Jeremy Whitley Takes "Princeless" to the High Seas

"When the world fails to rescue you, you have to rescue yourself" is the lesson Adrienne taught readers in "Princeless." "The Pirate Princess," a four-part miniseries written by Jeremy Whitley and illustrated by Rosy Higgins and Ted Brandt takes the "Princeless" story that started in a 2013 Free Comic Book Day issue from Action Lab Comics and expands it as Adrienne, Bedelia and her loyal dragon Sparky continue their mission of rescuing Adrienne's sisters from high-reaching towers and saving princesses. Along the way, Adrienne also encounters and rescues Raven Xingtao, a.k.a. The Black Arrow. The daughter of a pirate king, Raven, like so many princesses, was betrayed and stuck in a tower.

In a discussion with CBR News about the January-releasing comic, Whitley gives us an idea about what lies ahead for Adrienne, what the new princess is like, and how pirate mythology will fit into the fantasy realm he's established for his "Princeless" epic.

CBR News: What can you tell us about this new chapter in the "Princeless" series? What's coming up for Adrienne and Bedelia?

Jeremy Whitley: Adrienne and Bedelia are on the road and headed off to rescue the next of Adrienne's sisters when they find another princess locked away in a tower. Adrienne doesn't know her, but feels honor bound to save her the same way she's trying to save her sisters.

What Adrienne and Bedelia don't know is that Raven, the princess in question, is the daughter of the self-proclaimed Pirate King and a tough nut in her own right. As luck would have it, she has a quest of her own, though her goals and Adrienne's might not be the same.

Raven is the new kid on the block. What's she like?

Raven is like Adrienne in a lot of ways: stubborn, smart, full of ingenuity. At the same time, they're very different. Adrienne was raised to believe in the royal order of things and was taught that people get what they deserve. She was dissuaded from sword fighting or caring about the sorts of things that are reserved for knights.

Raven, on the other hand, has lived her whole life at sea. She can fend for herself and is a mean shot with a bow. She's also been taught to not respect the demands that royalty makes on the average person and that kings rather than pirates are the true criminals. Raven considers piracy and theft to be excusable crimes or even desirable skills.

Raven has serious skills with a bow. Why that particular weapon?

I've always been a big fan of the bow and arrow. It's a pretty versatile weapon that can be used for more than just fighting. Beyond that, it seemed like it might be a very useful weapon on the high seas where you may not always be face to face with your opponent.

In addition to the fantasy realm with dragons and princesses to rescue, "The Pirate Princess" brings in a new element. What's it been like to add the pirate mythology to the existing story?

I think pirates represent a very interesting counterpoint to the world of nobility. Pirates earn their station through hard work, they're constantly on the move rather than holed up in a castle, and pirates actually have a pretty long history of taking care of their own. When pirates were injured or disabled, they continued to work on the boat and were rewarded the same as the rest of the crew. If pirates died, their families were entitled to their share.

The monarchy we've shown in Adrienne's world is one where the king is often iron-fisted, and the royal family has an amount of celebrity. But because everybody believes the royal family is in charge, they have legitimacy. The pirates of this story stand in direct opposition to that.

You have a new art team on board with this series in Rosy Higgins and Ted Brandt. How did you find them and what have they brought to the story?

Rosy, Ted and I actually met through Tumblr. I had mentioned that I had this story planned out, but that my artist had been pulled away by other obligations so I had had to shelve it. Rosy and Ted chimed in and said they might be interested in trying out to do art on the project. They sent me some character sketches and I was sold. I knew they had what it took.

They bring a sense of lightness, a naturally cartoony vibe and excitement to it. Rosy and Ted instantly made the characters their own and brought an aesthetic that I think is perfect for the series.

Will the new series be strictly about Adrienne, Bedelia and Raven, or will they pick up any other princesses along the way?

Well, for the time being, we will be seeing mostly them. In the near future though, you'll be seeing the rest of Adrienne's sisters as we continue on to rescue them and avoid capture by the bounty hunters of her father, the king. We have plenty more surprises up our sleeves.

"Princeless" has been lauded for featuring nontraditional protagonists, but at her core, Adirenne is still a young girl. Even though she's a hero in her own right, who would she look up to as a role model?

I think Captain Marvel is Adrienne's type of hero. If she knew she existed, she'd probably be the sort of hero Adrienne would aspire to be. And of course, Wonder Woman. I think the two of them would have a lot to talk about, and a lot of bad guys to beat up.

"Princeless: The Pirate Princess" #1 arrives in stores in January.

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