13 thoughts on “Badass Pirate Women Who Need Movies Made About Them

  1. Anne Bonny and Mary Read were the subject of a story in an issue of the ’70s alternative comic “Wimmen’s Comix” (later “Wimmin’s Comix”) published by Last Gasp, probably #7, the “Outlaws” issue.

    The art was a bit crude, but the story covered all the bases you do here, including the gender reveal– and yes, hilarity and a three-way ensued.

    “Wimmen’s Comix” also did a few other historical-themed stories, including a great one on Victoria Woodhull and another one on Harriet Tubman, both probably in #6, the “Bicentennial” issue.

    A trade paperback collecting the entire run– which included a few stories dealing with family history, such as Sharon Kahn Rudahl’s account of her grandmother’s emigration from Russia, “Die Bubbeh”– was published earlier this year.

    “Wimmen’s/Wimmin’s Comix” was a collective that allowed women writers and artists a chance to publish outside the mainstream comics industry. Overall, the work was a mixed bag throughout its run, but it’s well worth checking out.

  2. Grainne O’Malley is one of my heroines. There is a terrific biography, GRANUAILE by Anne Chambers. I have visited several sites related to Grainne, including Westport, where there was a small museum about her (don’t know if it’s still there). I also have a pastel portrait of her in my house. One time when my friends and I went to Ireland, we took our Elizabethan-era Irish garb (what Grainne would have worn) and attended a “period” feast at Bunratty Castle. Great fun and I could relate more to the Pirate Queen of County Mayo. She was quite a lady — contemporary of Elizabeth I and every bit as much a “queen.” She also died at a ripe old age.

  3. “Anne of the Indies” was on TV recently. Typical 50’s Hollywood, but it’s a start. There is a book floating around called “Bold In Her Breeches” which covers many of them.

  4. Actually, right now Anne Bonney is being portrayed by Clara Paget on Black Sails and she is doing a wonderful job with the role she is given. There was supposed to be a Grace O’ Malley movie about 2010 but it is caught in pre production hell. Perhaps the success of the pirates franchise and Black sails will revive the project.

  5. Grainne Ni Mhaille is my choice. A woman with wit and intellgence who held her own against Elizabeth I.

  6. Whose portrait is that under Mary Wolverston, then? Because I sort of lust that dress and I have fabric just the color of that overdress.

  7. Wonderful stories; any of these would be a joy to watch. As a girl, one of my favourite books was Jade by Sally Watson, a novel that had both Anne Bonney and Mary Read as characters alongside a fiercely uncompromising, sword-fighting, argumentative heroine who ran away from her restrictive life as a proper young lady in Colonial America and who was an early inspiration to me. The book is hard to find now, but worth a read if you can locate a copy. That would be wonderful to watch too – we all need some inspiration right now!

  8. What about Jeanne De Clisson (1300–1359), the Lioness of Brittany?
    The Hundred Years’ War seems to focus on Henry V or Edward III on the English side, or Joan of Arc on the French side- there were clearly other players, considering how long the bloody thing went on for; Jeanne’s story is no less interesting than Joan’s: She married 4 times, first at age 12 (squicky, I know) & she had 2 children- her 2nd marriage (possibly made to protect her children’s inheritance) was subject to some political factioning, & resulted in an annulment- her 3rd marriage to Olivier De Clisson is where things get really interesting; their first child of 5 was born some 5 years before they actually married (so that’s something to be looked into) – then, in the Breton War of Succession, they took the French side, over the English- but it was a choice that not everyone in the De Clisson family agreed with (Olivier’s brother had embraced the English De Montfort party).
    After 4 tries, English captured the Clisson home town, Vannes. Olivier & another commander were taken prisoner- because only Olivier was later released in exchange for a high-ranking prisoner of the French, & for a surprisingly low sum; this led to Olivier being subsequently suspected of not having defended the city to his fullest, & was alleged by Charles de Blois to be a traitor. He was later tricked & executed with several others; the nobility were shocked, as the evidence of guilt was not publicly demonstrated, & exposing a body was reserved for low-class criminals. It was judged harshly by contemporary historians.
    Jeanne then actually took her two young sons, Olivier & Guillaume to show them the head of their father. She swore retribution against French King, Philip VI, & Charles de Blois, considering their actions a cowardly murder.
    Jeanne then sold the de Clisson estates, raised a force of loyal men & started attacking French forces in Brittany; she was said to have attacked 3 castle/ garrisons, massacring the entire garrison with the exception of one individual in the case of the second.

    With the English king’s assistance & Breton sympathizers, Jeanne outfitted 3 warships, painted black & sails dyed red. The flagship was named My Revenge. The ships of this ‘Black Fleet’ then patrolled the English Channel hunting down French ships, whereupon her force would kill entire crews, leaving only a few witnesses to transmit the news to the French King. This earned Jeanne the moniker “The Lioness of Brittany”.
    Jeanne continued her piracy in the Channel for another 13 years. Jeanne is also said to have attacked coastal villages in Normandy & have put several to sword & fire. In 1346, during the famous Battle of Crecy, Jeanne used her ships to supply the English forces.
    After the sinking of her flagship, Jeanne with her 2 sons were adrift for 5 days; her son Guillaume died of exposure. Jeanne & Olivier were finally rescued & taken to Morlaix by Montfort supporters. Her fourth husband was a deputy of Edward III, & had previously won the battle of Mauron on 4 August 1352 – she finally settled at a castle, near a port town on the Brittany coast, which was in the territory of her de Montfort allies, where she died.

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