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Comic Book / Rapunzel's Revenge

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Rapunzel's Revenge is a graphic novel by award-winning author Shannon Hale and husband Dean, illustrated by Nathan Hale. The story follows a strong and independent Rapunzel, perfectly willing and able to save herself. Initially following the original fairy tale, Rapunzel is kidnapped, but in this tale she escapes herself via her long hair. The rest of the story chronicles her dealing with her pursuers and attempting to escape to freedom.

Followed by Calamity Jack, which focuses on Jack having to face his past as he and Rapunzel travel back east to his hometown of Shyport to help his poor in-debt mother only to find the city ravaged by a race of Ant Men and under the supposed protection of a gang of giants, led by a crime lord named Blunderboar. With the help of one of Jack's old partners, a pixie named Prudence, and inventor/newspaper owner Freddie Sparksmith, they seek to uncover the truth behind the Ant Men attacks and free Jack's mother from Blunderboar's enslavement.


  • Abusive Parents: Besides kidnapping her from her real parents, Mother Gothel isolates Rapunzel from the world, then leaves her up a tree for years when she becomes defiant, then finally just tries getting rid of her.
    • In between, while Gothel does give Rapunzel "everything", she neglects to ease the girl's general loneliness.
  • Action Dress Rip: In the climactic scene, Rapunzel cuts away the skirt of her ballgown with scissors (she's wearing bloomers underneath), along with the vines entangling her legs.
  • A Minor Kidroduction:
    • We are introduced to Rapunzel's life with Gothel from the moment she was a little girl.
    • Jack gets one in the second book recollecting all his schemes, from the time he was a little baby to the later years of his childhood.
  • Bait-and-Switch: In the climax of the sequel, it looks like the pixies are going to fight the brownies. Instead, it turns out they mean to flirt with the brownies. (It works).
  • Book Ends: The story begins with little Rapunzel in a dress. One would never suspect a story about an independent Rapunzel dressed as a cowboy to also end with her in a dress ( as part of a disguise).
    • Also, the story begins and ends with Rapunzel climbing the clock tower in Gothel's villa.
  • Bound and Gagged: Rapunzel does this to Gothel in the climax of the first book.
  • Braids of Action: Rapunzel's twenty-feet long braids are literally this, being her primary weapon as a lasso.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Mother Gothel is shown trimming a small, pink tree early in the story. This turns out to be her totem.
    • Inga is Chekhov's pickaxe.
  • Disguised in Drag: Jack's first appearance involves him doing, well, this.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: For one plan, Jack suggests Rapunzel put on a dress and invoke this. She says no.
  • Doesn't Like Guns:
    Rapunzel: I was noticing how without guns in their hands, most folk around here turned pale. Made me realize I'd never seen Jack touch a gun except to throw it away.
  • The Dragon: Brute is Gothel’s largest henchman, and he chases Punzie and Jack throughout Gothel's Reach.
  • Dramatic Necklace Removal: Blunderboar is able to rip off Jack's grandfather's war band, giving Jack the final motivation/energy needed to make the final blow to plunge him into the sea.
  • Engineered Public Confession: In the sequel, Jack secretly flips the on switch of Blunderboar's "omniphone" before getting him to talk about his nefarious plan and insult the townspeople he's hoodwinked.
  • Establishing Character Moment: In-Universe, the sequel gives us A Minor Kidroduction of young Jack using one of his schemes to trip up another child in order to steal his lunch. At first, he savors that his scheme actually worked. ...But then he notices said-child is injured and upset, and Jack feels bad about it.
  • Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: Reminding him of his mother leads to Brute's Heel–Face Turn.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: Of the Old West.
  • Fractured Fairy Tale: The stories of Rapunzel and Jack and the Beanstalk in a Wild West Setting!
  • Freudian Excuse: Gothel tries to justify that because her parents abandoned her, she's entitled to take this world by storm.
  • Freudian Excuse Is No Excuse: Gothel's backstory hardly outweighs that fact she's become a power-hungry tyrant who rules the land with an iron fist, enslaves those who defy her, and stole Rapunzel from her real parents. Rapunzel certainly won't hear any excuses for such barbaric behavior.
  • Green Thumb: Mother Gothel was born with a proficiency to magically grow plants. After gaining a totem, she could quickly and easily grow or wilt plants at will and her influence expands all the time. This power is how she rules with an iron fist.
  • Hated by All: Mother Gothel has no one who's loyal to her out of something other than fear. No one.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Brute pulls one after he's deeply moved by seeing Rapunzel cry.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Mother Gothel ends up being absorbed by her own totem.
  • I Call It "Vera": The pickax that could break anything deemed unbreakable was named Inga by the village that owned it.
  • Jack and the Beanstalk
  • Man of Wealth and Taste: Blunderboar, in the sequel. He's a giant with a taste for human bones; he also speaks eloquently, wears a three-piece suit with a frilly shirtfront, and lives in a lavishly-decorated penthouse suite.
  • Meaningful Name: Brute is strong, but not particularly smart, and works for Mother Gothel.
  • Minion with an F in Evil: Gothel's lieutenant, who taught Rapunzel how to lasso ropes. He spots her during an encounter and lets her go.
  • Misery Builds Character: Gothel in the climax claims that she locked up Rapunzel in the tower to make her stronger, and she says so proud when a captured Rapunzel refuses to break.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Now, with a name like the Devil's Armpit, you'd think it'd be a right jolly place.
    • Also, Brute.
    Jack: His name is Brute? Yeegh, that doesn't sound promising.
  • No, Mr. Bond, I Expect You to Dine: Blunderboar does this to Jack, Rapunzel and Jack's mother, casually explaining his plan while eating.
  • Noodle Incident: One guest at Mother Gothel's party mentions that the year before involved a lot of goat cheese.
    • Averted with Jack's incident with the beanstalk. Not only is it easy to predict, but it's explored upon in the second book.
  • Not This One, That One: The dwarves say they're going to give Jack "Inga," and at first a pretty girl appears. Rapunzel teases Jack that they're giving him a wife. Instead, Inga is the pickaxe the girl is holding.
  • Parental Abandonment: Mother Gothel was abandoned by her parents because they disapproved of her growing magic.
  • Pet Gets the Keys: Subverted. When Jack and Rapunzel are detained by The Sheriff awaiting their hanging, Jack tries to get Goldie to bring him the ring of keys left conveniently on the wall. But in leaning against the cell door to do so, he discovers it was never locked in the first place.
  • Prince Charmless: A wealthy plantation heir arrives at the tower in order to tell Rapunzel he'll rescue her, but is fully planning on stringing her along instead of upsetting Mother Gothel, as he admits... to Rapunzel, who has already escaped the tower.
  • Setting Update: Rapunzel's Revenge is the Rapunzel story IN A SCHIZOTECH OLD WEST!
  • Shadow Archetype: Blunderboar points out that he and Jack are both devious and scheming, and this breaks Jack at first. But Rapunzel points out that there's a glaring difference between the two. Blunderboar is a cruel monster who doesn't care who he hurts to get what he wants, whereas Jack cares about his friends and his mother, and has a conscience to boot.
  • She Cleans Up Nicely: Rapunzel when she infiltrates Gothi's ball so as to rescue her mother and end her adopted mother's magic.
  • Shoo the Dog: Jack's mother tries to do this when he attempts to rescue her, saying that the Giant wants his head.
  • Spoiled Brat: Rapunzel and Jack try to rescue a girl who was one of these. We see where she gets it from when, after returning her to her father, he promptly tries to hang them.
  • Traumatic Haircut: Mother Gothel cuts Rapunzel's braids when she gets caught during the final battle. Rapunzel ends up keeping them, continuing to use them as whips in the sequel.
  • Tsundere: Rapunzel to Jack
  • "Wanted!" Poster: Rapunzel and Jack each get one. Rapunzel wonders why she was drawn that way while Jack's poster was from when he was Disguised in Drag, much to his embarrassment.
  • We Need a Distraction: Jack provides one at Mother Gothel's party. He uses a bean.
  • Weird West
  • You Are Better Than You Think You Are: Rapunzel in the second book tells Jack this as the giant holds them and his mother hostage and he confesses that he is a bad guy. Rapunzel assures him, "You're one of the good guys, Jack."