Yo Ho! Pirate Queen Brings Comic Book Booty to Crowdfund Backers

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Pirate Queen #1 Cover B

Pirate Queen, written by Mandy Summers and illustrated by Clint Hilinski, is sixty-pages of sexy interstellar satire and parody. Independently published through an Indiegogo campaign, Pirate Queen is one of the very few books I've received where I was not pulled out of the story by some niggling (or, occasionally, glaring) editing mistake. The book credits the editor as Valentino, so kudos on a job successfully done there!

The rest of the book is a treasure trove of swashbuckling action and sci-fi fun. Nearly every panel is an Easter egg hunt for characters or items from such franchises as Star Wars, Star Trek, and other geek franchises. (A sharp eye will even identify a cameo appearance by some thirteenth-generation officers of a federation!) Summers delivers a cohesive narrative of adventure from the mold of Indiana Jones, setting it in a colorful spaceship-laden environment, but the publishing banner, Mayhem Comics Group, is the flagship of artist Clint Hilinski. Hilinski is making a growing reputation among the indie scene as a good girl artist, most recently with his latest comic book campaign, The Blue Bombshell

This first issue contains two adventures -- well, one-and-a-half to be accurate. The first entry is an untitled first chapter which finds the titular (stop giggling) Pirate Queen, Ava Bloodstone, escaping with some ethically-gray gambling winnings. The chase provides the opportunity to introduce the two primary members of her crew, Zora and Kragar, and ends in a firefight that gets interrupted by the arrival of Reylo, weilder of a psychic 'force' and bearer of a laser sword that puts Ava at a disadvantage. In the tradition of the best swashbuckling serials, this short chapter ends on a cliffhanger which will get resolved with the next installment -- but not in this issue.

The second story, also by Summers and Hilinski, is much longer, but no less of a tease for the next book. Ava and her crew, again on the run from authorities, are hired by an exiled prince to infiltrate his home planet and kidnap his sister who is being held hostage and forced into a marriage she doesn't desire. There's plenty of fists, plenty of fire, and plenty of skin as the Pirate Queen hatches a plan to get close to the princess and stage her rescue. Now if only someone could tell the princess...

On the whole, this book is a winning endeavor. The story is fast-paced and fluid, the artwork is just caricaturish enough to bring it down a notch from pin-up work, and the production values are higher than your standard floppy from mainstream publishers. You can feel the weight of these sixty pages when you lift the book -- it feels bigger than it looks, and it takes longer to read than your average splash-page riddled Spider-Bat book. This is a franchise where I'm already looking forward to the second issue.

In the meantime, readers can find more of Mandy Summers work at her own publishing company, Stuntman Comics, including a link to her next crowdfunded project, Jack the Ripper: Vampire Hunter, which she is producing with artist Peter Gilmore.

4.5 / 5.0