In issue #4 of CINDERELLA: Fables are Forever (on sale Wednesday) Cindy and Ivan are held captive by Anasi. As they are transported to an undisclosed location, Cindy recalls some former assignments which involved her nemesis. And we find out just how Dorothy, a sweet girl from Kansas, turned into a killer for hire.
When the proposal was first approved for CINDERELLA: FABLES ARE FOREVER (issue #3 on sale this Wednesday), I asked artist extraordinaire Shawn McManus to send me some rough character sketches of Cinderella and Dorothy in their Big 80s Garb. And I stressed rough as in “super rough, sketchbook style.” So of course, he sent me this amazing finished piece...complete with fishnet capris!!
In Cinderella: Fables Are Forever, the second miniseries featuring Fabletown’s number one spy, we learn how Cinderella travelled to the Soviet Union in the days of the Cold War, investigating rumors of a “Shadow Fabletown” of Soviet Fables. There, she met another secret agent Fable, who would go on to be her greatest nemesis (and if you haven’t read Cinderella: Fables Are Forever #1, I won’t spoil the identity of the nemesis here!).
So why a Shadow Fabletown in the Soviet Union? I guess it’s because I grew up in the last decades of the Cold War, and I miss having the Soviets as antagonists in spy stories. Not as “villains,” mind you, but “antagonists.”
Stories set in WWII and in the years leading up to the war have nature’s perfect villains already built in: the Nazis. Those guys make for GREAT villains, because they did such despicable things. If you’re dealing with a member of the Gestapo, it’s difficult to resist the temptation to make them entirely one dimensional as characters, not to simply portray them as cartoonish EVIL GUY.
But with the Soviets, things weren’t always so cut and dry. They’d been our allies during WWII, after all, and it was really only after the end of the war that they started cropping up as the enemy in spy stories. But growing up on those stories, I never got the sense that the Soviets were “evil,” but more that they were simply pursuing a different agenda. And so it was much easier for writers to cast Soviet agents in a sympathetic light, or even to use them as love interests for heroes from western powers.
In thinking about a community of Fables with different aims and agendas than those in Fabletown, it seemed only natural to use some of that same friction that I found in stories about American or British agents going up against their Soviet counterparts. And so what we have in the Shadow Fabletown isn’t a collection of “evil Fables,” so much as it is a group of Fables who see the world in a different way.
That said, Cinderella’s nemesis ISN’T a Soviet Fable, but is a western one who has gone to work for them as an assassin. And the same rules don’t apply. What does that mean? Well, you’ll have to check out Cinderella: Fables Are Forever and see for yourself!
Now for the cover of issue #5 by Chrissie Zullo:
In the first issue of the new mini-series CINDERELLA: FABLES ARE FOREVER by the amazing team who brought you CINDERELLA: FROM FABLETOWN WITH LOVE, Chris Roberson and artist Shawn McManus, Cindy heads to freezing cold Russia and she’s wearing a bikini. (Awesome cover by Chrissie Zullo, right?) There she encounters her nemesis who goes by the codename Silverslipper and you’re never gonna believe who it is.
So pick up issue one this Wednesday and let me know what you think of this character leaving her past behind and becoming an evil, you know, rhymes with witch.
In the meantime, here are a few preview pages. Enjoy!
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Don’t tell him I said this, but I sometimes think of Bill Willingham as my very own Fairy Godmother. A few years ago, with a dozen novels to my name and not a dime in the bank, facing the prospect of returning to the dreaded DAY JOB, I got a call from Bill one day, offering me the chance to write a miniseries featuring Cinderella, Fabletown’s greatest spy.
Of course I said “YES!” right away. Isn’t that what you do when wishes are granted?
See, what Fairy Godmother… erm, Bill, I mean… what Bill didn’t know is that I had wished that Cinderella miniseries into existence. A year or so before I’d mentioned to fellow Tick Tock Man (as we members of the Clockwork Storybook writers group call ourselves) Matthew Sturges that I thought Cinderella was a fantastic character, and that I wished she’d get her own miniseries. What I didn’t tell Matt was that, if Bill ever did do a Cinderella miniseries, I was going to trick him into letting me write it somehow. I didn’t know HOW I would trick him, of course, but that was a minor detail.
So I got to write CINDERELLA: FROM FABLETOWN WITH LOVE, and to work with Shawn McManus and Chrissie Zullo and Shelly Bond and the rest of the gang. It was a blast to write, a dream come true. But all good things come to an end, and as much as I wished I could keep going, eventually my time with Cinderella was at an end.
Then, a few months later, my wife and I were watching a movie featuring another fairy tale character, and I suddenly realized that they would make a perfect arch-nemesis for Cinderella. I emailed Bill that night, handing him the idea and insisting that he use it in FABLES sometime.
The next morning, I awoke to find the response from my Fairy GodBill in my inbox. He wanted me to write the idea up as a formal proposal and send it over to Shelly Bond, pronto. I outlined a story in which a simple murder investigation quickly spirals into a much larger mystery, and as her search takes her from Russia to the Caribbean and all points in between, Cindy is brought face-to-face with her arch-nemesis, an assassin long thought dead. But if Cindy’s nemesis is still alive, that is serious bad news for Cindy, for the rest of the Fables, and the whole world.
And now I’m writing CINDERELLA: FABLES ARE FOREVER. Another wish granted.
So Bill? Fairy GodBill? Have I mentioned that I also want a pony, a jetpack, and a functioning lightsaber?
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Just who is Cindy’s enemy who was thought dead?
Here’s a hint from writer Chris Roberson: The second Cinderella miniseries, CINDERELLA: FABLES ARE FOREVER, sees Fabletown's greatest super-spy coming face-to-face with an enemy that Cindy had thought long dead. And we learn that Fabletown wasn't the ONLY community of Fables in the Mundy world, after all.
Chrissie Zullo is back as the cover artist of the 2nd miniseries featuring our favorite secret-agent, CINDERELLA: FABLES ARE FOREVER.
Here’s the cover of issue #1:
All I can say is WOW!
And here's a preliminary cover for JACK OF FABLES #50:
Wonder if this'll be happily every after?
Now, we all know that Fables already have magical powers and use them, well, in their own clothes. So why has Pinocchio suddenly got it in his head that he needs to design tight fitting costumes for a carefully selected team of Fables? In fact, why was the little brat caught looking over his own comic book collection, mumbling things like, “We can call him Werewolf Man, and he can be the Golden Knight, and she can be called The Green Witch?”
Check out the cover of FABLES #102, the beginning of a 5-part story called “Super Group!”:
Look for them in February!
Previously mentioned at San Diego Comic Con, CINDERELLA: FABLES ARE FOREVER is a 6 issue mini-series coming in February 2011 from the same fabulous team who brought you Cinderella: From Fabletown with Love, author Chris Roberson (iZOMBIE) and artist Sean McManus!
As we know, Cindy is the best secret agent ever. For nearly two centuries she was Bigby and Beast’s off-the-books operative. But while Fabletown is no more and her shoe store cover gone, she still dips her toes in the spy trade in the defense of her fellow Fables. This time the stakes are even higher, if she fails the whole world might be destroyed. When an adversary from decades past returns, Cindy is faced with a dark mirror of herself, and must answer the questions she has avoided for so long: do the ends justify the means, and is there anything pure left within her at all?
Get ready for another adventure!