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CSBG Archive

A Year of Cool Comics – Day 184

Here is the latest in our year-long look at one cool comic (whether it be a self-contained work, an ongoing comic or a run on a long-running title that featured multiple creative teams on it over the years) a day (in no particular order whatsoever)! Here‘s the archive of the moments posted so far!

Today we look at one of the last Crossgen series, but also one of their best – Chuck Dixon and Steve Epting’s El Cazador..

Enjoy!

One thing to note about Crossgen’s art department, besides the fact that they employed many of Marvel’s current top artists (Steve Epting, Jimmy Cheung, Greg Land, Jackson Guice, Mike Perkins and more!), is that they also had some of the VERY best colorists in the business. Besides the amazing Laura Martin (who was already a “name” before Crossgen, they also had up and coming colorists like Frank D’Armata and Jason Keith, who have both gone on to become two of the very top colorists in the business.

I mention this only because both D’Armata AND Keith worked on El Cazador, and boy – their skills mixed with the great Steve Epting (who was a good artist before he went to work for Crossgen, but by the time he was done – hoo boy, he was amazing) to make El Cazador an absolutely stunning visual treat.

Sadly, the book only lasted a half-dozen issues before Crossgen just crumbled into dust, but boy, what a cool six issues they were!

As this was towards the end of Crossgen, the titles were allowed to split from the whole “alien planets that are just similar to Earth at different points in Earth’s history” shtick and just be plain ol’ set whenever. This series was set in the late 17th Century in the world of pirates.

A ship from Spain was headed to the Americas when they were beset by pirates…

That page is half of a double page spread – the whole “the way I taught you” is in reference to a line where he says, “get rid of the excess crew/cargo.”

check out the detail of that last page – how amazing is the sharks eating the “excess crew/cargo”??!

Later in the issue, we meet the star of the series, as she is discovered by the pirate captain…

She then takes control of the ship, with the purposes of catching Blackjack Tom, the captain of the other ship, who has taken her mother and her younger brother hostage for ransom purposes.

Dubbed Lady Sin by the crew, she is quite a character…

Naturally, some crew have issues with being led by a woman, but she quells the mutiny with flair…

Dixon really embraced the spectacle of classic pirate films like The Sea Hawk and swahsbuckling films like The Adventures of Robin Hood (not to mention action films like The Four Feathers).

Here, another major character, an English privateer, is saved from hanging by the French…

He escapes only to return to his ship and, naturally enough, attack Lady Sin’s ship. The battle is intense – Epting and Dixon really choreographed the battle well…

This only takes us to issue #3 – there is tons more action and adventure in the next three issues. Well worth seeking out. I can’t imagine that the back issues cost THAT much, but I dunno, maybe they were in such low supply that they ARE hard to find! In that case, Disney – make a trade collection of El Cazador, consarnit! It’s drawn by one of Marvel’s #1 artists!!! It would sell!!!

9 Comments

You aren’t kidding about the coloring…I noticed it before I even started reading your description. Fine, fine work.

A great comic dead before its time. And the final cliffhanger. . . I still want to see Lady Sin break into one of the Pope’s secret prisons.

Crossgen had a number of excellent titles. I’ve never read this one, although I’m going to seek it out now. I wish someone would do something with those properties. Ruse, Way of the Rat and Sojourn were two of my favorite titles at the time, and although I stopped reading Meridian short after Josh Middleton left (quite early on) I remember liking that one as well. Am I right in thinking that the only reason Disney bought the catalog was for Abadazad? That’s a shame.

I loved this series and was disappointed that it ended so soon. It is one that should be brought back, for both story and art.

Tom Fitzpatrick

July 4, 2010 at 8:16 am

I’d have to agree with Jeff, this was a series worthy of being picked up by another company and continued by Dixon and Epting.

I don’t suppose that any of Crossgen books will ever see the light of the day, save for trade collections.

Hey Brian, are you sure that this series was set in the “late 17th Century?” In the excerpts that you provided, a character remarks that “She is packed with powder stores from Nouvelle-Orleans” (first panel in the saving the English privateer sequence). New Orleans was not founded until 1718. Bearing that date in mind, the reference to “King Philip” in the excess cargo/shark panel probably refers to Philip V, King of Spain from 1700 to 1746 (There was a brief interruption in his reign from January to August 1724, when he abdicated in favor of his son, Louis. Philip resumed the throne upon Louis’s death in August of 1724). Of course, for all I know, Dixon just goofed with his New Orleans reference.

Looks really cool.
One complaint though. Her Spanish seems a bit off.
Where she says ” El Puerco Mugriento!” “Pesto Mucho” Pesto doesn’t mean anything as far as I know. I think she wants to say that he stinks, which would be apesta mucho (close to what she says). Also, it is weird to say “El Puerco Mugriento!” instead of “Puerco Mugriento”. The first is like saying “The disgusting pig”, the second way is “Disgusting Pig”. Weird that they didn’t check to correct the Spanish.

How do you mention Greg Land and not mention Steve McNiven as artists to come out of CrossGen?

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