There are two ways that I shop for metafeminine hard copies. One is hearing about a book, comic, or movie and deciding I’d like to check it out for myself.
But the other is by stumbling upon some cover art or poster that piques my interest, discovering that there is practically no information about it online, and hoping for the best.
Princess Karanam and the Djinn of the Green Jug is an example of one of those risks working out for me. Hailing from all the way back in 1993, I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I ordered this little piece of MU Press history.
This is a selection that has been adapted to graphic novel format by Chuck Melville (who also did the cover) from a larger novel written by Paul Kidd. The comic is black-and-white and was inked by Mike Raabe. Although the comic is not without its perplexities, I greatly enjoyed it. If you intend to read on, be aware; SPOILERS!
First of all, yes; all the characters are anthropomorphic. As I have said before, the inclusion of such characters is never something that drives me to read a story, but it doesn’t stop me, either. If you are someone who immediately turns away from a tale because it has, well, a tail from the start, you are robbing yourself of some great works. You don’t have to have a fetish for furry females to appreciate their sexiness or a good story.
The story here is Princess Karanam and the Djinn of the Green Jug. It’s framed around the storyteller she-bat Sandhri, who is stuck in a jail cell and passing the time by telling the guards the tale. This allows for some great gags here and there, especially when the guards interrupt the story to inquire about some salacious details and Sandhri scolds them for being so interested in dirty things that have no real impact on the greater story.
But, be certain that there are very many wonderfully dirty things that are illustrated.
On this night Sandhri tells the tale of Princess Karanam and the Djinn of the Green Jug. Things start off fairly Rapunzel-esque, in that Karanam has been isolated from the world by her sultan father in a tall tower kept watch by a lone guard. In this case, instead of Karanam’s hair growing to great lengths, it is her libido; years kept away from men has driven her desire to sample them to mythic levels. Her seduction of the guard who has gradually grown to lover her over the years sends Karanam into a lusty spiral.
Of course, being locked in a tower restricts her ability to sample other wares. But when she discovers that a djinn has been hidden away in the tower’s treasure storehouse, her options open up. In return for freeing him the djinn agrees to grant Karanam three wishes.
It should come to no surprise that Karanam’s sex-deprived mind has one goal – the elimination of the term deprived. The first thing she wishes for is to be so beautiful and desirable that no man could resist her.
And it’s at this point that a minor stumble shows up. You see, from the start of the story Karanam has been drawn as a very sexy she-fox. She’s thin and lithe, with a fine hourglass. She’s a pleasure to peruse upon the pages. Then, after the wish to be beautiful and desirable, some magic flashy-flash happens and she…looks exactly the same. At first I thought it was meant that the djinn had tricked her – that she was already beautiful and desirable and that the djinn’s spell was little more than “Watch me make this half empty glass half full!”
But, as I read through the story and the conclusion, it was clear to me that not only could the djinn have not tricked her here, some sort of physical change to Karanam is clearly intended to have occurred. But I cannot discern any. It is a small disappointment, as she certainly didn’t become less attractive, but some perceivable alteration to her form would have gone a long way to bettering the moral of the story and, well, my enjoyment.
If a wish implies breast expansion at least let us at least see some!
Anyhoo, right after wishing – and apparently receiving – the gift of enhanced beauty and desirability, Karanam must realize that her physical appearance won’t do her any good if no one can see her while locked up in the tower, so she makes the sensible second wish – that the djinn provide her whatever type of lover she wants whenever she wants one.
Through the next few pages the princess runs the djinn ragged by bringing her dozens of magically-drugged sex toys of both genders (I’ll let your personal moral compass come to rest on that one). But after each one Karanam finds that she is still lacking a satisfaction that she cannot quite put her finger on; satisfaction she did have following her tryst with the guard (who she’s only slept with that once, and who has been patiently trying to ignore the sounds of Karanam enjoying her many “guests”).
When she makes mention of this missing satisfaction to the djinn, who is already well aware that the guard is deeply in love with Karanam, the djinn quickly and easily diagnoses the problem; she’s been fucking when she should be loving. Of course, the tricky djinn phrases it that “two souls were joined” that night and only the same could satisfy her, so Karanam immediately wishes she could join souls with someone.
His trickery coming to fruition with Karanam’s third wish, the djinn grows to monstrous proportions and swiftly eats a terrified Karanam – her soul will join with his after she has digested.
Of course, this is not the end of the story. Having heard Karanam’s decidedly not-lusty scream, the guard rushes in. Thanks to his true love for Karanam he is able to best the djinn, forcing the supernatural spirit to spit out Karanam safe and sound. The djinn is defeated, and Karanam’s previous wishes are undone since she now has everything she could possibly want. Mutual love is declared. Happily Ever After and whatnot.
I greatly enjoyed my time with Princess Karanam and the Djinn of the Green Jug. Despite my personal issues with black and white comic art I was able to follow the story and action just fine, and at no point did I feel as if color would have enhanced any sequence.
The story moves quickly and even manages to squeeze in a moral, but a little more thoughtfulness on Karanam’s part would have been appreciated. It would not have been difficult to avoid the stumbles that drew me out of the story. Even if the art doesn’t reflect a “sexy wish” what good does it do Karanam in her tower? Her second wish completely negates it anyway, since her delivered lovers were muddle-minded to the point that Karanam could have been a fat hippo and no one would have cared.
I realize that these are actually critiques of Sandhri’s abilities of a story teller, and that she was understandably distracted during her telling of what was probably the shorthand version of the tale, but that doesn’t change how the effected my reading of the comic. They felt like obvious “plot devices” and not part of “plot.”
But even I know that, in the bigger picture of Princess Karanam and the Djinn of the Green Jug‘s overall quality, these complaints are negligible.
Speaking of “bigger picture,” I should also mention that there is bonus character art published in the pages following the main story, and there is beautifully painted Princess Karanam paper-doll bonus on the back cover. And no, none of those images are nudes.
Trust me, there’s plenty of that in the story proper.
THE FINAL VERDICT: Little issues aside, as a whole Princess Karanam and the Djinn of the Green Jug is a sexy, fun, adults-only comic that carries all three aspects all the way through the tale. Furry, mind control, size difference, and even a little vore find their way in to appeal to all sorts of fans…even if the possible breast expansion failed to materialize. Regardless, Princess Karanam and the Djinn of the Green Jug is a comic that does many things very right, and should be an instant purchase if you find it.