A Flight into Fantasy

The title of the series of anthology comics by Kazu Kibuishi, refers to the idea of stories as quick, exciting flights of imagination. The book has short graphic stories by young, new comics creators.

Published: 23rd June 2014 09:49 AM  |   Last Updated: 23rd June 2014 09:49 AM   |  A+A-


CHENNAI: An anthology is a collection of pieces by various writers or artists, usually based on a theme. It’s a bit like that bumper box of assorted chocolates people usually buy as a last minute gift at the airport: this one has a walnut filling, that one’s strawberry, you may not like them all but they’re all different and some are brilliant.

Flight is a series of anthology comics published from 2004 to 2011. The title refers to the idea of stories as quick, exciting flights of imagination. The books contain short graphic stories by young, new comics creators. They were a great success.

In 2008, Flight mastermind Kazu Kibuishi launched a series of anthology comics for younger readers called Flight Explorers. This time, I’ll take a look at the first of these volumes.

With ten stories on 108 pages, this is a well-sized book, big enough to give you a good amount of variety but not so huge that individual stories get lost in the crowd.

Copper: Mushroom Crossing is about a boy and his dog who are about to cross a ravine using a bridge when the boy sees that the ravine is filled with giant mushrooms. He persuades the dog to join him in jumping on the tops of the mushrooms to get across the ravine. The dog doesn’t like the idea, but agrees — only to get the shock of a lifetime when he has a strange encounter with the mushrooms, who are not at all happy to have the boy and the  dog jumping on their heads!

Perfect  Cat is a cute yet creepy tale of an ancient Egyptian cat who feels jealous when a fluffy white cat is brought home by her owners.

Missile Mouse and Fish n’ Chips are thrilling, funny tales of adventure in outer space.

Jellaby: first snow is about a boy and a baby dragon playing in the snow and Big Mouth is about the trouble a fellow with a loud voice faces while making friends. Rain slickers is about a girl and her psychic cat.

The story Zita the spacegirl tells us what happens when three friends get a smelly old sock that makes wishes come true.

Snow cap is an interesting tale about the friendship between a girl and a funny monster.

As different as these stories are from each other, there are common factors as well. The art reminds me a lot of the wonderful fantasy animes of Miyazaki — they all have a vivid colour palette and the settings are generally shown in as much detail as the main characters, with a couple of exceptions. The stories are all basically upbeat and hopeful, and are written in a thoughtful, meaningful way. Friendship, the importance of being yourself and accepting people as they are themes running through the stories. I don’t think the artists who made these stories did this on purpose, but it makes this book feel like a single unit, even though there is a satisfying amount of variety in it.

Oh, and there’s another great perk about an anthology like this — you now have a whole new set of comic creators to track down and have many more books to read!

Things to do:

Think of an unusual friendship — one between a spider and a fly, for example, or a young person of around your age and a space alien. Or imagine being friends with a tree or a hill. How would the friendship work? What could the friends do together? What would they like about each other and not like so much about each other? Write a story about how they meet and become friends.

Take a look at a comic book in your house or school library. Look up names of the writers and the artists. Go online and see how much you can find out about them and their other works. This is a great way to find your next favourite read!


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