One of my favorite animated films growing up was the Disney experiment Fantasia–now acknowledged a classic, though at the time of release it was famously shunned by audiences too used to fluffy talking animals and melodious princesses. For me, the idea of pairing great music with the free reign of animators’ imaginations seems a match made in heaven. In the exhilarating, ordinary, magical, and charming stories of the Flight anthology, the authors are inspired by a similar idea è get a bunch of comics creators together and give them an idea to play with: flight. And that’s it–no grand requirements, no expectations, just whatever flight means to them, from traveling home to glimpsing a pegasus. Therein lies its genius è by allowing the authors this freedom, imaginations soar and readers can gather glimpses of others’ dreamscapes, no matter how momentary the visit. As with any anthology, some segments are more succesful than others, but overall this collection allows its artists and creators to shine. Lead idea man Kazu Kibuishi’s “Maiden Voyage” featuring his character Copper takes a straightforward but engaging route tracking the building of a plane by two optimistic friends who may or may not have the skills to make metal fly. “I wish” by Vera Brusgol gives a teen girl the gift of wings and reflects on the ordinary and extraordinary combining with little fanfare and a lot of yearning. “Paper String” by Jen Wang, created from traditional comic art combined with collage, tells of two strangers in the same class who discover unexpected common ground through their love of kites. “Deep Blue” by Phil Craven takes you into the imagination of a penguin longing to get away from his overcrowded iceberg. It is especially gratifying to see the work of so many upcoming artists, average age twenty-four, fill these pages–no giant comics names overshadow the collection, and in the end that’s for the best. They all stand on their own merits, and from the view, we can all anticipate a future of excellent work to come.

Flight, vol. 1
ISBN: 1582403813
edited by Kazu Kibuishi
various artists and authors
Image 2004

  • Robin B.

    | She/Her Teen Librarian, Public Library of Brookline

    Editor in Chief

    Robin E. Brenner is Teen Librarian at the Brookline Public Library in Massachusetts. She has chaired the American Library Association Great Graphic Novels for Teens Selection List Committee, the Margaret A. Edwards Award Committee, and served on the Michael L. Printz Award Committee. She is currently the President of the Graphic Novels and Comics Round Table for ALA. She was a judge for the 2007 Eisner awards, helped judge the Boston Globe Horn Book Awards in 2011, and contributes to the Good Comics for Kids blog at School Library Journal. She regularly gives lectures and workshops on graphic novels, manga, and anime at comics conventions including New York and San Diego Comic-Con and at the American Library Association’s conferences. Her guide, Understanding Manga and Anime (Libraries Unlimited, 2007), was nominated for a 2008 Eisner Award.

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