Noelle Stevenson’s hit Netflix cartoon She-Ra and the Princess of Power expands to comic books next month with Scholastic’s graphic novel, She-Ra and the Princesses of Power: Legend of the Fire Princess. Writer Gigi D.G. and artist Paulina Ganucheau are no strangers to magical fantasy, with D.G.’s fantasy webcomic Cucumber Quest and Ganucheau’s work on magical girl comic book Zodiac Starforce. So, it was a natural progression for them to work on this popular princess franchise.
She-Ra and the Princesses of Power: Legend of the Fire Princess focuses on Adora dealing with her past as she discovers her new power to heal corrupted runestones. This leads Adora and the princess squad on an epic adventure that, of course, has them crossing paths with Catra and the Horde as they uncover the history of the Fire Princess that ruined her own kingdom.
Luckily, Newsarama had the chance to talk to Gigi D.G. and Paulina Ganucheau about the connection this graphic novel will have to the television show, the new mythology the comic books are digging into, and the character journeys both the Horde and Rebellion go through as they uncover the truth.
Newsarama: Gigi and Paulina, were you both fans of the original She-Ra or new show before working on this title?
Gigi D.G.: The original She-Ra was just before my time, but I watched a good amount of it to acquaint myself with the source material around the time I was first approached to work on the book. A fun fact: the location of the Spirit Ember, Candila, is a nod to an episode of the original show.
Paulina Ganucheau: I absolutely remember watching a few episodes as a kid. If a show had beautiful powerful lady characters in it I would automatically be obsessed. That was a given. And later in life I actually went through a college phase where I was obsessed with the 80s toy illustrations? I don’t know if you’ve seen those, but they are so aesthetically pleasing. I think I have all of them still saved to my hard drive. Mind you this was before I got this job even!
Nrama: How were you approached for the project?
D.G.: Paulina and I were approached through our shared agent, Charlie Olsen. We collaborated on two test pages before Scholastic and DreamWorks decided we'd be a good fit for the project.
Ganucheau: Yep! Just like Gigi said. The stars aligned perfectly and I’m still so grateful I got to be a part of it.
Nrama: Gigi, so what is She-Ra and the Princesses of Power: Legend of the Fire Princess about?
D.G.: Legend of the Fire Princess primarily follows Adora and her friends as they set out on a new adventure, but I wanted there to be a heavy focus on the "bad guys" too. At its heart, I'd say this story is about Adora looking back on her past, for better or worse.
Nrama: Tell us a bit about the new power Adora gains to heal corrupted runestones.
D.G.: In the show, Adora tries to use She-Ra's power of healing to save Glimmer after her magic is inhibited by the Horde. In Fire Princess, Glimmer proposes that this same power might be used to heal Runestones as well as people - if Adora can actually master it, anyway.
Nrama: Other than Glimmer, Bow, and Adora, will we see the other princesses come along for the adventure?
D.G.: Perfuma, Mermista and Frosta make appearances as well.
Nrama: How will Catra and the Horde involve themselves?
D.G.: Naturally, the Horde can't resist the allure of a Runestone free for the taking. Scorpia and Entrapta play a significant role in the mission to seize the lost Spirit Ember for Hordak.
Nrama: Did you collaborate with Noelle Stevenson at all for this project, especially because your story is building off of the mythos so much?
D.G.: We had an initial planning call with a few people from DreamWorks, including Noelle, where we discussed potential directions to take the story. Noelle also approved my final outline before I began writing the script.
Nrama: Who was your favorite character to work on?
D.G.: I can't settle on just one character, but Catra, Scorpia, and Entrapta are such a fun trio. I had a blast writing their interactions.
Ganucheau: Catra. Hands down. I think all my favorite panels are of her. I’m a sucker for a conflicted emotional evil cat girl, okay?! Second place is Mermista.
Nrama: Paulina, did you want to match the style of the TV Show or put your own spin on it?
Ganucheau: I think it was a little of both, but honestly I feel my style sits closely to the show anyway so it was a perfect fit! I never felt like I wasn’t myself on this book and I think that lends itself to the best results!
Nrama: Were there any new characters you were able to give new designs for?
Ganucheau: Actually yes! I was so lucky to be able to design the Fire Princess herself in this book. Her long ribboned hair is my favorite part. I’m such a sucker for smooth design-based elements on a character.
Nrama: How did your work on anime inspired Zodiac Starforce help you for this project?
Ganucheau: Zodiac Starforce was the beginning of my entire comics career so all the help that it’s done for me is endless. I definitely wouldn’t be on this book without it! I would say specifically on She-Ra though it helped a lot. A team of superhero magical girls saving the world and kicking butt sounds pretty familiar! I can bet a lot of the amazing crew behind this She-Ra reboot and I have very similar interests and influences. It’s funny, I have a big folder of inspiring art and photos saved for past issues of Zodiac Starforce, and there is actually some old She-Ra art in there already. It’s like I went full circle. I love it!
Nrama: What do you enjoy about the aesthetic of princess and magical girl characters?
Ganucheau: There’s something about visually exploring supreme strength in traditionally “feminine” aesthetics and ideals. Why not have a princess in beautiful, colorful garb be all powerful and saving the world? Why not have a glittering, sparkling character punching bad guys with athletic strength? You so often see the feminine side diminished to show power in a character. I find it very empowering and refreshing to see both facets shine so brightly.
Nrama: What can you tease about Fire Princess from a design and story perspective?
D.G.: Two characters go on a picnic. This was actually the very first proposal I had for the story, and I'm very glad it ended up in the final book. Please look forward to it!
Ganucheau: Mermista gets her braid caught on something and her face is my favorite thing. Also yes the picnic scene is amazing. The book has so much emotion and character driven content to feast on. I live for the drama. I can’t wait for everyone to see!
Nrama: Do you have plans to work together on more She-Ra graphic novels?
D.G.: There are no plans to announce currently. However, Paulina is a fantastic artist and I'd love the chance to work with her again.
Ganucheau: Aw gosh, the feeling is mutual! Gigi is incredible. I was a huge fan of Gigi’s before we were both put on this project anyway so it would be the biggest honor to work with her again in the future.