Comic Collection Review: Terry & the Pirates Shipwrecked on a Desert Island by Milton Caniff


Once again we go into the dark little corner of the Official Root Beer Party Comic Archives and pull out one of our big little books.  This time we are going to review Terry & The Pirates one of the best action-adventure comics that came out of the 1930’s by none other than the comic master Milton Caniff.

These are neat little summation books published by the Whitman Publishing Company, this one is from 1938, which includes a great detail of the comic art from the newspaper series that made Caniff a legend in the industry.

In this volume we collect the tale of treachery on the high seas.  It is actually quite a well written tale of adventure and mystery and the plot line is quite imaginative considering the source.  Most comic plots were almost parodies of a real storylines, but Milton Caniff brought a well crafted story along with innovative drawing techniques to the industry and rightly became the first artist ever to win the National Cartoonists Award.

This story takes place early in the timeline of Terry & The Pirates, we don’t have many of the characters which would appear later in the strip during the war years.  This is from when the strip really was about just pirates and adventure and before World War 2 took over the plot line and the strip became even more relevant.

In this tale we have Terry, Pat and Connie stranded in China when they come across and old friend of Pat’s who secures them a trip with another member of his club aboard his yacht.  The boat is overthrown by pirates and Terry and Pat must find a way to escape and save the old man and his daughter.

There is rather ingenious plot devices in the story which make it very entertaining to read, like many of these sort of action adventure comics, the heroes can do no wrong, but it is rather clever how Terry and Pat pull it off.  it really is an entertaining read.

As I mentioned before, these books can be a little hard to find in good condition and can cost quite a bit (around $100 in some cases) but they are a unique blend of comic and novel which has never really been reproduced since.  It includes a lot of Caniff’s amazing artwork and is a very quick read.  Page for page you would be hard pressed to find a more action packed adventure.  so if you ever come across these big little books, don’t pass them by.  They are a great addition to any comic collection.  Until next time, True Believers, may your mug always be frosted and your root beer always foamy.




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