Creator: Tarun Shanker, Kelly Zekas, Amanda Perez Puentes
Genres: Graphic novel, historical fiction
Pages: 232 pages
Publisher: Legendary Comics
Review copy: Publisher
Availability: Available now!
Summary: Based on a true story, in eighteenth century London, Elizabeth Wilkinson struggles to make ends meet for her and her sister Tess while facing the fiercest female bare-knuckle boxers of her day. [Image and summary via Goodreads]
Review: I’m going to keep this review short and sweet. I’d much rather you spend your time reading Championess than reading this review, so let’s get to it: Championess lives up to its title — it’s a knock-out winner. (Obviously, I don’t know anything about sports, so if “knock-out winner” isn’t a real phrase, just let it slide please.)
This historical graphic novel set in the 18th century follows Elizabeth Wilkinson, a scrappy boxer determined to fight her way out of poverty for herself and her sister. This is, amazingly, based on a true story, though in Championess, Elizabeth is reimagined as half-Indian and her story reflects that through subtle details and the discrimination she faces.
As you can tell from the cover, the art in this graphic novel is a perfect fit for the subject matter. The boxing matches come to life through high energy panels and expressive character art. And as you read, you can almost hear the roar of the crowd and the thud of fists. What delighted me the most was Elizabeth’s character arc. Her boxing career and her Indian identity come together in a powerful way, and I found myself saying “yes!” to some of Elizabeth’s revelations along the way.
If you’re looking to read more comics, Championess is it — an action-packed must-read. Definitely pick it up if you get the chance!
Recommendation: Buy it now!