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What They Did to Princess Paragon: A Novel Mass Market Paperback – April 1, 1995


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Plume (April 1, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0452271630
  • ISBN-13: 978-0452271630
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.7 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.1 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,184,488 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

How the world's greatest comic-book artist, Brian Parrish, a 38-year-old gay man from Manhattan, ends up trapped in a food plant "in the middle of some piddly little college town two hours outside Chicago" is part of the delight of Rodi's new novel. Brian's scheme is to rejuvenate the faltering sales of American comic-book icon Princess Paragon by turning her into the first gay super-hero. His design is modified at every turn by a cast of outrageous characters: Perpetrial Cotton, an African American feminist lesbian whose favorite T-shirt reads "Ferraro for Veep"; Jerome T. Kornacker, a deranged fan upset at what is happening to his longtime fantasy girlfriend; and Heloise Freitag, Brian's chain-smoking publisher. Tightly plotted and consistently amusing, the novel is more farce than satire: Rodi's characters are as cartoonish as his superheroine. "This is real life," Brian says to Jerome as Rodi attempts to inject some pathos into the dialogue. Nothing about the book suggests real life, however, which is exactly the point. Real life is seldom this funny. This is another campy, breezy read from a gay comic writer ( Fag Hag ; Closet Case ) who is quickly developing his own cult following.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

When gay comic strip artist Brian Parrish is hired to take over "Princess Paragon," an old and fading strip, word soon leaks that he intends to turn her into the first lesbian heroine. Fanatic fan Jerome goes to a convention to confront Parrish. After a series of wild incidents, Parrish holes up in Jerome's home, where he writes one script and Jerome writes another. Meanwhile, Parrish's boss and a black lesbian assistant take over the strip. The characters are zany and the situations zanier as comic strip creators and consumers clash in some very funny scenes. With crisp, naughty dialog and colorful supporting characters, the author of Fag Hag (Dutton, 1992) delivers a rowdy and witty comedy.
Robert H. Donahugh, formerly with Youngstown & Mahoning Cty. P.L., Ohio
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By B. S. Yates on March 10, 2008
Format: Mass Market Paperback
What They Did to Princess Paragon is a fun read. It is primarily comedy with a wit somewhere between a Kevin Smith movie, an episode of Fawlty Towers, with perhaps a shade of Seinfeld.

Other reviewers have made the criticism that one of the protagonists, Jerome Kornacker, is a cliched stereotype of the hapless geeky comic fanboy, and granted, Rodi walks the fine line between stereotype and caracature here. However, given that nearly all of the remaining cast are caracatures (often, amalgamated characatures of actual people), I think it more likely to assume that caracature is the author's intent. Further, Rodi simply knows too much about the personalities and trends of the comics world that he is satarizing to believe that he has written the character of Jerome "from the outside." For example, his character, comic book author Nigel Cardew, is clearly an amalgamated parody of the primary authors of a movement in comics known as "the British Invasion," with the speaking style of Comic writers Garth Ennis (and/or Grant Morrison), the anti-Thatcher politics of writers Alan Moore and Jamie Delano, the fashion sense of Warren Ellis, the writing style of Frank Miller, and the first name, Nigel, probably derived from Neil Gaiman. Most of the characters are similarly derived. (Hiriam Krapp= Robert Krumb/Harvey Pekar, Jodi Lipmann=Gary Groth,others etc.) In addition, the details of the comic books these characters write are too acurately lampooned, the minutial trivia too cleverly and thoughoughly referenced, to believe that it would have emerged from the casual research of an otherwise uninterested author writing about "guys he knows that are just like that." No, Rodi has a little Jerome Kornacker inside him.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Glen Engel Cox on August 15, 2002
Format: Hardcover
An entertaining novel that satirizes the comic book industry through a recasting of the early 1990s in which a well-regarded comic book writer/artist decides to make his mark in the new, mature field by taking a character from the golden age and remaking her as a lesbian. Like all good satire, there's an edge here--although John Bryne did do a retelling of Wonder Woman, I don't think he has remade her sexual orientation, but one quick look at the field and the various changes that have been made and it does not seem that it would be too much of a stretch. Batman is a ruthless vigilante, Superman's been dead, Spiderman has an alien costume...it's enough to make any fan think that the field has no sacred cows.
Rodi picks up this idea and uses it effectively, if a little heavy handed and without a measure of sympathy in some cases. Everything works out in the end (this is a comedy, after all, and it wouldn't do to have anyone really hurt), along the way there's enough pain to make you think that Rodi's been watching too much Seinfeld and not reading enough P.G. Wodehouse. Actually, I probably should compare Rodi to Joe Keenan, because he shares Keenan's sexual preference and is also writing humorous novels. Keenan's fare is meringue pie--light and fluffy and leaving you wanting for more; Rodi's dessert has a bitterness to it, as if it may have stayed in the oven a little too long.
Picking on the unwashed masses of comicdom may be a little like shooting fish in a barrel, and Rodi's talent at poking things with a sharp stick should probably be utilized where something is bloated out of proportion with its importance. Too much of this novel is the same stereotypes that we know have a basis in reality, but are not quite what they seem. The one redeeming factor to Rodi's cruelty to his comic fanboy is that he doesn't restrain himself from a jab or two at his gay protagonist (although mainly through the Broadway schtik of his lover).
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 13, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
OK - It's my turn!! Here I was stuck for a month in some ridiculous backwater business assignment so I took a chance and bought all the Rodi books to keep me company. The GayMuse of Entertainment was watching over me! This guy is literate, amusing, profound, and definitely has the ear of his audience. I could go on and on about all his books: comparing & contrasting & up-thumbing and down-thumbing... but the bottom line is that this man WRITES with a wit and wisdom that is oh! so rare in Gay Fiction today. Now do a little 'search' here at amazon.com on 'rodi' and pluck up anything that pops up. I guarantee you that you will be pleased... if not just a little bit moved!
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 20, 1997
Format: Hardcover
Being a white, heterosexual male, I have often wondered why some people get so insulted over stereotypes of the groups they belong to. Don't they realize that this is just meant to be one person out of a group that is being depicted, and that it is done for laughs? But I had my beliefs challenged when reading this book.
You see, I am a 40 year old comic book reader. The people who read comic books in this story are not treated well, and I am not referring to just the main character. The people that Jerome meets in the shop or at the convention are not portrayed in any better light than he is.
I have not read any of Mr.Rodi's previous work, so I can not speak to the accusation that this is repetitive. I picked this book up because I thought I would enjoy the subject matter, the creation of comic books. If you are easily insulted by stereotypes, do not get this book.
That said, however, I will also add that I enjoyed reading it. Perhaps it is because I do not see myself in Jerome. I do have a mortgage to worry about, and a very good job that I enjoy. I do not live with my mother. Or perhaps it is just because I do not take myself(or comics) too seriously. I also enjoyed, no matter how true-to-life it was(or wasn't), the inside look at the world of comics.
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More About the Author

Robert Rodi (b.1956) was born in Chicago, a town seething with literary and musical energy, and he has spent his life immersed in their currents. His first novels, which quickly gained him cult status, were deftly drawn satires of the city's gay scene ("Fag Hag," "Closet Case," "Drag Queen"). While continuing to write fiction (most recently, "Baby") he's branched out into nonfiction, the better to share his enthusiasm for the world of canine agility (in "Dogged Pursuit") and all things Italian, specifically the great Tuscan horse race, the Palio ("Seven Seasons In Siena").

He's also written comic books for both Vertigo and Marvel, and maintained a self-described "guerilla lit-crit" blog about Jane Austen called "Bitch In a Bonnet: Reclaiming Jane Austen from the Stiffs, the Snobs, the Simps and the Saps" that has now been collected in two volumes. He's also an actor, spoken-word performer, jazz singer, and the front man for the fusion rock band 7th Kind (whose CD "Sea Monster" is available on Amazon).

For more information, visit his website, www.robertrodi.com