Independently Well Done highlights completed and/or noteworthy story-arcs published by indie and small press creators.
Written By: Jeremy Batian
Art By: Jeremy Bastian
Published: 2012 by Archaia
I’m not sure what’s happening, but here lately I’m just in the mood to write a series of posts. Maybe it’s because of the amount of series I’m reading currently, or because of how great those series are, but in either case, I’m starting another. The first, in case you missed it, is our month long stroll through the Storyteller series, wherein we’re visiting the Dragons collection, then finishing it off with the newly released Giants. An interesting side note, at least to me, is that the stories I’m obsessing over are all coming from the same publisher: Archaia. To be open and honest, I’m not super knowledgeable about Archaia other than they’re affiliated with BOOM!. With that said however, my experiences with Archaia thus far have been nothing short of fantastic. Between the Storyteller series, Mouse Guard, Rust and what we’re talking about today, Cursed Pirate Girl, by Jeremy Bastian, I’ve quickly become an Archaia fanboy.
As always, I never assume anyone is familiar with the books I write about, so allow me to give a little synopsis of the story. We follow the adventures of a young, cursed, girl who happens to be a pirate, as she searches for her father. Now, I know that’s one heck of an amazing revelation. No one would’ve ever deduced that a series entitled, Cursed Pirate Girl, would be a about a girl…who is cursed…and a pirate.
Well, okay, you may have figured that part out on your own, but what I haven’t mentioned yet is that this book is equal parts fairy tale, whimsy, Neverland, Little Nemo’s Slumberland, and Pirates of the Caribbean all wrapped around some of the most fantastical art I’ve ever seen in a comic.
I know that’s not much to go on, and frankly describing something by attributing other things to it doesn’t create the clearest picture, but what I’m attempting to do is conjure up images in your mind, in order to help you feel the things I felt as I read this incredible series.
I want you to experience that the freedom found in Peter Pan as he soars through Neverland. Maybe remember the innocence of childhood fairy tales, or the sheer adventure that’s had in Pirates of the Caribbean. I want you to feel those things because to say this book is ONLY about a cursed pirate girl who goes on an adventure to find her father is under selling it like no other. I made it about four pages into the first story before I knew, and I mean knew it down to my core, I loved this book. It overwhelmed me with emotion and fun, and in the very best ways, left me with no other option than fanatical love for this comic.
You have to understand, I’ve been completely immobilized by this series. It’s that good. Seriously, go back and read how I just described this book. I’m literally at a loss for words as I attempt to describe the greatness of this story. That’s why saying, we follow a young pirate girl as she searches for her father in a world wherein the most fantastical phenomenon take place, just isn’t enough, and the fact that a description like that isn’t enough speaks volumes about how great this comic is. As a writer, there have been few times when words cannot express the joy and fun I’ve felt in a series. Yet, with Cursed Pirate Girl, I’m simply overwhelmed at the magnitude of this book.
To start us off, I’m going to break down the story chapter by chapter, just so I can fawn and analyze all the gems that are contained in each. Starting us off in the first chapter we’re introduced to the world in which the story exists. Things are whimsical, fantastical, and generally giving off a very fairy tale vibe. We follow a young girl named, Apollonia, who’s the Governor’s daughter, and bit too curious for her own good. She’s bright eyed, naive, sweet and innocent, which is a complete opposite of her dad…who’s an ass.
This guy is the embodiment of the phrase: too much power corrupts. He abuses his position, has a hired thug who basically kills and maims those in his way. At one point (Small SPOILER) this jackass of a father throws his own daughter into “prison,” because she embarrassed him (SPOILER END). It is through this encounter that the Governor becomes infuriated and blames the Pirate Girl for young Apollonia’s outburst. He blames her because young Apollonia has taken a fancy to our Pirate Girl, and has become somewhat enthralled with all the adventures our Pirate Girl has undertaken.
What’s a dad/jerk governor supposed to do? Well, he does what any power mad, irrational person would do and sends his behemoth of a body guard after Pirate Girl, not to throw her in jail, but to murder her. Are you picking up how bad this guy is yet? As I said, he’s an ass, however, in this initial conflict we are setup to watch and learn as Pirate Girl’s curse makes its way into the story, and without spoiling it, leaves a major amount of intrigue in its wake.
While that’s a short synopsis of the first chapter, what I haven’t mentioned is the cohesion of all the storytelling elements in this book. Everything, from the characters, to their attitudes, and the repercussions of their actions, all serves its purpose in this story, which speaks multitudes about Bastian’s writing ability. He has woven intricate characters with depth and intrigue, placed them into a world of pure imagination, set them on an adventure of the impossible, and does so without ever being excessive. Each and every aspect of the world, the characters, and even the situations that arise all serve a purpose greater than themselves. That’s the point of world building and character development. They aren’t meant to be self serving, instead, they are meant to serve the story.
Beyond the superb writing, I have to mention Bastian’s art style. To simplify my opinion on his art: unbelievable. To extrapolate on that, this guy is nothing short of an artistic genius. I don’t throw a term, or title, like that around. The fact that there are people in the comic world who haven’t read, or even heard of this series, or Jeremy Bastian, is frankly upsetting. You might think I’m being dramatic for drama’s sake, but honestly, I’m not. This series is just that good.
What’s even crazier is that it’s almost five years old. The first Vol of Cursed Pirate Girl came out in 2012, and the Annual, which is the start of Vol 2, came out last year. So this book/series isn’t new, but I only came across by chance when I met Jeremy Bastian at Wondercon, and let me tell you, he’s incredibly nice. So not only is this guy a creative, comic creating, genius…he’s a wonderful person as well.
All in all, I’ve barely scratched the surface of this series, in fact, we haven’t even entered the depths of where things go, but even in these first pages there’s so much treasure to be found. From the art to the wild and whimsical nature of the world, back around to the mystery behind Cursed Pirate Girl, Bastian has indeed created something worth talking about. So, for the rest of the month, we’ll be breaking down the chapters of Vol 1 once a week, and then finish up with a review/analysis of the annual.
P.S. This is on Comixology…don’t wait for me to write about it all…go buy it, read it, and thank me later.