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‘ The Princess Who Saved Herself ’: An Empowering Story for Tough Princesses

Cornelia Tzana ’17 / Emertainment Monthly Assistant Comic Book Editor

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Source: The Princess Who Saved Herself Kickstarter

In 2013 Greg Pak, a film director and comic book writer best known for his work on Marvel’s X-Treme X-Men and many of the Hulk titles, partnered with singer-songwriter Jonathan Coulton, whose songs have been featured in Left 4 Dead 2 and Portal 2, to create a comic book based on the latter’s songs.

“I was listening to some of Jonathan’s music and I realized that every one of Jonathan’s songs has an amazing story and amazing characters” says Pak in the Kickstarter campaign video that was set up to fund the production of the graphic novel Code Monkey Save World. The amount that was raised by far surpassed the original $39,000 goal and reached the astonishing number of $340,270.

This campaign was the birthplace of the new children’s book The Princess Who Saved Herself, inspired by Coulton’s song of the same title. A free digital download of the book was promised to the backers once the $250,000 goal had been reached, a week before the end of the Kickstarter run.

Now, almost two years after the funding of Code Monkey Save World and the creation of The Princess Who Saved Herself, Pak and Coulton reunited with Takeshi Miyazawa, Jessica Kholinne, and Simon Bowland, the artists behind CMSW, to bring the children’s book to the physical world by holding a Kickstarter campaign to raise money for the production of the hardcover edition.

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Interior art from The Princess Who Saved Herself by Takeshi Miyazawa, colored by Jessica Kholinne. Source: TPWSH Kickstarter

The Princess Who Saved Herself tells the story of a princess who “lives with her pet snake and plays rock ‘n’ roll all day to the huge annoyance of the classical guitarist witch who lives down the road.” The inspiration for the song was Coulton’s own daughter. “She’s like a steamroller. Tough kid, but also really into princesses and frilly dresses and cakes and not wearing socks. So I wanted to write a fairy tale where the princess was just fine, thank you, and actually she was the one who was going to help everyone else out” he stated in an interview on Comicsalliance.com. “…If you have any doubt that the culture wants girls and boys to be a certain way, all you have to do is watch your kids grow up. It’s almost creepy the way they pick up on ideas that you might even have actively tried to avoid planting in their heads. ‘That’s a boy’s color.’ Stuff like that. So if this thing pushes back against that a little, that maybe makes up for some of the times I’ve contributed to the problem,” he mentions in the same interview.

The book presents a very compelling message for parents and comic book lovers who ultimately pledged $111,759, an amount that once again surpassed the original goal of the campaign. “I like to think of the book as exploring the princess myth for a new generation of awesome girls,” says Pak in the Kickstarter video.

Lately we have been seeing more and more female characters move to the forefront of comic book stories and become independent from their usual male counterparts. The Princess Who Saved Herself will hopefully open up the way to the expression of new children’s stories that empower young girls and show them the kickass princesses they can be.

Check out The Princess Who Saved Herself on Kickstarter.

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