If you want a new perspective on the sinking of the Titanic, forget James Cameron. Matt Aytch Taylor‘s ongoing webcomic, Admiral, examines the tragedy from the perspective of the shipbuilder. Drawn in mostly monochromatic black and white (with the exception of flashbacks, which are in color), the comic digs into the dawning horror of what is about to happen, through the perspective of someone who ultimately feels responsible for everything that happens once the ship hits the iceberg that seals its fate.
The Titanic sank four days into its maiden voyage from Southampton, England to New York City on April 15, 1912. Despite six warnings of sea ice, the ship was traveling at nearly full speed when lookouts spotted an iceberg in its path. As we all know from the 1997 movie, the crew wasn’t able to course-correct quickly enough. The Titanic hit the iceberg and, some hours later, sank to the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean. More than 1,500 passengers and crew were killed.
Admiral does not shy away from this tragic history. Taylor has a passion for “old boats and weird history,” which he notes on his social media, and that shines through not only in how carefully rendered the panels of this webcomic are, but also in how detailed it is. The characters have distinctive voices and their expertise is clearly laid out in the way they speak, as well as their expressions and how they carry themselves.
However, there’s nothing pedantic about Taylor’s writing, nor his art. The characters — especially the protagonist, Thomas Andrews, Jr. (the actual Titanic shipbuilder) — are deeply human. Imagine how it must have felt to be in Andrews’ shoes when he learned that his ship wouldn’t make it through the night, let alone through the rest of its first voyage. Taylor does a beautiful job of capturing those emotions in Admiral, which on the surface is about a boat — but underneath is about so, so much more.