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Review: Princess Ugg #1

princess uggTed Naifeh’s Princess Ugg follows the fur-clad, tough-as-nails Princess Ülga of Grimmeria as she attends (ahem crashes) a school for Princesses in the picture-esque valley kingdom of Atraesca. Grimmeria, Princess Ülga’s homeland, is situated in the unforgivable mountain climate, high above the valley kingdom. It is with battle axes, bastards swords and woolly mammoths that Princess Ugg gets her first taste of ‘schooling’. Her mother, who is fashioned as a kind of Valkyrie- meets the Celtic Queen Boadicea, lovingly calls Princess Ülga her little “Bonnie Berserker”

It is tradition for the leaders of the surrounding kingdoms send their princesses to get a  formal educated on the subject of royal behavior at  Altraesca’s prestigious princess academy. Even Princess Ülga’s mother had to get the training, she tells her daughter conversationally in the heat of a mountain battle.

Getting acquainted with the written accents of the Scottish sounding Gimmerians was tough at first. Lines like “Tis Nae a Shame teh be a bit nervous” and “We’re gonna teach these Kackers a lesson they’ll nae forget”. I had to slow down and read it in a Scottish accent in order to get through it. It added a lot to character of the dialogue though so I liked it. It may help to see Brave or listen to an interview with Mike Meyers or Sean Connery to reacquaint yourself with the accent.

As far as the story goes, I am a sucker for nontraditional girls struggling to fit into a traditional mold. Princess Ugg, the fur clad barbarian from the mountains seems unaware of her difference when she saunters through the city gates atop her woolly mammoth, causing gasps and stares. She causes a ruckus and doesn’t seem to mind. I love it. I cant wait to see what they do with this story. The fact that Priness Ülga leaves a trail of destruction behind her– and does not seem to even notice–is a little different than the Disney Princess Trope which usually follows girls with strong, level heads, but who tend to struggle more visibly under the traditional social pressures. With princess Ülga, I find myself asking a lot of questions, will she fit?, will she change the social standard?, or will she be outcast? If so, how will she handle a battle that does not use swords? At first I thought the story line would be predictable, but after some thought I changed my mind because of the nature of Princess Ülga’s character.

I’m very excited to see this story be revisited, but with a markedly different kind of princess. I think it will be inspiring and a must read for everyone.

The art in this comic is beautiful. The colors fit the atmospheres well, icy blues and harsh greys for the kingdom of Grimmeria and sandy yellows and warm browns for the summery land of Atraesca. The characters are vivid, the outlines are thick and have a shape and character of their own. Lots of attention to detail, but my favorite are the backgrounds. The lines and colors melt together while still keeping even the smallest detail of cobblestones together. Not going to lie, the scene where Princess Ülga looks down from a shadowed mountain pass onto the Mediterranean looking kingdom of Atreaesca, I wish I had a painting of it. Really beautiful.

This is a promising comic, and you guys should keep a lookout for the next issues!

Story and Art: Ted Naifeh Lettering: Warrn Wuccinich
Story: 8 Art: 8 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Oni Press provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Baltimore Comic Con 2013: Review: PLB Comics 2013 Halloween Special

plb halloween special 2013Debuting this weekend at Baltimore Comic Con, independent comic book publisher PLB Comics have released their second annual Halloween Special. The hefty thirty-six page book is jam packed with tales of terror, suspense and revenge. The anthology overall is entertaining with some stories standing out more so than others, but the entire package is worth picking up.

Featuring a multitude of differing styles, this book features five self-contained stories with writing and artwork from such notable indie creators as Josh Shockley, Nikkol Jelenic, Cheltsey Vann, Ryan Thompson, Brandon Spicer, Brian Spicer, Miranda and James Dufendach, as well as a pin up by Buz Hasson and Ken Haeser creators of The Living Corpse.

While this Halloween Special has a higher page count than most comics, PLB has decided to keep it at the three-dollar price point, a great value for an independent comic. And overall a great jumping on point for anyone interested in checking out what PLB has to offer.

Overall the stories are pretty entertaining with the majority standing out in the good category. The art too is really good for an independent comic produced by a small publisher. Overall, it’s a solid entry.

The only knock I have at all is not all the stories fit a “Halloween” vibe. A greater focus on that would have made this a stronger release. Though overall, the stories are still good, so it’s not all bad.

PLB continues to show off their strengths. Their releases are consistently entertaining and the company deserves a dedicated following, one I hope they’re getting. Overall, the company is doing everything right as a micro-publisher. Finding interesting stories to tell with interesting characters and talented individuals to make that all happen.

If you’re at the convention this weekend are looking for a fun independent comic to grab, do yourself a favor and swing by their booth to check this one out.

Story: Josh Shockley, Brian Spicer, Miranda Dufendach, James Dufendach, Cheltsey Vann Art: Josh Shockley, Brandon Spicer, Ryan Thompson, Nikkol Jelenic, Cheltsey Vann
Story: 7 Art: 7 Overall: 7 Recommendation: Buy

PLB Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review