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Stillwater: The Escape #1

Comicscore Index
Generally favorable ratings

Based on 4 critic ratings.


They say that no one ever dies in Stillwater and no one gets to leave…

…but even for those who have freed themselves of the town, is there truly any escaping Stillwater?

In this groundbreaking extra-length special, CHIP ZDARSKY & RAMÓN K PÉREZ have assembled a dream team of acclaimed creators to answer all your BIGGEST questions before the final chapter of STILLWATER begins!

Publication Date
Kindle Edition
Print Lenght
40 pages
Amazon ASIN

4 Critic Ratings & Reviews from:
  • 87

    The Super Powered Fancast

    STORY 1: This story delivers on everything the series is about and gives some great insight into the simmering feelings beneath the surface as well as the tactics being used to keep the population in line. The art is great and beautifully articulates the feelings of despair the characters are feeling. STORY 2: An interesting, somber and serious story that has a great emotional core. The art is wonderfully detailed throughout. STORY 3: A sweet and entertaining story that has some great character development and charm. The visuals are great throughout and complement the story beautifully.
  • 80


    With the series about to enter its final arc, Stillwater: The Escape paints a grim picture of how the story will pan out for the inhabitants of the town where no one can die. While this one-shot lacks variety in the short tales it tells, it tries to shed some light on the reality of immortality.
  • 80

    Stillwater has been rushing headlong into upheaval as a community predicated upon never changing confronts the inevitable paradoxes of that concept. Amidst all of the death and revolution, it's possible to lose track of the sentimental and subtle human elements that were so evident in the first few issues. Stillwater: The Escape, an anthology collecting three tales from Stillwater lore, serves to balance the scales. It features a handful of recognizable characters telling stories of past town members who supposedly escaped around a uniquely haunting fire. Each tale features a different creative team, but they all fit perfectly into the sensibilities and setting Zdarsky and Perez have developed. "Live to Tell" and "Matrimony" are clear highlights, although all three stories and their framing device are well told. They interrogate conservatism in specific contexts, questioning how the desire to preserve and protect what is can often diminish individuals and relationships. The lack of certainty about each tale's ending ensures they resonate because the focus remains on character's needs, not their outcomes. However, it's difficult not to anticipate one or two of these tales reemerging as Stillwater continues to grow.
  • 70

    Multiversity Comics

    “Stillwater the Escape” #1 is a one-shot book that apparently shines light on burning questions that fans of the series might have about specific characters. If you haven’t been following the series, or don’t know the general premise of the book, nothing will really make sense to you. To an avid reader it probably serves as an insightful addition to the canon; and to someone picking up a Stillwater book for the first time this would probably serve more as a moody anthology that allude to themes more than plot. Creator and writer Chip Zdarsky sets up the book with a brief intro to the general theme of the book by using the dichotomy of fire as a metaphor for the dichotomies within us. He points out fire destroys us but also brings out stories that leave us to wonder. He also reminds us that stories themselves are at times simply a form of escapism. The idea of escaping serves as the primary thematic driver for each story that follows. Writer and illustrator Jason Loo starts off with ‘The prisoner’ -an ode to a man who suffers torture and mutilation over and over again because he loves his wife and child and will do anything to be with them. This shows that he is inability to escape his own love for his family that compels him to try and try again.. Thereby trapping him in a hell of his own making. He is a prisoner of his own love. The most common thread of all three stories in the book is that Stillwater is a town that turns hope despair, time and time again. Illustrators Jason Loo, Adrew Wheeler, and Ethan Young compliment each other well. Aesthetically their styles work together in a way that has the least interruption in visual continuity. All three artists render backgrounds with little detail that allows colorist Mike Spicer to apply his unifying touch. In each story we see a similar pattern of shifting orange, blue, and green colors filling the sky and buildings behind the characters. This allows you to feel like you are centered in one reality. Fun if you follow the series, but confusing if you don’t.

More From Stillwater: The Escape (2022)

About the Author: Chip Zdarsky

Steve Murray (born December 21, 1975), known by the pen-name Chip Zdarsky, is a Canadian comic book artist and writer, journalist, illustrator and designer. He has also used the pseudonym Todd Diamonte. He worked for National Post for over a decade, until 2014, as an illustrator and humorist (as Steve Murray) and wrote and illustrated a column called “Extremely Bad Advice” for the paper as well as The Ampersand, the newspaper’s pop culture section’s online edition.

He uses the Zdarsky pseudonym for comics-related work, using it to create Prison Funnies and Monster Cops and as artist and co-creator of Sex Criminals with writer Matt Fraction. Comics attributed to him include Howard the Duck, Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man, Daredevil and Spider-Man: Life Story for Marvel Comics, Batman for DC Comics and Jughead for Archie Comics.

Early life

Steve Murray was born in Edmonton, Alberta and raised in Barrie, Ontario.


Murray has illustrated for such clients as The Globe and Mail, New York magazine, CBC and Canadian Business.

In 2000, Murray created Chip Zdarsky as a pseudonym and alter ego for his persona as a comic book writer and illustrator, developing his own independent projects, such as Prison Funnies and Monster Cops (which can be read online or in print) as well as collaborating on a variety of projects, including Dark Horse Comics titles Fierce and Rumble Royale. About his alter ego, Murray said “I wanted to have a sad-sack cartoonist persona that lives in his mom’s basement, paints figurines for money, has restraining orders against him. And that became a character.” He describes the character as “an idiot who doesn’t know what I’m doing. I’ve had no success in my life. No matter what, I’m going to mess things up.” Murray initially attempted to keep the identities separate and secret.

From 2008 to 2014, Murray penned and illustrated a weekly advice column for the National Post called “Extremely Bad Advice”. He also wrote another column in that paper, Tear Jerk, in which he reviewed films to see if they could actually make him “weep like a baby”.

Along with Kagan McLeod, Ben Shannon, and Cameron Stewart, he is a co-founder of the studio The Royal Academy of Illustration and Design, which produced Rumble Royale.

In 2010, he also launched a mock campaign for mayor of Toronto. He was not an officially registered candidate, launching his satirical “campaign” through social networking platforms after the deadline had passed to register as a candidate in the real campaign.

Chip Zdarsky and Matt Fraction
In June 2013, Image Comics announced that Chip Zdarsky had teamed up with Invincible Iron Man and Hawkeye writer, Matt Fraction, on a new creator-owned series titled Sex Criminals. The first issue was released on September 23, 2013. Sex Criminals was declared number 1 on Time magazine’s list of “Top 10 Comics and Graphic Novels” of 2013.

In 2014, Murray won a Will Eisner Award for Best New Series for Sex Criminals.

Zdarsky wrote the first series arc of the relaunched Jughead comic for the 2015 New Riverdale relaunch.

On February 15, 2017, it was announced that beginning that June, Zdarsky would be writing a brand new “back-to-basics” Spider-Man series Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man that would run alongside writer Dan Slott‘s run on The Amazing Spider-Man. Zdarsky later wrote the two Spider-Man miniseries Spider-Man: Life Story and Spider-Man: Spider’s Shadow.

In November 2018, it was announced that Zdarsky would serve as the writer on Daredevil, with Marco Checchetto serving as artist. The series began publication in February 2019 and lasted until November 2021 with issue 36. This leads into the event Devil’s Reign, also by Zdarsky and Checchetto. A new Daredevil #1 will launch in June 2022, with Zdarsky and Checchetto returning from the previous volume. The series will explore the fallout of Devil’s Reign and the effect it had on both Matt and Elektra, as both are operating as Daredevil.

In 2020, DC Comics announced that Zdarsky would be among the creators of a revived Batman: Black and White anthology series to debut on December 8, 2020.

In February 2022, it was announced that Zdarsky will serve as the new writer for the mainline Batman book, starting with issue 125 on July 5, with Jorge Jiménez serving as the artist.

[Latest Update: May 26, 2022]