There are many myths about pirates in modern culture and many elements that get conveniently skipped over. For instance, the dread pirate Blackbeard, known as Edward Teach to his mother, was a married man. In fact, Teach was apparently so excited about marriage that he was betrothed to something like fourteen different women (though the number seems to vary depending on where you hear it). Say what you like about the guy, but he was clearly committed to the institution of marriage.

Blackbeard: pirate, scourge of the sea, murderer, thief…lover? I guess that doesn’t really strike fear into the hearts of men.

It is said, however, that he forced (under threat of violence and death) his wives to marry him, so I guess it would strike fear into the hearts of women. Not that it’s only violence they’d have to worry about. I’m pretty sure pirates don’t make ideal husbands.

Pirates! We’ve never had pirate comics on Happle Tea before! It’s about damn time, isn’t it? After all, the concept of pirates (much like ninja) is one of those rare opportunities to watch something pass from historical fact into myth and legend before our very eyes. Okay, maybe that’s a little much. We have excellent written records and the history is fairly recent, but what we are seeing is the idea of pirates and piracy taking on two distinct forms, not unlike what occurred with the Knights of the Middle Ages. It seems likely that we will always have factual accounts of piracy, but romanticized pirate tales have been a big deal for quite some time. In fact, most of popular culture’s ideas about how pirates looked, talked, and lived are informed by books like Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island (a marvelous book, read it sometime). Now we have blockbuster movies like Pirates of the Caribbean that have catapulted pirate fantasy into the modern spotlight.

No doubt some pirate ghost looks on and wishes he could get his hands on all that booty the film companies are making thanks to his good name.

Or bad name, whatever.

The bottom line? Pirate fantasy is totally awesome. What’s not to love about the freedom of the high seas, the love of booze, the sabers, the creak of wood and the snap of sails in the wind? It’s all brilliant fun when we’re so far removed from the reality.

And that’s okay. Not every story has to adhere 100% to the history. It behooves us to at least know what it was really like, for history’s sake, but stories are stories. They embellish and they improve. Stories always have. They take dark and horrible things and make them fun and interesting. There is nothing wrong with that and there never will be, as long as we don’t get too lost in the fantasy. It would be a tragedy for the children of today to all grow up and become pirates.

A whole generation afflicted with scurvy.

A whole generation getting married fourteen times to people under threat of violence.

Imagine those divorce rates.