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The Wendy Project
posted November 1, 2017

imageCreator: Veronica Fish, Melissa Jane Osborne
Publishing Information: Emet Comics/Super Genius, softcover, 96 pages, July 2017, $12.99
Ordering Numbers: 9781629917696 (ISBN13)

I can imagine this attractive book by Veronic Fish and Melissa Jane Osborne being fairly affecting for some of its readers. The Wendy in The Wendy Project is a 16-year-old girl who loses one of her two brothers in an accident that happens while she's driving them in her car. She processes her grief by seizing on a Peter Pan-informed fantasy of the boy escaping to a fairyland, and sticks with this to the point that people in her life start to resemble the various JM Barrie characters. Our Wendy eventually makes it to her Neverland and negotiates directly with the implications of her brother's departure before starting to put together a life that includes therapeutic creativity. The Wendy Project feels professionally executed by its authors; Fish in particular has a loose touch and playful approach to the limited color work that keeps the narrative lively.

I experienced loss at this approximate age and fixated on fantasy characters, but nothing as iconic and rigid as the fantasy presented here. It remains more clever idea than insightful framework, and much of the later narrative is an argument for the metaphor rather than an exploration of insight provided by the metaphor. This reader, at least, can't remember a single insight provided specific to the Peter Pan stage play or movies. One can easily imagine other commercially successful fantasies standing in for the vast majority of what's unpacked in front of us here. There's a reading where the protagonist's age and the trite quality of using a fantasy to deal with something this complicated and devastating seems on the verge of treating us a more sobering picture than the ending we end up seeing.