Celebrating the Unpopular Arts

Question of the Week: What’s your favorite pirate comic?

It’s Talk Like a Pirate Day, maties, and so it’s time to tell me what your favorite pirate comic is! Mine is easy: Scurvy Dogs by Andrew Boyd and Ryan Yount, one of the funniest comics I’ve ever read. In fact, I asked this Question solely to post these images, which is the first (and some say, the best) gag in the entire book. Enjoy!

What’s your favorite pirate comic? Is it one from back in the mists of the 1950s? Is it the Watchmen one (which is pretty great)? Is it when Captain Fear sailed his ghost ship through Manhattan and caused the Spectre such consternation? Let me know!


  1. Adrien

    I think if you were to ask most millenials that question, on any part of the planet, it would probably be the manga One Piece, which iirc, is one of the most popular comics out there. It’s weird, the main character is a pugilist whose made of rubber, the coolest character uses three swords at the same time, and those are just the normal people. I remember it being good and emotionally sincere while I read it, but at over 100(!) Volumes and counting, I don’t have the interest to catch up, and I’m following your rule about not saying something is the best until it’s good and done.

    I think my favourite pirate comic would be scurvy dogs like you, as you can’t really beat that leper gag. That said, I’d imagine if I had read the comic instead of just watching the anime adaptation, Black lagoon, which features modern day piracy as conducted by former military types in high octane adventures, that would be my favourite comic. I’m also not going to list Viking comics, as I think that would be cheating 😛

      1. Der

        Yeah, One Piece is one of my favorite animes/mangas(I don’t read the manga because I prefer to watch the anime with the wife) and is about pirates in a world that is like 90% water….but the sailing doesn’t happen that often tbh, so if you want pirates, they are good, if you want sailing the seas, not so much

  2. Pirate comics is not something I’ve run into much, but I’d say the three issue Captain Fear backup in Unknown Soldier in the early 1980s. David Michelinie and Walt Simonson take a forgotten character and turn him into an immensely entertaining swashbuckler.
    Second would be the pirate Ultras who turn up in an issue of Steve Englehart’s Strangers from Malibu. They’ve used their powers to turn professional pirate but as they’re doing it for kicks they go for full-on cosplay (hats, eye patches, cutlasses) and are clearly having a blast.

  3. tomfitz1

    BURGAS: I don’t know of any pirate comics, but stories about pirates is another matter.

    NEXUS had some pirates stories as did STARMAN by Robinson/Harris, and I believe LEAVE IT TO CHANCE had some pirates in it.

    That’ll do for you?

  4. Darthratzinger

    El Cazador by Chuck Dixon and Steve Epting, published by CrossGen, is the best pure Pirate Comic. It was only six issues but a very solid story by Dixon and fantastic art by Steve Epting (probably his best pre-Captain America art).
    My favorite pirates in a comic book though are the guys in Asterix. They get about a page in every volume and their ship is sunk at every single appearance but they persevere and by the next volume they´re sailing the seven seas again (briefly).

  5. Der

    I like the watchmen pirate comic, that one is really good

    Can I count the Doctor 13 mini by Azzarello? I mean, it has Captain Fear and they do travel a lot in his ship

    I soured for some reason on Azzarello, I was a big 100 bullets fan but after a time I didn’t liked it as much. But that Doctor 13 mini? That is probably the best thing he has done

  6. Jeff Nettleton

    From an art perspective, it would be EC’s short-lived Piracy. For a character, it would be Howard Chaykin’s Cody Starbuck, which, in itself, was a revamp of his Ironwolf, from DC.

    I would also give honorable mention to Long John Silver, by Xavier Dorison & Mathieu Lauffray (Cinebook) and also the classic Barbe Rouge (Redbeard), from Jean-Michel Charlier & Victor Hubinon (Dargaud). The latter was one of the original features of Pilote, when it launched, in 1959 and ran for years. The former is more recent, taking the pirate from Treasure Island on a new adventure.

  7. Bright-Raven


    Well… for all ages, hard to go wrong with Ted Naifeh’s POLLY & THE PIRATES

    Polly and the Pirates, Volume 1 collects issues 1-6, 176 pages, August 2006, ISBN 978-1932664461

    The series was followed up by a graphic novel, illustrated by Robbi Rodriguez:

    Polly and the Pirates Volume 2: Mystery of the Dragonfish, 168 pages, February 2012, ISBN 978-1934964736

    And then there’s THE MAPMAKER from Scout Comics Vol. 1 by Ben Slabak and illustrated by Francesca Carità, published by Scout Comics, November 2021, ISBN 978-1949514759

    You guys can edit the post and put the Amazon links in. I don’t know how to do it.

    For teens / adults:

    Obviously there’s ONE PIECE (not my jam, but it’s popular).

    Also obvious is TERRY & THE PIRATES by Milton Caniff.

    Second the SWORDS OF THE SWASHBUCKLERS, but only the original 11-12 issue run written by Bill Mantlo. The modern run that was done via Dynamite, written by Marc Guggenheim a few years back, didn’t cut it for me.

    I think we would be remiss if we don’t mention the 1970s era of CONAN comics where he’s with paired up with Belit, the Pirate Queen of the Black Coast. (Can’t speak to the more modern versions of the Belit character from Marvel or Dark Horse as I’ve never read them.)

    Claremont and Cockrum’s Pirate Kitty storyline in X-MEN circa 1982-83, that Cockrum later revisited in the NIGHTCRAWLER four issue miniseries in 1985.

    I haven’t read it, but I hear that A MAN AMONG YE by Stephanie Phillips and Craig Cermak is pretty respectable and is historical fiction about the real pirate Anne Bonny.

    European comics out of France and Belgium … well there’s probably a good 12-15 titles to talk about, some of them current.

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