Overview

Flight Explorer Volume One

Review

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Flight Explorer Volume One

Credits

  • Words: Kazu Kibuishi, Jake Parker, Rad Sechrist, et. al.
  • Art: Kazu Kibuishi, Jake Parker, Rad Sechrist, et. al.
  • Inks: Kazu Kibuishi, Jake Parker, Rad Sechrist, et. al.
  • Colors: Kazu Kibuishi, Jake Parker, Rad Sechrist, et. al.
  • Story Title: Cooper: Mushroom Crossing, Missile Mouse: The Guardian Prophecy, Delivery, et. al.
  • Publisher: Villard Books
  • Price: $10.00
  • Release Date: Mar 26, 2008

An argument could be made that Kibuishi’s Flight anthologies revitalized the fantasy comic market. With this entry and his recent Amulet volume 1, it looks as he may have his sights set on younger tykes. This is a good thing for the kids and the industry as a whole.

Filled with fantastical tales that cover the spectrum from space adventure to different worlds to simple time displaced mischief, every reader should be able to find a story to their liking in this delightful and incredibly illustrated book. Kibuishi knows that an all ages book has to do more then just be safe, it has to entertain.

The editor of the project kicks the book off with a lushly illustrated tale from his Copper strip. Filled with mystical beasts and a whimsical story. Cooper and his dog simply want to cross a ravine. This is the kind of story that is mysterious enough to appeal to an adult, but has just the right kind of moral resolution to make it good for a kid to read. The cute designs mean that kids will eat it up. Seriously this could be a cartoon on Nickelodeon.

The real star of the book is presented by Jake Parker. His Missile Mouse story is like Fear Agent for kids. It is filled with a safe but sardonic humor and enough sci-fi action and aliens and robots to keep a Star Wars fan occupied. It is the most accomplished in story telling and features the strongest art. The story flows well and leaves you wanting more. With Fish N Chips and Zita the Spacegirl , this is the most used definitive genre type in the book. All are solid, action packed and utilize various art techniques.

Then there are the harder to figure out stories. Wooden Rivers by Ryan Sechrist is most similar in tone to the work of Hayao Miyazaki. While not as detailed as Spirited Away, it is on the same intelligence level engaging the reader in an intellectual pursuit as opposed to just telling a straight narrative. This to me is important in an all ages comic. The higher brow story can help develop the younger reader’s mind and also give the chance for the parent to become actively involved with their child by answering questions.

There is an appearance of Soo’s excellent Jellaby characters and solid turns from Bannister, Matthew Armstrong and Phil Craven. In fact the only low spot is Johane Matte’s Egyptian Cat story. While the tales of a mischievous cat in ancient Egypt presents a myriad of interesting story concepts, this story feels like it is missing at least a page. What happens in the beginning of the story does not lead directly to the ending of the story. It is muddled and disjointed as a result and the only (and honestly slight) problem with an otherwise superior book.

From the playful fun of Craven’s Big Mouth and Hatke’s Zita to the anime influence in Sechrist’s story, there is art for everyone in this book. You won’t find any photorealism and there is most certainly not a house style. However, it is all a wonderful feast for the eyes.

This is the kind of book I can whole-heartedly support. It is entertaining and works on a myriad of reading levels. If you have a youngster in your life, pick it up for them. Or if you are a youngster at heart, give it a whirl yourself.

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