It says 13 swashbuckling tales on the back cover though Iím counting 14 here.
Another themed anthology from Accent UK, pulling together new names and older faces from the UK small press scene. Packaged in the usual stylish black white and red artwork-with-a-twist and printed to the usual quality as previous anthologies (Phobias, Remembrance Days) it looks good on the outside.
But when you pull together young and inexperienced artists with more established talent itís always going to be a mixed bag. A flick through confirms this. You have to ask is theme enough to hold together so many different artists of varying ability?
Well, veering towards the more professional- looking end of the spectrum, Garen Ewing (best known for the luscious Rainbow Orchid) presents 'Seadog', scripted by Jason Cobley (BAM). A young servant boy on a merchant ship witnesses his masterís slaughter by pirates and awaits his own fate, only to be rescued by Capín Endurance Bulldog. Iím not really a fan of BAM and the story serves more as a showcase for the talents of Ewing whose artwork oozes with confidence and matter-of-fact style.
Of a similar leaning is ĎA Rose for Burkeí by Angela Ong and Sheldon Goh. Visually this reaches a standard that I think a lot of the potential audience for this comic (young lads) will expect, and this wonít disappoint them. But story wise, again, itís slight and veers more towards vignette as do many of the stories here.
Interestingly, itís the more rough and ready looking stories in this anthology that are the most entertaining.
ĎAll that Glistens is Not Goldí by Elgo is one of the funniest and most original stories here. Using Lego men as protagonists, itís a toyshop version of a pirate yarn, with a punch line that made me chuckle.
Likewise Colin Mathiesonís ĎTale of Two Mapsí delivers a punchy little story, told with gusto. As an artist, Mathiesonís got a long way to go, but he creates an easy to follow layout and the drawings have a pleasing energy, I liked it.
Other contributors include Chris Doherty (Six and Two Threes) in a trouser busting tale of wenches on the high seas. A bit of teen fantasy undoubtedly, but too winsome to offend. Chris Bunting and Jeff Boneman collaborate on ĎTo be a Pirate Queení. An opportunity to draw a pneumatic looking manga Beyonce, bursting out of a cropped shirt, eh? Always a target audience pleaser, but again, itís cute enough to raise another chuckle if only for their brazenness.
Overall I enjoyed this comic a lot more than I thought I was going to.
In the previous anthologies Iíd read by Accent UK the contributors were given quite open-ended themes (such as Phobias) but that isnít the case here.
As the classic Pirate story has such strong generic conventions I think a lot of the artists here have been hampered into delivering just that - generic stories that donít do anything too original or new. Itís a tricky one. Overall a success as I did enjoy reading it, but a little more room for the unexpected would be welcome in future anthologies.
from Engine Comics/SmallZone