Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Paul's Picks - Princeless Vol. 1 (by Action Lab Comics)

Welcome back to Paul's Picks! By way of a rapid introduction, This is the column where I (Paul) would typically review my favorite book from this week's releases. However, since I am currently living an hour from my nearest comic shop, I don't usually get to my books the week-of anymore. So instead of a weekly pick, I will be bringing all of the readers a glowing review of a recent title that should be read by all! Starting with...

Princeless, Book One: Save Yourself
- written by Jeremy Whitley with art and colors by M. Goodwin,
and letters by Jung-Ha Kim and Dave Dwonch.

The guys at AC delved into this title from the publisher Action Lab Comics for our All Ages Bonanza (specifically Part One, which can be found here online or here in iTunes). The story begins with a Disney-esque opening, with a queen telling a typical bedtime story to her young princess, Adrienne. This bedtime story is the age-old tale of the Princess, trapped in the top of the tallest tower, where only the bravest and strongest of princes can save her by slaying the dragon that holds her captive. As one might expect, this wasn't simply a bedtime story: it was an explanation for how Adrienne's life is going to be by decree of the king. But as the reader will quickly discover, the princess mold was broken with our protagonist. The first line that she delivers comes off of the tail of the fairytale, "That story was complete hogwash."

I think that's enough about the narrative. The fact is, while the story is very interesting, it's truly the quality of writing and art by Whitley and Goodwin that puts this book on a level all its own. It's amazing how Whitley manages to write what the reader is thinking before they have the chance to think it. This book is witty in the best possible way, never taking itself too seriously but still maintaining its integrity. From the first moment that we're introduced to Adrienne, we are immediately allured and interested by her brassiness, her independence, and her charm. She's not delicate in any sense of the word, instead she is tough and powerful and yet still manages to maintain all the regality of being a princess for the reader. Whitley puts the story somewhere between an in-house Disney cartoon and a straight-up parody of the genre. It's amazing how well Whitley manages to create something of such pristine quality that manages to fall into a specific genre and yet satirize that genre at the same time.

Of course, none of this could be accomplished without the gorgeous and iconic art of Goodwin. The style almost takes on the look of animation at times, as though these panels could be taken right out of a saturday morning cartoon. The heavy lines and vibrant colors create an extravagant world, especially in regard to Sparky, Adrienne's dragon friend and protector. So much relies on the artist in a story like this; if the style tries too hard to appeal to adults, it could be uninteresting for children, but taking a very childish route could potentially alienate some adult readers. But this is no real challenge for Goodwin. His design and presentation throughout this volume perfectly balances the book in a way that writing alone cannot manage.

In fact, I would say this book goes beyond the tag of all ages. It transcends age, gender, or personal preference. Princeless is a must-read for anyone of any age or gender. It will capture the heart of the most jaded and critical adult, and it will take the adventurous young soul on a journey that they will never forget. Jeremy Whitley and M. Goodwin have crafted a masterpiece for the world, and it is more than deserving of this pick. Go out, and get it. Now.

Interested? You can get it here digitally on Comixology, or of course, you could find it at your local LCS!

Read it? Let us know what you think! Write us an email at, or on twitter @AncillaryTweets or myself @jollygreen05.

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