Last Updated on March 16, 2020, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 1293
Joe has been drawing for a week and is physically tired from doing so. With the comic complete, the pages will now be inked by Marty Gold and then taken to an Iroquois plant to be colored. They will then be turned into print and sent to newsstands. It is 1940, and it has just been announced that some French Jews are being transported to Germany.
As the situation in Europe escalates, Joe’s work in The Escapist comics grows more explicitly political. The villains are now openly referred to as “Germans.” The Escapist and his gang fight all across occupied Europe. In the most recent issue they are attacking the panzer divisions and storm troopers of the Wehrmacht. Joe’s battle scenes are remarkably brutal.
Joe and Anapol meet to discuss the series. Joe asks if Anapol has heard about Vichy. Anapol asks what Joe has heard from his family; he does get letters, but they say very little. Anapol says that he’s glad Joe is able to express his feelings through his drawings, but he does worry about the violence in the comics. He also worries about Joe and tells him to get some sleep, but Joe says he has an appointment.
Joe now reads a lot of comics, but today he cannot concentrate on them. He is irritated with Anapol, who is now very rich, and he dreads his appointment at the German consulate. He is annoyed that so much of the money from the comics goes to Anapol and that those funds cannot do anything to change the situation in Europe.
Joe has visited the German consulate repeatedly, as well as various other groups, trying to determine what can be done for his family back in Prague. He is now an approved permanent resident and wishes to bring his family to the USA on this basis. The situation for Jews in Czechoslovakia is deteriorating, and he is increasingly concerned.
One day, Joe takes the ferry across the Hudson to Hoboken. He sees several families being reunited at the port and wishes his family might suddenly arrive there, too. At the German Consulate, the Adjutant is as usual of little help in explaining how the Kavaliers might escape. He also says that he has been transferred to Holland. But he does have news: Joe had been called to an appointment because his father has died.
Joe, in shock, telephones the office and tells Sammy the news. He then says he is on his way to Canada. He hangs up on Sammy and asks the bartender—he is phoning from a bar—how to get to Canada. He says he is going to enlist in the RAF.
Instead of returning home, Joe goes straight to the train station and gets on a train to Canada. He thinks about his father, wondering how he died and what will now happen to the rest of his family. This thought makes him get off the train at Albany; he realizes he cannot abandon his efforts to help his mother and Thomas.
Joe returns to New York, getting drunk on the train ride home, and calls Sammy. Sammy arrives in Longchamps bar, embraces Joe, and takes him to a secluded booth, where Joe begins to cry. Joe says that he is “worthless” and then declares that he is going to work.
On their way there, Joe sees a man whom he is convinced is German. He spits at him. Sammy apologizes to the man and then realizes that he is Max Schmeling, the former world heavyweight champion. A fight ensues; Joe is crowded against an iron pillar and punched. Then Schmeling stalks off, and Sammy helps Joe onto a train and back to Palooka Studios.
Although there are relatively few Germans in New York, Joe encounters a lot of them. He begins approaching Germans and asking them about conditions back home, seeking information about the situation in Prague.
A week after Joe’s meeting at the German Consulate, Sammy takes him to a Brooklyn Dodgers football game to try...
(The entire section contains 1293 words.)
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