I recently had the pleasure of reading an advanced copy of the first issue (of four) of PRINCELESS, written by Jeremy Whitley, drawn by M. Goodwin and D.E. Belton, and put out by Action Lab Comics.
What a fun romp this story is! Whitley tells a story fit for all ages, about a princess locked in a tower, waiting for a prince to save her. Her parents have even put a dragon in front of the tower for the winning suitor to slay, thereby proving his worth.
However, Princess Adrienne, whose other sisters are already locked up in various towers, won't be having any of it. She's always thought the tradition to be stupid (and unbelievable — how is a prince supposed to climb up a tower using a tiny girl for stability?), ever since she was young and her mother would read the stories to her. To make matters worse, she's also got the cutest dragon named Sparky. So she won't stand for this tradition, and decides to take matters into her own hands.
As you might have guessed, the overall tone of the book is very postmodern, a lot like Shrek or the recent Disney movies (Princess and the Frog and Tangled especially — we have a black princess and a Rapunzel story here) or, in comparison with other comics, a lot like FRACTURED FABLES. But far from just poking fun at traditional fairy tale convention, PRINCELESS also simply sets the stage for a good and gripping story. The pacing is impeccable, and the art is very expressive. Even though Adrienne is a loudmouth, she's drawn in such a way that you sympathize with her, or at least laugh with her anger, because she has a point. (There's a scene where she chastises a prince for calling her "fair," because "fair" means "white," and she's black.) And Sparky, especially, is very cute.
I can think of no better way to end this review than to say that after I read it, I immediately read it to my six-year-old niece, doing voices for all the characters. I'm proud to say that she didn't require many explanations, and she was smiling and laughing the whole way through.
PRINCELESS #1 will be out in October. It is highly recommended for those of you with kids, and still pretty highly recommended for all those of you who want to read something charming.