This coming Sunday is National Talk Like A Pirate Day!
It draws many things to me beleaguered and rum-addled mind.
We'll let my old captain, Micheal Nesmith, interrupt now and again.
Arr. Now, then.
Since Pirates of the Carribean, there's been a revived interest in our bilge-soaked seafarers. Mr. Depp's over-the-top portrayal was a delight in that it made several things about pirates clear.
They're dishonest with others, and not always so honest with themselves.
They're violent and greedy.
Despite that, they're really fun!
Yes. Quite right, then.
Pirates have been fixtures in comics forever. The origins of The Phantom and Tarzan are both steeped in pirate lore. Tarzan's parents were cast away from their burned ship by pirates, while pirates killed Kit Walker's parents in the 1600s, resulting in the Phantom legacy.
Ahem. As we were saying.
It's also worth mentioning that many more contemporary superheroes have walked the planks under the skull and crossbones!
Benjamin J. Grimm, the Thing of Fantastic Four fame, was, in reality, Blackbeard.
One of the smartest superhero stories, James Robinson's Starman, uses pirates as a recurring theme, first as an adventure with Starman's late brother, then as a rescued damned pirate who saves Starman's bacon.
There are also comics that are specifically about pirates, ranging from
(stop that!) er, ranging from this early Classics Illustrated, that adapts the Yul Brynner/Charlton Heston odd little quasi-historical epic The Buccaneer (one of my favorite childhood movies)
And thanks to the sadly demised Disney Adventures Digest, we have comics featuring Jack Sparrow and Company, illustrated by Brett Blevins, who also did the new Scarecrow of Romney Marsh comics for the same publication!
The first story was Revenge of the Pirates, from the August 2003 issue.
Approximately midway through the run, this tale appeared, introducing the usually land-bound pirate The Scarecrow of Romney Marsh, who was featured in a dozen or so stories of his own throughout the run of the magazine.
This post-trend EC title featured some remarkable art and some innocuous stories- of necessity, as demanded by the then-powerful Comics Code.
I'll be having some grisly metaphor, if you will, Captain! The true nature of pirates is much closer to the surface here, and is taken to extremes by the labyrinthine S. Clay Wilson in his classic, Captain Pissgums and His Pervert Pirates!
This Gentle Giant song sums up the inevitable end of most pirates.
The world of pirates is colorful, adventurous and seductive. It's also nihilist, defeating and doomed. The core conflict is Man Against Sea, and Sea always wins.
Well, maybe it's not THAT grim...