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Comic Book / Crécy

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This is a story about the English and the French and why the English hate the French. Which is because they eat frogs, they smell bad, and they're twenty five miles away.
William of Stonham

Crécy; "The Death Of Chivalry", "How Nightmarishly Annoying Arrows Really Are", or "How Badass English Archers Made French Cunts Stop Invading England". invoked

A short black & white comic written by Warren Ellis & illustrated by Raulo Cacares published in 2007 about the historical Battle of Crécy.


  • Annoying Arrows: Crécy is all about how truly annoying arrows really are, as in how widespread archery put an end to medieval warfare. A lot of work was put into making arrows into incredibly lethal weapons. They discouraged crossbows as longbows could be quickly strung or unstrung - this meant drawstrings could be removed during rainstorms to keep them dry. Archers were trained to use them as Swiss Army Weapons; they carried three types of arrowheads - normal arrowheads, bodkins for piercing coats of mail, swallowheads for killing horses. They sometimes applied the heads to the arrows with candlewax, but they usually just spit on the ends of the shaft to secure them - this ensured that trying to yank out the arrow would cause the head to detach, meaning that one would have to aggravate the wound in the process of removing it. Finally, they stuck the arrows in the dirt prior to firing them - this ensured that contaminants would be carried into the wound. English archers were thus able to take better care of their weapons than French crossbowmen, and those weapons were both more versatile and inherently more lethal.
    • The narrator points out the Genoese mercenary crossbowmen hired by the French were brutally lethal as well: they had the training and equipment to shoot an arrow a hundred and fifty yards every seven and a half seconds, and the pavise they crouch behind renders them invulnerable save the exact moment they shoot. The catch is that the damned things weigh around twenty pounds each, meaning they're too heavy for a crossbowman to carry as part of his ruck while marching - they had to be brought to the battlefield by baggage train. And most archers could shoot a Trick Arrow twice as far every five seconds - and good ones even faster. Crossbowmen were meant to slaughter infantry, not exchange arrows with people who can actually shoot back.
      These things may look primitive to you, but you have to remember that we're not stupid. We have the same intelligence as you, we simply don't have the same cumulative knowledge you do. So we apply our intelligence to what we have.
  • Cheese-Eating Surrender Monkeys: It is pointed out that the French at the time were the Badass Army and the English were this trope (speculated to be parsnip eating surrender monkeys). This comic is about The Heavily Outnumbered English Army giving France one of the most one-sided Curb Stomp Battles in History (guess who lost). With Annoying Arrows (annoying as they kill the fuck out of so many silly French kaniggits that they eliminate the concept of knighthood).
    But these French, the ones running the country and riding after us, are not the cheese-eating surrender monkeys you know. These are the real French, vicious bastards with an inbred sense of entitlement to whatever they see. They've been a frightening, dangerous presence in Europe for hundreds of years. I mean, there's a reason why so many English towns have French names.
  • Combat Pragmatist: The English have no qualms whatsoever with using any dirty trick under their disposal (such as smearing their arrowheads in dirt and dung to maximize damage) against their enemies.
  • Country Matters: It features this gem:
    In England, the word "cunt" is punctuation.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: One of the most egregious in recorded history. The English were barely scratched - anywhere from a few hundred losses to just forty. The French lost over thirty thousand. Eleven of them were princes, which seriously fucked up the lines of succession in France. They lost 1,200 knights - enough to completely eliminate the very concept of knighthood.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: The book is a warts-and-all depiction of the famous Battle of Crécy in 1346. The narrator acknowledges the dissonance, describing himself as "a complete bloody xenophobe who comes from a time when it was acceptable to treat people from the next village like they were subhumans" and admitting that by modern standards his side have been "acting like evil pricks", but reminds the reader that the other side are even worse.
  • Informed Flaw: The French are presented as such bloodthirsty monsters that the English are forced to engage in literal war crimes in order to combat them. However, in spite of the narrator's point of view, the English themselves come off as even worse, since, if anything, the story's context presents the English as the actual aggressors given that Edward III is pursuing his own stake to the French crown and is putting villages to the torch, while the French are merely defending themselves. Of course this is intentional on Stonham's part.
  • Knight in Shining Armor: This comic has the English archers completely and utterly demolish the very concept of this trope. Stonham claims that it has no place in warfare, because politeness doesn't win wars and as such the English engage in scorched earth tactics to intimidate their enemies. Furthermore, the image of noble knights originated from France is stained by the fact they are actually a privileged warrior class to whom the proles must obey.
  • No Fourth Wall: The Narrator, William of Stonham, explains his story directly to the reader.
  • Politically Incorrect Hero: William of Stonham outright admits that he's "a complete bloody xenophobe," and he proves it by badmouthing the Welsh, the Scots, and especially the French.
  • Rain of Arrows: The comic explains how it's done in real life. Basically, you teach all your soldiers to shoot at the same range, then everyone loses arrows at once and something's bound to get hit.
  • Rape, Pillage, and Burn: The English, as the narrator has gleefully admitted, has been busy burning several villages on their progress from Caen to Crécy. This tactic was a favorite of Edward the Black Prince and intended to terrorize the population into believing that the French won't protect them and the English would. The narrator still insists, despite murdering French peasants, that they are the real underdogs against the French aristocratic army.
  • Shout-Out: The scene where the French taunt the English from the top of a castle wall seems very familiar. Except this time the English have a lot of longbows.
  • Slobs Versus Snobs: The whole point of the comic, repeatedly stated by Ellis; this was the birth of the modern world - when slobs got their act together and showed the snobs that they weren't going to take being bullied anymore.
    We're not meek little peasants anymore. And we are not fucking animals. And we have a lot of longbows.
    There's people from all over England here. English villagers. The common people standing up and saying, "No more. Stay the hell out of our country."
    Peasants aren't supposed to kill knights, are we, Froggy? Peasants should stand and do as we're told by the likes of "him", a man of quality and all that bollocks.
    You know what you lot say about us, after this? After we cut out the heart of French aristocracy? "It is a shame that so many French noblemen fell to men of no value." That's me and my mates you're talking about. That's the ordinary English who have been putting up with your shit for hundreds of years.
    • Of course this is severely complicated by the fact that the same slobs murdered helpless French peasants and gleefully commit other war crimes on defenseless people. Not to mention that said slobs are serving the English Kings, who (at the time) were the French-speaking and French-descended The House of Plantagenet, and fighting to claim the throne of France.
  • V-Sign: The main character is an archer who does this at the end of the book. This refers to the urban legend that the offensive V-sign came from the idea that the French could cut off the fingers of captured English longbowmen.
    I can kill you from three hundred yards away with these.