Thursday, July 7, 2011

Oyster Wars! Great online comic!

If you haven't found it yet, you need- no, you MUST check out Ben Towle's online comic Oyster Wars.
For anyone who has read any of Ben's other works like Midnight Sun or Amelia Earhardt: Across this Broad Ocean, or if you enjoyed the art and setting of Shannon & Bruce Hale's Rapunzel's Revenge or Aaron Renier's The Unsinkable Walker Bean then Oyster Wars is your kind of read.
The story takes place in the years following the Civil War in the Chesapeake Bay. Seafood is a booming industry, and for the folks of Blood's Haven, the prime commodity is oysters. By regulating how much a boat can harvest, there is an assurance of work for plenty, and a steady crop for the people to depend on. But all of that is put into jeopardy by oyster pirates- unscrupulous sailors who dredge everything from the bottom leaving nothing to grow or for honest sailors to harvest. At the top of the list is a pirate named Fink, but oysters may not be all that pirate is looking for.
Out to stop him, by special appointment of the governor and Blood's Haven's mayor is the Oyster Navy- a one-ship group of misfits and immigrants led by Commander Davidson Bulloch of the Confederate States Navy. He seems to be a learned, "just-the-facts-ma'am" type who has a knack for totally skewering well-known phrases, sayings and quotes.
The coloring is beautiful, the art has a nostalgic feel to it and the story moves with a pace that feels just right- not too fast and not too bogged down in details. Much like a journalist, Ben focuses on telling the story from beginning to end, filling in the who, what where, when, why, and how as things move along. He also makes it clear why stopping the oyster pirates is so important that people would risk their very lives. Another thing I really have liked about Ben's work is that it is appropriate for an all-ages audience, yet the characters can still be very mature, the gravity of their situations is still there.
Give this online comic a read, tell others about it, leave comments to the author- because this North Carolina talent has made another story worthy of being read by a broad audience.

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