It's called UGG, but this book definitely isn't hard to look at. Ted Naifeh's illustrations are dynamic and interesting, fusing different styles for a totally unique effect. Bold lines evoke woodcuts, but there's a soft quality to some of the panels, and despite her rough-and-tumble persona, Ulga looks downright adorable in some sequences.
I've got to give my compliments to the letterer and designer (Warren Wucinich and Jason Storey) -- the logo and caption boxes on this title are so perfectly on-tone. The narrative font in those captions is stylized enough to plant this tale firmly in the realm of fairy tale/adventure, but it's not difficult to read, and isn't distracting.
Ulga/Ugg is going through a tough time, but her voice remains consistent and unique throughout, and there's a lot of potential for her to have a compelling arc. The 'ugly duckling' scenario and Ulga's relationships with the other princesses make for a great, relatable young-adult read, but Ulga's fierce, battle-hardened edge keeps things interesting and fresh and steers the title away from after-school-special territory.
The pacing of this book is a little bit on the slow side. On the one hand, this makes for a great read-aloud tale (with the sort of repetition that younger readers might really enjoy), but on the other, it feels like the narrative is idling. I'm hoping to see a fresh conflict in Issue #3.
Gorgeous, inventive illustrations and a spunky protagonist make PRINCESS UGG an enjoyable title with a lot of promise for readers of many ages. The action isn't aggressively paced, but Naifeh is laying plenty of groundwork for a heartfelt coming-of-age story with lots of relatability and a diverse cast. I'm picking up hints of Wicked, Red Sonja, and Brave, which seems like a solid recipe for a story about strong female characters with more than one dimension.