Written by: Laura Hong-Tuason, CC2K Comics Editor
Imagine a world in which everyone suddenly had the ability to fly and you couldn’t. How would that make you feel?
Well Neil Bailey covers this question in The Third Anabaptist Church of Divine Flight, one of 28-short stories in the Bizarre New World Anthology produced by Skipper Martin. This anthology includes over 50 contributors from across the globe. CC2K had the opportunity to exclusively share the whole story of Divine Flight two weeks ago to help support Martin’s Kickstarter campaign. The Kickstarter aims to publish the original 278-page graphic novel by Skipper Martin and artists Christopher Provencher and Adam Huntley entitled Bizarre New World. It follows Paul Krutcher, an ordinary guy who becomes the first flying man. The Kickstarter is still live today until May 28, so definitely check it out.
To continue our support of Bizarre New World and the short-story anthology, CC2K’s Laura Hong reviews The Third Anabaptist Church of Divine Flight below to show how such a short story can cover a variety of themes.
The Third Anabaptist Church of Divine Flight
Writer: Neal Bailey
Artist: Connor Willumsen
Colorist for Pages 4-8: Ellen Everett
Letterer: Bernie Lee
Short stories all set in a world where almost everybody can fly are ambitious and exciting enough already, but The Third Anabaptist Church of Divine Flight takes Bizarre New World to a whole new level. While the other stories revolved around the daily lives of fliers, this one stood out because it focused on the plight of non-fliers, or as some of them are insultingly called, groundlings, penguins, grounders, and chickens.
Though Divine Flight is only 8-pages long, it is a powerfully raw story about doubt and faith. It tells the story of Julie, a non-flier who is a loyal member of the Third Anabaptist Church. It is the Church’s belief that if you wholeheartedly put your faith in God and pray, you will be able to fly. Being the Church’s most dedicated member, Julie will do anything to bring meaning to her inability to fly and to show God that is she worthy of flight. That is why she sets off to recruit fellow non-fliers to the Church’s cause, believing it will end people’s bitterness and resentment toward being labeled a loser or an outcast. However, her faith will be shaken, and it is up to readers to decide if this is a good or bad thing.
Every one of us at some point has thought about what it would be like to fly, but we never think about the people we leave behind who can’t. In comes writer Neal Bailey, who puts the dilemma of non-fliers in the forefront. How would you feel if everyone around you had such an advantage in life, and the world only catered to those people? Think about it. Jobs and buildings would be different. Stairs and elevators would become obsolete. No one would really need to fly planes anymore to take you where you need to be. You would be justifiably upset. And what if you’re really faithful and can’t fly? Well, you would start questioning everything you may hold to be true.
Divine Flight asks the big questions, and not just for amusement either. It very much mirrors the same type of societal problems we have today: the haves and have nots. To me, that’s a powerful statement, whether Bailey intended it or not. Pertaining to Divine Flight as a whole, it is both enlightening and sinister. The idea that a church wants to bring non-fliers together who feel they have been forsaken is marvelous. There is a sense of community and good will to it. At the same time, the Church is questionable and does veer on the edge of being a cult. Still, the good intentions are there, which makes the story fascinating. You won’t really know how you’re supposed to feel by the end, but you won’t regret reading it either.
To read more short stories, give the Bizarre New World Kickstarter a look! If successful, you’ll be able to get the main book digitally for just $12, or in paperback for $25. If you only want the short story anthology, it is offered digitally at $10. A free 22-page preview of the main book and a few short stories are available to read at bizarrenewworld.com. Happy reading!
Divine Flight Rating: 5.0 out of 5.0
Author: Laura Hong-Tuason, CC2K Comics Editor
Laura is a writer from the San Francisco Bay Area, but currently resides in Southern California. She drinks too much milk tea, talks too much about Green Lantern, and would marry Barry Allen if he were real.