I was more than happy to check out an early look at Ted Naifeh’s Princess Ugg. Basically because anything Ted Naifeh does is worth checking out, but the fact that he’s tackling the Princess genre and has delivered a Norse princess… well let’s just say that this is going to be anything but what you’re expecting. The premise of the series is important to know upfront. It’s about a Norse princess (as I said) attending Princess Academy at the request of her mother. The issue itself opens with Űlga (that’s right not Ugg like the title suggestions, but the same character that appears on the cover) as her mother prepares her for the schoolin. At this point I should point out that the dialogue is creative with the spelling of words, my favorite being “Edgykayshun” which is “Education.” Űlga’s mother tells her daughter that it’s okay to be nervous on her first day and that she too was nervous. I’m going to kind of spoil this for you, but what her mother is referring to as “the schoolin” is not the princess academy that Űlga later attends. However it is a very clever play on words and makes for a great close to the opening of the story.
From there we see a more traditional princess getting ready for the academy. She’s spoiled with a comfortable bed and then lavished with a bath before picking which of her favorite dresses to wear for the day. After every page we see Űlga going through her own routine which is quite similar, but far more rustic. As Űlga approaches the human plane with her pet Wooly Mammoth Odin stops her.
That’s about as much of the story as I’m going to give you, but I will mention that our two princesses are on a collision course to meet each other. Otherwise there is plenty and I do mean plenty of the story left to read.
Naifeh is a great storyteller and that shows here. Sometimes when a creator works on a particular project for a while you wonder if too much of the old project will seep into the next one. With Naifeh that’s never been the case. Sure you can spot his trademark style of artwork, but his stories always manage to have an original voice. Naifeh receives a lot of credit for writing strong female characters, but really he writes strong characters that happen to be female.
His story here is fun. It’s fun as shit and I read it with a big goofy smile on my face it was that entertaining. Űlga is a wonderful character and just looking at her you know that she’s going to constantly be in trouble and fighting.
As I said before, Naifeh has a very distinct art style. That’s present here, but he flexes his muscles and gives the series a look that’s different than his previous work. It really does look as if he’s grown artistically and that’s saying something considering how impressive his artistic talent is.
There’s an obvious demographic that Naifeh and Oni are going for with this series. That said, I think it would be foolish for anyone to think that they’re not the target demographic. Do you like bad ass characters that make others look foolish because they look down on people? Do you like Norse mythology, especially when there’s something new added to it? Do you love Wooly Mammoth’s? Of course you do. Seriously though, this series/issue is going to surprise a lot of people so pick it up at a con or pre-order for its widespread release in June.
Writer/Artist/Creator: Ted Naifeh Publisher: Oni Press Price: $3.99 Release Date: 6/4/14 Format: Ongoing, Print/Digital