I’ll be honest: I’ve been away from the webcomic scene for a while. I’ll see an update of one of the series I used to read often floating around online and hum to myself, “Oh, so that’s what those wacky kids have been up to.” It’s nice, but also leaves me somewhat nostalgic for the time where I had several series I kept up with. While today’s web crush may not get me back on the webcomic routine (by no one’s fault but that of my own inattentiveness), it did achieve the one thing that many other series in the past years have tried and failed at: it drew me in enough to actually read through the archive.
Also, it’s cute as hell, so how could it not?
In the universe of Peritale, far separate from the world of humans, there’s a land called Ítera. Though humans may never have heard of the land itself, they’re more than familiar in what Ítera deals in–none other than fairy tales and happy endings. Ítera’s archives hold all the fairy tales that have ever been and will ever be, and it’s up to the land’s elite group of fairy godparents to make sure that each fairy tale goes as it’s supposed to. It should be easy; all it takes is a little magic! However, our protagonist, Periwinkle, just so happens to be the only fairy born without magic. With a lot of gumption and support from her family, Periwinkle, after her third attempt, manages to pass the fairy godparent exam (much to the chagrin of what seems like every other fairy in Ítera) and excitedly starts on her journey to create her first fairy tale happy ending. But once in the human realm–more specifically the Crescent Port Kingdom–Periwinkle quickly discovers that there’s a lot more to making a happy ending than she thought, especially when her would-be princess is a witch and also perfectly happy living in her tower alone with her talking cat.
First of all, can I just say I’m ecstatic that Peritale has a protagonist who looks like me? Fairies are typically depicted as tiny, willowy creatures, with not much room for diversity among them. Ítera’s fairies come in all shapes, sizes, and colors. For me, seeing a heavier lady able to achieve her goals with nothing about her weight holding her back (she’s still very athletic and a parkour master) and no one commenting on her weight once is fantastic.
Furthermore, it doesn’t take too much to see the parallels between Periwinkle’s treatment by others due to her lack of magic and the treatment of the disabled by the able-bodied in our world. No one believes Periwinkle can achieve her dreams; even her family is more shocked than elated when she actually passes fairy godparent exam. In fact, almost every other fairy is incredibly rude to Periwinkle when she dares to try living that able-bodied fairy dream of being a fairy godparent: the staff at the school gently, and not so gently, hint that Periwinkle should just find another job, and after passing her exam Periwinkle is still seen as a nuisance (and is even called disgusting) by the Archivist in charge of handing the jobs out to the fairy godparents. Peritale seems much less focused on proving these characters wrong, and is more intent on showing its audience that Periwinkle is still extremely capable as a fairy godparent, she just needs to find different ways to achieve the same goals. While this makes it satisfying to see when Periwinkle does achieve a part of her plan, Periwinkle doesn’t hide the emotional and physical toll it takes on her having to find new, non-magical ways to take care of fairy tale tasks (like finding a horse for a carriage and so on) in a world that she barely knows how to navigate through.
While Periwinkle’s story is in the limelight, there appears to be a subplot brewing about fairies who either give up their powers to live human lives or fairies who abandon their wings to become loathed, powerful creatures called moths. Through this it seems that Periwinkle will have to come to terms with whatever her long-vanished sister Hydrangea has become (so far, it’s implied that she’s on the route to becoming a moth) and learn how to get over her own prejudices against the fairies who decided that being an Íteran fairy just wasn’t for them. I’m looking forward to seeing how both of these side plots progress in the future!
Currently Peritale is up to 211 pages, and those page go fast. Artist and writer Mari Costa’s colorful and fun panels and quick humorous writing make each page a joy to go through, and upon reaching the newest page I found myself hungry for more. You can find Peritale here–it updates on Mondays and Thursdays!–or find more from Costa at her Tumblr page or her Twitter.