Once upon a time not that long ago in a faraway land, there lived a comic book writer who wrote the tale of a Princess trapped in a tower. This was not just the tale of any Princess however; this was the tale of the Princess Adrienne – who was unlike any Princess the world had ever known. In times past when the writer had been told stories of Princesses trapped in towers they had always been waiting for their Prince to come & rescue them, but little did they know that these notions had kept them prisoner far more than any tower ever could. But the Princess Adrienne would be different. She was intelligent & inquisitive & by golly she would show these namby pambies a thing or two about castles, captivity & most importantly freedom.
You see the writer was tired of reading stories where the women were subservient & simpering. This was the twenty-first century. Women were just as intelligent & capable of independent thought as their male counterparts. Why couldn’t they have a story where they made their own destiny, instead of polluting their minds with terrible reality shows & waiting for a Prince to come make it for them? The whole purpose of Fairy Tales had originally been to teach important lessons & challenge the norms that existed in society but nowadays people only ever saw them as an opportunity for romantic wish fulfilment where the hired help gets it together with the local Royalty, which works out well for the Royalty because then they don’t have to shell extra on a new cleaner! As modern & free thinking as the world liked to think it was, it still clung to certain ideas of gender that were medieval in nature & none more so than in the comic book industry.
Now, being a writer of comics, which can be described as books where pictures tell the stories as well as the words, it would not be enough for the writer to conceive of the story of the Princess Adrienne, he would also need an artist to draw her into life. So the writer set out on a quest to find such a person. A quest that would take him all the way across the earth & back, or at least it would do if this wasn’t the twenty first century & we didn’t have the internet. In no time at all an artist was found. Adrienne was finally ready to escape from her tower & onto the pages of her very own comic book named Princeless. But things are not always so easy…
Even though the artist could draw Princess Adrienne into life, it was not the life for which she was destined, so after a single issue the artist & the writer went their separate ways. The Princess Adrienne was then taken & put in a tower again. But this was no tower of captivity, this was the tower of the writers mind, which was inhabited by many other creatures such as elves, fairies, characters from Shakespeare plays & a few people that were like people we know in this world, but just different enough that the writer wouldn’t get sued for identity theft. While these other characters left the tower on occasion to tell stories of their own the Princess Adrienne remained there, awaiting the day when once again she could tell her own story, but the writer had not forgotten her.
Time passed & the writer once again found himself with an opportunity to tell the story of the Princess Adrienne & another artist that could draw her out of the story & into the comic anew. However the world of comics was still no fairy tale where gender roles were concerned. Women had been misrepresented in comics for quite some time & the need for a positive female role model that would speak to women of all ages was more prominent than ever. So the Princess Adrienne rode out for a second time to save her sisters… But first she had to save herself.
As she rode across the lands with her new look the Princess Adrienne caught the eye of many a potential reader & not just the female ones either. The artist made Adrienne look & feel real as well as relatable & everywhere she went the Princess was complimented for her wonderful looks & positive mental attitude. Over the course of four issues Adrienne found herself rising to face many an insurmountable challenge, from faking her death to explaining the difference between a “Woman Warrior” & “Warrior Woman” she established herself as an important voice in comics that had the power to attract an entirely new generation of readers. After all, why can’t a Princess be charming too?
Now normally you would expect this to be the point where we say “& everyone lived happily ever after”, close the book & go to sleep, but this is only the beginning. However it’s the beginning that true happy ever afters are made of. You see the writer, the artist & all the other people involved in creating this story didn’t have a Fairy Godmother who could wave her wand & turn their Pumpkin of ideas into the stagecoach of success. It was something that they had to work at & while the hours were long & the work arduous, they had the story of the Princess Adrienne to inspire them. After all she didn’t believe in sitting around & waiting for Happy Ever After to happen to her, so why should they? You see Happy Ever After isn’t something that can be summed up in 3 little words & handed out to all & sundry. It’s something that you have to find for yourself & more importantly find within yourself, & when you find it, that’s what will set you free.