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The Great Fables Crossover

Okay, I saw this and couldn’t wait until Monday to get in to the office and blog about it. The Great Fables Crossover has been collected in one volume and we’re now taking pre-orders for Fables TPB Vol. 13!

If you’ve been reading Fables, you know what’s up, but for those of you who are uninitiated, the title is tremendous. Bill Willingham brings us a new take on our favorite bedtime fable characters, and in this volume, he threatens to undo existence with the introduction of The Literals. It’s a great jumping-on point for new readers and I really can’t sing enough praises for Willingham’s writing. The art is pretty stellar to boot! ;0)

This volume collects all nine issues of the Great Fables Crossover story arc: Fables #83-85, Jack of Fables #33-35 and the three-issue Literals miniseries. It’s worth it, even at the cover price, but as with all pre-orders at TFAW.com, you’ll save 20% off the cover price–just $14.39.

Did you read all nine of the Great Fables Crossover floppies? Did you dig it as much as I did? Let us know below!


Graphic Content: Fables TPB Vol. 11: War and Pieces

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Jul 26 2009 at 7:02pm

Posted in General News,Graphic Content

Fables TPB Vol. 11: War and PiecesIt’s been in the making for the past few months, and our final Fables Graphic Content “book club” meeting has arrived. As you may know, we’ve been meeting up each week to discuss Fables graphic novels. We’ve finally arrived at the latest Fables TPB.

This series just keeps getting better! It’s won 12 Eisner Awards (Nominated for four more this year), Fables TPB Vol. 11: War and Pieces continues its long line of excellence and is the culmination of over six years of waiting. Our favorite storybook fables take to the offense as they venture back to the homelands to overthrow The Adversary and his puppet master: Geppetto. Everyone has prepared for war and they’re done waiting. It’s on!

Before going to war, Blue decides to tell Rose Red just how he feels . . . which ends in complete disaster. She confesses that she had a crush on him just after he moved up to the farm, but that crush has evolved into a friendship that she doesn’t want to jeopardize. Poor Blue, he just can’t seem to catch a break in the love department. Next, we follow Cindy to Tierra del Fuego. She’s charged with transporting a very special asset back to Fabletown.

Then Willingham brings us War and Pieces. The Pride of Baghdad is an airship that has no match, and hundreds of dragons are dispatched, to no avail. Our heroes have planned for every contingency. Briar Rose (Sleeping Beauty) has infiltrated the Empire’s capital city and with one prick of her finger, the whole town falls to her enchantment . . . save for the Adversary! Meanwhile, Bigby and his highly trained crew protect the last beanstalk against numerous waves of attacks.

All is well and good, but The Adversary still has some tricks up his sleeve. After fighting off hundreds of dragons, a lone monster brings down the Pride as they stop for supplies before they hit their final target. All hands are commanded to abandon ship, and Charming and Sinbad are left with the difficult task of destroying the final gate. Charming is badly burned in the fire on the Pride and the two just barely complete their mission. The Adversary breaks out of Briar’s enchantment and regroups with his army to attack the beanstalk. Exciting stuff!

Bigby faces The Adversary in enchanted wood to wolf combat and is beaten down in the first encounter. He decides to take human form and face him again. This time the results swing the other way, and The Adversary is defeated and used for firewood for the victory wienie roast.

In the end, Bigby, Pinocchio, and Blue vanish to the Homelands to collect Geppetto. In an unbelievable turn of events, they’re there to bring him back to Fabletown to sign the Fabletown Compact, granting him amnesty for all past transgressions. Wow. One hell of a journey.

Now it’s time to discuss your thoughts:

What do you think of the new softer side of Cindy?

EF: Cindy is amazing, and perhaps my favorite character. In her original fairytale, she was pretty passive and reliant on others. Seeing her so strong, smart, and cunning is a revelation!

JC: We learn that she’s had centuries to devote to learning martial arts and training herself to use any object as a deadly weapon. She’s completely freaking BA. Time and time again, she gets herself out of these incredible situations and accomplishes her mission.

Did the Fables prove to be too arrogant in the end, or was it inevitable that The Adversary win a battle?

EF: I think mistakes are inevitable during war–no one’s perfect. Plus, it wouldn’t have been nearly as interesting if the Fables had straight-out won right away!

JC: They had success after success. All their plans were coming to fruition and the Empire had been wholly unsuccessful in their counter attacks. Of course they would be a little confident. I think that the Pride was going to go down at some point, and I’m glad that it wasn’t sooner. I think they could have done more to prevent the losses at the base of the Beanstalk, but then again, I’m no war strategist.

Any final thoughts on War and Pieces?

EF: I think it was absolutely incredible, but . . . I’m still waiting for the other shoe to drop. This ended a little too neatly. On another note, I want to add that I got to speak to Bill Willingham this week, and I almost dropped dead when he said he’d read all of our entries! He said he had something to clear up–something we didn’t understand–but he didn’t remember, so if you’re out there, Bill, let us know!

JC: We’ve been waiting for this for over six years. I’m extremely happy with how it turned out and am very excited to see what’s next for our Fables!

Now’s your chance to join the discussion! Share your thoughts below.


Graphic Content: Fables TPB Vol. 10: The Good Prince

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Jul 20 2009 at 4:54pm

Posted in General News,Graphic Content

Fables TPB Vol. 10: The Good PrinceIt’s Friday, which means it’s time for another meeting of our Graphic Content “book club.” As you may know, we meet up each week to discuss Fables graphic novels. How can you participate? Join the discussion by posting a comment below, and we’ll send you a special coupon code or gift certificate!

Not to sound like a broken record, but Fables TPB Vol. 10: The Good Prince is absolutely wonderful–I liked it better than Fables TPB Vol. 9: Sons of Empire. Finally, Ambrose the Frog Prince–better known to Fabletown as Flycatcher–discovers his destiny, and fulfills it in a matter-of-fact–but still spectacular–fashion. As Santa told him in Sons of Empire, Ambrose is meant to save the lives of thousands of Fables, which he does, but not in the way I imagined.

The first thing that struck me about The Good Prince is how Biblical it is. In many ways, Ambrose’s story mirrors that of Moses. When the book opens, we see that Ambrose, who has regained all of his memories of losing his family to Goblins in the Homelands, has secluded himself in the chapel and is grieving. Not only has he grown a prodigious amount of facial hair, but he’s refusing to eat, to Red Riding Hood’s chagrin. Determined to somehow exact revenge, he goes to Little Boy Blue and tries to get him to teach him how to use the Vorpal sword and witching cloak so that he can go back to the Homelands and kill all of the Goblins. Blue not only gently tells him that his plan has little chance of succeeding, but also lets him know that he admires Ambrose as a good and honorable man, and will not help him sully himself.

Fortunately, Bufkin accidentally causes the armor of the Foresworn Knight to fall apart, releasing his spirit, which turns out to be Sir Lancelot! To redeem himself for betraying King Arthur, he is to guide Ambrose to greatness, which includes a thorough bath (a baptism!) and a change of clothes (his armor). Turns out that Ambrose now has the power to make ghost flesh, while they are around him. So they go down to the Witching Well, where all of the dead are, and recruit them for the cause.

This is where the fun begins, because so many Fables who have died in previous installments show up here: Gretel, Bluebeard, Shere Khan, Baby Bear, the Three Little Pigs, Weyland, and more. They all have the chance for redemption if they make the long, slow, painful journey to the Promised Land, which turns out to be their own kingdom in the Homelands, called Haven.

And what a Haven it is! Because all of his subjects are ghosts, they cannot be killed–but the Adversary’s can. Plus, Ambrose opens up Haven to anyone who wishes, and his kingdom grows and grows. To try to stomp him out once and for all, the Adversary sends all of his wooden soldiers to fight, but Ambrose returns them to their roots. Literally. They become trees, which means Haven is now surrounded by the Enchanted Grove, and since there can only be one in the universe, the one surrounding Geppetto will never grow back!

All this, and Fabletown realizes that they’re actually at war with the Homelands and roust that a$$hole Hansel out of the Mundy world. And Frau Totenkinder fixes it so her witches and sorcerers can see and record everything the rogue Zephyrs see–including hundreds of classified documents. It’s a win, right? So why do I feel such foreboding?

Now it’s time to discuss your thoughts:

What did you think of Flycatcher playing the part of noble prince?

JC: Loved it! He’s one of the unsung heroes of Fables thus far. I’m glad to see him get the chance to step into the spotlight. He’s always been such a stand-up guy, and he proved it a hundred times over when he offered the inhabitants of the witching well to come with him to Haven. I totally agree with Elisabeth’s assessment of the religious undertones in this story. Couldn’t think of a more deserving character to play the part of Moses.

EF: I thought it was absolutely wonderful, and plausible. Even after he regained his memories, Ambrose was still a sweet, goodhearted, nonviolent man. The core of who he is has always been incorruptible–no matter what memories he’s had. Watching him slowly find his way and transform himself into the “Good Prince” felt absolutely right.

What did you think of Bigby and Snow’s decision to introduce the cubs to Ghost?

JC: I’ve been waiting for this for awhile and Aaron Alexovich’s artwork set the tone for the interlude. Such a fun little story. I really liked how they presented the cubs with the decision.

EF:I thought it was an excellent touch. When Ghost was first introduced, I was worried that he/she was doomed from the beginning. Instead, not only is Ghost part of the family, but it looks like the Zephyrs in general are finally being considered, trained, and educated.

Got anything else to bring to the discussion? Share your thoughts below to get a special coupon, and be sure to meet us here next week to coverĀ  Fables TPB Vol. 11: War and Pieces.


Graphic Content: Fables TPB Vol. 9: Sons of Empire

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Jul 10 2009 at 3:27pm

Posted in General News,Graphic Content

Fables TPB Vol. 9: Sons of EmpireWe skipped last Friday, since it was a holiday weekend, but we’re back with a vengeance this week for another Graphic Content “book club” meeting. We’re meeting up to discuss Fables trade paperbacks each Friday until we catch up with monthly issues. How can you participate? Join the discussion by posting a comment below, and we’ll send you a special coupon code or gift certificate!

This week’s Fables trade is Fables TPB Vol. 9: Sons of Empire, which deals with the fallout from Bigby’s attack on the Homelands in Fables TPB Vol. 8: Wolves. Fabletown may live to regret rattling The Adversary’s cage–if they’re lucky. The Adversary has not only sent an ambassador to Fabletown–the twisted and maniacal Hansel (yes, that Hansel)–but he’s called his most powerful allies to discuss ways they can kill everyone and everything in the “Mundy” world and use it as a garbage dump. Yeah, it’s pretty scary.

Of course, Pinocchio and Rodney (the wooden soldier who was turned into flesh and sent to spy of Fabletown) are horrified and voice their objections–including the ways Fabletown and the Mundy world can defeat them. Unfortunately, this was just what Geppetto was counting on. Now he’s revised his plans further to deal with this new information, which makes him deadlier than ever.

Meanwhile, Little Red Riding Hood gets a kaPOW!! makeover, causing Flycatcher to revert to being a frog. Could he feel guilty about finding another woman attractive after losing his wife in the Homelands? Also, Snow White and Bigby celebrate their first Christmas as a family, and Snow raises the stakes by asking for a family trip as her Christmas present: she wants to visit Bigby’s hated father, the North Wind.

Lots of seeds for future story here: Little Boy Blue and Rose Red seems to be getting closer, as he edges toward the realization the Little Red Riding Hood isn’t–and never was–his girl; we get a brief snapshot of what it’s like to grow several feet of hair a day (Rapunzel!); and there’s a section of one- and two-page stories answering readers’ questions and drawn by guest artists like Joelle Jones, David Lapham, and more! Oh, and we discover that Santa is a Fable, and he explains to Ambrose (one of Snow and Bigby’s cubs) just how he visits every house in the land in one night.

Now it’s time to discuss your thoughts:

What did you like best about Fables Vol. 9: Sons of Empire?

JC: It’s really hard for me choose the favorite thing. We got so much out of these 200 pages! When I first opened the book, it flipped open to page 50. There, I found a three-page short story: Porky Pine Pie. The story was really enjoyable and the art blew me away.

There was more in there that I really liked, such as the Snow Queen’s plan for Mundy domination and the Burning Questions in the back of the book, but I keep on coming back to Porky Pine Pie.

EF: I really enjoyed this, but not as much as Wolves–while I liked all of the little snippets of stories, it didn’t pack as big a punch as some of the other trades. That being said, I liked this one a lot! Seeing Bigby and Snow’s family life was cool. Also, I loved Ride’s “Extreme Makeover” and the exchange between Santa and Flycatcher–a.k.a. Ambrose, who has apparently recovered his memories from his previous life, and apparently is the key to Fabletown’s salvation.

What’s Hansel’s story? A righteous crusader, maladjusted adult with a troubled past, or overzealous nut job?

JC: I’m going to go with nut job. First, his parents leave him and his sister to die in the woods. Then they encounter a witch who tries to kill them. They burn the witch, then become pilgrims. He was born to be a witch hunter. Only a monster would do that to his sister.

EF: Yeah, Hansel is a scary nut job. Totally committed to his twisted world view, and completely convinced that his way is righteous. I see him causing a lot of problems for Fabletown in the future.

What’s your take on Pinocchio’s assessment of the Mundy/Fable retaliation for the plague assault?

JC: Ummm . . . he didn’t know the Fables had a genii? Was Willingham just using him as a device, or are the spies really that good? I thought it was a great assessment to inspire trepidation, but a little unrealistic. Wouldn’t the easier option be to abandon the Mundy world and hole up in the cloud kingdom?

EF: I thought it was pretty eye-opening, but naive. I really think it would take some doing to convince the “Mundys” that Fables are real, especially in the middle of a massive plague. I also felt bad for Pinocchio because he thought he had dissuaded his father from going to war, but he only helped Geppetto refine his plans.

What’s was your favorite Burning Question backup story? Do you have a questions of your own?

JC: I liked the little pigs’ story. They are so tiny, but in their little piggy brains, they’re still big old giants. Totally cute. I’ve got one . . . what does Baba Yaga do to pass the time in her imprisonment?

EF: I loved the little pigs’ story too, because I love Joelle Jones, but I also loved the story about training for the mouse police. I love the mouse police! Here’s my question: what happens if one of Snow’s cubs grows up to be the fairest in the land . . . fairer than Snow?

Audience participation time. Have you read Sons of Empire? Share your thoughts below, and we’ll see you next week for Fables TPB Vol. 10: The Good Prince!


Graphic Content: Fables TPB Vol. 8: Wolves

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Jun 29 2009 at 4:55pm

Posted in General News,Graphic Content

Fables TPB Vol. 8: WolvesI’m a little late with this week’s Graphic Content “book club” meeting, so let’s get right to it! We’re at Fables TPB Vol. 8: Wolves, which–I’m starting to sounds like a broken record–is my favorite Fables trade paperback so far! As usual: since this is a book club, we assume you’ve done the required reading, so SPOILERS ARE AHEAD!!!

Fables TPB Vol. 8: Wolves signals the triumphant return of Snow and Bigby from the backburner to a major story development: they reunite and get married! But let’s back up. The story starts with Mowgli combing through a frozen Russian fishing village, searching for Bigby, who left Fabletown and Snow when it turned out he would be separated from her and their cubs. Turns out their children don’t look quite human, so they were required to move to the Farm–the one place Bigby is not allowed. So after leading Mowgli on a fruitless chase, Bigby finally lets himself be discovered, in a remote cabin in Alaska. Where he is not alone. Hello! Turns out he’s been numbing the pain with booze and a hot chick named Sarah Tanaraq.

Meanwhile, it turns out that Snow has been busy playing mother and father–literally–as she has been sending her children presents from “Daddy” every holiday, taking family photos to “send” him, and answering their letters in his stead. The children are growing up quickly, and are hilarious as they struggle to maintain their human forms. Once they can do this for a month, they’ll be allowed into the Mundy world, but Aunt Rose isn’t making things easy for them, testing them at every turn!

So Mowgli convinces Bigby to come back with him, as Prince Charming has a job Bigby can’t refuse: travel up to the Cloud Kingdom and drop down into the Homelands to send the Adversary a very important message: don’t f$%& with Fabletown! To get his point across, Bigby blows up the Magic Grove and makes his getaway via giant beanstalk. Awesome. In return, he and Snow are awarded property adjacent to the Farm, where they can raise their family in peace. And in return for bringing back Bigby, Mowgli earns the freedom of his friend Bagheera. More awesome!

The extra story shows us a day in the life of Cinderella, special agent of F.A.B.L.E., as she tries to get the momentary king of the Cloud Kingdom to sign a treaty with Fabletown. Reading all the twists and turns and witnessing Cinderella’s ingenuity and plain, old-fashioned cussedness was delightful–I hope we see more of her in the future.

On to the questions:

Were you surprised that Bigby as shacking up with another woman?

EF: I was surprised, just because we never saw him with women before Snow, so I kind of thought he didn’t bother with that unless he was really in love. However, the rebound fling is a classic, and I guess no one is immune. At the end of Sarah’s part of the tale I wondered if they were setting her up for another story–it would be interesting if she pops up again in the future.

What did you think of Snow’s decision to pretend that Bigby was writing letters and sending presents to the children?

EF: My respect for Snow grew by leaps and bounds–especially when she presented all of her careful documentation to Bigby and demanded that he memorize it before meeting the children. I understand why Bigby felt he had to leave, but he put Snow in a tough position. That she handled it with grace, charity, and the best interests of her children–and Bigby–showed what a wonderful mother she is.

Do you think Snow and Bigby will live “happily ever after”?

EF: It was heartening that Colin showed up near the beginning to tell Snow that things were about to get better for her, but Snow and Bigby aren’t the prince and princess of a fairytale–they’re not supposed to be. I’m interested to see them adjusting to married life, living together, and raising their children. After all, Snow is used to being in charge–or as much as she can be with those hooligans!

Do you think the Adversary will retaliate against Fabletown for destroying his Magic Grove?

EF: I was really surprised by how easy it was for Bigby to drop down there, get to the Adversary, cause mass destruction, and get out. Is it because the Adversary has been unchallenged for so long, he’s gone soft? Or is it that he’s no match for modern technology? Something didn’t quite sit right there. If anything, I’m worried that the more he knows about modern technology, the more he’ll try to use it against Fabletown. And we know he has spies there!

Join the conversation! Post a comment below, and we’ll email you a $5 gift certificate! And make sure to meet back here this Friday for Fables TPB Vol. 9: Sons of Empire.


Graphic Content: Fables Vol. 7: Arabian Nights (and Days)

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Jun 19 2009 at 5:04pm

Posted in General News,Graphic Content

Fables TPB Vol. 7: Arabian Nights (and Days)It’s time for our latest Graphic Content “book club” meeting . . . well, my latest, anyway, since Josh is out enjoying a new addition to his family! We’re at Fables Vol. 7: Arabian Nights (and Days)–one of my favorite Fables trade paperbacks thus far. Beware: since this is a book club, we assume you’ve done the required reading, so SPOILERS ARE AHEAD!!!

In Fables Vol. 7: Arabian Nights (and Days), we finally meet some Fables from the Arabian Homelands, as Sinbad and his entourage of courtiers and slaves come to call. The Adversary is encroaching on their lands as well, so they’ve stepped through the gates into Baghdad and wish to meet with Prince Charming to form an alliance with Fabletown and get acquainted with Mundy ways. This does not go well, since Charming sent away Mowgli, the person Sinbad’s court had previously been negotiating with, and promptly forgot about the meeting. And no one speaks Arabian. Well, almost no one . . .

Yes! My favorite part of this is that King Cole was needed to save Fabletown’s collective face. His in-depth knowledge of Arabian etiquette (and their language) and his brilliant negotiating skills finally showed why King Cole was Mayor for so many centuries. The mentor relationship he formed with Sinbad was delightful–to everyone but his wizard, Yusuf, who objected to dealing with “heathens” and setting their slaves free. His solution? To unleash a D’Jinn, or genie, to destroy Sinbad’s supporters and Fabletown, allowing Yusuf to take over!

It was nice to see Prince Charming, Beauty, and her Beast cleverly trick Yusuf into defeating himself–most painfully–and it was glorious to see King Cole set off as Ambassador between the East and West Fables. He had a purpose again and was very much needed–quite the fairytale ending. However! What was with that kiss between Beauty and Prince Charming? A side effect of stress and overwork, or something more?

The second story in this trade tells the story of two of Gepetto’s wooden creations, who fall in love and ask to be made flesh. They too get their “fairytale ending,” but at a terrible price: they are spying on Fabletown in the Mundy world, carrying out despicable acts while awaiting the birth of their first child. I hope their story is picked up again sometime down the road!

On to the questions:

What did you like best about Fables Vol. 7: Arabian Nights (and Days)?

EF: I really liked the traditional fairytale elements to these stories. Fables really read like . . . well, fables! There was intrigue, mystery, and a moral to both stories, to boot! I like how Charming, Beauty, and the Beast are coming into their own, successfully solving problems in their own way. Hopefully personal issues won’t get between them!

What did you think of the kiss between Beauty and Prince Charming?

EF: From the very beginning, Beauty and the Beast have been presented as a bickering couple–or, as Charming put it, “You [bicker at] him all the time.” That dynamic, plus the fact that they’ve been married for dozens of centuries and have both taken on stressful new jobs, would create cracks in any relationship. I liked that Beauty firmly shut Prince Charming down, but noticed she waited until after kissing him. And Bufkin was a witness!

What do you think of Fabletown’s unique pathways of justice?

EF: It’s hilarious to me that although Fabletown has strict laws, they enact them in a way that people get what they actually deserve. Little Boy Blue, although he (seemingly) stole magical items and ran away with them, was secretly on a mission for Charming and is a hero to the people. Therefore, his two years of “hard labor” at the Farm look like they’ll be productive and pleasant. Meanwhile, even though Sinbad brought in a weapon of mass destruction (the D’Jinn), he was keeping it from the Adversary and had no intention of using it against Fabletown. Therefore, while he is banned from Fabletown as a private citizen, he can certainly come and go as he pleases as the newly appointed Mayor of Fabletown East. Pretty sneaky.

What were your impressions of “The Fable of Rodney and June”?

EF: I loved Jim Fern and Jimmy Palmiotti’s art for this–it really looked like a classic fairytale, detailed and absolutely gorgeous. Rodney and June’s story was engaging and sweet, but you just knew there was going to be an ugly side to it. In the end, I felt badly for them, but they definitely made a deal with the devil, and now they have to live with it.

So what did you think? Take a moment and comment below for a gift certificate! And make sure to meet back here next Friday for Fables TPB Vol. 8: Wolves.


Graphic Content: Fables Vol. 6: Homelands

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Jun 12 2009 at 3:40pm

Posted in General News,Graphic Content

Fables TPB Vol. 6: HomelandsIt’s already Friday, and that means it’s time for another Graphic Content “book club” meeting. We’ll keep trucking through Fables trade paperbacks each Friday until we catch up with monthly issues. How can you participate? Join the discussion by posting a comment below, and we’ll send you a special coupon code or gift certificate!

The first third of Fables Vol. 6: Homelands (or so) follows Jack during his stint as a Hollywood bigwig. In exchange for the key to the Fables treasure room, Jack brings Jill (yeah, that Jill) to Hollywood with him.

He uses the treasure to form a new movie studio and quickly makes a name for himself. His goal: a trilogy of “Jack” films that will bring the fabled character to the forefront of every Mundy’s consciousness! Years pass and the first two movies are wildly successful. Days before the third movie hits, a stranger comes to meet Jack for a closed-door meeting.

Turns out Jill called the new Sheriff of Fabletown, and he’s here to take over the studio and banish Jack once and for all! Too bad Jack gave Jill that bad deal all those years ago . . .

The latter portion of the book follows a mysterious masked crusader who’s on a mission to dethrone the Adversary! We find out that Little Boy Blue is the the man behind the mask. We follow him on his journey through the Homelands as he moves ever-closer to accomplishing his goal.

In a stunning turn of events, The Adversary is revealed to be nothing but a giant puppet, a ruse concocted by Geppetto. That’s right, Pinocchio’s father is the Adversary! Blue is captured, and he gets Geppetto to spin his yarn. We find out that it started out with best of intentions–a group of people replacing a tyrannical Count with one of Geppetto’s creations. The Count was charging too many taxes on his people, and something had to be done.

Like many things of this nature, it began to get too big to handle. Scores of kings and lords were replaced, and there were too many people in on the secret, so Geppetto hatched his plan and the Emperor was born. After a few twists and turns, Blue escapes returns to Fabletown with the <i>real</i> Red Riding Hood, and Geppetto is furious.

Now it’s time to discuss your thoughts:

What did you like best about Fables Vol. 6: Homelands?

EF: It’s hard to pinpoint what I loved about Homelands–it’s my favorite Fables trade thus far. I loved everything! The story about Jack was excellent and well paced, I became even more invested in the character of Little Boy Blue, we got to see the homelands, we found out who The Adversary was, we even got to see Prince Charming grow up and be a good (and smart!) leader! It was dramatically and emotionally satisfying on every level. Just great.

Now that I think of it, this was the first story arc without Bigby or Snow. I like them as characters and I’m interested in their story, but I think getting their angst out of the way let the story blossom in a really awesome way.

JC: I freaking loved this volume. Both parts were wholly entertaining and I really liked the change of pace. The change of location was a really smart idea on the part of Willingham. I also like that this one book spans about five years.

What did you think of the Homelands?

EF: The Homelands were totally different than I expected. I kind of thought the Homelands would have been completely burned down and destroyed–uninhabitable except for the wooden puppets. Instead, it’s like Fabletown crossed with Europe. With The Adversary in charge, it kind of seems like everyone is allowed to conduct business as usual. It’s not like they hadn’t had corrupt rulers before.

JC: I kinda expected the same. A bunch of goblins and ghouls roaming the dark homelands with all the traditional Fables locked up in some hell-like dungeon.

What did you think of Geppetto as The Adversary?

EF: It’s a little mind blowing to think of mild-mannered Geppetto as The Adversary. I think what makes The Adversary so scary is his need for utter control–and that he has absolute dominion over the Homelands. Geppetto isn’t doing this for fame and glory–which would almost be preferable, in a way. Those would be weaknesses others could exploit. Instead, he’s this Nazi-ish, single-minded chess player who truly believes that what he’s doing is for the good of everybody!

JC: I loved it! The creative team has certainly taught us to question our initial ideas of the characters. I think that his intentions were good in the beginning, but it’s gotten bigger, as has his ambition. He pulls the strings behind The Emperor, so you’ve got to agree that he does thirst for power . . .

What would you have done if you were Pinocchio? Were you disappointed that he was torn between Fabletown and Geppetto?

EF: Geppetto is his father. Plus, the whole ball started rolling when Geppetto made Pinocchio as his “son.” I thought it was telling that it was Pinocchio’s rebelliousness, in refusing to stay home with his father, that caused Geppetto to start making other “children” and binding them to his will. On the one hand, I’m sure Pinocchio is just thrilled to see that his father is alive. Also, there’s great power to be had! It’s natural that he couldn’t pick a side right then and there. However, if history is any guide, Pinocchio’s gonna want to wander again, and Geppetto has had centuries of getting his own way. Should be interesting.

JC: If my dad turned out to be The Adversary, I’d totally stay. I mean, family is family . . . although he has been with Fabletown for a few centuries, so they’re almost closer at this point . . . this is a pickle! He could use his father’s love for him and try to change things from the inside, couldn’t he?

Were you surprised to find out that the “original” Red Riding Hood from Fables Vol. 4: March of the Wooden Soldiers was also a fake and didn’t know who Little Boy Blue was?

EF: I already had my suspicions, since the “original” Red Riding Hood also mysteriously escaped from The Adversary and latched onto Little Boy Blue with surprising haste. I did feel for Blue, since he started this journey (with Prince Charming’s unofficial blessing it turns out) in part due to love for Red and loyalty to Pinocchio, and he got screwed on both points. But he did fulfill his obligations and aid Fabletown, and hopefully the truth will set him free.

JC: I was totally surprised that the other Riding was a fake. I thought she was the real deal, and after she got caught again, she’d grow bitter after having lost Blue. Silly me. I should know better than to think Willingham hadn’t cooked up something more elaborate.

So what did you think? Take a moment and comment below for a gift certificate! And make sure to meet back here next Friday for Fables TPB Vol. 7: Arabian Nights and Days.


Graphic Content: Fables Vol. 5: The Mean Seasons

Fables TPB Vol. 5: The Mean SeasonsIt’s time for another installment of our Graphic Content “book club.” We’re currently paging through a Fables trade paperback each Friday! How can you participate? Join the discussion by posting a comment below, and we’ll send you a special coupon code or gift certificate!

In the fifth book, Fables Vol. 5: The Mean Seasons, Willingham introduces us to Cindy (Cinderella). She’s one of three “tourists” who are actually undercover agents for Bigby. She’s charged with tracking down turncoat Fables and catching them in the act. Her target: Ichabod Crane. He was King Cole’s Deputy for over a century and he’s ready to spill the beans to The Adversary! Bigby shows up in the nick of time to catch “Icky” in the act and collar him for the caper.

Then, guest artists Tony Akins and Jimmy Palmiotti take us back in time to Germany circa 1944. We follow “Dog Company” on Operation Chambermaid, deep behind enemy lines. The Führer has a secret warrior on his side who could turn the tide. He’s risen from the dead once already, and he’s nearly indestructible! Enter the wolfman! Bigby escorts Dog Company on their mission and takes out the threat.

Finally, Willingham and Leialoha are back for a four-part “Mean Seasons” arc. Big changes are in the works, as Snow prepares to give birth and Charming replaces Cole as the Mayor of Fabletown. We follow Bigby as he rushes to the hospital to join Snow during her 44-hour labor. Six babies are born and they are cute! Only problem is that they don’t all look human, and the law is that they can’t be in the city if they don’t look human. Even though she’s been a career girl for most of her life in the Mundy world, Snow chooses to move up north to the Farm to raise the cubs. Yah, the Farm. But we all know that since Bigby isn’t allowed up there, this poses serious ramifications for an already tumultuous Bigby/Snow relationship. As Snow leaves for the Farm, Bigby begins his own journey–only we don’t find out where he’s going.

When Snow and the cubs arrive at the Farm, they’re greeted by the whole community, and it’s not long before Bigby’s father catches wind of the birth of his grandkids. He travels from the Homelands to the farm, and we find out that the cubs have the ability to change from human to wolf, just like Bigby! Oh, yeah, they can also fly! Frau Totenkinder sends a note to Snow with an ominous warning: “I caution you not to assume that seven children is always a lucky number.”

Seven? Well, the last five pages of this book are going to knock your socks off!

Now it’s time to discuss your thoughts:

How did The Mean Seasons stack up to previous Fables volumes?

EF: For once, I loved the guest artist, Tony Akins. I thought he captured Cinderella’s spy mission and Bigby’s WWII tale very well. It was slightly different than Mark Buckingham’s work, but still felt like it took place within the Fables world.

Geez, where to begin? I really liked this installment–there was so much going on, and it seemed even more humorous than usual. Snow giving birth to a litter of children, Beauty, Beast, and Prince Charming’s bumbling attempts to run Fabletown, and the beheaded wooden soldiers are always good for a laugh. Of course, there were some sad touches–King Cole was obviously devastated to lose out as Mayor after how many centuries? And Snow and Bigby’s parting–and her sending one of her children away–was sad.

JC: A great volume. I’m a fan when they bring in shorter arcs to give us some breathing room. I was pretty used to the status quo, and this volume turned the Fables world upside down. Snow’s babies are so terribly cute, and it was pretty heart wrenching for Bigby and Snow to be forced away from each other. When she sent the seventh baby away to find Bigby, I too was saddened.

How do you feel about Snow and Bigby’s evolving relationship? Do you agree that Snow is still waiting for a handsome prince?

EF: Unfortunately, I’m still not really feeling Snow and Bigby as a couple. I feel like the writer is telling us they’re connected, rather than showing us. What, they have sex one time–without remembering it–Snow gives birth, and then Bigby leaves town? I felt bad for Bigby–because most of his children didn’t look human, they had to move to the Farm, where he’s not allowed–but after centuries of serving Fabletown, I feel like he should have gotten a break. I think the writer separated Snow and Bigby–again–because he didn’t know what to do with them, or he wanted to drag out the tortured romance bit as long as he could.

JC: I really like their relationship. We haven’t seen much of them in their “alone time” so it feels like their relationship is just shy of where it needs to be. Bigby is a stand-up guy, and from what I gather from the story so far, he genuinely loves Snow. I’m not sure the feelings are 100% recriprocated, but I’m looking forward to the two becoming a strong unit in the future. There’s a lot of angst there. I like it.

What do you think of Snow helping her “zephyr” child get away with murder?

EF: I was entirely sympathetic. The newborn zephyr obviously didn’t realize he/she were killing people–or the consequences–and Snow looked devastated that one, she didn’t realize she had a seventh child, and two, that if the others had caught the child, it would have been put to death. Sidenote: hilarious that Snow White had seven children, what with the Seven Dwarfs and all.

JC: Agreed. The baby didn’t know what he/she was doing and I would have done the same thing in her situation. I just hope the baby finds Bigby soon!

So what did you think of this volume? Let us know below, and don’t forget that we’re giving away special discounts and coupons to people who comment!


Graphic Content: Fables Vol. 4 March of the Wooden Soldiers

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May 29 2009 at 11:41am

Posted in General News,Graphic Content

Fables TPB Vol. 4: March of the Wooden SoldiersWelcome back to Graphic Content, Elisabeth and Josh’s weekly “book club” where we discuss a different trade paperback each Friday. We want to hear from you! Join the discussion by posting a comment below, and we’ll send you a special coupon code or gift certificate!

This week we’re tackling Fables TPB Vol. 4: March of the Wooden Soldiers, and it was quite the read. Beware: if you haven’t read the book yet, we discuss some major plot points in depth, so there are definitely SPOILERS AHEAD!!!

In March of the Wooden Soldiers, we finally get more details on the horrific invasion by the Adversary, which drove the Fables from their lands and into “Mundy”ville centuries ago. We also get a close-up on Little Boy Blue. The action starts with a flashback to the climactic battle that took place just before the last boat left for New York, carrying the final group of survivors.

Here, Little Red Riding Hood makes her first appearance, as an apparent escapee looking for sanctuary. She and Blue have a whirlwind wartime romance, but are then parted–she’s sent off to the ship, while Blue stays behind to fight. At the last minute, however, he’s ordered onto the ship–only to find that Red stayed behind. The memory of that battle, and his loss, obviously still haunts Blue to this day.

However! Shortly after this revelation, who should appear but Little Red Riding Hood? Who is an apparent escapee! Looking for sanctuary! Bigby smells a spy, King Cole eagerly anticipates some feel-good PR coming his way, and Blue sees an opportunity to recapture lost love. Only one of them is correct, and I bet you won’t be surprised to learn it’s Bigby. “Red” is actually the old witch Baba Yaga, and she came with reinforcements from the Adversary–wooden soldiers–to snatch Fabletown’s magicks from them.

Oh, didn’t I mention? There’s a huge battle between the wooden soldiers and Fabletown, and we see Snow in action as a tactical newbie. However, these soldiers aren’t just after objects–they want Pinocchio too. It seems they consider him their older brother. Which hints that they were created by Geppetto, who Pinocchio had feared dead. So much stuff to wonder about!

In other news, Prince Charming is running for Mayor, Snow’s pregnancy is progressing (as are her feelings for Bigby), and a lot of Fables die. It was actually pretty touching, and definitely action packed.

Now it’s time to discuss your thoughts:

Did you dig March of the Wooden Soldiers?

JC: There’s a lot going on in this installment! The Battle for Fabletown, an impending election, a telling of the last boat out of the Fable lands . . . it just felt a bit off for me though. Looking back, it seemed like Willingham is just building up to some bigger event on the horizon.

EF: I liked it. I’m still shocked by the violence and willingness to kill characters off. I can’t quite reconcile these Fables with my childhood favorites, sometimes! I enjoyed getting some Fables history, and I was intrigued to learn more about Little Boy Blue.

After reading this book, what are your thoughts on Little Boy Blue?

JC: I was really impressed with the direction Willingham took Blue. He’s a stand-up character on the cusp of adulthood during Adversary invasion, thrown into war–and he measures up. He seems to have a well-developed sense of honor.

EF: Blue is definitely a case of more than meets the eye. He still looks like an innocent boy–so much so that the Harlem clubs won’t let him play the blues there, because they assume he hasn’t “lived” enough–but we see his strength and vulnerability in March of the Wooden Soldiers.

What did you think of The Last Castle?

JC: I just love it when they bring a different artistic style for flashbacks. This is especially true with Fables. It just felt like I was reading a nursery rhyme. I’m not sure where I sit in the whole Red Riding Hood spy thing. I want to believe that she wasn’t, but if she’s alive, wouldn’t that be the only explanation? I hope we’ll find out soon.

EF: I am resistant to change. I love Mark Buckingham’s art so much, I was disappointed that another artist handled that tale. It felt too stiff and rudimentary. I really liked getting a glimpse of some fallen characters, however, and it added some weight to the rest of the book.

Charming is really hitting the campaign trail hard. Do you think he’ll get enough signatures and beat out King Cole in an election?

JC: He’s a charmer, and like he said, “an election is just a romance writ large, with an entire community, rather than a single woman.” I’m pretty sure we’ll see him overtake Cole in the polls and get the seat.

EF: Like I said last week, Prince Charming is all about the chase, not about the work that comes after. He’s smart and savvy, and King Cole is complacent and out of touch. I’d bet Charming takes it, but God help Fabletown once the “romance” is over!

Enough of what we think–what do you think? Post a comment below and we’ll give you stuff, honest!


Graphic Content: Fables Vol. 3 Storybook Love

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May 22 2009 at 3:29pm

Posted in General News,Graphic Content

Thanks for tuning back in for our Graphic Content book club. We’ve got a lot of ground to cover in Fables Vol. 3 Storybook Love, so let’s get started. As with all Graphic Content entries, there will be SPOILERS for those of you who haven’t read the book.

Sometimes you get a TPB and it has some one-shots and shorter stories. This is the case with Fables Vol. 3 Storybook Love. This volume is “book-ended” by a couple of one-shots, the first follows Jack in a flashback as he heads to the South to aid in the American Civil War. We see the extent of Jack’s bamboozle skills. He’s a sweet talker and he’s always scheming. At the end of the book, Bigby tells us a cute little story about the Barleycorn Brides.

The main part of the story focuses on a journalist who’s been digging up dirt on the Fable community. He convinced that they’re all vampires, and he approaches Bigby to get a quote for the story. Even though he’s wrong, a few Fables meet to discuss their options. Bluebeard wants blood, but Bigby has a plan. For those of you who haven’t read it, I won’t reveal too many details, but it involves Briar Rose, her sleeping enchantment, and some career-ending pictures.

The second half of the book deals with the return of Goldilocks. She’s out to finish the job she started at the Farm and a little enchantment from Bluebeard promises to seal the deal. One of my favorite things about Fables is that Willingham does a great job of fleshing out characters, their back stories, and their motivations. This book does a wonderful job of developing Bluebeard, Bigby, and Prince Charming.

So, onto the questions:

How do you think Fables Vol. 3 Storybook Love compared to the previous Fables trade paperbacks?

EF: I wasn’t as enthralled by this installment–in part, because it felt disjointed, thanks to all the “extra” tales. It didn’t feel like an engrossing, carefully crafted story, like the previous two did. Still, it had a lot of good moments, and the artwork was great, as usual.

JC: I actually liked it more than previous books. We got some one-shots that didn’t deserve full arcs and sending Bigby and White off to the Great Northwest was a good device to further their relationship. I also really loved seeing the Big Bad Wolf come out again and seeing him huff and puff. The bit with Goldilocks chasing around a mouse was classic!

In this installment, we got a much closer look at Bluebeard. Is he a bad guy, or just misguided? Were you disappointed when Prince Charming killed him?

EF: Bluebeard seemed like a guy who was wholly motivated by his own insecurities and cowardice. He tried to puff himself up with his wealth and his bluster, but he was easily cut down by Bigby and Prince Charming. I almost ended up feeling bad for him, except his own issues led him to help Goldilocks escape, and he seems to turn her on Bigby and Snow just because he felt emasculated by them. I was shocked when he was killed, but again, I had that cringing-almost-sympathetic-but-mostly-contemptuous reaction when he started begging for his life.

JC: Don’t forget greed. Bluebeard is also greedy, not only for money, but power as well. I wasn’t disappointed when Charming ran him through. I like the direction this book took us.

Bigby’s declaration of love to Snow: creepy, or romantic? Also, how do you feel about the fact that they slept together while under the influence of an enchantment?

EF: Kind of romantic, kind of creepy. I really don’t like it when the woman is telling the man that she’s not interested, but he and others “know” that she “really” is. It’s kind of disrespectful. Add that to the fact that she got knocked up without her knowledge and consent, and this is a “storybook love” that’s hard for me to swallow. It felt rushed and contrived.

JC: I don’t think it was creepy at all. We’re talking about an animal who became a man. He’s got heightened senses that he has to manage 24/7, so I though his declaration was heartfelt and actually pretty sweet (seen from his perspective). I see Elisabeth’s point about Bigby telling Snow that, but she did end up implying that she wanted him to ask her out on a date a few pages later… ;)

Prince Charming is also a more prominent character in Fables Vol. 3 Storybook Love. What do you think of his manipulative ways? Is he a credible threat to the power structure of Fabletown?

EF: I enjoy the character of Prince Charming, but I think he’s a total scumbag. At least he owns it, in some respect, but the way he totally bowled over Briar Rose had my skin crawling. At the end of the day, I think if he somehow got the power, he wouldn’t be able to handle it. He’s good at the chase, not the day-to-day work that would actually keep him in power.

JC: Total sleazeball. His character is still pretty enjoyable to read about, though. He knows his faults, acknowledges them, and makes no apologies. You kinda gotta admire that quality. If he were to obtain power, I don’t think he’d go all dictator on the community, it doesn’t seem in his nature. I could be wrong about that, though. I guess I’ll just have to keep reading.

So, what did you all think of Fables Vol. 3 Storybook Love? Join the conversation and we’ll send you a gift certificate or coupon code for extra savings!