Part-Time Fanboy Spotlight on: Princeless
December 11, 2012 (No Comments) by Kristian


Volume One:

Written by: Jeremy Whitley

Illustrated and Colored by: M. Goodwin

Lettered by: Jung-Ha Kim and Dave Dwonch

Volume Two-Issue One:

Written by: Jeremy Whitley

Illustrated by: Emily C. Martin

Colored by: Kelly Lawrence

Lettered by: Dave Dwonch

Published by: Action Lab Comics

Reviewed by: Kristian Horn

It is a common lament among aging comic fanboys who have children of their own that the big comic companies don’t make comic books for kids anymore. While nothing could be further than the truth (DC has books like Tiny Titans and Marvel has released stuff like Marvel Adventures for the younger set) what is true is that the mainstream books being sold through comic shops have become increasingly inappropriate for younger readers. What is even more distressing to me as the father of a little girl is that comics for kids of her gender and age have mostly disappeared from the comic store shelf, if they ever really existed at all. Now I know that many readers out there may argue the point with me by claiming that books from the Archie line are terrific for little girls but I would have to beg to differ. I’m sorry if I don’t think that a comic where the main focus of the female characters’ energies are directed on making the male protagonist notice them is a particularly good read for an impressionable young girl. There’s a saying that goes, “Nothing turns a man into a feminist faster that having a little girl.” There’s a lot of truth in that and I, for one, have been particularly perturbed by how difficult it can be to track down comics for girls between ages of five to eight years of age.

While it’s true that there are more comics these days for women and girls I still am of the opinion that the female market that is one that is completely underserved. Other than some attempts by unfortunately failed manga publishers, there hasn’t really been a big push by comic companies to increase their market share by appealing to the female fanbase. Yes, comics for girls are out there, but you have to do a lot of work to find them and when you do you have to hope and pray that they are appropriate for the child that you are buying them for. Of course, I did teach my daughter how to read by exposing her to Jeff Smith’s Bone, so I may not be the best one to gauge what is “appropriate” for a child. All I can say is that when it comes to comics for young women I’d appreciate it if chasing boys and being fashionable weren’t the main focus of the narrative.

This is why I was so happy when I recently had the good fortune to discover Princeless. Princeless turned out to be a truly pleasurable read for both this father and his daughter. I’d heard about this book online for a while but I’d never had the opportunity to really track it down in my local comic shop. Now that I have read the comic I can confidently state that Princeless is everything that I was hoping it would be: charming, adventurous, humorous, and engaging.

For those not in the know, Princeless focuses on Princess Adrienne , who because of the backward traditions of her particular fantasyland has been locked up in a tower waiting for that day when a prince will slay the dragon that guards her prison and frees her from her captivity. The problem is that Princess Adrienne doesn’t really want to wait around to be rescued. She doesn’t understand why she has to endure the indignity of being locked up in a castle waiting for some doofus she doesn’t know to come and rescue her. The young lady in waiting just really doesn’t feel like waiting and ends up devising a plan to escape the tower and save herself rather than wait for someone to let her out. And not only will the feisty Princess get herself out, but once she’s escaped she’ll help get her many sisters out of similar prisons that her father has placed them in as bait for wayward princes seeking a bride.

t’s a terrific premise and writer Jeremy Whitley and artists M. Goodwin  and Emily Martin really do deliver on the strength of the concept.  It’s just great to see a princess tale that talks about female empowerment more than female subservience. Yes, it’s true that Princeless isn’t the only modern day fairy tale that has a headstrong female lead in it but it is one of the few fantasy stories with a female protagonist that has absolutely no romantic agenda. There is no prince aiding her in her quest, no romantic rogue helping her in her search for meaning, no charming scoundrel dropping quips at the drop of the hat. Princess Adrienne doesn’t need that. What’s so great about Princeless is what its underlying narrative is: women don’t need a man to get what they want. A woman can accomplish what she needs to accomplish on her own. It’s a message that I think isn’t delivered enough to young women enough in media these days…especially in comics.

But Princeless isn’t some man-hating diatribe disguised in comic book form. No, it’s an honest-to-gosh-straight-up adventure tale. I don’t want any readers out there thinking that this is a heavy handed message comic. It’s not. It’s fun and funny and absolutely adorable. Little girls will love it (even though there was some stuff in issue three of Volume One that wasn’t wholly suitable for my five year old). I know my daughter did. After reading the first part of the trade paperback with me before bed one night she asked if we could read Princeless before bed for the whole week afterward. If a little girl asking to read a comic before bed isn’t the best recommendation you could get for Princeless then I don’t know what is.

Issue One of Princeless Volume Two is available for Pre-Order today! Diamond order code STK522144

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