The PopCult Comix Bookshelf
Pirates: A Treasure of Comics to Plunder, Arrr! is a slim, inexpensive collection of great Pirate comic book stories from the 1940s and 50s, curated by Ed Catto (of Captain Action Enterprises fame) and Craig Yoe (of Yoe Books fame). It’s loaded with fun stories and some terrific art. This is the good kind of comic book piracy!
Pirate stories, as a comic book genre, were never a dominant form, largely disappearing from comics until Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons created Tales of the Black Freighter as a comic-within-a-comic in Watchmen, in 1985. The idea behind that was that, in a world where superheroes are real, the comic book publishers there would turn toward other types of adventure stories to fill their pages, and Pirates ruled the comics world for decades.
But in our universe there were some great Pirate comics produced during the Golden Age of comics, and this is a great sampler of four-color swashbuckling adventures on the high seas.
The art on display here is practically a “who’s who” of great artists. We get full stories with art by Reed Crandall, Will Eisner, R.H. Webb (Who drew Sheena of the Jungle and other great features), Norm Saunders (Seen at left. Saunders painted the original Mars Attacks trading cards, as well as the 1966 Batman cards) and a very young Frank Frazetta, who has two stories printed here…one in his recognizable style, and one Pirate funny animal story drawn in an animated cartoon style that may shock the heck out of die-hard Frazetta fans.
In additon to the full stories, we are also treated to a cover gallery with work by Wallace Wood, George Woodbridge, Carl Burgos and others, some of it reproduced from the original art.
Or should I say, “Arrrrrrt?”
The book is lacking a text page to give us some historical context, but the main attraction is the comics, so it’s not a major point. Pirates: A Treasure of Comics to Plunder, Arrr! is a great introduction to an almost-forgotten hidden treasure of comics. I’m really glad that Catto and Yoe dug these stories up.
A nice touch is that the indicia/credits page is written entirely in Pirate speak.
This is a fun collection of great adventure stories, and is a wonderful addition to any Golden Age bookshelf in your library. Pirates: A Treasure of Comics to Plunder, Arrr! can be ordered from any bookseller by using the ISBN code, or if you hurry, you can pick up a hardcover limited edition with with an alternate cover by Howard Pyle directly from Clover Press.