I picked up a few copies of Scurvy Dogs at the Ait/PlanetLar booth at this year's San Diego convention to see what the big deal was and to answer the question for myself: Are pirates the new monkeys?
After careful consideration I've determined that Portuguese lepers are actually the new monkeys.
Scurvy Dogs is a black and white comic from the fevered minds and pens of two lads named Andrew Boyd and Ryan Yount, published under the aegis of AiT's Larry Young, Master of The High Concept. If simply drawn, hilarious, violent tales of pirate hijinks aren't "high concept" then brother, I don't know what is.
I guess I could try to analyze the subtext behind Scurvy Dogs, or recap the stories in this particular issue, or even explain why I think this shit is so funny. But really, you're one of the 39% of people on Earth* that think pirates are inherently funny, or you're not.
Here's a little sample:
The pirates board a ship full of Portuguese lepers, who claim that they have no treasure.
The pirates rightly conclude that the Portuguese lepers are holding out on them. They slice open one Portugese leper, and some shillings spill out of the poor guy's guts and on to the deck.
Naturally, this triggers an orgy of killing as the pirates set upon the Portuguese lepers, looking for any further loot that may be stashed in their rotting innards.
Graphic violence/comedy ensues. I can see how this would not be funny if a) you're a communist, b) you're a Portuguese leper, or c) you have ever been boarded and hacked to death by pirates. For everybody else, this should be frickin' hilarious.
After all the Portuguese leper blood has been spilled and their dismembered bodies are heaped upon the quarterdeck, the pirates survey their haul:
I understand that not everyone may see eye-to-eye with me on What Is Funny, and certainly not everyone agrees that pirates are the new monkeys, so I've made a handy reference that should help you accurately determine the current, ever transient state of funny.
WHAT IS FUNNY, circa November 2005
SUDANESE MILITIA = not funny
PIRATES = funny
CLOWNS = not funny
BURNING CLOWNS = funny
LEPERS = not funny
PORTUGUESE LEPERS = funny
TALKING MONKEYS = not funny
MONKEYS WEARING VEST AND/OR A FEZ = funny
DIARRHEA (self) = not funny
DIARRHEA (others) = funny
PRESIDENT WARREN HARDING = not funny
PRESIDENT ABRAHAM LINCOLN = funny
WOLVERINE = not funny
CABLE = funny
MIMES = not funny
SWEARING MIMES = funny
TEST PILOTS = not funny
CAVEMEN = funny
COMEDIAN GALLAGHER = not funny
COMEDIAN CARROT TOP = not funny
TOXIC WASTE = not funny
TOXIC POO = funny
TOXIC POO = funny
OTHER PEOPLE'S TODDLERS SAYING CUTE THINGS = not funny
MY DAUGHTER AVA SAYING CUTE THINGS = funny
JIMMY BUFFET FANS = not funny
NEIL DIAMOND FANS = funny
GRANT MORRISON FANS = not funny
JOHN BYRNE FANS = funny
INDUSTRIAL ACCIDENTS = not funny
INDUSTRIAL ACCIDENTS CAUSED BY MONKEYS = funny
OTHER LAME COMICS = not funny
SCURVY DOGS = funny
There. I hope that helps.
*I have no idea why I put a footnote asterisk there. Pretend this is a witty little footnote that expands/enhances on the comedy fun of the post.