La Ragazza Stregata

The story continues with an amazing mélange of sensuality, occult, horror, and humor — despite the terrifying spectacle of the Moorish pirates. Aboard the caravel, Koko and Kevin both tease poor Stub, but it’s all in good fun, as the crew bonds tightly.

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Kreigh Collins’ dialog is hysterical, and the episode is packed with nautical terminology likely not seen in any other comic. With a reference to the galley “sweeping” toward the Genoese ship, a casual reader would generally understand what was happening, but would lose the nuance of the phrase. Unlike a traditional rowboat, which a single person moves by “sculling” with two oars, the pirates’ galley is propelled by numerous oarsmen, each pulling a single oar, or “sweeping” (like eight-man racing boats seen competing in regattas).

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These guys “swept” past virtually all of their competition last year. (Don’t tell my son, the oarsman at the far left, that I used a picture of his crew on my blog!)

Crews that sweep have a coxswain — they are in charge of the boat, and determine its stroke rate (the cox is seated at the back of the boat, above). Similarly, the Sea Hawk utilized a drummer to pound out a beat for its rowers to follow. Like a cox for a crew shell, the drummer was critical to keeping the Sea Hawk’s rowers in sync, and thus moving most quickly. Knowing this, and being an archery master, Kevin takes aim.

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Patch is all too familiar with the Sea Hawk, and its captain, Red Heels. Despite Kevin’s incredible shot, and a timely gust of wind, the pirates board the caravel and a fierce battle ensues.

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While Patch gallantly saves Kevin, and Koko rescues Stub, it should come as no surprise that it is Kevin who proves to be bravest of all.

For more information on the career of Kreigh Collins, visit his page on Facebook.

One thought on “La Ragazza Stregata

  1. This is perhaps the best KTB storyline, with great artwork and dazzling color (esp. in the Chicago Tribune versions). Art Sansom’s lettering brings vigor to the dialogue and Kreigh does some of his best artwork throughout this storyline. As you note, it dips into horror themes worthy of Poe. I’m still trying to find all the episodes for this storyline. One of these days…


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