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Kazu Kibuishi – Flight Vols. 1 & 2

October 28, 2011

128 & 132. Flight, Volume 1 and Flight, Volume 2 ed. by Kazu Kibuishi (2004 & 2005)
Flight, Volumes 1 & 2

Length: 208 & 342 pages
Genre: Graphic Novel, Fantasy

Started / Finished: 03/04 October 2011; 09 October 2011

Where did they come from? The library.
Why do I have them? Memory’s fault.

Summary and Review: The Flight anthologies are collections of short comics by young artists, most about 10-20 pages long, and each telling a brief snippet of story (mostly fantasy, but with a wide variety of themes and tones.) Because I’ve been reading the Flight anthologies out of order – not that there really is an order; only one of the stories is even sort of serialized, but in any case, I read 4, then 3, then 1, then 2 – I was sort of surprised by the earlier volumes.

In the later volumes, the stories are mostly wordless, relying entirely on the visuals to tell the story, but in the early volumes there are words all over the place. I found this kind of disappointing; it took some getting used to, but the wordless stories really show off the artists’ skill at conveying story and character and emotion and movement through pictures. With the addition of the words, the stories felt somehow more… regular. Not bad, but not so unique, and the early volumes as a whole didn’t have quite the same impact for me. The later volumes really made me sit up and take notice and say to myself, “Wow, that’s something incredibly creative that not every writer – or even every comics artist – can do,” whereas my reaction to the wordy early volumes was more “Huh, so, it’s a bunch of short-form comics.”

Volume 1 also had a distinct theme, something I haven’t noticed in the previous volumes, in that most of the stories actually have to do with flight of one form or another. My favorites were “I Wish…,” by Vera Brosgol, which despite all my earlier bitching was actually fairly wordy but whose topic will I think strike a chord with anyone who ever wished they could fly; “The Bowl,” by Clio Chang, which was wordless and somber and will make me think twice about my next visit to a natural history museum; and “Deep Blue” by Phil Craven, which involved penguins and just made me giggle.

Volume 2 was an interesting mix of some really dark stories and some really sweet stories, and a few that seemed sweet but actually had something a little darker lurking underneath. My favorites spanned the gamut: Clio Chang’s “This Time!” was one of the sweeter ones, almost hopelessly romantic, but had an ending realistic enough to keep it grounded. “Wilford’s Stroll” by Justin Ridge was charming and magical, while “Sky Blue” by Kness was almost bittersweet. And Johane Matte’s “Mouse Trap” and “Icarus” both made me laugh.

The artwork spans the gamut, of course, and these volumes include a variety of styles, and even a few mixed-media/papercraft stories. There were obviously some styles I preferred, and some that just did not work for me at all, but getting to sample so many artists’ work in one volume is one of the best things about the Flight anthologies. 3 & 3.5 out of 5 stars.

Recommendation: I think the Flight anthologies will appeal to comics aficionados and newbies both, as a means of sampling a variety of artists and styles, and for the gorgeous production and lovely artwork, as well as the stories.

Vol. 1: This Review on LibraryThing | This Book on LibraryThing | This Book on Amazon

Vol. 2: This Review on LibraryThing | This Book on LibraryThing | This Book on Amazon

Other Reviews: Stella Matutina (Vol. 1)
Have you reviewed these books? Leave a comment with the link and I’ll add it in.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. October 29, 2011 10:40 am

    I really want to read these… My library doesn’t have any of them, though, and that makes me sad…

    • November 15, 2011 9:49 am

      Kailana – Oh no! Can you request they add them to the collection?

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