The Pirates’ Life
Classroom Comic Time! It’s been a crazy week, with a drive to Montana and back, so I’m reaching into the Secret Bag of Mostly Completed Comics that have been hitherto unseen by most of you. As with many of the classroom comics, this one is kind of a weird spontaneous work that unfolded as I drew it. I know I’ve mentioned this before, but I really should find a way to make these sorts of comics more often– I’m not sure all of these improv comics are comedy gold or anything, but it certainly seems like a useful exercise for me to work entirely unscripted, and with a tight time constraint. It’s more stressful in a sense, but I suppose it’s like how ceramicists fire things at different temperatures or with different fuels.
But pirates, right? They didn’t have good healthcare. Have you heard that “theory” about eye patches? The gist of it is that the proliferation of the pirates-with-eyepatches depiction is not because an inordinate amount of the buccaneers suffered debilitating eye injury, but that they chose to keep one healthy and fully-operational eye obscured so that it could remain “calibrated” for dark vision. So, during the course of the blood and swash of a raid, these raiders would have one eye adjusted to the bright sunny conditions of the deck, and then they could go below deck, reveal their “dark eye”, and carry on their terror in the dim conditions. I’m not sure if there’s any citable sources for this theory, but the actual practicalities of it seem dubious. It seems that if one is engaging in hazardous activity that requires some degree of marksmanship, fencing, and situational awareness, it would be virtually suicidal to voluntarily impair one’s depth perception and visual field for a relatively minor benefit. But, it was the 18th century, and then as now, people had a lot of folk-logic ideas that didn’t necessarily hold up to practical scrutiny. Perhaps there was a significant number of pirates wearing “give-me-an-edge-in-the-dark” eye patches… but if it really worked, it probably would’ve been a more common and widespread practice amongst the sailors of the various official and professional navies of the time, right?