<i>Flight</i> anthology to end with Volume 8, but <i>Explorer</i> will continue

The critically acclaimed Flight anthology will end in "the next couple of years" with Volume 8, Editor Kazu Kibuishi announced. He will, however, continue to produce Flight Explorer -- now called simply Explorer -- the children's spin-off that launched in 2008.

"We had a pretty good run [with Flight]," Kibuishi writes on his blog, "but it is now time for us to focus on producing full graphic novels. When I started the project, many of us on the book were kids coming out of college with little experience as professional working artists. Years later, the majority of the artists on the project have gone on to create graphic novels of their own, or are now working at major animation, film, and game studios. The original book was created to serve a need. That need was to get our core group published, to have our work be seen, and to get enough practice under our belts to be able to do books of our own. After 7 years, I feel the original needs were met, and the artists are more than ready to go the distance on their own."

Flight debuted in 2004 at Image Comics before moving with its third volume in 2006 to Villard, an imprint of Random House. The sixth volume was published in July 2009; a seventh is in production. Contributors have included Kibuishi, Graham Annable, Becky Cloonan, Michel Gagné, Hope Larson, Sonny Liew, Dylan Meconis, Erika Moen, Fábio Moon, Ryan North, Dave Roman, Jeff Smith, Kean Soo, Doug TenNapel and dozens of others.

Although the first volume of Explorer sold through its 20,000-copy first printing, Kibuishi revealed in November the series had been "orphaned" by Villard. However, as he told Comic Book Resources earlier this week, he's now working out a deal with Abrams to publish the anthology.

"Its purpose, to introduce kids to comics and reading through bite-sized stories, remains unfulfilled," Kibuishi writes on his blog, "and a book like this is truly essential, especially now that there are so few places kids can find new comics. With the demise of Disney Adventures and now Nickelodeon Magazine, parents and kids are going to have a difficult time finding premium comics content that is entirely age-appropriate.  We hope we can fill that need."

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