Friday, February 03, 2006

Polly & the Pirates: Kickin' it Peg Leg Style!

Polly and the Pirates- #3 out of 6
written & illustrated by Ted Naifeh Published by Oni Press

I'm reading this wonderful new mini-series that I've yet to see anyone talking about, which I think needs to be remedied. So here's the remedy. Halfway through the series and I love almost everything about it- it's sweet, funny, exciting and a refreshing change from a lot of the glossy-but-empty stuff that gets all the press. Read on, click on some pretty pictures and run out and read these books!

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Polly Pringle is a proper young lady who attends and all-girls boarding school run by Miss Lovejoy. She's very polite, well-mannered and ladylike, she trise to be just like her mother- the finest, most beautiful lady ever- who died during Polly's birth. Her best friend Stasia, however, dreams of escaping and having romantic adventures with handsome pirate murderers in exotic locations, and is constantly getting in trouble. After talking Polly into a failed attemptto sneak out, the girls go back to sleep for another uneventful night. It's not to be though- as Polly's bed is SHANGHAIED! (i love that word) right onto a pirate ship! I mean literally, they SHANGHAI! the whole bed!

On board the good ship Titania is a crew of your usual salty-looking pirates, though maybe they're just a little bit older and shorter than most. They mean no harm, however, and a mate named Scrimshaw comes forward to explain things to Polly. She's shocked when she's shown a large portrait of a woman who looks *just* like Polly, though she's dressed as a pirate. She's Meg Malloy, the Pirate Queen, former captain of the Titania, and Scrimshaw says it's her mother! Apparently they need a captain, and the crew won't listen to ol' Scrimy but they will follow the daughter of Meg Malloy. Polly's mother was a proper lady, so this just isn't possible... isn''t it?

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The Story So Far in Issue 3... Last issue ended with Polly getting SHANGHAIED! yet again, this time by the dashing Pirate Prince. He claims the map Meg Malloy had led to a treasure that was stolen from his father, the Pirate King, and he's willing to cut Polly in a little if she can tell him where it is. She turns him down, but after threatening to ruin Polly's perfect reputation to get it, she reluctantly concedes. (How would he ruin her rep? By telling Miss Lovejoy a story of his & Polly's "secret love affair". Dude, the age different between them makes this even creepier...)
She goes back to Scrimshaw (aka Seamus to non-pirates, who's washing the dishes at The Queen Meg pub, to get information.

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It turns out Seamus had the map in a pirate hat given to him by Queen Meg, but lost the hat a few years ago- click on the thumbnail above to see how. Oh, poor solly Seamus. Back to the Pirate Prince, Polly does something she's not proud of that lets her go back to the home and leaves Seamus's future in untrustworthy pirate hands. Will Polly go on with her proper life, or will she rise to the occasion and bravely right the wrong she perpetuated by saving Scrimshaw/Seamus, find the treasure map and become the next Pirate Queen? Only 3 more issues to go...

Just a Note... A nice thing about this series is that the little girl protagonist doesn't WANT adventure. While other girls may be fantasizing about running away and being "naughty", Polly wants none of that- she's a True Blue Good Girl. Usually in adventure stories the little girl is a tomboy just itching for excitement (ala Pippy Longstocking) I doubt this will stand out to anyone else, but ever since I was a little girl I've read hundreds of stories like that. I was a good, quiet little girl who dreamed of adventure but was never really pushy or loudmouthed about it and I never got in trouble, so I could never relate to the smart-mouthed little cookies in literature. Polly is smart and she's no priss, but she's definitely a reluctant heroine and I love that.

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The Art & Content This is an all black & white series, with art that more closely resembles storybooks than comic books. It's really lovely and very cute, and I think the round cleanness of the whole thing will really appeal to children. There's no bad language, violence or sex in this series so it's really for all-ages- and still manages to be very intelligent and not pander to anyone. I'm really happy I picked this series up, and I can't recommend it enough to everyone else.


Blogger Charles said...

it reminds me of storybooks meet manga. It's a really nice series... Of course I have only read issue #1 (a bad habit of mine)

9:09 PM  

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