Recently, I contributed to a great online fundraiser for Flintlock on Kickstarter, mainly because the art was so beautiful and the subject matter appealed to me. I love pirates and highway men. I love 18th Century colonial and European settings, especially with tricorne hats, horses, ships, sabres, and pistols. So I had to read Flintlock.
Flintlock is written by Steve Tanner. There are three illustrators- Anthony Summey, Lorenzo Nicoretta, and Ed Machiavello. Bolt-01 is the letterer, and the book is distributed by Time Bomb Comics (www.timebombcomics.com). The artwork is black and white with a cover that’s in color, with clean and smooth lines. The backgrounds are detailed and well-proportioned with the characters.
This comic has both a highwayman story and a pirate story, which is pretty awesome. At first, I thought the two characters pictured on the cover of the comic shared the same story, but they are in two separate tales. So basically, this is a double feature- which is cool! Two comics, both of about standard length (each over 22 pages) so you really get your money’s worth when buying this comic. I’m glad I got my first book in a Kickstarter, though! This comic also came with “Flintlock #1: The Expanded Chirurgery” which has a bunch of cool notes and character art, so that was a nice little plus to get with the comic.
The first story, Lady Flintlock, is fun, flows well, and is easy to follow. There’s a highwayman (who is a woman… but no one knows that as of yet) who is robbing people on the road at night, causing trouble. An angry group of gentlemen discuss ideas for the best way they can stop this highwayman, and what ensues is a game of cat and mouse between the highwayman and a hunter of highwaymen.
The action in this first story is fun, especially seeing the highwayman and the hunter fight. The hunter is pretty vicious as a hired mercenary. Watching their dispute took me back to the Lone Wolf and Cub manga (one of my favorites) where mercenaries are constantly hired to hunt down a ronin whose a former executioner. Seeing a gutsy protagonist who has to fight off someone pursuing them, especially when the antagonist is brutally intimidating, is exciting. The protagonist is also a beautiful, strong, and crafty female whose secret identity is hidden behind a scarf, hat, and cloak, having to protect her true persona as much as she protects her life. I like that.
The second story, Shanti: The Pirate Queen, features a cool South Asian Indian character as the protagonist, and is filled with a lot of action as well. It’s cool to see a comic set in the seas of India, where there is an extensive pirate history that probably isn’t utilized as often in fiction from the Western Hemisphere. So it’s a cool portrayal of a subject that I wasn’t taught about in history and was only given glimpses of through searching on the internet. Either way, it’s a cool setting. Basically, Shanti is a badass ruler of the seas, and she doesn’t spare any ship or sailor that would dare challenge her royalty over the Indian Ocean.
The art is Shanti is different in comparison to the art in Lady Flintlock. The art in Lady Flintlock is definitely better and of a high professional level. In Shanti, while the proportions of the characters aren’t as sturdy or balanced as the Lady Flintlock story, it’s still good and enjoyable overall. I do like the dark, bold lines in this story, as well as the uniqueness to the art style. Technically, it isn’t flawless, but there’s originality there along with cool backgrounds and great facial expressions. The art still flows with the story and keeps the plot going. I could see someone who’s really big on proportion to find the differences between Lady Flintlock’s art and Shanti’s art to be jarring when one story switches to the other, but for people that like underground comics, and are less elitist/picky about line variation and perfect measurements, they would enjoy the art and still love the way it works with the storytelling.
Along with liking the backgrounds, facial expressions, and bold lines in Shanti, my favorite part about the art in this story is how Lady Shanti, The Pirate Queen, is drawn. She also has an awesome tiger with her, and I love the way the tiger is drawn as well. For the story, it’s even more action-packed than the first story, and gets pretty brutal in violence! The story also serves as a good introduction to Shanti’s character. We see how she rules the seas, and doesn’t spare any pirates or sailors that would dare to intrude upon her territory.
I like the concepts of both comics in this double feature. They work well in black and white line art, and I’m curious to one day see a colored version of the story pages. Since the art is so clean and proportionally even, much like a professional coloring book, it seems like it could be reinterpreted in so many cool ways by so many different colorists without clashing with the line art.
I love Flintlock. I want to read more. If this is an ongoing comic, I want to keep supporting it, and letting people know about it. I’m thankful to Time Bomb Comics for running this Kickstarter, and I hope to see more of Lady Flintlock and Shanti’s adventures soon.
I’ve looked online to see if this comic has been released on ComiXology, Amazon, or any other retailer yet. I don’t see any copies on sale at these retailers, but I do see them available for purchase at http://timebombcomics.com/products.html. Check out their website and get your hands on this fun comic if you haven’t already. You won’t regret it!