Mark CK researched doctor's journals and writings from the 17th and 18th centuries while working on a book about pirate surgeons and reports back with a guide to writing in the style of the day, which involves a lot of bad Latin, irregular spelling, and extra letters used as emphasis. Read the rest
The Littlest Pirate King is David B and Pierre Mac Orlan's 2008 kids' comic about a living child who is adopted by the damned pirate crew of the Flying Dutchman, who sink to the bottom of the sea every day at dawn, and rise every night at dusk to murder and terrorize and try as best as they can to smash their cursed ship to smithereens and end their eternal damnation.
At first, the crew spares the baby so that they can raise him to adolescence before murdering him and making his ghost into their cabin-boy, but they quickly become sentimentally attached to him, and can't bear to kill him. In the end, they send him back to the land of the living -- a strange place he fears and loathes -- and leave him howling and abandoned on shore, begging them to kill him and make him undead like his friends.
So, it's a little grim.
But it's also gorgeous. The seas of Littlest Pirate King are filled with monsters and huge fish and wrecks and strangeness of all sorts. Each page is more gorgeous than the last, and the fantasy sequences in which the dead pirates parody the land of the living for their boy are perfect in their monstrosity. (just page through the image-search for some previews)
If you liked the premise of Neil Gaiman's award-winning Graveyard Book, you're sure to love this, but be aware that it's much a darker and sadder story than Gaiman's. Read the rest
$110 gets you a set of Beyond Bedding's Treasure Cove Pirate bedding -- comforter, shams, and a collection of appliques. It's markketed as "Children's Bedding," but a) it comes in queen size, and b) grownups make better pirates than kids do. As IO9's Annalee Newitz says, "Basically you can turn every object in your immediate vicinity into something aaaaaaarrrguably more awesome."
A reader of Scott Lynch's fantasy novels upbraided him for daring to have a black, middle-aged woman running a pirate crew, calling it a "politically correct cliche" and went on to say "Real sea pirates could not be controlled by women, they were vicous rapits and murderers and I am sorry to say it was a man’s world (sic)." Lynch's response was appropriately scathing, and rather wonderful.
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You know what? Yeah, Zamira Drakasha, middle-aged pirate mother of two, is a wish-fulfillment fantasy. I realized this as she was evolving on the page, and you know what? I fucking embrace it.
Why shouldn’t middle-aged mothers get a wish-fulfillment character, you sad little bigot? Everyone else does. H.L. Mencken once wrote that “Every normal man must be tempted at times to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats.” I can’t think of anyone to whom that applies more than my own mom, and the mothers on my friends list, with the incredible demands on time and spirit they face in their efforts to raise their kids, preserve their families, and save their own identity/sanity into the bargain.
Shit yes, Zamira Drakasha, leaping across the gap between burning ships with twin sabers in hand to kick in some fucking heads and sail off into the sunset with her toddlers in her arms and a hold full of plundered goods, is a wish-fulfillment fantasy from hell. I offer her up on a silver platter with a fucking bow on top; I hope she amuses and delights.
Meet Richard Nolan: quartermaster of the Whydah, captain of the Anne, former coworker of Blackbeard—in general, pirate. He is also—at least through Labor Day—my friend Butch Roy.
Butch is an actor, a founder of the Twin Cities Improv Festival, and the executive director of Huge Theater here in Minneapolis. This summer, he took on a new role, playing pirate Richard Nolan in the Science Museum of Minnesota's Real Pirates exhibit.
When I first heard about Real Pirates I wasn't terribly excited. It sounded like the sort of kiddie-friendly, fact-lite thing that I tend to avoid on museum trips. I mean, for god's sake, there were actors running around going, "Arrgh," at people. But then I got a chance to talk to Butch about what, exactly, he was doing in the exhibit—and what it took to prepare for the role.
Butch and his cohorts aren't just playing pirates—they're playing real, documented people. What's more, all the actors had to build their characters from the ground up, using original historical sources and doing a lot of extra research on their own. They had to learn the skills of a pirate and the skills associated with their specific role on the ship. Butch, at least in theory, now knows how to load and fire an 18th century cannon. His fellow actor Michael Ritchie, who plays ship's surgeon James Ferguson, is up-to-date on all the latest medical research and techniques, circa 1717. The sheer volume of historical information Butch has picked up is absolutely fascinating. Read the rest