September 13, 2013

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SPX Spotlight 2013: Jeremy Whitley of Princeless

Welcome to another entry in the 2013 SPX Spotlight series!  For the next month, I'll be highlighting creators and publishers who will be at the best convention, the Small Press Expo.  You can check out all of my spotlights for SPX from both this year and prior years here.

I'm really exited to report that Jeremy Whitley will in fact be making SPX this year, after being unsure if he had a table for the show.

The marketing arm of Action Lab, a small press publisher, Whitley is best known for the breakout hit Princeless (my review of Volume 1 here), which he created because he wanted there to be a comic his daughter could relate to.

For those who are unaware, Princeless is the story of a young woman living in a world where her opinion isn't valued. Her parents keep their girls as prisoners, waiting for the right man to come and rescue them. With the help of a sympathetic dragon, our heroine escapes to live life on her own terms, which is far from easy.

The comic definitely has a message, especially when one of its covers calls out the rest of the industry (see here for details), but Whitley is careful to ensure he's telling a story, not just countering stories he doesn't like. The characters are real, their feelings and emotions are human--even those of the parents, who are shown more as being misguided than evil.

As the series moved into Volume 2, it continued to be excellent, though the tone and feel was just a bit darker, at least from my perspective. That's a natural progression. It still remains an amazing comic, showing that you can make a comic for all ages that shows positive role models for young women and girls.

I'm not entirely sure what Whitley will have at SPX. My guess is copies of the older, smaller version of the Princeless trade (but be aware it's re-launching in a full-size trade soon). He should also have copies of Volume 2, which was just released, and possibly single issues as well.

Jeremy also writes another series, The Order of the Dagonet, which features a set of honorary Knights (i.e. celebrities) being forced to band together to save the day. It's a fun romp of a series for those who like parody comics. You probably need to be of a certain age to get the analogs and references, however.

For those who can't make SPX, I want to let you know that Princeless Volume 1 is being re-released as single issues, with the first issue only $1, to be followed by $2.99 releases for issues 2-4. If you prefer floppies to trades and missed out originally, check your local comic book shop for them.

I don't often recommend comics without hesitation--well, except during SPX Spotlight time--but I can definitely say that Princeless is a comic anyone coming to SPX will love. Lots of folks complain about the nature of comics these days--but Jeremy is doing something about it. When you're at SPX, go have a look at his stuff, and put your own consumer dollars where your mouth is.

Stuck in a tower and can't make SPX? You can find Action Lab on the web here, and their comics are on Comixology for the digital set.