CROWN & ANCHOR, VOLUME 1
Writer: Toben Racicot
Artist: Alaire Racicot
Publisher: Self-published (Webtoon & Kickstarter)
WHAT IS IT?
A hilarious, sci-fi swashbuckling story brimming with action and adventure.
Think Cowboy Bebop meets Pirates of the Caribbean.
WHAT’S IT ABOUT?
Bounty hunters Hebb and Mact are looking for their next big score when suddenly their ship is attacked by Nax, the Lord of Grey Coast. Largely thanks to Hebb’s attitude, the Lord sentences them to be eaten by sharks, which they narrowly escape. The two swear revenge on Nax and follow him to his home. Before they can strike, the Lord turns the tables on them and strikes a deal. Impressed by their survival, he offers them a Divine Token in exchange for finding and rescuing his wife from an infamous slave trader. Will Hebb and Mact stay their revenge for legendary treasure, and will it be more trouble than it’s worth?
Toben’s sense of humor and adventure really shines in this story. There’s a great balance between conversation and action which leaves readers continually interested.
Alaire’s thick, clean lines feel something between American comics and manga. She excellently blends styles from both to create interesting scenes and storytelling.
The letters followed the flow of the art well while managing to leave much of it exposed for the reader’s viewing pleasure. Toben does an excellent job splitting dialogue and text to maintain the pacing of the art.
The banter between Hebb and Mact is brilliant. It instantly establishes their long friendship as they bicker and contradict each other.
Detailed backgrounds really brought those scenes to life, but also didn’t take the focus away from any characters that might have been present.
Expert panel design made each piece of action feel big and quick. Creative and large panel shapes sped up the pace of these scenes and made each blow dynamic.
Every new character that enters is distinct in an instant. Their clothing, weapons and, in one instance, monkey companion make them memorable and establishes their personalities without words.
The emotional turmoil of Hebb makes the reader root for him to succeed. His past trauma makes one feel sorry for his poor behavior, especially towards Skitt.
WHAT DOESN’T WORK
There are a few spots in the dialogue where the conversation feels too explanatory and information about the world isn’t woven in smoothly. This background information would sometimes slow down the story at inopportune times.
A few of the panels were split awkwardly and some needed to be altered slightly to work better in a print format.
The black and white aesthetic works for the most part, but some depth and effects from the futuristic weapons are lost due to the minimal shadows and lack of color.
Although the majority of the lettering is effective, there were a few instances where a sound effect felt missing or they were oddly placed.
Some pages had leaps in time without any markings like “later” or the new setting. These would have made them less awkward.
WHY SHOULD I READ IT?
Crown & Anchor reminds readers of the epic adventure shows and books they read when they were younger. Everything is big and action-packed, making this an incredibly enjoyable read. The story makes one excited to see the next part of Hebb and Mact’s journey as they get closer to learning the mystery behind the Divine Token. The main characters are delightful to witness as they argue and fight together and the dialogue between them is a large chunk of why this book is so fun.
Matching the story’s scale, and in many ways enhancing it, the art is incredibly detailed and does an amazing job transporting the reader into this dangerous, seafaring world. The excellent pacing of this story occurs largely because of the artistic decisions that leave room to slow down in the dialogue-heavy sections, but make the reader anxiously devour each fight and daring feat when the story requires speed. This is an excellent story for anyone who loves adventure and witty, lovable characters. With the book’s blending of fantasy, sci-fi, and manga-esque styles, there’s something for almost every comic fan.
WHAT DO I READ NEXT?
If you like the writing:
Pilgrim’s Dirge by Toben Racicot & Matteo Leoni
Emulator by Toben Racicot & Emiliana Pinna
The Woods by James Tynion IV & Michael Dialynas
If you like the art:
God Says Hi by Grant Stoye & Alaire Racicot
Thorne Squadron by Wilfred Esteves & Alaire Racicot
Jonna and the Unpossible Monsters by Chris & Laura Samnee
ABOUT THE CREATORS
Toben Racicot (@tobenracicot) – Writer & Letterer
A prolific writer, Toben has also penned the comics The Bad Guys, Apostasy and Transmute.
He is also a letterer and has worked on multiple books including The Wild Cosmos and Littlelight Asylum.
Toben crafts song parodies to sway the hearts of fair maidens.
Alaire Racicot (@shiningcapella) - Artist
Although primarily concerned with Crown & Anchor, Alaire has also drawn God Says Hi with Toben.
In addition to her comics work, she also draws equipment commissions for those who reached certain milestones in her Discord server.
Alaire is known to construct wonderous quesadillas that ensnare the hearts of men.
HOW DO I BUY IT?
The image(s) used in this article are from a comic strip, webcomic or the cover or interior of a comic book. The copyright for this image(s) is likely owned by either the publisher of the comic, the writer(s) and/or artist(s) who produced the comic. It is believed that the use of this image(s) qualifies as fair use under the United States copyright law. The image is used in a limited fashion in an educational manner in order to illustrate the points of the author and not for the purpose of entertainment or substituting the original work. It is believed the use of this image has had no impact on the market value of the original work.
All Crown & Anchor characters and the distinctive likeness(es) thereof are trademarks of and copyright of Toben & Alaire Racicot or their respective owners. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.