Ted 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