The Prince and the Dressmaker

I really loved Jen Wang‘s collaboration with Cory Doctorow, In Real Life, so I was excited to read her latest graphic novel, The Prince and the Dressmaker. I was impressed from start to finish.

The comic pops from page to page; the art is lush and evokes so much emotion. The characters are wonderfully expressive and their stories are complex and relatable. This is a prime example of what comics storytelling can be.

Paris, at the dawn of the modern age:

Prince Sebastian is looking for a bride—or rather, his parents are looking for one for him. Sebastian is too busy hiding his secret life from everyone. At night he puts on daring dresses and takes Paris by storm as the fabulous Lady Crystallia—the hottest fashion icon in the world capital of fashion!

Sebastian’s secret weapon (and best friend) is the brilliant dressmaker Frances—one of only two people who know the truth: sometimes this boy wears dresses. But Frances dreams of greatness, and being someone’s secret weapon means being a secret. Forever. How long can Frances defer her dreams to protect a friend? Jen Wang weaves an exuberantly romantic tale of identity, young love, art, and family. A fairy tale for any age, The Prince and the Dressmaker will steal your heart.

Featuring a gender-expansive main character was an important part of what made the story so compelling. Having representation of diverse expressions of gender (or the absence of one) isn’t just politically important, but also brings freshness to storytelling when done well.

The Prince and the Dressmaker is a great comic; it’ll be at the top of my list to recommend to anyone.

Edit: My friend Matthew points out the unfortunate choice to tie the story in with a cruel leader from real Belgian history. Using a fictional country and ruler in place of Belgium and it’s colonial attrocities would have been wiser.

3 comments on “The Prince and the Dressmaker

  1. The decision to make the main character a prince of Belgium and his father King Leopold II is the equivalent of making a cute, fun story about a child of Hitler.
    King Leopold II caused the death of millions of people in the Congo. He was a monster.…

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