There are two truths of the universe that this blog illustrates consistently and without fail; I love to support worthy talents that I feel don’t get enough attention and I F***ING hate the Disney Princess model of storytelling.
To that end, I thank Jason Porath for doing what he does over at Rejected Princesses.
For the uninitiated, Jason was a former visual effects animator for Dreamworks (THE “anti-Disney” in their own right). But the one-off conversation he had with his friends asking who was the least likely historical/mythological figure to be selected as a Disney Princess style heroine in a children’s movie inspired him to flaunt his illustrating and writing skills as well.
What’s funny is that Jason – a white, straight man from Kentucky with no background in history or drawing (his major in college was Film Theory) – seems to realize that he’s the least likely person to be spearheading a multicultural, historical, feminist art blog that has gone viral. However, I would argue how that just proves that anyone can have a worthy voice and extraordinary talent.
So, what about the blog itself? Basically, Jason has taken notes on THOUSANDS of famous women from history, legend, and myth that he feels would be deemed by studios as, “too awesome, awful, or offbeat for kids’ movies.” He then proceeds to gather information from various credible sources, illustrate them in a Disney-esque style that he feels reflects both their real-life appearance and personality/story, and shares their tale with the world – recently in the form of full comics.
I think my favorite tale was his take on the bitter-sweet life of Lyudmila Pavlichenko; the ‘Lady Death’ of Russia during World War II and holder of the title of the world’s deadliest female sniper (309 confirmed kills by the age of 25). Jason’s rendition of her story shows a woman’s dark descent into bitter hatred only to be saved by one kind soul – in this case, First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt.
One of the nice features of Jason’s site is how he included collapsible footnotes between panels of the comics. This allows the reader to get the full story without cluttering the page with asterisks or simply enjoy the epic tale of a princess escaping her imprisonment only to come back with an army without fretting over the history.
Of course, he also has a humorous side to him and does less history driven comics with a more comedic bent to them.
Naturally, this is the point where I urge you to support his work and there’s no shortage of ways to do this. He sells prints of his work on Redbubble and his official Rejected Princesses book is available for autographed pre-order. So the next thing you should probably do is buy them lest you face a beheading from Lady Ching for your cheapskate antics.