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

3.45  ·  Rating Details ·  973 Ratings  ·  171 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, 96 pages
Published March 27th 2007 by Hyperion Book CH
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Aug 04, 2011 Mariel rated it liked it
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
Jon(athan) Nakapalau
Great overview of Houdini and the challenges he faced in his life.
Seth T.
Nov 15, 2007 Seth T. rated it really liked it
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
Dec 17, 2012 Forrest rated it it was ok
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
Jun 17, 2008 Lorraine rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: fans of magic, illusion, Houdini, biography, graphic novels
This was great. I gave it to a magician friend as a gift, and thought I should probably check it out myself. I'm not particularly a big magic or Houdini fan but found this graphic novel to be compelling and entertaining. It's really more about the man, Houdini— his struggles with ego and fame, the antisemitism he faced, and his relationship with his wife. The artwork is beautiful; very clean and expressive.

My only complaint is I wish the story was longer. I realize it is meant to focus on one p
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
Erin Forson
Nov 29, 2011 Erin Forson rated it really liked it
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
Brenda Lower
Kind of interesting- gave you a good feel for how people reacted to Houdini, and his flare for drama. But oddly lacking in more significant details. Needs to be paired with a more fact heavy book for more balanced information.
Jun 12, 2007 Rebecca rated it really liked it
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
Stewart Tame
Apr 01, 2013 Stewart Tame rated it really liked it
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
Jul 28, 2015 Kate rated it really liked it
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!
Jan 03, 2017 Charles rated it it was amazing
Harry Houdini was an incredible individual, so talented at escape and magic that there were people that questioned whether he was completely human. Yet, there were always simple explanations for how he managed to perform his tricks, much of the mystique was due to his incredible showmanship.
This graphic novel is not about the life of Houdini, it focuses on one specific event. He was to strip nearly naked, manacled and then jump into the freezing Charles River. Given the weight of the steel th
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
The Potato Who Became A French Fry (Pepe De French Fry) (Kaylee White)
I love this short story! I have always wondered how he had done this! I would recommend this to anyone who likes behind the scenes!!
Matt Graupman
Dec 28, 2015 Matt Graupman rated it really liked it
Full disclosure: I was a magician as a kid, performing various "shows" for my family, so I've got a soft spot in my heart for illusions of all kinds. That said, "Houdini: The Handcuff King," written by Jason Lutes (the master of turn-of-the-century period pieces like "Berlin" and "Jar Of Fools") and drawn by Nick Bertozzi, is a delightful book for magic experts and novices alike. It's straightforward, interesting, and beautifully executed.

Wisely, Lutes and Bertozzi, focus on only one of Houdini'
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
Jan 24, 2012 Alicia rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 23, 2009 Geni rated it really liked it
Shelves: teen-2009
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
Daniel Peterson
Dec 07, 2016 Daniel Peterson rated it really liked it
Shelves: graphic
Summary: Houdini: The Handcuff King tells the story of the man whose name is synonymous with escape! It is a graphic novel which focuses on one of Houdini's most famous stunts, a jump from a bridge into Boston's icy Charles River-while handcuffed! It details his struggles with the press, antisemitism, and fame. Throughout, the love of Houdini's life, Bess, is his most important ally.

Review: A great twist on biography presented in graphic form. Detailed, thoughtful illustrations compliment and e
Shana Loven
May 11, 2013 Shana Loven rated it liked it
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.
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.
Dec 03, 2015 Kara rated it liked it
Interesting history that I've never known until stumbling upon this fun and quick graphic novel. I'm starting to like graphic novels more and more!!
Raghu Parthasarathy
May 14, 2017 Raghu Parthasarathy rated it it was amazing
For kids; I read it with my 7 year old; I usually don't note down our readings, but I’ll comment on this one. It's *very* short, but is well-paced, interesting, and offers neat glimpses into character. We enjoyed it!
Mar 09, 2017 Ismaeel rated it really liked it
I think the book was cool. Also showing us what a theory was.
Dec 11, 2015 Batmark rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction

This all-ages book illuminates a particularly important day in the life of Houdini, the world-famous escape artist who, according to Glen David Gold (the writer of the book's introduction), "was the first man in history to be famous because what he did was cool."

On May 1, 1908, Houdini prepares to jump off the Harvard Bridge and into the frigid waters of the Charles River in Cambridge, Massachusetts, shackled with a pair of handcuffs provided by the Cambri
Allie Nartker
Oct 26, 2016 Allie Nartker rated it liked it
Houdini The Handcuff King by Jason Lutes and Nick Betozzi is a graphic novel about a famous magician and escape artist named Mr. Harry Houdini; famously known as “Houdini”. Houdini is performing a stunt by jumping off a bridge while cuffed at his hands and feet into freezing cold water while thousands of adoring fans crowd around to watch. Houdini is a selfish man who obsesses over being the best- and most famous. This obsession becomes challenged when reporters claim that Houdini’s fame may be ...more
Jul 19, 2008 Becky rated it it was ok
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
Oct 26, 2016 Nm0743 added it
Houdini the Handcuff king is fictional book about Harry Houdini and a stunt he pulls off in the cold. Houdini was nervous about diving because news reporters were trying to interview him on how he manages to break out of any handcuffs he’s put in. when he got home after trying to dodge news reporters he has a melt down and it took his wife to calm him down. Near the end of the book he leaves the hotel he’s staying in and gets greeted by a huge crowd. Houdini and the crowd of people walk to the ...more
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