I was almost late for my chat with Princeless author Jeremy Whitley the other night. Why? Because my daughters wanted to read Princeless volume 1: Save Yourself again.
When I first went hunting for Princeless, it was indeed a hunt. I eventually scored a copy of the original manga-sized first print, which, Whitley says, he’d seen on eBay for $500 at one point. I did not pay that much for my copy, but not because I don’t think the comic is worth it. A story that teachers young readers that princesses don’t need to sit in their towers waiting for a handsome prince to rescue them? A story that counters the sexist portrayal of women in comics? A story that features a person of colour as the lead protagonist? Oh yes, we need a whole lot more of that and now. Action Lab Comics and Scholastic are making it happen by bringing Princess Adrienne to a school and library book fair near you.
“One of the largest problems I’ve heard from librarians and teachers when it comes to getting Princeless is availability,” says Whitley. This includes his own mother who is a middle school teacher who constantly pushes the importance of Princeless in her school such that the book frequently sells out at book fairs. Teaming up with Scholastic will hopefully solve this availability problem. Although, Whitley admits, the introduction of Princeless to Scholastic’s roster wasn’t his undertaking. That was the result of poking from the publisher, Action Lab, and several months of discussion. Scholastic had already sought out the company to add Vamplets to its list of books available for distribution to schools and libraries. Adding Princeless simply makes sense for a distributor of great kids’ books and comics. For now, only volume one is available, collecting the first four issues, the Prince Charm School story, and a short crossover with Jim Zub’s Skull Kicker, but the hope is to incorporate the entire Princeless catalogue, including Raven: The Pirate Princess, which is aimed at a slightly older audience.
As a parent of school-aged children, I look forward to the monthly collection of Scholastic offerings. Sadly, Princeless isn’t available for us here through Scholastic Canada, but hopefully that will change very soon. It would also be great to see Princeless translated into other languages, which is a topic in deep discussion at the moment. The award-winning, Eisner nominated series is very deserving of the accolades it receives, and the more people that can join Princess Adrienne on her journey, the better.