Reviews: yar, me hearties, all aboard for rollickin’ Pirate Fun!!!
Ohhh, where to start with this one? It was sooo much fun that after finishing reading it I am sitting here with a huge grin on my face just thinking about it. Regular readers doubtless already know how much I’ve enjoyed Neil Slorance’s comics in recent years (see here for previous reviews), and how both Richard and I were totally and utterly delighted by his and Colin Bell’s Dungeon Fun, which went on to scoop the Scottish indy comics awards like a hungry kid scoops up ice-cream. An utter joy of a comic, Dungeon Fun followed a wee girl, Fun Mudlifter, an orphan raised by trolls in a moat (hey, we all know someone who has been through something like that) and who goes on a quest, complete with large sword, which comes with the ghost of a brave knight, Games, who is now her pal. It was the sort of comic that was just perfect for younger readers and adults alike. In fact I ended up buying copies to give to a couple of chums to read with their wee girls, it was too darned good not to share.
And so, after a considerable pause we have the start of a brand new story – with the promise of more to come, as Fun takes to the high seas because, yo ho ho, it’s a pirate life for me! Well, not for me, for her. Oh, you know what I mean. We start in proper nautical tradition with our merry matelots singing a jolly shanty after a long sea voyage, looking forward to landfall, quenching their thirst in the taverns and, well, going round to Craig’s mum’s for tea. Even pirates love it when one of their pals has a mum that makes great dinners. But one of the “new lads” isn’t a lad at all, it’s our intrepid girl chum Mud (and Games), and our adventurer lass is soon knocking several bells out of the pirates. She’s clearly a better fighter than any of them, but they still deride her singing ability (“Whatever that were, it be not a shanty!”).
For someone who has decided her next adventure will be to become a pirate, Fun seems to spend a good bit of this book beating the bell-bottoms out of various buccaneers, while the jokes, puns – and shanties – flow forth at a rapid rate of knots, from the top pirate captains each with their distinctive beards (“I’m Swordbeard! My beard is made from the swords of the foes I have defeated!”), to nautical eye doctors, and featuring a new (and a bit annoying) character, Phillip Fun (I suspect we will learn more about him later), mermaids (and mermen), super-giant scary monsters who aren’t quite what they seem and gleefully riffing on stories as different as Treasure Island, Peter Pan and the Little Mermaid. It’s a wonderful, delightful, hugely smile-inducing romp for kids and adults (or better still, get it and read it with your kids or nephews and nieces), and filled with lovely little details, such as speech bubbles underwater obscured by air bubbles, giving you an idea how much love and attention goes into these panels.
A little note on Pirate Fun – Colin and Neil intended to launch this at last weekend’s Dunfermline Comic Con. As many of you will know that had to be cancelled just a couple of days before as Scotland was walloped by a huge winter storm so bad that the train and bus network was shut down and many businesses and schools closed. The family comic store Little Shop of Heroes in Dunfermline who organise this event has taken a huge hit on this – the monies raised go to their Books for Schools Charity, venue hire and more, and now there is no way for them to recoup it, plus they have refunds to repay for the cancelled event.
As we already posted on here, there’s a Go Fund Me to try and help the store cope – they’ve been doing something fab for their local area and been hurt badly by circumstances beyond their control, and it is good to see the comics community helping them. As part of that Neil and Colin are selling this edition of Pirate Fun and all the proceeds are going to help Little Shop of Heroes (all the proceeds, the guys are paying for the printing themselves – see their Twitter thread on it here). So as well as getting the most delightful reading romp for all-ages, you can help local comickers bounce back from a bad blow, a win-win situation, and you get a fab comic that will make you smile.