Written and Illustrated by Ted Naifeh
Colored and Lettered by Warren Wucninich
Edited by Robin Herrera and Jill Beaton
Designed by Jason Storey
Published by Oni Press
Release Date: July 16, 2014
Diamond Code: MAY141500
A few weeks ago we were introduced to an intriguing tale and fascinating character in Princess Ugg, a new fantasy comic series from Oni Press. Written and illustrated by Ted Naifeh (Courtney Crumrin), the series tells the story about Princess Ulga of Grimmeria, a Viking warrior type from the forgotten people of the mountains and daughter to King Thorgrim and the late Queen Fridrika. Ulga is on a journey to the city-state of Atraesca of the five kingdoms in the lowlands, where she plans on attending the prestigious Princess Academy to further her education just like the royals from the other five kingdoms.
I sat on this comic for quite a while and when I finally decided to start reading the first issue, I was turned off by the dialect that the Vikings were using. It was not that it was difficult to decipher what was being said, it just didn’t grab me right away so I put it down. It wasn’t until I came across the second issue that I finally decided to give the first issue another stab. Let’s just say I enjoyed the issue so much, it inspired me to immediately read the second and to do this write-up.
Naifeh exhibits the differences between Princess Ulga and those from the five kingdoms really well, not just in physical appearance but in their disposition as well. He quickly makes this obvious by contrasting Ulga with Lady Julifer (the Princess of Atraesca) in the first issue. This is fundamentally what Princess Ugg is about, how we are all different from one another, the challenges we might face because of those differences, the hatred and the ignorance that those differences may bring, and the lessons we can all learn from accepting those differences by opening our minds and embracing them instead of fearing them.
Princess Ugg #2 continues with Ulga instantly facing these challenges, as she continues to deal with the ridicule of Julifer and the others because she is a foreigner. In addition to the mockery and the prejudice, she also struggles in class with the lessons and the customary ways of the lowlanders. It is in fact her grammatical obstacles and perhaps some learning disabilities that earns her the nickname Ugg.
In retrospect, I am glad I read these first two issues back to back. Prince Ulga is the antithesis of your typical princess stereotype, more reminiscent of Arya Stark than Princess Aurora. The art is exquisite with beautifully detailed illustrations from Naifeh, not to mention the adulatory colors from Warren Wucninich. The script is both strong and charming as Naifeh has delivered in these first two chapters an unusual but alluring twist on the princess genre.
REVIEW: PRINCESS UGG #2
Peter Rodriguez (Geek Sushi)
Strong central character with compelling story, superb artwork.
Language/Dialect may be a bit challenging to some.