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‘Princess Ugg #7:’ Comic Book Review

I’m not sure if Oni Press (Scott Pilgrim) knew exactly what they were going to get when they gave the go ahead to Princess Ugg, but writer and artist Ted Naifeh (Gloomcookie, and the Eisner-nominated Courtney Crumrin) has given them a possible classic. Having found Issue #4 only a couple of days ago, I took my time paging through to the end of Issue #7 today, appreciating the pristine character development, the exceptional dialogue writing, and the beautiful, emotionally charged artwork. Princess Ugg is a treat full of excitement, intelligence, and pathos. Part fairy tale princess land and part Game of Thrones gritty reality (without the explicit sex and violence), I laugh, I worry, I wonder, and, today, I cried. It's one of those special books I can’t wait to get my hands on every month. It’s simply beautiful.

It’s about a Barbarian Princess named Princess Ulga who, due to her deceased mother’s advice, seeks to become more civilized. So, she leaves her mountain kingdom, the father that doesn’t understand why she’s doing what she’s doing, and battles with giants to take on etiquette, politics, and that incredibly difficult task of making friends with the other preening princesses of the surrounding kingdoms.

This is more than a fish-out-of-water story or an underdog story, this is a story about becoming a stronger person when you accept those around you. Acceptance, kindness, strength, and valor. By embracing each other’s differences, we become stronger as individuals. Strength of character doesn’t come from how much power you wield, but by how willing you are, against all odds, to do the right thing. That’s real strength of character.

Princess Ugg (Ulga), next to Ms. Marvel, is one of the most positive characters in comic books right now. No matter how difficult things get, Ulga keeps her head up, and she keeps trying. She wants to become better than who she was, while learning to accept who she is. She wants to succeed. She may not always know how or why at first, but that’s all part of the journey. And, that’s one of the main reasons that makes this book so exciting. You grow with Ulga, you learn with her. Her journey is every person’s journey.

While I do highly recommend this to young adults, I think everyone should read it. Not just for the outstanding thematic work, but simply because it’s writing at its finest. I think today many adults especially need to relearn what Ulga is learning for the first time.

And, because of this fine comic, I can’t wait to test some other of Oni’s curious-looking titles. They’ve been around since 1999, and I can only imagine that they inspired the direction Image Comics has taken over the past decade. Publishing intelligent comics and graphic novels that aren’t superhero fodder. If Ugg is this good, they may have some other gems waiting to be read.

While Princess Ugg #7 was released this past Wednesday, there is now a collection that came out in December. Find them. Now.

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