Whether or not you want to cry is irrelevant, Jen Wang is going to make you shed a tear regardless. The story she tells in The Prince and the Dressmaker is one of two people, both struggling in their lots in life for very different reasons. One, a poor seamstress with big dreams but no real road to get there. The other, a Prince who sometimes feels like wearing a dress but knows he could never do it without serious repercussions. Add beautiful artwork and you’ve got yourself a winner.
I know I always joke about how queer stories are inherently better because they’re queer…. but it’s true and this is just another drop in the bucket of how this also includes graphic novels. Though a drop seems too small, because a story about a gender fluid youngin’ seems too big to call a drop. I say that because, gender nonconforming individuals have very little representation and the ones they do get, don’t always tend to be great. This though, this was great.
Heartfelt, engaging, and all around human, Prince Sebastian and Frances become a dynamic duo of lavish dresses and tales of grandeur with a fully tragic twist. The joy and excitement of their story leaps of the page and any sadness or hopelessness they feel, equally goes beyond the page and into your heart.
I believe this is a perfect example of how the medium of graphic novels can play so well into telling a story because this story is enhanced so much because of how it was told. Wang knew that this was the best way to make the story of Frances and Sebastian the most powerful it could be and it shows. Every scene, every gesture was deliberate and perfect.
Plus the ending is spectacular.