Cornelia Tzana ‘17 / Emertainment Monthly Executive Comic Book Editor
Written by: Jeremy Bastian
Illustrated by: Jeremy Bastian
Published by: Archaia Comics
Every once in awhile one is lucky enough to come across a comic book that draws them in and refuses to let go. One that stirs up the imagination and wonder of the child inside the reader and throws them into a world of impossible possibilities. A comic book whose characters, images and feelings still linger, even long after it has been read. A book like Jeremy Bastian’s Cursed Pirate Girl.
Cursed Pirate Girl tells the tale of a pirate’s daughter who sails to the mythical Omerta Seas accompanied by a talking parrot, in order to find her long lost father and her own place in the world. Along her journey she will have to prove her strength, courage and heart as she comes across the enchanting and terrifying creatures that lurk above and below the surface of the black waters of the Omertas.
Alice in Wonderland meets The Pirates of the Caribbean in this comic book that the creator of Hellboy, Mike Mignola, calls “truly original”. Bastian manages to create his own nautical version of Wonderland and weave a story with all the elements of a great adventure. Its inhabitants are the stuff of dreams and nightmares, so distinctly outlandish that they become real to the eyes of the reader. They bring an incredible energy to the mysterious and dangerous world that surrounds them.
The Cursed Pirate Girl herself is a very different Alice, with hair that seems to have a life of its own. She has unwavering determination, a sharp mind that helps her overcome all obstacles, and a danger-defying courage that lets her navigate the Omerta Seas as if she has been doing it all her life. Pirate Girl, whose name is not told in the first volume of the story, may seem too perfectly superhuman, yet Bastian allows her little moments that show her heart and reveal she is, in the end, just a young girl.
Cursed Pirate Girl would have been a thrilling story, but it would not have reached its full storytelling potential were it not for Jeremy Bastian’s incredible illustrations. With his detailed black and white imagery, that often brings to mind John Tenniel’s whimsical drawings in Alice in Wonderland, he creates armor-clad swordfish, pirates with potatoes, paddles and lanterns in place of heads, tiny dragons, enormous turkeys and a plethora of other inconceivable creatures. Beautifully and often uncomfortably disproportionate, they make the imagination race and wonder what will come next. Even the unique framing of each panel and the lettering add to an overall experience that keeps the reader engulfed in the story.
Cursed Pirate Girl is a book that deserves a place on every shelf. Bastian creates a world of unusual, wondrous imagery unlike any other. It is an epic tale for all ages that will inspire its readers and take them on a journey they will not easily forget.
Jeremy Bastian will be at San Diego Comic Con, Jul 20-24.