If you’ve kept up with the site then you already know that I’ve been following and reviewing Oni Press and Ted Naifeh’s Princess Ugg in single issue form. So why the trade paperback review? Well it gave me a chance to read the fourth issue of the series as it is a part of this collection and frankly I just couldn’t wait. Instead of spoiling that for you I will just stick to talking about the overall volume. The story if you’re unfamiliar and planning to pick up the trade (which you definitely want to do), is about Princess Ulga. That’s right “Ugg” actually comes from the nickname that Ulga picks up later in the story.
Ulga is from the higher plains and is basically considered a barbarian. Just before Ulga’s mother died she made her a promise and so she’s leaving home to attend… princess school. That’s right the barbarian princess is going to princess school. Her journey starts off okay with the exception of nearly being arrested. Everything quickly changes as she finds herself an outcast in more ways than one in the school. She also ends up roommates with the girl who hates her and you could easily say that the feeling is reciprocated.
This first volume is a very rewarding read. Naifeh makes it look easy as he introduces the reader to a new world of princesses and Norse mythology sharing the same space. His take on the princess genre is unlike any you’ve seen before and puts the genre to shame.
What’s really impressive is the amount of heart and humanity that Naifeh captures with the story. At first Ulga just seems like a kick ass chick, but Naifeh quickly breaks down her character from that and shows how she’s just a young girl trying to honor her mother’s wishes.
If you’ve ever seen Naifeh’s artwork then you know how wonderful it is. He spares no details in this series and that strangely enough makes it look different from his previous work. It still has his style and intricacies, but Princess Ugg is very much its own thing. It’s not as if he’s taken the style used on Courtney Crumrin and just applied it to this series. The two would look similar side-by-side, but they are different works of art.
The majority of the coloring is done by Warren Wucinich and brings this story to life. He’s a big part of why this series is different from Naifeh’s other work. He balances the darkness of the tale with the light making everything look vibrant and more so a fantasy world. The rest of the coloring comes from Naifeh as he uses watercoloring to make the backstory pages look more historical and traditional fantasy based. It’s a great mix of the two styles for sure.
There is a great message learned in this first volume of Princess Ugg. It makes this a story the perfect read for all-ages, but I would definitely encourage young girls to read it. I would even encourage you to buy it for them because it blows a hole in the princess genre and it really needed one. If you missed out on the single issue then this is a great place to start with the series so that you’re caught up.
Writer/Artist/Creator: Ted Naifeh Colorist: Warren Wucinich Publisher: Oni Press Price: $15.99 Release Date: 11/26/14 Format: TPB