Princeless #1

Princeless has been on my radar for a while now. It first came to my attention some time last year when I was sent a preview copy of the first issue by the series writer, Jeremy Whitely. I loved it back then for its unique take on the tried & tested fairy tale trope of the “lock a Princess in a high tower till a Prince comes along to rescue her”, & I love it now for the exact same reasons. However the series has a new artist this time around & while I was a fan of its simplistic art before, I much prefer the series new pencils by M Goodwin. The script is still the same but the new lick of paint will bring the book to the attention of a much wider audience whilst giving anyone who has read the series before a chance to revisit the tale & see something new & very much improved.

For those of you that haven’t read Princeless before let me give you the skinny on what it’s all about: Princeless tells the story of Adrienne, a smart mouthy sassy teenage Princess who, on her 16th birthday, finds herself locked away in a tower by her father. Adrienne’s dad is the sort of figure that all teenage prom dates fear. No one is good enough for his girl (or any of her 6 sisters) & so making full use of his Kingly status he’s taken the rather extreme step of making them all prisoners in towers guarded by giant fire breathing monsters till a Prince comes along to slay the Dragon & rescue the fair maiden. But as anyone who’s ever read Whitley’s work before knows the apple cart of fairy tale convention is simply fair game to this man & Princeless takes great joy in upsetting all our usual ideas about happy ever after & making a giant mess with all the glee of a four year old armed with crayons in a big white room.

While we’re on the subject of young children it’s probably worth pointing that this is the target audience for Princeless. When I reviewed the book before I said it would probably appeal to young girls of age 6 & upwards, I’d revise this to 9 or 10 years of age now (Or you could just read it yourself first if you want to make sure it’s suitable for your children & then make your own mind up). I say this because while Princeless still has the same script it did last time around the artwork has been dialled up a number of notches &this makes for some detailed panel work that might be less suitable for very young readers while it’s not the sort of thing to emotionally scar a child for life it’s still worth taking into account if you have a particularly sensitive child. Please don’t take this as a criticism though as the artwork in Princeless’ pages is an absolute joy to behold. M Goodwin’s pencils & colours breathe new life into Whitley’s script & make the characters & events jump out of the page giving the book a truly dynamic feel. As I said earlier the script remains unchanged & while most of the panel layouts are fairly similar the change in pencils has seen some of the layouts get shifted around, as a result the story seems to flow more naturally making it much more of a pleasure to read.

As a book Princeless is a huge amount of fun & a great way to introduce that hyperactive child you’ve got running around into sitting still & reading something. While it is clearly aimed at a female demographic the book has a message that is universal & it’s the message that I dig most about Princeless. Here we have a book that preaches the importance of being truly independent & proud of who you are & what’s more it does it without being preachy. In Adrienne Whitely has created an individual that stands out as a positive role model to young people everywhere & for this reason more than any other I implore you to buy this book & help make it a huge success.

It’s also worth mentioning that Princeless comes with a back up strip detailing the adventures of Prince Wilcome, who appears briefly in the first issue. The art is by D.E. Belton and Jung-Ha Kim this time around, but their pencils & colours are well in keeping with the tone of the book & the sharp scripting & genuinely funny dialogue helps this tale feel like a true extension of the main story rather than just a bolt on for it.

Now before you rush out to your local comic book stores & start scanning the shelves for Princeless, the actual comic will not be available till October. That shouldn’t stop you adding it to your standing order & requesting it from your retailer (it also gives you an excellent reason to talk to the hot girl that works in your local comic shop that you’ve wanted to talk to for ages). If you want to get an idea of what it’s about the book will be featured in the August previews & while October may seem a long way off don’t think I’m going to let you forget about this title because I’ll be talking about to anyone who’ll listen till it comes out, starting with this Thursday’s MOMBcast, so make sure you tune in for that.