Jeremy Bastian's Cursed Pirate Girl has taken a long voyage to Archaia, the publisher that's releasing a new collection of its first three issues on Dec. 12.
The series — an all-ages tale depicting the adventures of (you guessed it) a cursed pirate girl, and noted for Bastian's exceptionally detailed art — was originally intended for release at Archaia a few years back, before moving to Olympian Publishing. Cursed Pirate Girl is now getting the hardcover treatment from Archaia — distinguished for acclaimed releases in the format like Jim Henson's Tale of Sand and Return of the Dapper Men — along with new material, plus an exhibit of original art from the series at the Century Guild gallery in Los Angeles, opening on Saturday and running through Dec. 8.
Newsarama talked to writer/artist Bastian about the new collected edition, the exhibit, work on volume two and an update on the Cursed Pirate Girl audio play.
Newsarama: Jeremy, the Cursed Pirate Girl hardcover is set to be released in just a couple of weeks. It's been a long road — how gratifying is it to see this collection about to hit stores? And at Archaia, no less, which was going to be the original home of the series years back.Jeremy Bastian: It's really amazing! It has been a long road filled with many setbacks and delays, but it's finally happening! Everything has worked out just how I've hoped though. When I was first going to publish it at Archaia they wanted the book in color and I wasn't too excited about that, I'm just not a great colorist. Then Olympian came along and allowed me to do the book just the way I wanted it and more, I would've never thought of hand-stamping each book with a title.
And now the book will be seen by a much larger audience through Archaia, and everybody at Olympian couldn't be happier. I kinda like the idea of coming full circle with it; I've admired Archaia for their craftsmanship in creating a really cool-looking art piece and not just another trade collection for your shelf.
Nrama: What's new in this hardcover edition? And given Arcahia's considerable reputation for their graphic novels, what are your expectations in terms of reaching a broader audience?Bastian: With this hardcover I had the chance to design a bit, I had a lot of fun with it. There is an alternate cover gallery in the back, a guest gallery that follows a little story I wrote with three new pages of art that has an extra special sort of payoff at the very back and I also created a map of the Omerta seas for the endpapers. There are a couple little extra illos here and there as well.
I think people will like it, I really like what Archaia has done with it. When they asked me what kind of features I wanted with it I had a couple of things that I had dreamed of putting into this book and they said. "no problem." I didn't really believe it would come out even cooler than I had imagined. I think we've created something that will definitely stop people and make them pick it up and take a look inside.
Nrama: It's immediately evident that Cursed Pirate Girl looks and feels like something very different, in an industry where there can be a lot of homogeneity. In past interviews, you've expressed a fondness for and history with some more mainstream comics and creators — did any of that inspire Cursed Pirate Girl? Or was it mainly outside influences?Bastian: Well, I knew that I wanted to be a comic artist since I was like eight years old and there are a lot of comic creators that I hold extremely high in my personal hall of heroes. When I was trying to figure out what my style was going to be in the comic world, how my vision of graphic storytelling would differ from everything else, I took a lot of inspiration from those role models. They were the standard at which I judged my competence of being a professional in the comic world.
I am very fortunate and a little bit geeked out that now some of those role models actually like my work and when I say hi to them at conventions they know who I am. The look of Cursed Pirate Girl is mostly influenced by that older world of illustration, the world of Rackham, Walter Crane, Gustave Doré, and many more. I have always been fascinated by the worlds they have brought to life and the almost mystical nature of their work. I am even more fortunate that I've been given the time I needed to create this book. I don't think I would've been able to grow as much as I have—artistically—if I was forced to work at a faster pace.Nrama: Starting this weekend, work from Cursed Pirate Girl will be exhibited at the Century Guild gallery in Los Angeles. It's a rare accomplishment for a comic book to get that kind of achievement — considering the amount of work you put into each page, is it satisfying that people are going to be able to view it in a gallery setting?
Bastian: Oh yes, I work at actual size when I'm working on the book and it's really cool to see all those originals put up on a wall. A gallery show is the dream of every artist and to do one in LA just down the street from Galleries like Corey Helford and Thinkspace... Well, I'm kind of constantly giggling. I hope I don't freak anybody out Saturday night when the show opens. [Laughs.]Nrama: It's annoying to ask "what's next?" when the hardcover isn't even on sale yet, but you have mentioned elsewhere that you're working on volume 2. I know it'll be a while before any new material surfaces, but what can you say about how that process is going thus far?
Bastian: Slow and steady. I think people will be surprised to find that I haven't plateaued yet, I am actually getting more dense with detail and texture. I am pretty sure by the end of this story arc I will be much closer to madness than I am currently. Ever since I completed "the Sacking of the Royal City of Cub" poster for the Kickstarter backers, I set the bar just a little bit higher as far as what I expect out of myself. Now every thing has to be as good or better than that and I love that challenge. There are a couple of pages of this next book included in the gallery show, so some of you can get a sneak peek as to what I mean. I am excited about the next volume, there is so much more drama, action and strangeness that occurs, I think that when I am ready for issue one of volume two to come out people will be satisfied.Nrama: On a similar note — what's the latest update on the Cursed Pirate Girl audio play?
Bastian: We are probably a third of the way done. We've got a lot of the main characters cast, some of which you might recognize. Stephanie Leonidas from MirrorMask and Defiance as Cursed Pirate Girl, John C. Reilly from Walk Hard, Randy Couture from The Expendables, Jim and Bébé Rose from the Jim Rose Circus, Robert Boulter from BBC's Casualty, and Grant Morrison and Dave McKean as the Swordfish Brothers. And if you'd like to hear (and see) some of the outtakes, here's a link.
This whole project just blows me away and I can't wait to hear the whole thing. It's so weird hearing all those amazing people saying my words, it's so bizarre. I couldn't thank Mr. Tom Negovan (the man behind Olympian Publishing and Century Guild) enough, this is all his idea and I couldn't be more in awe of what he's done with it.Got a comment? There's lots of conversation on Newsarama's FACEBOOK and TWITTER!