Charles sent me his first 2 volumes of the Fuzzy Princess. You can tell what kind of books these are by the kind of treatment they received in my house. The second volume immediately had milk poured all over it, and the first volume has gone missing … presumably returned to the library on accident with a big heaping pile of children’s graphic novels. So yes! These books grabbed the attention of my kids and were read by them. The books are thick, perfect bound, and would fit nicely in a store alongside any graphic novel put out by Scholastic, but Charles publishes these himself. In fact, he’s a zine guy, and his Fuzzy Princess characters frequently show up in underground anthologies like Cartoon Loonacy and your truly’s After That!. He makes his own digest zines of the various “episodes,” and then eventually colors and compiles them in perfect bound paperback form. And so this is yet another mini comics adjacent publication.
As a cartoonist and storyteller, Brubaker leans in to what he loves which appear to be comics and cartoons from the 60’s full of squatty humans and animals all mixed into the same world. But in his world, the talking animals have come from another world (St. Paws) in a Tardis-like cardboard box and settled in with their human friends in an apartment. Cultures are constantly clashing and learning from each other in these adventures.
The dynamic cast of characters include Katrina, the fuzzy princess cat with the detachable magical tail that can be turned into anything from boomerangs to lassos. Her traveling companions, Chiro the bat and Kuma the bear. And the human friends they are staying with, the kid named Jackson and his 20-something sister Jordan. There are others, but the one I’ll mention by name that shows up later is Katrina’s mom, Queen Felicia, who seems to be one of those characters that was meant to be minor but ends up being a great character, and so she becomes part of the main cast.
Whacky hijinks is the name of the game with these stories. Example: In “A Fuzzy Christmas,” Katrina wants to help out making the holidays special by cooking. The stores are out of turkey, but she notices a flock of geese flying by the apartment. She lassos one with her detachable tail and proceeds to attempt to kill it for their holiday bird. She fails, and the goose flies off (taking the left-over chicken from the fridge with it?).
I look forward to more comics from Charles Brubaker. And I’ll also have to see if I can’t rescue my volume 1 from the library. Chances are, it’s on the shelf there now or in the hands of another kid somewhere in the city … about to spill milk all over that one too.
P.S. Charles is animating these now all by himself! Check out the cartoons and comics from his website: