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Crogan's Vengeance (Crogan Adventures 1) (The Crogan Adventures) Hardcover – October 22, 2008
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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
Top customer reviews
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Schweizer has an interesting setup for his new series. Each book is about one member of the Crogan family throughout history. The stories are told by a father to his sons as he helps them see how their ancestors dealt with troubles in their life. This first volume about "Catfoot" Crogan, a pirate in the early 18th century, come from Dr. Crogan as he tells his son, Eric, about Crogan's experiences to show him how one can do the wrong thing for the right reason and how sometimes it's hard to know exactly what the right and wrong things are. Thanks to Schweizer's strong writing, the moral is not shoved down readers' throats. Instead, he shows how Crogan thinks and acts and allows the readers to take their own lessons from that.
Crogan and his crewmates are a rough and salty bunch ---- exactly what readers expect from a pirate tale ---- but they're also shown to be a mix of good and evil and all points in between, keeping the story a good shade of gray instead of a moralizing black and white. Crogan is not much of a talker, but his motives are clear nonetheless. It's those around him who talk, and through Crogan's responses to them we are shown who he is. The plot is fast-paced and action-movie exciting. There is plenty of swordplay, complex plots to win coming battles, daring feats atop tall masts, and more. There aren't chapter breaks, but there are natural points in the story where action pauses and allows readers to catch their breath.
Schweizer's art is cartoonish, but not gimmicky or childish. He draws with a thick ink line that adds gravity and depth to his characters and settings. The characters are drawn in a caricature style and shading is minimal, but his art is distinct enough that readers can still keep up, even when the panels are full of detail. He doesn't neglect the gritty reality of seafaring life in the 1800s, but nothing is too graphic for a teenage and up audience. Because of the well-crafted plot, strong writing, and distinctive art, Schweizer's series is off to a great start and should prove popular with teen and adult graphic novel fans.
-- Snow Wildsmith
8 year old - "I really, really, really...infinity liked it! The story, the characters, the art, all of it."
6 year old - "It was a fun story and I liked all the pirate stuff."
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