But Josef, like many boys of nineteen, was under the misapprehension that his heart had been broken a number of times, and he prided himself on the imagined toughness of that organ. (p. 18)

"See you in the funny papers," he said. Jaunty, he reminded himself; always jaunty. In my panache is their hope of salvation. (p. 19)

The desire he felt, watching Joe, was unquestionably physical, but in the sense that Sammy wanted to inhabit the body of his cousin, not possess it. It was, in part, a longing--common enough among the inventors of heroes--to be someone else; to be more than the result of two hundred regimens and scenarios and self-improvement campaigns that always ran afoul of his perennial ability to locate an actual self to be improved. Joe Kavalier had an air on competence, of faith in his abilities, that Sammy, by means of constant effort over the whole of his life, had finally learned only how to fake. (p. 115)

He had returned to New York year before, with the intention of finding a way to reconnect, if possible, with the only family that remained to him in the world. Instead he had become immured, by fear and its majordomo, habit, in his cabinet of mysteries on the seventy-second floor of the Empire State Building… (p. 556)

She gave him her hand then, and he took it in his own. For an instant, his felt much drier and more calloused than she remembered, and then it felt exactly the same. (p. 558)

The newspaper articles that Joe had read about the upcoming Senate investigation into comic books always cited "escapism" among the litany on injurious consequences of their reading, and dwelled on the pernicious effect, on young minds, of satisfying the desire to escape. As if there could be any more noble or necessary service in life. (p. 582)

He wondered what he would have put on his own parents' tombstones had he been given the chance. Names and dates alone seemed extravagance enough…..He took a deep breath, and shook his head, and reached out some inward fingers, tentatively, to see if they brushed against some remnant of Harry Houdini or Thomas Kavalier or anyone at all. No; he could be ruined again and again by hope, but he would never be capable of belief. (p. 607)