Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Often, though, artists return to that newspaper style. Sometimes it's in homage to the strips they grew up loving, and sometimes it serves a deeper purpose. In The Princess, Christine Smith writes a perfectly conventional strip with a somewhat unconventional protagonist. Sarah is a young girl who one day decides that she's fed up with being called "Seth" and treated as a boy and made to wear boy's clothes. Contrary to anatomy, she knows that she's a girl. So she dons pink dresses and a paper crown and insists that everyone call her "Princess Sarah."
A comic strip starring a transgirl could have been transgressive, but The Princess is as wholesome as anything in the Sunday funnies. Sarah is a fairly normal (if especially girly) little girl, and much of the humor of the strip derives from other people's responses to Sarah -- ranging from the bully who is confused that she makes such a cute girl to her mother, whose concern for Sarah's safety outweighs her desire to accept her child as she is. And, as the strip progresses and people get over the initial shock that Sarah is, in fact, a girl, it becomes more about the interplay between different characters. Sarah, who longs to be treated like a normal girl, finds her perfect foil in Irma, a girl who is deliberately and self-consciously odd.
Of course, all this wholesomeness and normalcy just serves to show that Sarah herself is a perfectly wholesome, perfectly normal child, albeit one whose point of view we don't see very often.
The Princess [Drunk Duck]