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The Corsair

In these times of peace with the treacherous Albion, an incredible event will upset the monotonous routine of the French corsairs. A veritable genie, distant cousin of Aladdin’s genie from ‘1001 Nights’, offers them three wishes. These expert pirates fall into a series of adventures which will make them cross the southern seas in the search of The Treasure of Rackham The Cruel. In his direct and bright painting style, Vincent Pompetti brings an epic breath to this story of pirates imagined by Tarek.



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Vincent Pompetti,

7 reviews for The Corsair

  1. Your review is awaiting approval

    Fans of ‘Mutiny on the Bounty,’ ‘Treasure Island,’ and pirate tales in general should get a kick out of this graphic novel. If you have sons or daughters who love those books, this would definitely make a great gift for them, and a great way to introduce them to graphic novels.

    If you’re familiar with the history of privateers, or more specifically French corsairs, this story is right up your alley. Throw in the twist of a genie in a bottle and your standard three wishes, a search for pirate booty, a captain with a hook for a hand, and battles at sea and on a mysterious island, and you’ve got yourself the perfect distraction for an afternoon read.

    The text opens with a touch of political intrigue, as we learn the King’s Minister of the Navy has decreed that the corsairs stand down in light of treaty agreements signed with England. One of his agents descends on Saint-Malo to ensure that the corsairs are prepared to abide by the King’s orders. Captain Rosscoff, our protagonist, along with his ship and crew, will certainly have other plans in mind. Thus our story begins, with a tall tale of abandoned treasure, and a genie who strikes up a bargain with the captain so that the magic being might return home.

    At the end of the book, the writers provide some great material to complement the narrative. Quick introductions to the main characters and their personalities prepare you for the tale. In addition, a brief history of the port city of Saint-Malo and the corsairs that set sail from there situate you in the context. I recommend starting here, then dive into the book. But if you’d prefer to read it as presented, essentially as an afterword, you’ll have no problem getting into the novel. I usually turn to this complementary material in a book as a matter of course. The more I know going in, the more I feel I can spend time getting into the story as opposed to figuring it out. A nice bonus was the bibliography of maritime history consulted by the creators. Though the books listed are French publications, a quick search could reveal some translations or other works in English that might pique your interest.

    The art and coloring for “The Corsair” appear more like watercolor paintings than a typical hand-drawn comic. This style definitely suits the splash pages that seem to remind me of images and scenes bleeding over, or fading in and out on top of each other, in a movie. The battles at sea, the images of the ships on the horizon, sailing to the setting sun, all come together in a lovely way. The coloring is bright and eye-catching, almost as if you’re stuck at sea, the sun bearing overhead.

    If I had any complaints about the story, it’s simply that it seemed a little too abrupt. It would have been nice to read a more detailed introduction to our crew, a few pages of life for them at sea. I would’ve loved to have another 20 pages of the fights and scuffles of Rosscoff’s crew and the pirates and islanders they encountered. It ended too soon. Then again, that’s what turning back to the beginning and setting sail again is all about.

    If you’re looking for a nice afternoon diversion, that might inspire you to read some real-life histories of privateers and corsairs, you won’t go wrong with reading “The Corsair.”

  2. W. Hasan

    Received this copy in exchange for a review. Enjoyed the artwork. The story is simple, but we didn’t get to see a lot of the character development. It was hard to follow at times with the characters and what was happening in the story. Especially between the two rivals. The comic had a very Robert Louis Stevenson style and was a fun read nonetheless. An easy read that can be completed in one setting.
    Loved the background and historical insight offered at the end. Would definitely loved to get to know the characters more.

  3. Athos

    Black Panel Press sent me a free copy of this graphic novel in exchange for a review.

    Yesterday I took this graphic novel outside with me to the back porch to read in the sunny weather and finished in one sitting. “Corsairs were civilians who, in wartime and with the authorization of the authorities, fought with equivalent status to the military but without being subject to the authority of an army staff. Conversely, pirates practice banditry–a life lived for plunder and mischief.” We normally use these words interchangeably, not in this tale; there is a distinction.

    It is a simple story. We have two ships (corsair and pirate) searching for lost treasure on an island with natives. There are sword fights, gunfire exchange, and a genie from Arabia. This is a tale suitable for tween (ages 9-12) boys; they would love this! There are elements of The Corsair that remind me of Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island.

    In the rear of the book is an afterword with a character listing and intriguing historical information on the setting and personages relating to the novel.

  4. funnyonpaper

    I love seeing water-color style artwork in graphic novels. It was quite refreshing! Overall, this was an ok novel. It took me about an hour to finish and was a nice way to spend an early morning. My biggest critique would have to be with the plot and pacing. There was a good amount of exposition in places where I thought would have been better served with dialogue. There was very little character development overall but an interesting twist at the end.

  5. Eric Lawrence

    Early 20th century pulp magazines and their more respectable “adventure” literary brethren from the likes of Sabatini and Stevenson were important influences on the comic book industry that has flourished for nearly a century. However, over time, the superhero genre has become the dominant mode in the comics, leaving such once-popular genres as western, war & romance comics in their wake. Consequently, it is nice to see Canadian publisher Black Panel offer some throw-back nautical storytelling with their recent graphic novel, The Corsair.

    Buoyed by the success of the Pirates of the Caribbean ride/movie series, books by authors like Patrick O’Brian, and TV series like “Black Sails,” writer Tarek has come up with an original, exciting tale of swashbuckling and buried treasure (with a touch of the fantastic), that is nicely matched by illustrator Pompetti’s painted panels, which convincingly convey the griminess of life on the sea. There’s even a very informative text epilogue that gives some facts about the setting of their story.

    It is clear that this English language version is a translation, which sometimes comes off a little inelegantly over the fast-reading 64 pages with some occasional clunky text boxes. But they never interfere with the enjoyment of this overlooked subgenre of comic book storytelling. I hope there are more salty seadog tales to come from these creators/publisher!

    (This objective review is offered in exchange of a promotional copy of the book.)

  6. Bloodember

    I loved the water color art style. The story is good, just nothing ground breaking. It’s about a Corsair ship captain, treasure, a genie, adventure, and bad luck at the end and seems to be set in the late 1600’s or early 1700’s. At the end of the book is a summary of characters and some history which some people may enjoy. I wasn’t a fan, but I’m sure many will like or even love the story. (Book was given to me by the publisher to review).

  7. Anna McQuere

    I had the privilege to read this graphic novel when it first came out and I didn’t disappoint. While the storyline and plot are nothing new to fiction in any capacity, the art and information about sailors, corsairs, pirates and royalty make up for any shortcomings. What the reader will find especially fascinating is the summary of information about the characters and the brief, but real, history of villages and port cities that are discussed and explored in the graphic novel. The one things I would have changed is having this summary of information in the front, as opposed to the end, when you finish the novel. Black Panel Press has a winner on its hands. I recommend it and look forward to other works by the publisher.

  8. Donald Mcclung

    Solid writing, an engaging story, and awesome art all come together to make this a rollicking good sea yarn. The story starts with a little bit of exposition which is not terribly exciting, but the action picks up quickly and does not stop. The art — watercolors, I think — is incredible, I could hear the canons roaring during the sea battle. Character depictions are not perfectly lifelike, but far from cartoonish. It is easy to recognize the characters from page to page, unlike with some graphic novel art. The writers clearly did their research, grounding the story in reality but adding some fantastical elements as well. Some of the dialogue seems stilted, and I can’t tell if that is because it’s realistic to the 1600s or because of the translation from French. Either way, it’s no big deal. If you’re considering this book for your kids who love pirates (not that “corsair” and “pirate’ mean the same thing), be aware that there is one PG-13 scene. This book will be a good read for them, or anyone… especially anyone who thinks pirates were limited to the Caribbean. Brief character backstories, three pages of real history, and even a bibliography are inlcuded. RECOMMENDED! (This is not marked as a verified purchase because the publisher sent me a copy and asked me to review it here.)

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