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- Good ol' Lupin III. He's even allowed himself to be caught in order to later escape as part of a plan.
- Dark from D.N.Angel, being a Phantom Thief, is really good at getting out of traps of all kinds. There's one scene where he's tied up and gets out of the ropes in about thirty seconds.
- Pictured above is Scott Free, AKA Mister Miracle, The DCU's (and perhaps all of fiction's) greatest escapologist. He has New God technology he uses when fighting crime, but he never uses it to escape anything. Literally no one, except possibly his protegé, has his level of skill in escape. He's so good at escaping, he managed to escape Apokolips. Darkseid's planet. Let that sink in. Because that was just his first escape.
And about that protégé—Shilo Norman, the second Mister Miracle, may well be even better. In his Seven Soldiers miniseries, he successfully escapes from many impossible scenarios. They are, in order: a black hole, the Omega Sanction (being serially reincarnated in his own mind, in ever more depressing and hopeless lives), and finally, in the finale, death itself, after being chained and shackled, shot in the head and buried.
- The wizard Zatara and his daughter, Zatanna. True, they possess magic as well, but they are both perfectly capable of escapology on their own, and have done so numerous times when not able to utilize their magic skill. Also, Zatara was the teacher of escapology to...
- ...Batman. Always prepared with the right tools and skills, from lockpicks to acid to liquid nitrogen. It's almost a cliché for villains to put Bats in a Death Trap and have him "miraculously" escape.
- Also, The Joker can usually wriggle out of a straitjacket rather quickly (probably because he's had so much practice, given how often he breaks out of Arkham. In fact, this is even lampshaded in one episode of Batman: The Animated Series where he puts Batman in a Death Trap that involves a straitjacket. Batman gets out of it rather fast, and the villain comments, "They don't make straitjackets the way they used to...I should know..."
- Jack Napier, the cured Joker, uses this trope very efficiently in Batman: White Knight. During his meeting with the GCPD, the former escapes his cuffs during their conversation, and shows his free hands by resting them on the nearby table as he threatens to file suit against the GCPD. This trope also serves to indicate that even the police won't stand a chance against the cured Joker.
- John Constantine, the Hellblazer, is a master of this, but uses more of his wits to get out of sticky situations.
- Calvin Rose, a former Talon of the Court of Owls, used to be an escape artist for Haly's Circus. By age ten, he knew fourteen different ways to escape from a straitjacket.
- Yorick, the Non-Action Snarker protagonist of Y: The Last Man, is an amateur escape artist and magician, which is the one useful skill he has that badass bodyguard Agent 355 doesn't. In his first scene, he's talking to his girlfriend on speaker-phone while hanging from the ceiling and working his way out of a straitjacket.
- The various incarnations of Getaway from the Transformers comics are well known for their ability to get out of tight scrapes. Simon Furman ended up killing off several Getaways during his various tenures as writer, with the notion that it would be ironic if someone named Getaway didn't actually get away.
- In Athena Voltaire, the titular character met all sorts of interesting people thanks to her father's work as a Stage Magician. One was Harry Houdini, a close family friend who became her godfather. Since her own work occasionally gets her tied up by Nazis, having received a few lessons from him comes in handy.
- Sartana has this amongst his many, many skills.
- Robert Angier and Alfred Borden of The Prestige.
- Pirates of the Caribbean: Captain Jack Sparrow has pulled this several times. Wiggling out of handcuffs via lantern oil in the second film, using the 'leverage' trick in the third and getting his hands free in the fourth and using the palm trees as an improvised catapult with him as as the missile.
"You will always remember this as the day you almost caught Captain Jack Sparrow!"
- James Bond will always escape from the deathtrap he is trapped in, usually using a neat gadget in a clever way.
- Henley Reeves in Now You See Me is a magician. One of her acts involves being bound and then tossed into a water tank which she has to escape before piranhas can enter and tear her apart.
- Lassie Come Home: Lassie escapes from her kennel by digging under the fencing. When Hynes, the mean kennel master, buries more fencing, Lassie jumps over the kennel fence. When Lassie is brought back yet again, she waits until it's time for a walk, then she slips the leash.
- The Escapist, from The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, as well as one of his creators, Joe Kavalier.
- Sherlock Holmes has, in quite a few stories, proven himself to be notoriously hard to entrap. He sure as hell likes rubbing it in, too.
- Maren Amberson is one in Kenneth Oppel's novel The Boundless.
- The Discworld's Miss Tick is a witchfinder, that is to say, she hunts for young girls with a talent in places where witches are... less popular. As such, she is also an expert at untying knots underwater.
- Jo Grant, companion to the Third Doctor on Doctor Who, was very handy at getting out of handcuffs, manacles, and the like. The lock picking course seems to be the only UNIT agent course that she excelled in.
- The Doctor himself is an example. It helps that he's been trained by Houdini.
- This is subverted in the episode "Planet of The Ood" where the Doctor and Donna have been handcuffed.
Donna: You're the one with all the tricks. You must have met Houdini!
The Doctor: (struggling) These are really good handcuffs.
Donna: Well, I'm glad of that. I mean, at least we've got QUALITY!
- Parodied in the Monty Python's Flying Circus "Life of Tchaikovsky" sketch, in which a pianist freed himself from a sack while pounding out the opening chords of Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto in B-flat minor.
- Would the titular character of MacGyver count? He certainly has the technical expertise, seeing as he can escape almost any dangerous situation using any means at his disposal.
- Boardwalk Empire had a performance by Harry Houdini's brother who claims to be a much better escape artist than his famous brother The audience at the show seems unimpressed since he lacks the showmanship of his brother.
- This is all straight from history: The Great Hardeen actually invented a good deal of the tricks his brother made famous, but Houdini vastly eclipsed him with his idea to do his escapes in plain sight, making it clear that there was no trick involved and he really was that good at getting out of straightjackets and the like.
- Used as, ahem, a punchline in Big Bad Beetleborgs. The Villain of the Week has captured Flabber, and has challenged him to a drawing contest. Flabber draws an abstract, brownish oval with a smaller oval at one side. Baddie complains, "Hey, what kind of an artist are you?!" The phasm replies, "An escape artist!" as the shape—a spring-loaded boxing glove—leaps out of the canvas and K.O.s his captor.
- Taken with a different spin in the BBC drama The Escape Artist, in which it's more about escaping the law through complex understanding of it and being manipulative. There's more than one political escape artist; Liam Foyle starts as the escape artist but by the end William Burton ends up doing the same thing to get away scot free.
- In Emergency!, the paramedics have responded to escape artists who seemed to have been trapped in safes and unable to escape. However, they manage to escape on their own, and one them, played by Larry Storch, is grievously insulted by his wife calling rescuers when he had the situation under control.
Stand Up Comedy
- Swedish improv comic Hasse Alfredson occasionally used a gag about either working for or being the world's worst escape artist in his Lindeman routines. "He told us to cuff him, tie him up, chain him up, put him in a box, weld it shut, wrap chains around it and toss it in the river...like hell he could escape."
- In Matilda, the title character tells the story of an very skilled escape artist ("Escapologist" in the West End production) and his acrobat wife, whom we later find out were actually Miss Honey's parents.
- Basil Mouse, of The Great Mouse Detective, is basically just a rodent-version of Sherlock Holmes—so of course, he's also a superb escape-artist, demonstrating it in the movie by escaping a ludicrously lethal Death Trap.
- In one episode of The Real Ghostbusters, the team was having a hard time with a ghost that their trap could not hold. No matter how many times they trapped it, it kept breaking out. They later found out that the ghost was the spirit of Harry Houdini; clearly, he hadn't lost his touch.
- In a Magnificent Muttley segment, Muttley dreams he's an escape artist, where his big act is to escape from a trunk within a trunk while suspended over a river.
- Blossom proves to be an escape artist in The Powerpuff Girls episode "Abracadaver" after the title villain hypnotizes her and flings her into an iron maiden.
- The Hair Bear Bunch finds different ways of escaping from Wonderland Zoo for a night on the town.
- Mr. Miracle displays his skills in an episode of Justice League Unlimited, where he's locked in a stasis chamber the size of a coffin, which is then frozen using a chemical that works like super liquid nitrogen. Then a large flying vehicle dumps an entire train on it. He still manages to escape perfectly.
- Perry the Platypus from Phineas and Ferb. His nemesis, Dr. Heinz Doofenshmirtz, has a new trap for him in almost every episode, and Perry escapes every single one (except for that one time he was trapped in medieval stocks, but he saves the day while trapped anyway).
- Mr. Cat from Kaeloo. In one episode, Stumpy ties him to a chair inside a closed room. Stumpy leaves the room while carefully watching Mr. Cat and shuts the door. By the time Stumpy has spoken a few lines outside the door, Mr. Cat has not only untied himself, but escaped from the room and stolen the car.
- Trope Codifier is Harry Houdini, the archetypal stage escape artist.
- Many Real Life stage magicians, including Criss Angel, David Blaine and Penn & Teller. James Randi is maybe the most famous modern example, breaking some of Harry Houdini's records.
- Comicbook writer and artist Jim Steranko was an amateur escapologist, and an influence on both Mister Miracle and Joe Kavalier, mentioned above.
- As a species, orangutans are Real Life escape artists. You can find several stories of orangutans wandering around zoos, and the general public thinks it's just a normal part of zoo life. Nowadays the way zoos test whether any (air-breathing) habitat is secure is to put an orangutan in it. If it can't get out, nothing can get out.
- Similarly, octopuses are extremely difficult to keep in a tank. They are strong enough to lift the lid off, and flexible enough to squeeze through extremely small holes.