Princess Ugg, Vol. 2 (in pieces)

Because I am still relatively new to Comiclandia, the concept of buying single issues is still a bit odd to me.  I don't want to have to wait for a story ARC to conclude over a period of weeks or months; I'd rather wait for the trade and drink it all down in one go.  I don't even own those little plastic protectors that you put the single issues in.  Besides, I work at a library, where I can get the trades for free.

That changed when I went to C2E2 this year (in April!  O, how I've procrastinated reading my loot!).  Wandering Artist Alley (always a dangerous thing--that's where I spent most of my money this year), I saw a table with Princess Ugg on it.  I believe I've raved about this fair Scottish-Viking-esque princess before, so I did two very conspicuous passes in front of the table, trying to figure out if the Edwardian-chic man sitting there was, in fact, Ted Naifeh.

Yes!  The man in the natty hat, bowtie, and tweed vest was indeed the artist and author!  Because of the darkness of Courtney Crumrin, I assumed he'd be wearing guyliner and wearing combat boots (another style I like).  But here was this quiet, dapper man, sitting quietly and dapperly at a table that was relatively deserted until I tiptoed up and said, "Um, hey, I loved Princess Ugg.  I bought it for my library."  And Mr. Naifeh was all "Yay!"* and I was all "Yay!  Can I buy these issues and WILL YOU SIGN THEM FOR ME???  I CAN HAZ UGG?"  So I walked away with four single issues (#5-8, to be precise) of Princess Ugg, signed for me.

Unfortunately, I have this weird idea that the longer I keep a book unread, the better it will be.  Books are not like wines or balsamic vinegar.  Part of my hesitance is that I'm worried that I'll be let down by the book I've been waiting so long to read, so, paradoxically, I wait even longer to read it.  And the majority of the time, I finish and I berate myself for having taken so long to read the book.

These issues of Princess Ugg, which will comprise the second trade (released this fall), take a different path from the first ones, but that means it's a good story.  We can't just have issue after issue of Ülga not fitting in at Princess School.  In this story arc, she and four other princesses set off in a carriage to meet the Queen.  They're supposed to each perform before the Queen, but Ülga doesn't really have much in the way of courtly talents.  Girl slays (literally) with a battle-axe, though.  But when their carriage is attacked and the princesses are taken hostage, all bets are off.

The two things I loved about these issues were Naifeh's exploration of girl-on-girl hate and his positive portrayal of Ülga's desires.  You know that one girl at school or work, the one you've never been anything but nice to, but who takes every single chance to beat you down and disparage you and mock you?  Yeah, she's in this book.  She especially doesn't like that Ülga kisses guys she's attracted to, and Naifeh, far from slut-shaming Ülga, shows that her feelings are totally normal.  Why shouldn't she kiss a guy that she likes?  Guys do it all the time to girls.

The battle sequences are glorious.  The humor is toned down a bit in this one (I wish we heard more from Odin, the Raven Narrator), but it's still sly fun with the princess tropes.

*Not actually what he said.  He probably said "Oh, thank you," in a very polite way.


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