Friday, September 21, 2007

Flight, Vol. 3 edited by Kazu Kibuishi

I haven't read any of the other Flight anthologies, but this one fits with what I've heard about them -- it's full of very professional-looking work by lots of people I've never heard of. The stories often have layouts and art styles clearly derived from animation or storyboards, and the plots often hit obvious Hollywood-style beats. (There's a "War Is Bad, M'Kay?" story, and several on the importance of being your own person, and so on.)

What's interesting about it is that it's mostly comics work by people who are professional artists of one kind or another, but mostly aren't trying to making a living telling comics stories. They're storyboard artists, or work in video gaming design, or something else like that. And these are stories that they're telling in their spare time -- not as a springboard to getting to pencil Spider-Man, but just because they wanted to tell a comics story. (And that's very refreshing.)

I found many of these stories slightly too obvious, but they were all pleasant, and the package is very nice. I'm also encouraged to see an anthology that doesn't ape the prevailing indy-comics aesthetic (deliberately grungy in tone, style and subject matter -- not necessarily autobiographical, or incoherent, but tending that way). Flight feels like the mainstream comics of a healthier world, one where superheroes aren't as entrenched, and comics are more like other forms of popular entertainment. It's not jaw-droppingly wonderful, but it's quite nice, and it's a big, thick, full-color book with the work of dozens of people you probably haven't heard of either. I'll be looking for the other three volumes myself.

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