Fractured Kiss #4

Posted: Tuesday, November 2, 2004
By: Steve Saville

Cover of Fractured Kiss #4

Editor: Gina Biggs
Publisher: Strawberry Comics (Self Published)
Address: 5513 Eaagle Lake Dr, P.B. 6, FL, 33418, USA.
Price: $4(US)

In Japan, according to the preface of this comic, strawberries are symbolic of sweetness and love. This is why Moonation comics [the name under which the first three editions of Fractured Kisses appeared] is no more and from the ashes Strawberry Comics has emerged to publish issue 4. Fair enough, in fact when one looks at the content matter of this comic the renaming is entirely appropriate. Fractured Kisses is an unashamedly romantic comic aimed primarily at a teenage female market. And for this reason alone I say all power to it.

We all know, and worry, about the fact that many still believe that comics are all about scantily clad, muscle bound super heroes and are only read by geeks and fan boys. It is important therefore that we applaud comics that fly in the face of these stereotypes. So while the teenage romance genre may not be my personal favourite I sure am glad that it is there.

Issue 4 is an anthology containing four stories linked by their sweetly naïve look at love and romance. Another common thread is the fact the male figure of adoration in three of the four stories is a pop musician. The tone does vary from the bittersweet to the light hearted and comical but the subject matter remains essentially the same, there is considerable pining, quite a few tears before bedtime and a fair dollop of teenage angst.

Artistically all four stories are firmly in the Manga / Shoujo Manga camp. All four are pretty good examples of the genre as well although for me Forgiveness probably works the best.

The first story Cardboard Angel is the first chapter in an ongoing story arc. It is basically a blended Guardian angel / teenage obsession tale. The art work is often innovative and often average but overall interesting enough to keep the reader interested.

The best frame is when the "dead" rock hero shows an unpleasant interest in schoolgirl Mayoko's underwear drawer. A few little perversions bubble away just below the surface here and their development will add a nice little touch of nastiness into the storyline.

Never Again looks at ideal love muddied by the realities of marriage. A nice touch of the "guilts" wraps up this tale that reminds us to never take people for granted.

Forgiveness is a reinterpretation of the lyrics to Warning Sign by Coldplay. As I have said this is the story that looks the most appealing. The page design is well thought out and adds to the dreamy feeling that permeates this six- page comic.

One Sweet Thing is a school girl crush tale. Nothing new but there is a strong narrative voice here that validates the slightly clichèd subject matter.

Overall Fractured Kisses is aimed at an often ignored section of the comic market, teenage girls. It would be easy to dismiss it and I am sure that even some of its intended market will find it clichèd but it is honest and it is what it is. There is no attempt to pretend that Fractured Kisses is a modern Jane Austen, nor is it meant to be. It is about a bunch of girls creating comics and having a bit of fun on the way.

In a Word: Heartfelt.

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