A country that doesn’t exist on maps, an engine powered by thoughts and dreams, Amelia Earhart and an air hostess with a fear of flying. These are the ingredients of what was, until it was cancelled earlier this year, a comic series aptly titled Air by G. Willow Wilson (illustrated by M.K. Perker).
I first encountered this team (Wilson divides her time between Egypt and the US and Perker is based in Istanbul) through the pages of the wonderful Cairo, a rambunctious and sometimes picaresque thriller where five people are on a quest (in Cairo) to find a powerful hookah that has been stolen. I liked the book, and the work of Wilson and Perker, so I made a mental note to pick up more books by either.
Super heroine: In Air people move from one world to another.
Also Read R. Sukumar’s earlier columns
Last month, I bought the first two volumes of Air. I am glad I did so. Not just because I enjoyed the books, but because I may not have written this piece if I had just bought the first volume. That’s because Air is a story that needs a lot of telling and Wilson, a skilled writer but one who believes everything must be told, doesn’t spare the ink. My feeling after finishing the second book (Flying Machine; the first is called Letters from Lost Countries) was that all the context that needed to be set had been set. Indeed, the second half of the second book progressed at a healthy rate, and I have since ordered the third book (the fourth, which will likely be the last volume, is not out yet). Wilson tweeted at the time Vertigo announced that it would end the series after 24 issues that she had had adequate warning of the coming end and would manage to finish telling her story by then.
Maybe because Air involves people moving from one world into another, it reminded me of another comic book series that does this, Alan Moore’s Promethea. The connection was also probably prompted by the fact that like Promethea’s Sophie Bangs, Air’s Blythe discovers that she is actually a super-heroine. I liked Air’s plot and Perker’s illustrations. I didn’t like the inelegance of some of the dialogues and was struck by how thin some of the characters seemed. Still, after I finish Air, I will, in all likelihood, wait for more from Wilson and Perker.
R. Sukumar is editor, Mint.
Write to Sukumar at firstname.lastname@example.org