Jen Wang's "The Prince and the Dressmaker": a genderqueer graphic novel that will move and dazzle you
I love Jen Wang's work: her debut graphic novel Koko Be Good was thought-provoking and challenging and beautiful; "In Real Life," her adaptation of my story Anda's Game took the tale to places that delighted and surprised me -- today, Firstsecond publishes The Prince and the Dressmaker, which I believe will be her breakout graphic novel.
The Prince and the Dressmaker is the story of Frances, an aspiring dressmaker, and Prince Sebastian, heir to the throne of Belgium and the most eligible bachelor in the elites of Europe at the apex of the industrial revolution, just as the role of royalty is shifting precipitously.
Prince Sebastien is under nearly unbearable pressure: to wed, to assume leadership. But he's also under pressure thanks to his dark secret: some days, when Prince Sebastien looks in the mirror, he sees a woman. He has been stealing his mother's dresses for years and privately dressing in them, with the help of an extremely discreet and devoted servant.
One day, Frances finds herself summoned by Prince Sebastien, and, as she discovers his secret, she also finds in him her most willing patron, canvas, and audience, the first person to truly understand her artistic passion.
The two conceive of an artistic and personal partnership, with Frances helping the prince fashion a second identity as Lady Crystallia, who quickly becomes the toast of Paris and the most mysterious and best-dressed figure in high society. As the pair's collaboration deepens, so does their friendship -- and then it ruptures, when Frances has to confront the fact that she can't be known as Prince Sebastien's tailor and Lady Crystallia's tailor without compromising the prince.
What follows is a wrenching and beautiful story about gender identity, passion, friendship, selling out, keeping your integrity, and the surprisingly capacious limits of parental love.
Of course, it's a Jen Wang book, so it is also gorgeous, with emotive character design, beautifully conceived settings, and a visual rhythm that paces the book so, so masterfully.
I was reduced to happy tears by this book. It is the greatest work yet from a creator with a string of great works in her history.
If you're in Los Angeles, you can come see Jen and I discussing The Prince and the Dressmaker at Chevalier's Books on March 15.
The Prince and the Dressmaker [Jen Wang/Firstsecond]
A team of material scientists from Northwestern University figured out how to make hair dye in various shades of grey, all the way to a very, very black black, out of graphene sheets.
Steven Brust's "Good Guys," a hardboiled noir urban fantasy, with everything great about Brust on proud display
Steven Brust is a literary treasure and his longrunning Vlad Taltos series, now nearing its final volume, is a good example of where his strengths lie: hardboiled plotting, snappy dialog, weirdly realistic and plausible depictions of magic, and a sensitive eye for power relationships and their depiction, all of which are on display in his latest, outstanding novel, Good Guys, about the minimum-wage sorcerers who investigate magical crimes on behalf of a secret society.
XOXO is the much-loved culture and tech conference in Portland, organized by Andy Baio and Andy McMillan; they took 2017 off and would not confirm when or if the conference would be back, but a year later, it's back!
The Nintendo Switch is king when it comes to gaming on the go, but it’s tough to lose yourself in Zelda: Breath of the Wild or Skyrim if your battery dies out. That’s where this Nintendo Switch Battery Charger Case comes into play. Built exclusively for Nintendo Switch, this pack allows for uninterrupted charging while you play, […]
Creative designers play a pivotal role in engaging target audiences and customers, and while companies are eager to bring more of these professionals on board, you’ll have a hard time getting your foot in the door if you’re not using the industry’s best tools. From Adobe to Maya, the eduCBA Design & Multimedia Lifetime Subscription Bundle […]
As more companies aim to reel in costs and boost productivity, project managers are becoming an essential part of many operations, and they’re paid handsomely for their expertise. But, while demand is high, you’ll have a hard time getting your foot in the door if you’re not toting the right certifications. The Official Lean Six Sigma […]