10:20am PT by Graeme McMillan
'The Wendy Project' Reinvents the Peter Pan Story (Exclusive Trailer)
The Wendy Project is a comic unlike any other: It's part-Peter Pan retelling, part-YA story about a teenager recovering from trauma. The newly released graphic novel places Wendy into the spotlight and tells a story unlike what many would expect — as can be glimpsed in the new trailer for the product.
A re-examination of the classic Peter Pan story that transforms Wendy into a 16-year-old who awakens after a car accident to find one of her brothers dead — only for her to insist that he's still alive, but has been taken into the custody of a flying boy — The Wendy Project was previously released as a four-issue miniseries from Emet Comics in 2015; the new edition from Papercutz is the first time it has been issued in a complete format.
The project is the comic book debut of writer and actress Melissa Jane Osborne, whose résumé includes both the short film Oma and iPhone game Campus Crush. (She has also worked with NYFringe, Williamstown Theater Festival and Stella Adler Studios.) Providing art is fan-favorite Spider-Woman and Slam artist Veronica Fish.
"In theatre, language is key: You build a script, and the actors and director breathe life into it," Osborne, a two-time O'Neill National Playwrights Center finalist, told Heat Vision about the project. "The challenge in this medium for me was, how do I show that emotional life visually, and the only way in I could see was through focusing on character. With Veronica's art, we could use every line to tell us about Wendy. Her drawings are her feelings. Wendy's journal not only empowers her, but activates the reader's experience. You relate to her because you're seeing the world through her eyes."
For Fish, the inspiration for the book's visuals come directly from Osborne. "The style of the book is really all Melissa's inspired art direction," she explained. "She wanted the reader to feel like they were really holding Wendy's personal sketch diary, drawing with whatever she found in her backpack. I tried to experiment with random materials near me in the studio, scattered pens, colored pencils and highlighters, leaving in smudges and paper texture — I would sometimes do watercolor blotches and scribbles, scan them in and play with layering. If you experiment too much, the art gets muddy, so a bunch of pages are actually compilations of many separate doodles."
Osborne continued, "Melissa wanted the comic to reflect Wendy taking this all down as it happened. And speaking of struggling high school years, I thought drawing with a ball point pen again wouldn't have such a learning curve — but it did! How did we use these things to sketch during bio class?"
The Wendy Project, part of Papercutz "Super Genius" imprint, is available now.