Archive for Cursed Pirate Girl

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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Holiday Gift Bag: Cursed Pirate Girl

Is it time for another Holiday Gift Bag? Yes, it is. It’s time for more Holiday Gift Bag. Today, we’re talking about Cursed Pirate Girl by Jeremy A. Bastian.


Our lead character is… THE CURSED PIRATE GIRL! Not that she has a pirate ship, at least not initially. She doesn’t seem particularly cursed either. She might be cursed with madness, but she’s no different from any other character we encounter here — everyone’s a nut.

She’s definitely trying to find her father, though — he’s one of the great Pirate Captains who sailed the legendary Omerta Seas, and she desperately wants to find him and join his crew. But she’s offended the governor, who orders one of his thugs to kill her. He fails, luckily, and she gains her first ally — Pepper Dice, a parrot who crawls into a fish (Yes, the whole story’s a bit loopy) so he can lead her to the secret entrance of the Omerta Seas. She also meets Sir Haffu and Sir Halek, a couple of quarreling swordfish knights.

But there are lots of deadly foes on the Omerta Seas — specifically, rival pirates like Captain Holly and his grotesque crew of scallywags! Can the Cursed Pirate Girl win out over them all? Will she ever manage to find her father? Will she eat better than any other pirate? How did she get that awesome eyepatch? How much does she love laughing?

Verdict: Thumbs up. It’s a deeply weird and surreal and hilarious book. Just about everyone is deformed and grotesque, both physically and mentally. The world is full of freaks and monsters of all types — and usually, they’re not there to menace our heroine — they’re just background color. They’re just there to remind you how spectacularly weird this little world is.

And holy quackers, you’re gonna have to check out the art on this one. Y’all know I’m not an artist and don’t know a whole heck of a lot about art history, so it’s tough for me to pin down just which artists Bastian reminds me of. It’s 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. It’s weird and intricate and beautiful, and you can sit there and look at a whole page over and over and always find something you’d missed the first time.

You can’t say this about every graphic novel out there, but the physical presentation of this is a definite selling point. You gotta get the hardcover with the rough-cut pages. I got some serious happiness just from the tactile sensations of holding the book and turning the pages — it makes you feel like you’re really reading something special.

Get this for anyone — kids or grownups — with a taste for surreal, swashbuckling adventure, or for someone who really appreciates weird humor or gorgeous artwork. I bet someone on your Christmas list is going to love this, so go pick it up.

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