Review: “Pirate Shorts”

This is an absolutely gorgeous little quarter-sized mini.

The artist, Shelli Parachutes, is a fantastic artist. Her inking, especially, is so goddamn gorgeous. It reminds me a lot of how people talk about how Jeff Smith’s brush work just sings. This is art that sings. Manga’s influence on her work and character designs is pronounced, but is clearly just an influence and not a goal for a very talented illustrator, and I wish I could wield a brush half as well as her. Her color choices and design sense on the cover of this little gem are impeccable.
P Shorts
The only downside to this book is that there aren’t any real stories inside. There’s a couple cute little gags, mostly wordless: a therapeutic approach to Han Solo’s problems with an unmotivated hyperdrive motivator in “The Empire Strikes Back”; a “Tortoise And The Hare” story where they’re dueling ship captains; a tie-your-shoes tutorial; and a final bit about a pirate lookout with a spyglass trying to get rid of the gulls annoying her.

The last one is the only bit that read both clearly for me.

The Tortoise and Hare thing was kind of confusing to read, and in the end, I guess the moral is that three turtles can row better than two hares? The shoe-tying thing was fine enough. The single gags (like a fish at a sushi bar) were really funny.

And really, anything I feel are storytelling deficiencies in her artwork is eclipsed by the beauty of these lines (in this short format). I’m happy just to look at the pictures. Charles Schultz once said that a comic must first and foremost be fun to look at. This SO is.

Shelli is a student of the Massachusetts College of Art, and I picked up a copy of their second group anthology at SPX, and I’m looking forward to see if the story in that book reads easier for me. But as far as Pirate Shorts is concerned, (which came in a exact-sized bag to protect the second cover that makes the waves.) I’m happy just to enjoy looking at a gem for its sparkle.

Check out more of her stuff at her site.

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