Secants

Filed in Webcomic review

I’m not sure if it’s possible to sum up Fragile Gravity in just a few paragraphs. Part of the problem lies with its age; FG has been running close to five years now, and has (in the natural evolution of most comics) slowly grown its character cast and a story convoluted enough to satisfy even the most ardent of story aficionado. At its heart though are Tanya and Gregg, the writer and artist of an independent print comic book.

At its heart, even in the midst of alien penguin invasions and convention-going silliness, FG is a story of friendship. First and foremost, it’s the story of the friendship between Tanya and Gregg, a friendship so deep that even when Gregg’s friends have given up hope (in the middle of the penguin invasion) of seeing him again, Tanya refuses to give up hope. Indeed, in more recent strips Tanya’s realized that this friendship has grown to something more for her, something deeper and more meaningful.

Even more than the potential love story (with unrequited love and missed opportunities and all the traditional hijinks) is the friendships of those around Tanya and Gregg. While Tanya and Gregg may be the heart of the comic, their friends are the flesh that brings it to life. Whether it’s egomaniacal cats who think in French (translations mercifully included!), a stoat that could have stepped out of a Warner Bros. cartoon, bridezillas gone wild, or small naked children running rampant, little gets past Fragile Gravity. For these, and many more reasons than I can squeeze into three paragraphs, you must read this comic.

——

Imagine for a moment that your entire life was a lie. Imagine that your family raised you not out of love, but out of greed… with the selfish intent to use you and then discard you once your worth was done, laughing as you went mad and faded away. Imagine then having escaped them by utilizing the very power they wished to possess for themselves, but still being damned, cursed by an ancient family curse that would drive you insane in time, no matter what you do.

This is the basic premise of Wish^3, a fascinating comic that takes elements from Japanese history and mythology and blends them together into a seamless tapestry. The story of Basil’s struggle to overcome the curse is only a part of a wider tale. In many ways Wish^3 is a vignette of short stories, each one touching on the life of one of Basil’s ancestors who like him were cursed… and who one by one succumbed to the insanity and death of this ancestral curse.

At its core, however, is Basil, his eldest brother Gabriel (who is unlike his parents and second-eldest brother in that he loves and cares for Basil), his best friend Paige, and the kitsune Himitsu. Even as his life slowly starts to crumble, Basil finds that those around him are the family of his heart, and this gives him the strength to break to the heart of his family’s curse and confront that which damned him. As with the best tales, this one has a beginning, middle, and is fast approaching an end well worth reading.