The Wendy Project
Writer/Creator: Melissa Jane Osborne
Art/Colors/Letters/Cover: Veronica Fish
Another day another instant classic from Emet. This one takes one of my favorite tales and adds a new spin. Melissa Jane Osborne is relatively new to the comics writing scene but is in no way new to the scripting scene due to her time at the Stella Adler Studio as well as multiple theatre festivals she has worked at. Art for this title is by Veronica Fish, who has also provided her painterly illustrations to Pirates of Mars, Challenger, Frankenstein 1921 and even the new Archie. You can check out her art at http://www.veronicafish.com/
Wendy and her two brothers, Michael and John, are travelling one evening when tragedy strikes and the car careens into a nearby lake. Before losing consciousness, Wendy sees a shadowy figure grab Michael, and wisp him off into the air. When she wakes, no one will believe her story, thinking it is a result of the trauma, and assuming that Michael drowned. John was also effected by the tragedy, now apparently mute. The more Wendy tries to convince others of what she saw, she is given a journal with the thought that writing things down will rid her of these "delusions". As Wendy begins to question the events herself, she begins to see the world around her transform as individuals in her life begin to appear as colorful fantasy characters, though they are acting the same. Even more curious is the voice in the back of her head commanding, "Wendy... Come with us..."
Osborne show a confidence in this story by not explaining the concept of Neverland and the Peter Pan mythos to her audience. There is an understanding that everyone knows the general gist of the property and with that comes a freedom to tell a story that isn't tied down by already known exposition. Wendy and John are characters that we all think of in a specific way, especially when remembered against the Disney classic, but when Osborne adds the subject of delusions and Neverland as a coping mechanism there is a whole other side to these kids. As Wendy tries to come to terms with what she saw and make sense of it, she has interactions with her parents which shows her childlike innocence as well as the type of relationship she has with both her mother and her father. Narration is told using a combination of journal entries and Wendy's current thoughts for an enjoyable to read account of what has happened and what is currently going on. All in all, this story is a very smooth read with just a hint of sadness and a whole lot of introspective into a girl unable to fully understand what she is seeing.
Good LORD is this a beautiful book! From panel to panel we see Fish's illustrations combine with Osborne's text to produce a work of art. Osborne's cartooning of individual actions give a comprehensive look at the motives of the characters as each cast member has their own specific body language. Similar to the Kansas to Oz color explosion we have seen before, the images or "delusions" which we witness through Wendy's eyes create swirls of color to make these fantasy characters even more fantastical. That being said, the black and white panels have more than their fair share of charm, a lot of which comes from Fish's understanding of facial expressions and contours. Every single character has a tremendous amount of detail that stays consistent throughout the issue. There is not a freckle, eye brow, or lip that isn't one hundred percent appropriate for each character and even when some of them are veiled in shadow their are defining lines over their individual bone structures. Really masterful stuff.
What we have here is a classic case of "Why aren't you reading this?! You should be reading this! Pick this up now!" Fans of the classic J. M. Barrie with enjoy this respectful, more young adult look at a classic story while new people will get the chance to witness beautiful art and a compelling mystery. If you want to get in on the ground floor of an instant hit, then pick it up at Emet Comics' site!