The “Super Team” storyline concludes this June in FABLES #106, by Bill Willingham, Mark Buckingham and Steve Leialoha.
In this exciting issue the barrier keeping Mister Dark out of Haven falls leaving the kingdom entirely unprotected and Bigby and the North Wind’s big showdown ends. And the winner is…
This August, pick up the third FABLES Deluxe hardcover, collecting issues #19-27, written by Bill Willingham, and featuring art by Mark Buckingham, Steve Leiahola, Tony Akins and Jimmy Palmiotti.
In this volume Little Red Riding Hood appears in Fabletown. Bigby Wolf, smells espionage and subversion – not survival. And Prince Charming begins his campaign to become the new mayor of Fabletown.
In "Super Team" part 4, Ozma’s super team is ready to fight, but there’s a complication: Mister Dark isn’t the only one of the Great Powers on the warpath. The North Wind just blew into town with bad news for Bigby: His ghostly son must die. Talk about bad timing! Remember when Bigby promised his father that “The next time I come after you, I’ve made arrangements to make sure I’m able to Kill you”? That time is here! It’s father vs. son. Will Bigby survive one battle so he can help with the other?
Find out this May in FABLES #105, by Bill Willingham and artists Mark Buckingham and Steve Leialoha.
Now check out the cover by Joao Ruas:
From the New York Times best-selling, Hugo Award-nominated, Eisner Award winning comic book series FABLES comes PETER & MAX: A FABLES NOVEL, written by Bill Willingham, with spot illustrations by Steve Leialoha. PETER & MAX tells the dark story of brothers Peter Piper, of Pickled Pepper fame, and Max Piper, the Pied Piper of Hamelin. Willingham deftly weaves an epic tale of good and evil, sibling rivalry, magic, music and a quest for revenge that spans from medieval times to the present day, from the heart of the Black Forest to New York City.
Full of vivid detail, imagination and adventure, PETER & MAX illuminates the breadth of Willingham’s knowledge of literature and his true storytelling ability. The novel further explores the vast universe of FABLES, which includes fourteen critically acclaimed volumes, the graphic novel 1001 NIGHTS OF SNOWFALL, and the spin-off series JACK OF FABLES and CINDERELLA.
1.) Bill Willingham’s comic book series, FABLES, is full of wonderful characterizations. However, in PETER & MAX his use of description is much more elaborate. What do you make of his twist on fairy tales, nursery rhymes and tongue twisters such as “Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers” and “Little Bo Peep has lost her sheep”?
2.) Remembrance Day is the biggest holiday in Fabletown. Why? What does it signify? (p. 89) What is the significance of 1928?
3.) What is Little Bo Peep’s real name? How did she get the name Bo? (p. 34)
4.) Willingham’s use of foreshadowing is evident when Max finds an arrowhead in a tree on the way to the Peep’s home. Max suggests that it may be “from an advance scout for an invading army,” but the adults shrug it off. What’s the significance of this occasion?
5.) At its heart, PETER & MAX is a story of good vs. evil, but it’s also a coming of age story. What is the impetus for Max and Peter’s feud/sibling rivalry? (p. 83, 84)
6.) How would you characterize Mr. Peep’s relationship with his sons? Do you think Mr. Peep made the right decision by entrusting Peter with Frost rather than giving it to his eldest son Max? Why or why not?
7.) Max is told several times by his father that he is a man at the age of 14. His father reminds him that with manhood comes great responsibility—chores and carrying a sword—but Max still grows rebellious and jealous of Peter. Do you think what Wilhelm says about Max is true? “He’s not a rational creature any more. I think his mind’s broken.…They just get too afraid and something snaps in them.” (p. 85)
8.) When Peter reaches the walled city of Hamelin it is already overtaken by the Empire. He enters easily, but cannot leave or get a job without a pass, cannot play music, even begging was regulated. What is Willingham saying about conquest?
9.) Peter can play Frost to make danger pass him by, but there is a consequence each time. What is that consequence? How many times does he use it? Do you think he uses it wisely?
10.) While behind the gated walls of Hamelin, Peter eventually fulfills his brother’s prophecy and becomes a thief to survive rather than die of starvation. Do you think Peter can be excused for his thieving? And for joining the brotherhood? (p. 155)
11.) Max meets a young witch in the Black Forest. She offers him a magical device of his choice and he picks a flute. What does he name it and why?
12.) The witch’s original intention is to use Max to seek revenge against the three knights of the road who insulted her. How many years does Max spend in the woods learning Fire’s secrets? (p. 211) Do you think the witch regrets how powerful he becomes?
13.) Bo and Peter become separated in the woods. When they finally reunite they’re both after the same thing, but by different means. To leave their current commitments and be with each other they must have vowed to a prior oath. What was that oath?
14.) What do you make of Peter’s marriage to Bo now? Is it out of guilt? True love? They have no children. Who will Frost be passed to?
15.) Peter goes back to Hamelin to find Max. He wants answers, but realizes he may never get them. Do you think the ending is appropriate? Do you think there is an alternative to this ending?
16.) Are Peter and Max similar in any ways? If so, how?
Yes, PETER & MAX: A FABLES NOVEL by Bill Willingham and with spot illustrations by Steve Leialoha is available today, as an E-Book priced at $9.99.
Based on FABLES, the New York Times bestselling, Hugo Award nominated, Eisner Award winning and one of the longest running comic book series published by Vertigo, PETER & MAX: A FABLES NOVEL tells the dark story of brothers Peter Piper, of Pickled Pepper fame, and Max Piper, the Pied Piper of Hamelin. Willingham deftly weaves an epic tale of good and evil, sibling rivalry, magic, music and a quest for revenge that spans from medieval times to the present day, from the heart of the Black Forest to NYC. Full of vivid detail, imagination and adventure, PETER & MAX illuminates the breadth of Willingham’s knowledge of literature and his true storytelling ability.
So get ready to download PETER & MAX: A FABLES NOVEL to your favorite device and take this magical story with you to lands near and far!
PETER & MAX is also available as a paperback priced at $14.99.
FABLES issue #102 begins a new storyline – SUPER TEAM. What’s this you ask? Superheroes in FABLES? Let’s hear what editor Shelly Bond has to say:
“My initial reaction was probably similar to yours: WTF?!?! But then Bill offered up an explanation. It's a sendup to 1950 comic books - sort of. In classic Willingham style, Bill wanted to do a storyline that was nothing that any Fables fan could see coming...what else could you do post 101 issues but give readers something truly unexpected? But trust me--it's more than Ozma's big idea to form a super team to ward off evil powers...there are relationship troubles galore involving Beauty and the Beast and their new bundle of joy (?), Snow White and Bigby and even some reappearances by characters long forgotten and abhorred.”
The covers for this 5 issue storyline will be homages to classic DC covers. Here are the first three by Joao Ruas:
As regular readers of FABLES will know, I’m always keen to try out new things to keep the book looking fresh. In past story arcs I’ve used elaborate line techniques, bold styles with strong block blacks, zip tone textures, black crayon, cartoony styles, realism, design motifs, and the introduction of border art panels to frame every page.
With FABLES #100 I knew I had a great excuse to experiment once again.
During the first few months of 2010 I had been lucky enough, thanks to Shelly Bond, to land the role of cover artist for the MADAME XANADU series. Although I wasn’t able to do fully painted covers, I really wanted to make good use of my renewed love of water color painting, so I created a style combining graphic design elements with illustrations produced entirely in grey tone watercolor washes.
I was so delighted with the end results that when I later started planning my pages for Fables #100 I really wanted to try combining some of those painterly qualities with my regular art for Fables.
Not wanting to risk introducing something like this without testing how it might work, I prepared a sample piece.
In the images below you will see the three stages in the creation of my test piece.
First I pencilled it completely as per usual.
Then I inked all the parts that would appear as regular black inks, the part of the job usually done by the incredible Steve Leialoha.
Finally I added the water color washes to add depth and atmosphere.
My biggest concerns at this stage related to reproduction and color.
How difficult will it be to color?
Will the greytones disappear or turn the pages to mush?
I persuade the wonderful Lee Loughridge to color the sample and my fears soon disappeared. Not only was he amazingly fast, returning the finished piece to me at super speed, but it looked fantastic! Best of all it transpired that Lee loved to color this style of art.
With Bill and Shelly’s seal of approval I set to work on pages for the main story using this new technique.
The trickiest part of the process turned out to be Steve Leialoha’s job. I pencilled the pages and then added grey tone washes before sending them to Steve. This meant that our talented inker had to do a little detective work sometimes to tell what was going on the pages underneath the paint. I made scans of all the pages in raw pencil form, so Steve was able to keep a print out of each on his desk as he inked the original. This gave him an invaluable guide to anything that was unclear on the art.
Although I’m used to making life tricky for myself I always feel bad when I think I’m causing trouble for the rest of the team. I realised that next time we use this technique I’ll add the washes AFTER Steve inks.
I really hope you’ll enjoy this fun new look produced especially for our One Hundreth Anniversay issue!
The WITCHES story arc of FABLES was enormous fun.
Firstly, it gave us a chance to focus on the Witches, previously residents of the thirteenth floor of the Woodland building in Fabletown, and chart important changes in the life of Frau Totenkinder. It also saw a plot line I had suggested begin to take shape in the lives of Beauty and Beast.
More importantly for me, however, was the opportunity to discover what became of the Business Office after it disappeared into limbo midway through the Dark Ages story.
Well simply because it allowed me five whole issues to indulge my love of drawing Bufkin, Frankie, the Magic Mirror, and all the terrifying creatures trapped with them.
As is often the case for me with my ongoing work on FABLES, if I know in advance that particular characters are to be prominent in a new story, I take advantage of that to re-examine the way I draw them. So for WITCHES I produced new model sheets for Bufkin and Frankie, as well as designs for a fully restored Baba Yaga. You’ll see my initial sketches for her below.
For Bufkin I choose to go slightly simpler and more cartoony to make him more expressive. I’m always happiest drawing the animals in FABLES and I spent a lot of time refining the way I draw him for this story.
With Frankie, Bill Willingham had expressed a desire to give him a headshape slightly closer to a classic movie Frankenstein, whilst maintaining all the distinctive elements from his previous appearances as designed by Tony Akins.
I had originally intended to create a series of full page Business office backgrounds for WITCHES that I could reuse where appropriate over the story arc. The only one I actually used was for page one. It was drawn only slightly larger than print size and with my home made zip tones used to add shading. My tones are created by enlarging a piece of newsprint photo until they degrade into an irregular dot screen, giving a slightly more organic feel than commercial zip tones.
I had so much fun drawing all the elements in the business office, and Bill’s scripts moved us around the office so much, that it simple proved unnecessary to repeat any backgrounds. Which suited me fine. I loved drawing all this stuff from scratch!
WITCHES ranks high in my list of personal favorites and I was particularly happy with the final episode.
I hope you’ll love it too!
With the spectacular 100th issue of FABLES coming soon, we are excited to unveil the full contents of this special, 100-page issue.
The issue kicks off with a 62-page lead story written by series creator Bill Willingham, with art by Mark Buckingham, Steve Leialoha and Andrew Pepoy
Following that is a 10-page prose story written by Mark Buckingham with illustrations by Bill Willingham.
Also in this issue are:
• A set of do-it-yourself FABLES puppet theater illustrated by Mark Buckingham
• A three-page story written by Willingham with art by CINDERELLA artist Chrissie Zullo
• A three-page story written by Willingham with art by Joao Ruas
• A two-page FABLES board game, illustrated by Buckingham, with game rules by Willingham
• Four celebrity “Burning Questions” stories, all written by Willingham, featuring questions from some of your favorite actors who are also FABLES fans! These “Burning Questions” are illustrated by top-flight artists including Adam Hughes, J.H. Williams III and Dave Johnson.
FABLES #100 is scheduled to arrive in stores on December 8!
Tonight, if you're in San Diego at the convention check out the FABLES panel where something special is about to happen:
6:45-7:45 Fables Forum 2010
The Fables Forum returns to San Diego! The Fables creative team will be on hand to answer your most pressing Fables questions! Featuring the creators behind Fables, Jack of Fables and Cinderella, this panel is sure to have plenty of surprises. Hosted by Group Editor Shelly Bond with Bill Willingham (Fables), Steve Leialoha (Fables), Chris Roberson (Cinderella), Matthew Sturges (Jack of Fables), Chrissie Zullo (Cinderella) and more. Room 6DE
See you there!