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Review: The Courageous Princess

The Courageous Princess was part of my library’s core Graphic Novel collection. Though I hadn’t more than glanced through the title at the time, I had purchased it, because at the time it was one of the few female heroines in comics. And I liked it even more that this female heroine wasn’t scantily dressed with exaggerated female body parts. And I admit, it’s sat on my shelf for a long time. I never weeded it because it was in good condition and I considered it a classic comic. So I was thrilled to see that Dark Horse Reissued the comic and I finally (yes after 10 years) got around to reading it.

The Courageous Princess: Beyoned the Hundred Kingdoms
By Rod Espinosa.
Dark Horse Comics. 2015. ISBN 978-1-61655-722-5
HC, $19.99. 284pp.
Grades 5 and up

courageous princessYes this is a re-issue, but there were no real significant changes. I leafed through the copy I originally bought and really didn’t find anything different, aside from the new cover and the size. (The new issue is more squat.) So readers who are already familiar with this particular Graphic Novel might choose to pass it over, but now that I’ve read it, I really do believe this belongs as part of a “Core Graphic Novel Collection.” For the same reason I stated above; Princess Mabelrose is an awesome heroine. She’s smart and spunky and she doesn’t wait around for a prince to save her.

Princess Mabelrose is the long awaited child of the King and Queen of New Tinsley. She is doted upon and she is loved. But they are a small Kingdom and Princess Mabelrose knows that she will have to marry and in part the consideration will be the Kingdom. But before she even gets to go to her first Ball Princess Mabelrose is kidnapped by a dragon. She is there for some time, but then uses her wits to escape. During her escape she befriends a talking porcupine that she calls spiky. The escape is harrowing and the conditions are awful, but Princess Mabelrose begins to journey back to her Kingdom. All the while, her father King Jeryk is seeking her.

This story contains much action adventure and fantasy. There’s a lot to like in this story. The artwork is cluttered (at times) and busy with bright colors and many details to really engage in the story. The coloring really lets the art pop off the page, while contributing to the fairy tale feel of the story.

As I start to plan for the start of a new school year, I know this will definitely be one of my picks. I’ll be booktalking and sharing this title with my readers to make sure this no longer sits on the shelf. And good news. There are 2 more volumes, which are both available. The Courageous Princess Volume 2: The Unremembered Lands and The Courageous Princess Volume 3: The Dragon Queen.

This review is based on a complimentary copy supplied by the publisher. All images copyright © Dark Horse Comics.

Esther Keller About Esther Keller

Esther Keller is the librarian at JHS 278, Marine Park in Brooklyn, NY. There she started the library's first graphic novel collection and strongly advocated for using comics in the classroom. She also curates the Graphic Novel collection for the NYC DOE Citywide Digital Library. She started her career at the Brooklyn Public Library and later jumped ship to the school system so she could have summer vacation and a job that would align with a growing family's schedule. On the side, she is a mother of 4 and regularly reviews for SLJ and School Library Connection (formerly LMC). In her past life, she served on the Great Graphic Novels for Teens Committee where she solidified her love and dedication to comics.


  1. Rita Painter says

    I’m always looking for more graphic novels to add to my collection…this looks like a great one!

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