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By G. Willow Wilson, author of AIR
We've all heard the shtick: the journey is more important than the destination. If that's true, airports are some of mankind's unsung centers of enlightenment. In AIR, hero-stewardess Blythe has served coffee, tea and philosophy en route to some of the weirdest places never to exist. But if you've got your feet firmly planted this side of reality, here are a few airports where your long layovers and flight delays might well turn into an adventure in themselves:
5. Charles de Gaulle Airport, Paris
I've included Charles de Gaulle not because it's particularly interesting, but because you will get stuck here at some point in your life if you travel internationally. The French love nothing more than a good transit-worker strike, making de Gaulle a sort of purgatory for the jetlagged. Since this place may become your second home, you might as well familiarize yourself with the excellent selection of duty-free shops and terminal cafes.
4. McCarran International Airport, Las Vegas
It's true: there are slot machines right there at the gate. Humming with neon light even at 2am, which was when I arrived, McCarran pummels you into Las Vegosian submission before you can protest. This airport has to be one of the more surreal places on planet earth, and if you don't drink, gamble or like showgirls there really isn't anything to do. Except stare in wonder.
3. Mehrabad International Airport, Tehran
The first thing you see when you come through customs at this airport is a big sign, in English, that says "ISLAMIC DRESS IS A PROTECTION FOR WOMEN." This is just the beginning of the surreal adventure that awaits you in Tehran, the Unfunny City. Intimidating as this may sound to some, the airport staff are, in my experience, quite gracious--though I did not see a single one in board shorts and Tevas. I was stuck here for several hours due to a sandstorm in Dubai, and chatted with some interesting people over many cups of tea.
2. JFK International Aiport, New York
I have hauled half my worldly possessions--including my husband--through this airport from points abroad, and never once has anything been broken, stolen, lost or cavity-searched. The entry-point for thousands of immigrants to the US, JFK is functionally the new Ellis Island. A fascinating place to people-watch and chow down on international cuisine--assuming you can figure out the bizarre computerized ordering system in the new Jet Blue terminal.
1. Schiphol International Airport, Amsterdam
There's a reason I chose this spot as the home-base for Clearfleet Airlines. Home to innumerable little lounges, where you can sleep on La-Z-Boys while waiting for your next flight or browse Old Master paintings in a mini art museum, Schiphol is as interesting as airports get. It's worth going just to see the American college kids light up blunts of cannabis sativa right there in the terminal, only to be reprimanded by irate Dutch officials. From high art to low brow and everything in between, this is life condensed into a transit hub.
I continue to be amazed at the synchronicity of life’s moments, especially when it comes to being an editor in this wonderfully weird world of Vertigo, where strange connections just seem to happen.
One of the first biographies I remember reading that really made an impression on me was about Amelia Earhart. Going back to my ten-year old mind, it wasn’t her bravery, daringness, or pioneering aviation feats that left its mark on me, it was the mystery of her disappearance in the open sea of the South Pacific that resonated most. Was she eaten alive by cannibals, left to wander alone on a deserted island, did she have amnesia and was living as a tribal shaman in the jungles of Africa? I never thought she was dead. She had to still be alive. Whenever I thought of Amelia the same haunted feeling crept over me. How could someone just disappear, without a trace, with nothing left behind?
“We are running North and South.” —the last recorded words of Amelia Earhart. Decades later, sitting at my desk, reading the first line of the pitch for AIR from G. Willow Wilson, and I’m immediately enthralled. In this new series about an acrophobic, insecure stewardess with an incredible untapped and unique power to explore the magic and mystery of flight—who does her mentor turn out to be? None other than the great Earhart herself... Willow describes her Amelia as being in her early sixties, having aged slowly (she would really be over 100 years old today) while stuck between the real and unreal world she’s inhabited. Her first appearance from issues #6-7 is collected in FLYING MACHINE, on sale this coming month. And even more of Amelia’s life is revealed in issue #15 in November. “At once earthy and otherworldly” the Amelia who Willow has given life to, is at once everything and nothing like I could’ve imagined. And the fourth grader in me is obsessed again.
This month AIR: Pureland continues with part 2. Joined by Zayn's brother, deep in the Pakistani frontier, Blythe is drawn into a holy war with a bizarre twist.
Check out a couple pages from issue #13:
Flying can be such a rush--for me it's looking out the window and seeing that I'm in the clouds, but for Blythe, who's training to be a pilot, it's something far more high stakes.... Join her as she attempts her first solo flight, learns more about the mysterious Zayn and meets Gian, a Sky Gypsy on Sky 1.
Catch a glimpse of AIR #11.
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Where in the world is . . . Blythe? AIR, by fantabulous creators G. Willow Wilson and artist M.K. Perker, continues. Our heroine, airline stewardess Blythe, continues to search for answers and finds herself in the strangest locales—locales that might not even exist. In this month’s issue we learn that her fate may have been set over 900 years ago. For those of you who love a certain Wednesday night TV show (you know which one I’m talking about, right?) this series is sure to thrill one issue at a time.
Let’s go behind-the-scenes and take a look at a few cover sketches to issue #10 and the final version which goes on sale June 17.
And revealed last in the gallery is the cover of issue #13.