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I previously interviewed the writer of Princeless, Jeremy Whitley, back when Princeless was nearing the end of its first volume. Now, Whitley is working on Princeless Volume 3. In 2011, Jeremy Whitley won the Glyph award “Best Writer” for Princeless and in 2012 won “Best Character” for his protagonist Adrienne from Princeless. He is also the head of marketing at Action Lab Entertainment and has written numerous comic books including Kill Shakespeare, GlobWorld, NFL RushZone, My Little Pony and more. He is also the founder of Firetower Studios. Let’s see what he’s been up to since we spoke to him last. You can also read my interview with the art team of Princeless Volume 3, Rosy Higgins and Ted Brandt, here.
Nicole D’Andria: How will this new volume of Princeless differ from the previous two volumes?
Jeremy Whitley: Through the first two volumes of Princeless we’ve seen Adrienne dive into a lot of things and come out on top. This go around she’s met her match in Raven. Raven is every bit as strong and smart as Adrienne, but she didn’t grow up in a palace, she grew up on the high seas. She’s developed a level of swagger and cunning that Adrienne doesn’t have. They’ll start off as friends but it won’t take too long for two hard headed girls with clashing agendas to butt heads.
Nicole: What has it been like working with a different artist every volume? Is there a reason why the artist changes?
Jeremy: Well, it wasn’t actually the plan. I began the book with M. Goodwin, but for her it was a work for hire job and she had her own comic stories that took precedent over continuing this story. Then I brought on Emily. Emily is great and the co-creator of Princeless as it stands now. She’s not going anywhere. In fact, she is drawing volume 4 as we speak.
The Pirate Princess story was originally envisioned as a quick detour for our Free Comic Book Day story, but I found that I really liked the character and wanted to tell her story, Emily was already working on what was then volume 3 (now volume 4) and I knew I would want to tell more stories, so I brought on Rosy and Ted to work on this story. The first story takes place here and, hopefully, there will be a lot more Pirate Princess to come.
Nicole: Princeless is often praised for its great empowering female characters. Did you base their personalities off of anyone in particular?
Jeremy: Adrienne is based on some combination of my sister-in-law (whose name she shares) and my wife Alicia. She’s smart, determined, hard headed, and doesn’t put up with other people’s junk.
Bedelia was based on a combination of a number of friends of mine. She’s a mixed race girl with a chip on her shoulder regarding her skill and place in the world. She’s also a totally nerdy fan girl. Up until she met Adrienne she’d spent her entire life cooped up in her house trying to support her dad. She’s read all about princesses and pirates, she even knows about Adrienne and Raven before she meets them, but she never dreamed she’d actually get to meet them in real life. I know and dearly love lots of fangirls.
As for Raven, she’s based on a couple of good friends of mine, but I’m not ready to say who or why yet. You’re going to learn a lot about Raven over the course of her stories. I wouldn’t want to spoil any of that.
Nicole: I’ve heard part of the reason why you write Princeless is for your daughter. Why did you feel the need to write this for her?
Jeremy: When my wife and I were getting ready to have a daughter, I had a lot of things on my mind. I wanted to have comics that I could share with her. I wanted her to have a heroine who looked like her and that she could look up to. So many of the heroines we give girls are cut from the same physical cloth and are often incapable of doing anything to help themselves and those around them. I wanted to make a character that I could feel good about her reading and that she could relate to.
Nicole: In Princeless, especially issue 3, you point out the questionable costumes female comic book characters have been wearing for years. What do you consider the worst female comic book costume and which is the best?
Jeremy: Whew, that’s tough. There are a lot to choose from. The one that stands out as the worst to me though is the super sexy nineties Invisible Woman. Not only is it dumb…not only is it impractical…not only is it exploitative – but it’s completely out of character for her. That costume is not at all representative of Sue Storm. It is soooooo bad.
As far as best…that’s tough too. So much of that is determined by who’s drawing it. What looks great under one artist can look awful under another. That said, I really like the current Ms. Marvel and Captain Marvel costumes. I loved Marcus To’s Huntress. I love several of the costumes Storm has been through in her run. I also have to say that I love the look of Ms America Chavez.
Nicole: Who are some female comic book characters that you feel are empowering examples of women other than Adrienne and her friends?
Jeremy: Ms. Marvel, Captain Marvel, She-Hulk, Storm, America Chavez, the cast of Rat Queens (though I don’t recommend that one for kids), Cleopatra of “Cleopatra in Space”, Zita the Space Girl, Monica Rambeau, Batwoman, and frankly the primary cast of My Little Pony.
Thank you for your time Jeremy! Look for Princeless Volume 3: The Pirate Princess this January.