Written and Illustrated by Chris Schweizer
Oni Press, 2012
The adventures of the Crogan family continue…
Since the first book in the series, Crogan’s Vengeance, was released in 2008, Chris Schweizer has set out to tell the ambitious family history of the Crogans from the days of pirates, with “Catfoot” Crogan, to the humble 21st century Crogan family that bookends each historical adventure. The second book, Crogan’s March told the tale of Peter Crogan in the French Foreign Legion. In his third book, Crogan’s Loyalty, Chris takes a unique look at the American Revolution from the point of view of two older teenage brothers caught up in the revolution in 1778. Charlie Crogan is a loyalist – a citizen who wished the country to remain under English control with a loyalty to the crown. Meanwhile, William Crogan is a patriot who longs for the country to break free of the tyranny of England. This simple but important disagreement led to them going separate ways.
Months after they parted company, they become reunited in the woods near their home. Charlie is a ranger for the loyalists and Will is scouting in the countryside where they grew up to seek the aid of the Maquachake tribe in hope that they’ll support the patriots. Along the way they meet Will’s girlfriend Bess and her family, and then the two of them are attacked by a rogue Indian named Two-Tomahawk while en route to Will’s mission with Maquachake tribe leader Chief Jonah Two Legs. While the brothers spend more time together on their travels, they reminiscence about their youth, funny stories with their dad, and the scars they both earned while fighting, and they learn they really haven’t grown that far apart after all. Soon Charlie parts with Will to rejoin the loyalists, who are headed by a Hessian soldier named Captain Unterbrüsch, but soon enough, Will is captured by the loyalists, who accuse him of being a spy. Meanwhile, Two-Tomahawk burns Bess’s house to the ground, slays her parents, and drags her away as compensation for the loss of his wife at the hands of the white man. Will and Charlie must break free of Captain Unterbrüsch’s command and do whatever they can together to save Bess, even if it might cost one of them their lives or their loyalty to their side of the war.
As with the other Crogan Adventures stories, Schweizer’s art style is highly animated and cartoonish but he still accurately depicts the clothing of the time period, the weapons used during the Revolutionary War, and the forest terrain that plays a huge role in the storyline. The material is appropriate for teens and does feature some violence, but when death happens, it’s handled with respect.
Schweizer once again tells a fantastic tale of heroism in a historic setting that evokes the time period, using the language of the time, which can be quite humorous (such as when Will asks Bess’ dad if he can ‘bundle’ with her), and exploring complexities of the Revolutionary War that are seldom discussed. Having a focus on the loyalists in comparison to the patriots was a really brilliant idea. It’s not that often that the other side of the Revolutionary War is seen and treated with respect.
Just because someone has a difference of opinion doesn’t mean they’re wrong and you’re right. In this current political climate, as we head towards Election Day, both sides of the aisle are playing ugly politics and alienating a good many voters with negative ads, media cohorts waiting to publish the next gaffe a candidate makes, and vicious attacks. Pundits accuse the other side of being out of touch and treated with almost inhuman disrespect. By placing Will and Charlie on opposite sides of the conflict, Schweizer helps to show that the truth is neither left or right, but a compromise that has give and take for all parties.
I’m looking forward to more adventures of the Crogan family, and another volume cannot come out soon enough.