Buccaneers #2


Continuing from yesterday’s post, these nameless characters were sketches for a proposed comic strip that writer Jamie Delano and I were planning in the mid-Nineties. We had a feeling that the long-neglected pirate genre was due for a revival and talked about a revisionist take on buccaneering which would dispense with the Robert Newton antics and steer closer to the brutal reality. Among the touchstones there was On Stranger Tides by Tim Powers, the anarchist pirate community in Cities of the Red Night by William Burroughs and the ferocious scalp-hunters in Cormac McCarthy’s masterpiece, Blood Meridian. There was also talk of throwing some voodoo into the mix, hence the veve tattoos. It wasn’t to be, of course. Little of my work has ever resembled mainstream comics fare and Jamie’s publishers, DC Comics, had already been underwhelmed by the detailed style I was using in the Lovecraft and Lord Horror comics. When I tried presenting them with some trial pages in a more open style I was told that they’d been expecting to see more of my detailed line work…

We had a couple of other characters planned, including a tattooed islander inspired by Queequeg from Moby Dick, but the samples here are the best of the sketches. The shark- or whale-jaw false leg was my own invention and something I’m fairly sure I’ve not seen before. I’ve no idea whether such a thing is workable but it was a nice touch.

Continue reading “Buccaneers #2”

Davy Jones


No, not the dreadful singer from The Monkees but he of the undersea locker and also the new villain in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest. Bill Nighy plays this splendidly-designed character, with the assistance of some CGI to get those tentacles working. I’ve still not seen the first film but the look of this makes me more interested in the series as a whole.

Aside from William Hope Hodgson‘s sea tales, the pirates plus voodoo/Sargasso Sea angle has rarely been exploited properly in fiction. Tim Powers had a go in On Stranger Tides but the results fell rather flat. In film there’s been hardly anything apart from the Hammer oddity The Lost Continent (1968), based on Uncharted Seas, a Dennis Wheatley potboiler that plundered Hodgson’s Sargasso Sea stories. The new Pirates film may be about to amend this situation; Davy Jones looks like something dreamed up after a heavy diet of Hodgson and HP Lovecraft.