Friday, July 23, 2010

Book-A-Day 2010 # 170 (7/23) -- Flight 7 edited by Kazu Kibuishi

The Flight books have always been gorgeous exercises in a bland mass-market strand of story telling -- I got into that issue in greater detail when I reviewed Flight 5 for ComicMix -- and this seventh volume lives both up and down to the series legacy. The Platonic ideal of a Flight contributor is still a storyboard artist at a decent animation studio -- say Blue Sky, for example -- though there are a number of full-time makers of comics and several artists who work by day on video games. That brings with it a tremendous variety and depth of attractive art -- there are no outsiders here, but the gamut ranges from the cartoony black lines of Kean Soo's Jellaby stories and Katie & Steven Shanahan's "Fairy Market" to the confident paintings of Kostas Kiriakakis's "Premium Cargo"and Stuart Livingston's "Overhead" -- but all of that art is uniformly crisp and clear and carefully laid out and entirely nice.

(Reading a volume of Flight almost makes me want to run out and find a Johnny Ryan book, just for a palate cleaner and to prove that comics don't have to be utterly respectable and polished.)

This seventh volume contains nearly three hundred pages of attractive comics, mostly about young people or young-people-stand-ins (like animals), and nearly all of the stories here could find themselves the basis of a major animated movie rated no higher than PG. The Flight creators are all very good at what they do, but three hundred pages of that at a time can be a little much; I always find myself wishing, as I reach the end of an annual Flight book, for something that's not quite so tasteful, or that doesn't feel like it's been carefully formed with a focus group in mind. Still, this is a fine collection, and reading it in smaller doses will completely eliminate the feeling of sameness -- I recommend that for all Flight readers.
Book-A-Day 2010: The Epic Index

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