The Courageous Princess

 COU8   (Antarctic, 2003-2004)

™ and © 2004 Rob Espinosa

In a world of fairytale kingdoms, Princess Mabelrose has a happy childhood, with loving parents and good friends in one of the smallest and poorest of The Hundred Kingdoms. But, contrary to the standards of fairytales, her first ball is a disaster: She’s ignored by the prince and mocked by her fellow princesses. To make things worse, the next day she’s carried off by a powerful and evil dragon who’s already killed any number of knights and princes who tried to rescue his previous captives. Rather than give up hope, Mabelrose decides that, if she can’t expect help to reach her in the dragon’s stronghold, she’ll have to rescue herself. So, in the best tradition of fairy–tale heroes, she sets out to find her own way in the world, meeting both new friends and perils, as she tries to find her way home.

Creator Rob Espinosa’s deft work with pen and paintbrush (showing some manga influence), plotting, character creation, and scripting combine into one great storytelling experience. Reading the hardcover collection of the original three softcover graphic novels is a bit like going to one of the better Disney animated films, except that no one spontaneously breaks into song. There’s only one drawback, in fact: While the book comes to a satisfactory conclusion, it’s plain that the story isn’t entirely finished. Readers can only hope that Espinosa gets a chance to tell us what happens to Mabelrose and her friends next—preferably in the very near future.

— Joyce Greenholdt

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