THE HAPPY PRINCE
Written by Oscar Wilde
Adapted and Illustrated by P. Craig Russell
Published by NBM
Reviewed by Marc Mason
A happy prince who lived his life in a whirl of entertainment and decadence is now remembered solely by the statue erected in his honor in the city where he lived. With eyes made of sapphire and a coating of gold, he stands in direct opposition to the turmoil and poverty holding sway over his former subjects. But the soul within the statue catches the ear of a swallow heading south for the winter and engages him in an effort to stem the overwhelming pain and suffering of the city’s denizens. Ultimately, both bird and statue will give far more to the people than they could have ever imagined.
That this work would be spectacular is almost a given. Wilde is one of the greatest storytellers history has to offer us, and P. Craig Russell is one of the true giants working in the comics field today. Over a distinguished, decades-long career, he has done it all, and it has all looked incredible. HAPPY PRINCE is no different. Rich in color and opulent in detail, this hardcover presentation of his work offers up an amazing opportunity to enjoy what makes him such an amazing talent. And with the nice, large size, you can really study the pages and panels, examine the storytelling choices he makes, and get a grasp on just how effective sequential art can be in presenting all types of material to an audience.
HAPPY PRINCE also has an interesting undercurrent to it, the story resonating with the current issues of class that are prominent in our society these days. Wilde never uses the words “the one percent” but you don’t have to dig very deep when reading the story to see that conceptually, his words still ring of truth in 2012.
This is an outstanding piece of work, well worth your time and money, whether you’re a Wilde fan, a Russell fan, or just want to try something new.