Books vs. comics: Kazu Kibuishi on the problem of Flight
CBR’s Alex Dueben interviewed Flight editor Kazu Kibuishi about the release of the eighth and final volume in the much-acclaimed anthology series this week, and Kibuishi talked a bit about why he and his editor decided to bring it to an end:
While “Flight” continues to be very successful for an anthology, it doesn’t sell enough copies to be considered a hit in the mainstream book publishing world, and our sales numbers were not rising. My goal with the project was to reach new readers and bring them into comics, but I was seeing that we weren’t doing a good enough job of it. I think much of the blame can be placed on the size and price of the books. It’s just a bit much to ask someone who has never read the other “Flight” books to spend $27 on a paperback. So I realized that the time spent on the series could be better spent helping the artists begin working on their own books. We’ll revisit the project again, but it will probably show up in a different form.
As comics shift more and more into a graphic novel model, Kibuishi’s words are worth thinking about. Book publishers and comics publishers have different ways of doing things, and apparently the Flight books, as great as they are, didn’t fit neatly into either category. On the other hand, they launched a lot of artists who did go on to make successful graphic novels.
And there’s a bit of good news in the article: Flight 8 is the last volume of the numbered series, but Kibuishi is also working with editor Sheila Keenan on one more volume of the all-ages Flight Explorer anthology, and he will be applying the lessons learned to this new book.