Avast, ye scurvy swabs and cast yer eyes at the final cover for the Red Seas by series co-creator and sole artist, Mr Steve Yeowell. The cover features the dashing Captain Jack Dancer and his motley crew, as well as the odd villain or two! But how will the series end? Will Jack find himself in Davy Jones' locker or will it be off to the Jolly Cripple for a well deserved ale?
The series, written by Ian Edginton, began in October 2002, almost a year before Pirates of the Caribbean hit our screens. The strip followed the exploits of Captain Dancer and his adventures on the high seas and beyond. Those expecting a simple pirate romp were quickly proven wrong as the story took us on a complex journey through fantastical lands, other time periods and dimensions, pitting Jack agains all manner of gods, monsters, characters from history and literature and even old scratch himself!
I asked Steve how he felt completing the strip he'd worked on for so many years, he said "It's still sinking in. In the immortal words of Chairman Meo when asked about the effects of French Revolution, 'It is too early to tell!'" Sinking in - ha!
Below we see Steve's rough pencil sketch for the final cover, note the composition lines to give the image maximum impact...
Captain Jack throws brussel sprouts at the reader...
With the sketch approved by the Mighty One, Steve works on these beautiful pencils. A true craftsman at work here...
All together now: "I'm your pirate Dancer, a dancer for money, do what you want me to doooo!"
And finally, marvel at his perfect inks...
The Flashing Blade!
With the inks completed, it was off to colourist Abigail Ryder to work her magic on a really nice colouring job...
But can you name them all?
And here's how the prog looks on your shelf, ta daaaa...
I thought we could send the Red Seas off in style by looking at some of it's many memorable covers of the past, starting with the odious Doctor Orlando Ignatius Maximillion Herodetous Doyle...
Sword off, Orlando!
Next, my favourite Red Seas cover of all time which kicked off the Underworld saga...
Jack up to his neck in trouble!
The next covers are from the hilarious Old Gods story, which saw Jack outwit some cranky Norse Gods, grab some awesome weapons and even become immortal!
You can lead a Norse to water...
Jack gets to grips with the Lightning Bow.
One character from history who appeared in the series was Sir Isaac Newton, who was a member of the mysterious Brotherhood of the Book. This shadowy organisation, who are the guardians of mankind's secret magical history, have appeared in many Edginton strips, tying together several characters of the 'Edgverse.' The cover below shows the great clock who's chimes summon the brotherhood to order...
Now that's a skeleton clock!
The next cover features Captain Sarita, Jack's plucky cousin who joins him on several of his adventures...
The cover for Prog 1688 absolutely freaked me out! Lobsters are vicious looking gits at the best of times, giant lobsters more so!
Clint Langley provided his first Red Seas cover for Prog 1691. This terrifying monster was the first traditionally drawn image for Clint in over ten years!
The brilliant Boo Cook provided this exceptional, Joseph Turner inspired cover for Prog 1699, celebrating ten years working for the Mighty Tharg!
I'm sure this cover was inspired by Prog 89, is this the end for poor Jack?
"Don't Die Dear Jack (sob!) Please don't die!"
And finally, Clint Langley is back with this absolutely incredible wraparound featuring thousands of undead souls making giant Gollums, amazing!
So it's a sad goodbye to Jack and his crew, however, with the shared universe enjoyed by many of Ian Edginton's creations, who knows if he'll pop up again!
Many, many thanks to Steve for sending the images and congratulations on completing an exhillerating journey that has been epic in every sense of the word!