The Amazing Adventures Of Kavalier and Clay Optioned For Showtime Series

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BY December 12, 2019

Michael Chabon’s beloved novel The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay is coming to Showtime as a limited series. Chabon will serve as showrunner for the series, along with his wife/creative partner Ayelet Waldman. This option is part of a larger deal that the duo has struck with CBS TV Studios. The official synopsis from CBS describes Kavalier & Clay “as an epic tale of love, war and the birth of America’s comic book superhero obsession in big-band-era New York City.”

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2001. Since then many filmmakers and big-name celebrities expressed interest in bringing the novel to life. However the sprawling nature of the novel, with its stories within stories that span decades was notably hard to adapt.  Now Chabon himself will be one the one to see his work translated from page to screen. The author has recently begun working in television, serving as executive producer and writer for the upcoming Star Trek: Picard series on CBS. Working on a Star Trek show will likely occupy Chabon’s time through 2020, so it is likely that fans will still have to wait awhile for Kavalier & Clay.

Michael Chabon and Ayelet Waldman Michael Chabon and Ayelet Waldman photographed by Andy Freeberg | Image via CBS

The Kavalier & Clay Series Explores The Golden Age of Comics 

The novel follows two cousins who become involved with the budding comics industry. It follows them throughout the years preceding, during, and post World War 2. Joe Kavalier is a Jewish refugee who escapes Nazi-controlled Prague (using his skills as an escape artist). He flees to New York City where he teams up with his cousin Sammy Klayman (Clay) to make comics. Kavalier uses the medium to express his frustration and despair over the state of the world. He attempts to utilize his comics to sway public opinion in the ongoing battle against fascism.

Joe and Sammy become integral figures in the Golden Age of Comics, with their superhero named The Escapist, along with the heroine Luna Moth. Bringing this novel to the screen at this time feels more timely than ever, as The Escapist is a notably anti-fascist figure. The novel also deals heavily with themes of identity and sexuality. It also delves into the Jewish immigrant and refugee experiences during the war. Blending fiction and reality, Chabon drew from the real-life experiences of many comic creators of the Golden Age, including Jack Kirby and Will Eisner among others.

The Escapist from The Adventures of Kavalier & Clay | Image via Dark Horse Comics The Escapist from The Adventures of Kavalier & Clay | Image via Dark Horse Comics

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay is notable for its reverence of the comic medium. It is a rare novel that treats comic books, and their creators, with serious literary weight. It will be interesting to see how Chabon translates his novel to screen, with so many stories within stories to be told over the course of a limited series. You can be sure that we will be following news of this adaptation closely. So be sure to check back for more info in the months to come. You can get all of your updates from Comic Years by following us on Facebook and Twitter today.

(Featured image via Random House)


Emily O'Donnell is a writer and photographer with roots in some of the earliest online fandoms. She cut her genre teeth on the Wizard of Oz books at the tender age of 6 years old, and was reading epic adult fantasy novels by the age of 10. Decades later, she still consumes genre fiction like there is no tomorrow. She is delighted to be living through the golden age of sci-fi and fantasy popularity. She is unashamed of the amount of fanfiction that still lingers online under her name.

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