There is very little information on the Irish pirate known as Anne Bonny, save what Captain Charles Johnson’s A General History of the Pyrates has to offer, which leaves so much for writer Stephanie Williams and artist Craig Cermak to play with in A Man Among Ye. With a collected trade coming soon from Top Cow, Cermak and Williams dive into a bit of Anne’s history and what their new version of her adventures have to offer.
A Man Among Ye Volume 1
Craig Cermak (artist), Stephanie Phillips (writer)
Top Cow Comics
September 16 2020
High adventure on the high seas in the waning days of piracy, when men were men, and the best pirates were … women? Writer Stephanie Phillips (Butcher of Paris, Descendent) and artist Craig Cermak (Red Team, Voltron) bring to life the tale of Anne Bonny and Mary Read as they hoist the skull and crossbones, draw cutlasses, and seek a treasure that will make them legends. In an era where sailing with women was thought to be bad luck, Anne and Mary might just be the only women capable of saving the pirates’ way of life.
Collects A Man Among Ye #1-4
What was it about Anne Bonny that caught your attention?
Phillips: A woman with so much legend surrounding her is a lot of fun to work with. She was a skilled sailor and a pirate who left her husband to pursue the high-seas. It just felt like a woman with that kind of drive and skill, especially during the 18th century, would have such a unique attitude.
Cermak: I’d say it was the idea of a rebellious, fierce, red haired woman getting up to trouble on the high seas. That’s appealing both in its story and visually.
Historical fiction is your element. How much time did you spend researching Anne Bonny and Mary Read? Did you find any particularly interesting or juicy details that you were not aware of before?
Phillips: Unlike some of the other historical fiction I have worked on, Anne Bonny has a lot more mythology and legend surrounding her story. This sometimes makes it a little tough to wade through history versus myth. But, that’s also part of the fun. Anne’s mythos makes her a little larger than life at times, and Craig and I are really playing into the character of Anne Bonny while really diving more into the myth side of things. I did learn that (apparently) Anne Bonny would flash her breasts at the men she was about to kill so that they would die knowing it was by a woman’s hand. I like her.
Cermak: I did a decent amount of research, but more about the time period, the clothing, and visual elements. Some of the tidbits I thought were interesting about Anne was that she had been married to someone who became a pirate informant. That’s some solid drama right there. I’m also really curious about Anne’s life after she had been imprisoned and then released. Most things I read described her getting married, having multiple children, and living a seemingly normal life — But I can’t help but wonder if she would still get up to mischief like in her pirating days. Maybe an older Anne Bonny tale awaits us.
How do you feel about Anne’s various portrayals in her appearances in other literature and media? What makes your depiction different?
Phillips: Her character gets to be a little flexible because of all the myths and legends, which is also what makes her fun. I think Anne is a character that gets to portray a little of what we want her to be as creators. If you had this skilled, confident, and charismatic woman during a time period that women’s rights were extremely repressed, what would you want her to do? I want her to climb on a pirate ship and steal from the very system that
oppressed her. Craig also did a really good job of creating a style for Anne that showcases that confidence. She’s sexy, but it’s not over-the-top. She’s comfortable with her body and her appearance, which is really important for our story because she’s spending her time on a ship filled with men.
Cermak: Honestly I’ve not really read or watched any stories involving Anne, and then once I became involved with this story I actively made sure to avoid any, aside from the historical research, so I didn’t fall into a trap of aping anything I’ve seen. Hopefully that allows our version to feel different by being influenced off the bat purely on the historical record. I also think it’s something that’ll really develop as we get further into working on the series.
Imagine you wake up tomorrow on board as a skilled pirate on Anne’s ship. What would your first reaction be and where would you want the high seas to take you?
Phillips: I would like to find an island or some place that hasn’t been explored. Pirates are so exciting because of the adventure that they offer to our imaginations, and I would love to have my own adventure… just a little less violent. I’m a big fan of exploration and mapping, so it would be really neat to experience that, though I think I would be terrible at the back-breaking work of actually maintaining a ship.
Cermak: I’d be very curious to know if I’m still a bit shaken by heights or if climbing those roped ladders would be no sweat. There’d be many places I’d love to visit and explore. The Galapogos would be a treat. As a pirate in particular though, I’d try to rally the crew to travel all around to rob the richest, and free those who’ve been enslaved; hopefully right some wrongs.
Join Anne Bonny on her adventures in A Man Among Ye May 13th.