Comics Alliance gave the scoop on a spin-off, on-going Fables series called ‘Fairest’. No timetable as to when this will come out, but it will feature the ladies of Fabletown in Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Rapunzel, Snow White, and anybody else that could fit the ‘fairest’ title. Great talent involved with this spin-off – Fables mainstay Bill Willingham, Phil Jimenez, and Chris Roberson to name a few.
Some incredible art was featured as well during the Fables panel at SDCC of this series:
Finally, Fables #100 hits the market and delivers in spades. The hype for the battle between Mister Dark and Frau Totenkinder had been building since Mister Dark’s arrival into Fabletown. What we got was an epic battle between two powerful magical forces that by no means resolved anything, which is exactly how I liked it. Beyond that, the extra content (and no ads!) gave us a lot to chew on to justify the $9.99 price tag. Kudos to Bill Willingham and team for a job well done and here’s to another 100.
I also cover volume 14 of Fables to get us hyped for issue 100. After losing focus in the crossover from volume 13, it rebounded and gave us great content in building up the battle to come. Bufkin also gets a surprising, yet welcome spotlight in his own battles with the Djinn and Baba Yaga. Honestly, Fables is roaring back to life after many thought it didn’t have the edge lately it had during the Adversary storyline. You definitely need to check these out if you want different takes on your favorite fairy tale characters (or are just ticked at Disney for making them all cute and cuddly).
Welcome to 2010! Tastes like chicken…
Today, we go into the first novel of Bill Willingham’s Fables line that talks about the sibling rivalry between Peter and Max Piper of the pied piper lore. I’m constantly amazed at Willingham’s talent, especially in how he writes this out in novel format as opposed to the monthly comic format he’s used to writing in. And the origin tales of the pipers fit so well into Fables continuity that I’m hoping we’ll see them show in the monthly series. A good page-turner (though a bit tedious in the beginning if you already know your Fables concepts) and definitely recommended for both long-time Fables fans and fantasy fans overall.
Mike and I recently wrapped up the decade with our 2-part Wizard Decade Edition podcasts (latest one is here if you want to check it out), but I figured to also provide one focused particularly on 2009 as well. A lot went on this year alone, which explains why this was probably the longest podcast I’ve ever done solo. Some highlights on the podcast:
- DC was the big publisher this year in my eyes with Grant Morrison and Geoff Johns leading the charge on the major story arcs.
- Vertigo continues to innovate with their new Unwritten and Daytripper series
- Marvel’s Dark Reign storyline dominates the year, but hear why I believe it lost its focus as the year went on.
- Image and Dark Horse continue to put out quality work in spite of the domination by the big two publishers
- 2010 will see more excellent books and a more focused direction on both DC and Marvel’s sides.
- I lay down challenges as to supporting independents and why comics should never be considered as just “spandex” books
A happy and safe New Year’s to all and we’ll see you on the other side of 2010!
This week’s podcast is all about Fables. Well at least the first five graphic novels. Fables is on ongoing Vertigo series with characters from fairy tales and folklore, such as The Big Bad Wolf, Snow White, Boy Blue and others, who have left their Homelands to escape an enemy known as the Adversary, whose identity is revealed in a later issue, but not in the first five graphic novels.
Fables is written by Bill Willingham, who also wrote another new favorite of mine, House of Mystery.
We talk a little about Sandman, John Constantine, and I yes I know, it’s Jack Ketch, not John.
I routinely get asked what’s so fascinating about reading stories of spandex-clad super-heroes in the comics. I’ll get remarks that it’s just “nerd” material, just for kids, or that I need to get outside more. Granted, I do question at times why Superman wears red underwear outside his costume, but hey, he’s still fully clothed and that’s all that matters…
There’s a lot to be said about the comic book itself and what it brought to the table throughout history. When people were first introduced to Captain America in the 40′s, it was a response to our fears about how the U.S. will fare in WWII. When the X-Men were introduced in the 60′s, it spoke volumes about the racial prejudice prominent to that period. Then there were the stories that brought things down to a more personal scale. Spider-Man brought us a character that not only fought crime, but dealt with real-life issues most high school and college students could relate to. The Fantastic Four showed us that even super-hero families have relational issues and can still work them out. Combine these with the sci-fi aspects that comes with being super heroes and you can see why comics have outlasted economic turmoil and critic bashing over the years.
Of course, being that comics have been a visual medium for the longest time, there comes a time when the emphasis on art is stronger than emphasis on writing. Enter the early 90′s. Artists became superstars. Publishers produced hundreds of covers for almost every single issue. It was the “in” thing to collect and sell at later times. Storytelling took a back seat while artwork helped rack in the dough.
Then the market became saturated with thousands of useless issues that weren’t being collected. Consumers realized the deteriorating value behind these issues. Retailers and publishers lost millions. Marvel declared bankruptcy in 1996. The bare-bones storytelling became more noticeable and many fan-favorite characters suffered via cancellations. The industry started to re-think the direction behind its heroes as well as other areas they can explore.
The mid 90′s started to show the potential of the medium through Neil Gaiman’s Sandman, which Mike touched upon in our first podcast.
It was a different approach, delving into and re-inventing the mythologies Gaiman wanted to play with. It went away from the conventional super hero books and showed that comics could be as just a respected reading medium as any novel on the bookshelves. DC took notice and created its “Vertigo” line to accommodate creator-owned lines and new universes.
Fables, Y: The Last Man, Ex Machina, and more would help in grabbing old readers disenchanted by the old superhero stories and new readers looking for innovative storytelling. The superhero books would follow after DC and Marvel discovered a new crop of writers that could re-invent their images. And while today’s sales numbers may not reach the numbers the 80′s and early 90′s brought, comics are getting a new kind of respect that has resulted in writers being offered TV gigs and comic properties becoming high-grossing movies.
My next few posts will highlight the books I feel are helping to realize the medium’s potential. Feel free to suggest any you feel deserve to be up on that list. Enjoy!