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Pub Date 13 Apr 2021 | Archive Date 15 Jan 2022
Legendary Comics, Legendary Comics YA


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.

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.

Available Editions

EDITION Other Format
ISBN 9781681160764
PRICE US$21.99 (USD)

Available on NetGalley

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Average rating from 63 members

Featured Reviews

4 stars *may change

This was actually really enjoyable. Following a mixed-race street fighter trying to make money for her debtor sister, this manages to be both endearing and serious while dealing with race, gender, trauma, and relationships.

Considering the format, it has limited time and words to tell its story, but I really do think it told it well. It's a short read that's worthwhile.

Thanks to NetGalley for an advanced reader's copy

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4.5 stars
I really enjoyed this graphic novel that mixed fiction with historical facts.
It showed some kickass women!

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Championess - Book Review

The story follows Elizabeth - Liz - and her elder sister Tessa, who's a sweet, comprehensive and supportive sister to Liz, who's a bit hot headed and has a lot of pride, but would do anything to help the ones she love. They live in a region called The Mint, an area where bailifs can't get in and take debtors to prsion. Tess has a big debt that sisters are working to pay, but Liz thinks that if James Figg, London's best trainer and promoter, accept her into his accademy she'll earn the very needed money boxing.

But things don't go as planned and Liz's hopes don't come true, to make things worse, a new law is passed, stating the end of The Mint's protection aggainst debtors, putting Tess in risk of going to prision, so, while Tess works even harder at a pub, Liz gives her all to earn the money on the ring.
The story has it all: action, romance, friendship, and me quite emotional towards the end, approaching more serious themes like racism, dishonesty in sport financial problems and incarceration, but all without making it to heavy or unpleasant to read.

I enjoyed reading this comic, mainly as deeper rooted problems came to light, like the reason Tess had so many debts in the first place, how the ended up in The Mint, barely earning enough to survive, and how the racism aggainst indian descendants in England affected their family.
It was a very quick and fun reading!

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I really enjoyed "Championess". The characters and the plot pulled me in and the drawing style was good as well.

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NetGalley ARC Educator 550974

Lizzie had to overcome racism, sexism and browbeating herself to get her due in the rind. A wonderful story about tenacity, family and being true to one's self. I look forward to the next installment of this story.

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Thanks to NetGalley & Legendary Comics for the early copy in exchange for an honest review.

This follows Elizabeth in the 1720s struggling with her sister to escape debt, she tries to take odd jobs here and there but her main interest is boxing.

Just to be clear, this is a graphic novel about a very real historical figure, but since this is the 1720s, there's not a lot of information about Elizabeth herself so most of this is made-up drama. This is fine, but I just wanted to let people know it's not a textbook nor is it exactly 100% accurate.

The artwork was extremely expressive, especially in the eyes, it was great to see in the pages. Even the backgrounds were fleshed out in great detail that helps capture the 1700s aesthetic!

Elizabeth's story is tragic but I like how it's still hopeful and inspiring. I don't usually read sports stuff but I really enjoyed the boxing in here as well as Elizabeth's motivations for continuing to box.

Great story!

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5 stars

Part historical fiction, part sports drama, Championess is a wonderful graphic novel highlighting the little known world of 18th century women's' bareknuckle boxing. From the first panel, the action never stops and it is an absolutely rollicking ride to the very end. The characters were wonderful, the social commentary was handled incredibly well, and the art really helped to bring me into this world. As someone trying to get more into graphic novels in 2021, this was a spectacular affirmation of that goal!

Thank you to NetGalley and Legendary Comics for a copy of Championess in exchange for a fair and honest review!

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Championess is a heroic comic take on a true story, adapted to visual form. I loved the centering of a strong female character, and the art is appealing.

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I hadn’t heard of Elizabeth Wilkinson prior to reading this graphic novel, and I’m glad I got to learn about her. It was a cool story and I really enjoyed getting to read it in a graphic novel format. I felt the art helped depict her story in a unique way.

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Thank you NetGalley, Kelly Zekas, Tarun Shanker, and Legendary Comics for sending me a free ARC copy of Championess in exchange for an honest review.

I didn't know anything about Elizabeth Wilkinson prior to reading this graphic novel and I found the story to be exciting and engaging throughout. It was inspiring to read about the character's strength and perseverance in working towards achieving her goal of being a paid and well-respected boxer. I felt for Elizabeth and Tess regarding their tough situation in the story and kept me wanting to read on to see where their stories ended up. The illustrations were awesome!

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thank you NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with an ARC of this book for this honest review!

this was an excellent historical graphic novel, based on the real-life elizabeth wilkinson! the art was beautiful, and showed liz's journey in boxing very well. i liked the choice to write her and stokes as people of color, especially as an indian girl myself- the way she and her father were treated in london felt true to life.

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I don't know why but this book took me forever to pick up. I'd open this book to the first page where Elizabeth is in the midst of a brawl and I'd just not have the will to continue reading. So I'd put it aside for something else.


This book has everything!
Sweet wholesome romance? yep.
Enemies to lovers? Yes!
Badass Women? Most Defenitely!
Engaging Story? It is Incredibly!

This is one of my favorite books I have read this year, by far.

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When I first picked up Championess, it was entirely based on the dynamic art that adorned the cover. The art only continued to impress from there. Incredibly action packed and emotional, while also being filled with witty banter, this story is everything you never knew you were looking for.
The graphic novel follows the story of Elizabeth and her sister Tess, who are living in a rough area of London that protects debtors from debt collectors looking to imprison them. Elizabeth fights in bars and back alleys in an effort to become a paid fighter in a real ring, an effort she believes will bring in enough money to pay off her sister's debts.
The author's use of time passage and flashbacks in unlike anything I've ever seen in a comic before, and worked wonderfully, not only to tell the back story of the sisters, but also to create a sense of urgency and stress that keeps the reader riveted and engaged. The story tackles so many aspects of society, including poverty, racism, internalized prejudice and racism, misogyny and sexism.
The art is engaging and stunning; the story is gripping and flows beautifully.

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Championess is a punchy, emotional graphic novel based on the real-life Elizabeth Wilkinson, a female boxer in the 18th century. Little is known about the real Elizabeth, so the authors take the opportunity to make her half-Indian, with a white-passing sister and an urgent need to earn enough money to save her sister from debt.

It's a rapid-paced, intense journey through the London slums. The only problem I had was wanting more - a bit more backstory about Elizabeth's parents, about Stokes' background, a bit more detail to Elizabeth and Hannah/Joanna's rivalry. But there is plenty of emotional depth to the story even without those additions.

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4.5* and I might change this to 5* once I have time to think it over. This was so so good and I adored it.

The story was fast-paced and incredibly engrossing. The dialogue was snappy and hilarious and it really worked with the narrative and story. I adored the characters.

This graphic novel is delightful and humourous but it tackles a lot of difficult subjects like race, identity, gender, and broken relationships and it handles it all wonderfully and delicately. The artwork is also stunning and suited the story perfectly.

I was absolutely delighted by this.

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I really enjoyed reading this! The illustrations were very beautiful, the dialogues witty and pertinent, approached a lot of important topics (race, gender, a woman's place in society, etc ) in a way that was original and made you want to keep scrolling through the pages. My congratulations to the authors and illustrator for their lovely work.

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