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Princeless: Save Yourself (Action Lab Comics, 2011; #1-4)

I am mourning the apparent loss of The Unstoppable Wasp.  But I’m mourning it productively, but checking out its writer Jeremy Whitley’s creator-owned work, Princeless.

Princeless is an all-ages comic about a young princess named Adrienne.  She has no use for stories about knights saving fair maidens from towers.  Or for princes in general, really—not when she can pick up a sword and fight for herself.  Her objections don’t stop her parents from locking her in a tower to find a suitable suitor anyway.  But she hatches a plot to escape and save her sisters from their towers. 

So she broke loose and then vamoosed, and now you know the plot.

This is an all-ages book, and while it does not condescend, it is written for kids to find it approachable.  Think along the lines of Fractured Fairytales*—it satirizes the tropes and inherited “morals” of the story and instead replaces it with its own.  The only difference is that in this case, the new moral is practical and not itself parody.  Adrienne’s own story is the one she wanted to read as a kid.  And, I suspect, it’s the one Whitley wanted to exist for his own daughter.

Given its all-ages nature and kid-friendliness, it should not come as a surprise that M. Goodwin’s art is bright and colorful.  It has an exaggerated, cartoony vibe.  After all, the most famous princess stories in pop culture are cartoons.  It makes sense, and it looks good.  So swapping this in for one of those princess-gets-saved-by-a-prince stories ought to be easy.

Princeless is fun, and if you’re looking for an all-ages comic with strong women who save themselves, then it’s a great option.  That’s not to say that it doesn’t have anything to offer non-kid readers; I found myself laughing throughout the book.  It’s a book that does exactly what it sets out to do, and it does it well.  If that happens to be something you’re into, check it out.

* If you don’t know what it is, you are missing out.  Guggle it.

Collected in

  • Princeless, Vol. 1: Save Yourself (#1-4)


Writer: Jeremy Whitley | Artist: M. Goodwin | Letterer: Jung Ha Kim | Editor: Shawn Gabborin

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