Review: “Princeless: Raven: The Pirate Princess” and “The Prince and the Dressmaker”

Raven-Prince-feat

Comic: Raven: The Pirate Princess
Run: 2015-
Publisher: Action Comics
Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fantasy

Comic: The Prince and the Dressmaker
Release Date: February 13, 2018
Publisher: First Second
Genre: All-ages, Historical Fantasy

Descriptions

Princeless: Raven: The Pirate Princess:Raven is ready to set out on her quest for revenge against her brothers. They’ve stolen everything that should be hers and now she’s going to get it back. But first, she needs a crew. Share the laughs, action, and adventure as Raven assembles the fearless crew of awesome ladies who will help her get her revenge.” (via Goodreads)

The Prince and the Dressmaker:Paris, at the dawn of the modern age:

Prince Sebastian is looking for a bride―or rather, his parents are looking for one for him. Sebastian is too busy hiding his secret life from everyone. At night he puts on daring dresses and takes Paris by storm as the fabulous Lady Crystallia―the hottest fashion icon in the world capital of fashion!

Sebastian’s secret weapon (and best friend) is the brilliant dressmaker Frances―one of only two people who know the truth: sometimes this boy wears dresses. But Frances dreams of greatness, and being someone’s secret weapon means being a secret. Forever. How long can Frances defer her dreams to protect a friend? Jen Wang weaves an exuberantly romantic tale of identity, young love, art, and family. A fairy tale for any age, The Prince and the Dressmaker will steal your heart.” (via Goodreads)

 

My Thoughts

Princeless: Raven the Pirate Princess

Raven-coverIf it were just good at being women-centric, that’d be one thing. But every element of the series is fantastic. Whitley is a great comedic writer, but he deftly balances the jokes with heart and honesty. The art is solid across the board, but really soars with Christine Hipp at the helm and Xenia Pamfill supporting with colors. The pair absolutely nail the look of the book; between the two of them, it’s some of my favorite art I’ve seen in comics this year. Props also go to Justin Birch. Again, all the letterers have been strong, but Birch particularly good at keeping the flow of text natural and easy to read.

I hate that it took me three years to finally get around to reading this comic. It’s so good and here I’ve been wasting all this time not having this gem dramatically improving my life. I plowed through all nineteen issues in one night, I was so hooked. If this series is cancelled, I’ll be utterly devastated. You need to read this series…

 

The Prince and the Dressmaker

Prince-coverIn a lot of ways, The Prince and the Dressmaker reminds me of Molly Ostertag’s delightful comic from last year, The Witch Boy. Both tell stories that can exist on a queer allegory spectrum without being explicitly queer. (And both are darn good stories, to boot!) Sebastian gives no indication he’s queer, even in coded historical terms, but from a contemporary perspective he’s clearly experimenting with gender expression and identity. And that’s what makes it so important for kids to read. They, like Sebastian, may not have the words or the concept of what they’re feeling; they may not even recognize that they are feeling anything. But fiction offers a lens with which to view ourselves. The Prince and the Dressmaker shows why Sebastian and Frances keep their secrets—for fear of the humiliation and rejection he later suffers—but, importantly, the acceptance they receive from those they care about the most. Frances and Sebastian hold their own personal truths from the world, and as much as it hurts when others betray them and reveal those truths without Frances or Sebastian’s consent, the acceptance they get in the end eases the pain. A story like this tells you that things can be different, that you don’t have to be what everyone says you are—a revolutionary idea for a lot of kids…

To read the rest of my review, head over to Tor.com.

Thanks to Jeremy Whitley for sending me a review copy.

Do the world a favor and buy these comics from your local comic book store or borrow it from your public library.

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