David Lester and Marcus RedikerMar 31, 2023
Under the Banner of King Death
Pirates of the Atlantic, a Graphic Novel
Beacon Press 2023
Under the Banner of King Death: Pirates of the Atlantic, A Graphic Novel (Beacon Press, 2023) is a comic adaptation of Rediker’s now classic 2004 Villains of all Nation: Atlantic Pirates in the Golden Age, one of the foundational texts in serious pirate studies. David Leter’s art offers a graphic exploration of action, resistance, and radicalism among eighteenth-century pirates. The book dramatizes mutiny, bloody battles, and social revolution, breaking new ground in our understanding of piracy and pirate culture. Under the Banner of King Death engages the history of Atlantic slavery and the shipboard origins of democracy. Based on the documented practices of real pirate ships of the era, Lester and Rediker’s characters engage in democratic decision-making and create a social security net with health and disability insurance and an equal distribution of spoils taken from prize ships.
David Lester is an author and graphic artist. His work includes but is not limited to 1919: A Graphic History of the Winnipeg General Strike, Direct Action Gets the Goods: A Graphic History of the Strike in Canada, Drawn To Change: Graphic Histories of Working Class Struggle, and The Listener, a graphic novel. He is also the guitarist for the underground duo Mecca Normal. Marcus Rediker is a Distinguished Professor of Atlantic History at the University of Pittsburg and a Guest Curator at the J. M. W. Turner Gallery, Tate Britain. He is the author of numerous books on the history of piracy, the slave trade, and the Atlantic world such as The Many Headed Hydra, The Slave Ship: A Human History, Villains of all Nations, Outlaws of the Atlantic, The Amistad, and The Fearless Benjamin Lay: The Quaker Dwarf who became the First Revolutionary Abolitionist. They previously collaborated with Paul Buhle on Prophet Against Slavery: Benjamin Lay, A Graphic Novel (Beacon Press, 2021).
Michael G. Vann is a professor of world history at California State University, Sacramento. A specialist in imperialism and the Cold War in Southeast Asia, he is the author of The Great Hanoi Rat Hunt: Empires, Disease, and Modernity in French Colonial Vietnam (Oxford University Press, 2018). When he’s not reading or talking about new books with smart people, Mike can be found surfing in Santa Cruz, California.