Page 45 Review by Stephen
What business does one so small have afloat those dark waves?
What was that? You may think me a spring shower, sir. But Ive a hurricane in this heart thatd sink the Royal Fleet. So if your old bones would be so kind theres a pirate here that needs to be squeezed through yer pretty door.
What a refreshing, exuberant and intoxicating read! Jeremy A. Bastian, as if giddy on grog, liberates himself from all constraints be they the laws of physics or so many comicbook formulae to deliver a fantastical romp both above and below the Caribbean high seas which is so rich in detail that youll be scanning its nooks and crannies for hours. The lines are ridiculously fine yet as smooth as silk, as shrimp-strewn seaweed swirls to frame the pages or the Pirate Girl is lowered down the starboard hull of a galleon in a cage fashioned in the form of an enormous, ornate teapot. Its not just ornate, this is bursting with inspiration and imagination, the pages populated by James Gillray grotesques, Sir John Tenniel hybrid creatures; and yes, while Im think about it, there is more than a little of Lewis Carrolls fantastical mischief here combined with the anarchy of Tony Millionaire (MAAKIES etc.), whilst the cluttered galleys and captains quarters oerbrimming with jewel-encrusted treasures are delineated with fine lines as classy as Bernie Wrightsons FRANKENSTEIN.
Charles Vess, Mike Mignola, David Petersen and Gerard Way line up to praise the books originality as the Cursed Pirate Girl and parrot Pepper Dice take a deep breath and dive onto and into a fish, respectively, to journey underwater past fish made from whicker and squabbling swordfish siblings to rise in search of the girls missing father, one of five Captains sailing under the Jolly Roger flag in the Omerta Seas. Each ship they board presents a different challenge with new friends or foes, but the Cursed Pirate girl has boundless energy, a quick wit and at least one keen eye, while by the end of this first foray x will mark the spot of the other.
This being Archaia, they have gone that extra mile for this new editions production with an extended gallery including guest artists galore like David Peterson, Katie Cook, Stephano Gaudiano and Mike Mignola, complete with in-character commentary. Most striking of all, the paper edges are all ruffled (technical term is "deckled") crisply crinkled as if pressed from older pulp slurry and who could fail to fall in love with attention to detail like that?