As Deep as the Ocean


Cursed Pirate Girl: 2015 Annual #1

It’s been a couple of years since we saw Jeremy Bastian’s amazing graphic novel Cursed Pirate Girl, and this new followup isn’t really a graphic novel, and it isn’t really a regular single-issue comic — it’s about twice the page-count of your typical comic, and it’s far weightier in text, story, and artwork. I think I’m going to consider it a graphic novella, and I don’t really care who disagrees.

The Cursed Pirate Girl is still on her epic quest to find her father, a legendary pirate captain on the Omerta Seas. She finds herself locked in the massive ship called the Honey Boar with a sad-sack crewman who knows the tale of what happened to her father. He ran afoul of a treacherous pirate called the Dark Dane, who killed him and then separated his spirit from his body, giving both to powerful and evil allies so he’d never know rest. Meanwhile, her parrot Pepper Dice and the Swordfish Knights, Sirs Haffu and Halek, are working on a plan to free her. Pepper Dice confuses the incredibly stupid crew until he’s able to blow the ship up. They travel to an undersea world of the dead, where a terrible sacrifice is made to allow escape. After that, the Cursed Pirate Girl travels to the realm of the awful Sea King so she can gain access to his gigantic “library clam” to seize the Dark Dane’s sword — and possibly free her father’s soul. But quests are never so simple or straightforward…

Verdict: Thumbs up. Oh, listen, I really shortchanged the plot description, because a lot happens in this story. There was just no way to describe it all without taking up way too much time and without spoiling some of the really fun things in this story. Because it’s a great, fun story, full of magic and lunacy and terror and monsters and humor and action and derring-do. There’s so much story, it really does feel like a full-length graphic novel.

And if you’re at all familiar with the Cursed Pirate Girl graphic novel, you know that the art is absolutely phenomenal. In my previous review, I described it as “a bit like Windsor McKay’s work on ‘Little Nemo in Slumberland,’ a bit like Richard F. Outcault’s Yellow Kid comic strip, a bit like Thomas Nast’s editorial cartoons, a bit like Gustave Dore” — and I stand by that. It’s like something out of the distant past, and it’s like absolutely nothing you’ll see in any other comic book. The linework is so intricate and detailed, I’m not at all surprised that it’s taken two years to produce this. I can barely imagine how long it must’ve taken Bastian to draw the epic gatefold image of the Sea King’s undersea nation.

It’s ten dollars, and it’s worth every penny. Go pick it up.

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