The latest film in the Pirates of the Caribbean series hits theaters this weekend, but why should Jack Sparrow steal the spotlight?
Comic books have a rich history of piracy and with Pirates on everyone's brains this weekend we thought it would be a good time to shine a spotlight on some of comic books' best.
Our picks span the Marvel Universe, the DC Universe and beyond, so if you're looking for great pirate comics to feed your desire for swashbuckling adventure, then look no further.
Here are five fantastic comic book pirates.
Fantastic Four #5 was a milestone issue for Marvel Comics. Primarily it is known for the first appearance of Doctor Doom, perhaps the most iconic villain in the Marvel Universe. The other reason that Fantastic Four is remembered is that it turned The Thing into a pirate of legend.
Doctor Doom’s somewhat bizarre plot in Fantastic Four #5 has him taking Invisible Girl hostage and forcing her male teammate – Mr. Fantastic, the Human Torch, and the Thing – to go back in time and steal a certain treasure chest from the infamous pirate Blackbeard.
After making the trip through time, the Thing realizes he stand out a bit. He disguises himself with pirate clothing and fake black beard. He and the other heroes continue to search for Blackbeard, even attacking another ship that they believed to be captained by Blackbeard.
The Thing does so well as a pirate that the rest of the ship’s crew cheer for him. Not knowing his real name, they all start calling him “Blackbeard,” and it slowly occurs to the Fantastic Four that, though the fun of time paradoxes, the Thing is actually the Blackbeard of history that they came looking for (there’s no explanation of what happened to Edward Teach, the actual Blackbeard of history).
Some pirates sail the open seas, while others ply their trade in outer space.
Such is the case for Christopher Summers, the space pirate known as Corsair. Corsair is the father of X-Men Cyclops and Havok and was believed dead for years. It was only when the Shi’ar Empire made contact with Earth during the Phoenix Saga that Corsair was reunited with his children.
Christopher and his wife, Katherine Anne Summers, were believed to have died in a plane crash, but it turns out the crash was actually an attack by a Shi’ar spacecraft. The human couple were brought back to Shi’ar space, where Christopher was imprisoned and Katherine was force to become part of the mad Shi’ar Emperor D’Ken’s harem.
Christopher escaped his imprisonment and attempted to rescue his wife, but he was captured and forced to watch as D’Ken murdered Katherine. Christopher managed to escape again and became the leader of the space pirate crew known as the Starjammers, who routinely take part in rebellions against the Shi’ar Empire.
The mutant Nightcrawler may not be a professional pirate, but he certainly has the soul and skills of one.
As Kurt Wagner, the amazing Nightcrawler, he grew up in the circus where he learned plenty of skills fit for a life of piracy, including acrobatics and swordplay.
Nightcrawler is also known for his love of dashing, swashbuckling Hollywood star Errol Flynn and Flynn’s role in Captain Blood in particular. He even made himself look like Flynn back in the days when he used an image inducer to hide his blue, furry form.
Nightcrawler has had a couple of opportunities to act out his pirate fantasies in real life. In 1985, Nightcrawler got his own four-issue miniseries that saw him shunted into an alternate reality by a Danger Room accident. That alternate reality happened to involve air pirates.
In Amazing X-Men, Nightcrawler’s father, the demon Azazel, sailed a pirate ship to conquer heaven, and it was up to Nightcrawler and his swashbuckling friends to defend the afterlife.
For a guy best known for fighting criminals in a crime-ridden modern city, there are a surprising amount of stories that cast Batman as a pirate of the seven seas.
The first was the Elseworlds story Batman: Leatherwing, which reimagined the Batman story as a pirate’s tale from the ground up. After Bruce Wayne’s parents were killed, he became Captain Leatherwing of the ship The Flying Fox. He is assisted by his servant, Alfredo, and an orphan boy who becomes Robin Redblade. Together they commit piracy on behalf of the king, facing off against rival pirates like Captain Felina and the Laughing Man.
The there was the time that the actual Bruce Wayne was sent back to the prehistoric era and was forced to jump through time to make his way home. One of the stops finds Batman face-to-face with Blackbeard (not the Thing), who believes Batman to be the infamous Black Pirate.
Belit is the pirate queen created by Robert E. Howard in the Conan short story “Queen of the Black Coast,” which was adapted in a handful of issues in Marvel’s Conan comic book series by Roy Thomas Mike Ploog, and John Buscema, and expanded into a 25-issue saga in Dark Horse Comics by Brian Wood, Becky Cloonan, and a host of other artists.
The story follows a young Conan as he meets Belit, the captain of the pirate ship The Tigress. Conan is taken captive but Belit allows him to live out of respect for his capabilities and because of her outright attraction to him.
Belit proves to be every bit Conan’s match and he falls in love with her, but the story ends tragically when a winged monster slays Belit. A force to be reckoned with right until the end,