vereinfacht gezeichnet wird ein Tag im Leben des legendären Entfesslungskünstlers Houdini dargestellt,
nein, nicht irgendein Tag, sondern der Tag, an dem er an Händen und Füßen gefesselt von der Harvard Bringe in den eiskalten River Charles sprang.
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