From School Library Journal
Grade 8 Up–It is 1701 and Catfish Crogan is making his living working as a sailor. Unfortunately, the ship he has recently boarded is captained by a merciless pirate who is out for vengeance on Crogan for &political& differences he had with Crogan&'s grandfather during Cromwell&'s War. The captain&'s bullying and mistreatment, however, are not solely aimed at Crogan. He is nasty to all his sailors. Caring little about their welfare, he deprives them of food and works them to the bone. Although Crogan desires to be an honest sailor, he finds himself caught in a moral dilemma, and he eventually becomes a pirate, too. Filled with mutiny, ferocious storms, shark-infested waters, commandeering of ships, and–of course–swashbuckling sword fights, this book has high teen appeal. The black-and-white art decreases potential goriness, keeping this story accessible to younger teens. Schweizer&'s cartoon-style characters are minimalist in nature, and quite delightful. Detailed illustrations of scenery appear in some panels, showing Schweizer&'s versatility as an artist. The one drawback is that the large lettering used throughout at times overwhelms the drawings. This story would be a great addition to any teen collection. This series will feature various Crogan ancestors throughout history.–Lara McAllister, Halifax Public Libraries, Nova Scotia
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In what promises to be a series of graphic-novel adventures featuring different members from the Crogan family (the motley derring-do–ready group includes an eighteenth-century minuteman, an Old West gunfighter, a World War I pilot, a ’50s private eye, and even a ninja), Schweizer begins with this buccaneer’s tale. After “Catfoot” Crogan’s ship is waylaid by pirates, he and his fellow crew members join the group, led by an honorable captain and a dastardly first mate. Mutinies, duels, cannonades, narrow escapes, and plenty of ribald banter ensue. The black-and-white inked artwork hones in best on the facial expressions of the various players as they goggle and sneer at one another, but the pictures struggle a bit when tasked to carry the action. Although this doesn’t try to explore any new coves in the honorable-pirate seas, it’s great escapist fare for boys (there’s zero female presence), and fans of Scott Chantler’s more sophisticated historical graphic-novel adventure The Annotated Northwest Passage (2007) should gobble this up on sight. Grades 7-12. --Ian Chipman