A Man Among Ye #1 is published by Image Comics. It is written by Stephanie Philips with art by Craig Cermak and colors by Brittany Pezzillo.
Who doesn’t love a good pirate story? Swashbuckling, treasure, adventure on the open seas – I think everyone enjoys a good pirate tale. However, most pirate tales are about men. Most people seem to think that women didn’t partake in the act of piracy. Most people have never heard of the very real pirates, Anne Bonny and Mary Read.
I’ll be honest, I didn’t know who they were either until a couple years ago when Stuff You Missed in History Class did a fantastic podcast episode about them. While the name “Calico Jack” probably rings a bell for many, Anne and Mary were just as fierce, if not more so, than their captain. Even the comic’s title comes from a quote from Mary. The legend goes that when the governor’s men surround Jack’s ship, he called for surrender, but Anne and Mary refused, and remained on deck to fight the men alone. Mary was so disappointed in the men on the she called into the hold, “If there’s a man among ye, ye’ll come up and fight like the man ye are to be!” but none responded, so she fired on her own comrades.
That’s enough about regular history. Let’s talk about this fantastic historical comic. I love the way Stephanie Phillips writes, in particular, her portrayal of Anne is perfect. Women were not very accepted on pirate ships and while the men complain about her presence, Anne Bonny couldn’t care less and she makes her indifference to their opinion known. She isn’t afraid to punch or get punched, she will spit in someone’s face without fear, she will mercilessly burn a ship to ashes even if soldiers are still alive on it. She is as true a pirate as they come, but she clearly has a soft spot, reprimanding the crew for ganging up on a small boy.
It’s technically a spoiler if you don’t know their story, but as soon as I saw the boy, I knew it was Mary. Mary was younger than Anne and had spent years of her life passing herself off as a boy and living in hiding. However, Stephanie Phillips and Craig Cermak do a good job with their writing and art to not make it overtly apparent that she’s a girl. I also love Anne’s design. Though she was known for dressing in men’s baggy clothes, I can’t dent how absolutely badass she looks. Phillips has shown us before just how capable she is when is comes to writing historical comics (The Butcher of Paris) and if this first issue tells us anything, it’s that she isn’t going to disappoint.
OVERALL SCORE: 8.5 / 10
Make sure to pick up A Man Among Ye #1 from your local comic shop!