There is currently a 75% off sale at Comixology for Avatar Press comics. Avatar Press is well known as “That Publisher That Lets Warren Ellis, Garth Ennis, and Alan Moore Do Whatever The Fuck They Want,” which, let’s admit, does result in some very interesting comic books. But one of the best that Avatar’s put out was a short original graphic novel back in 2007 called Crécy by Warren Ellis and Raulo Caceres. It’s the story of the Battle of Crécy, as can only be told by Warren Ellis.
Ellis’s narrator, William of Stonham, provides the reader with a colorful commentary, simultaneously breaking the fourth wall to provide us with information about the the history between the English and French, as well as what the people at the time were like. And between the history lessons, Ellis also inputs a lot of details about the longbow and the types of arrows the English army used.
And it’s very clear that they took their longbows and arrows seriously.
And when the battle at Crécy finally starts, the longbowmen even manage to one-up the Genoese mercenaries with their crossbows. The crossbows’ shots all fall short...but the longbows’ shots don’t.
When the Genoese mercenaries want to retreat, they are pushed back by the French nobility, who simply want to charge the English army and get things over with. The French nobility still think that there are some sort of “rules” to war, that war is about honor and chivalry.
Charge after charge of French knights and nobility are met with wave after wave of arrows from the English longbowmen. Until, finally, the French cross the field.
Yes, that is an early form of germ warfare.
The point of this entire history lesson is hammered home in the aftermath of the battle, as the English army kills any wounded knight with a misericord or “mercygiver”: the Age of Chivalry is over.
Ellis manages to make a history lesson into a lesson about modern warfare and where it originated. Ellis’s writing and Caceres’ heavily detailed art make sure that this is a history lesson we won’t soon forget.