Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Fables Spin-Off "Fairest" Free Preview Now Available

Fairest Issue #3 cover art by Adam Hughes for April 2012 (just released)

Now is the time to head to your local comic book store and try out the soon-to-be-released Fables spin-off, Fairest, for FREE. The Vertigo 2012 32 page sampler is completely free and one of the four Vertigo monthlies being previewed is the brainchild of Bill Willingham. Many of the stories are apparently going to be "pre-Fables" stories so if you are curious about the Fables graphic novels but are daunted by the 100+ issues available, this is a good way to start, and we're told you don't need to know anything about the Fables world to enjoy it. If you're a dedicated Fables fan you can also put your fears to rest. Mr. Willingham assures there will be plenty of surprises for you too.

In case you haven't heard of Fairest before, here's the copy:
New York Times best-selling, award-winning creator Bill Willingham presents a new series starring the female FABLES. Balancing horror, humor and adventure, FAIREST explores the secret histories of Sleeping Beauty, Rapunzel, Cinderella, The Snow Queen, Thumbelina, Snow White, Rose Red and others. 
The first 6-issue arc follows the misadventures of Briar Rose after she is stolen away by the goblin army in FABLES #107. Fan-favorite artist Phil Jimenez (WONDER WOMAN, THE INVISIBLES) returns to Vertigo to pencil the opening storyline. Award-winning cover artist Adam Hughes (WONDER WOMAN, BATGIRL) provides covers, starting with a wraparound cover on issue #1. 
Future arcs will be written by 2011 Arthur C. Clarke winner Lauren Beukes with art by Inaki Miranda, and iZOMBIE scribe Chris Roberson with art by Shawn McManus! And remember: They may be beautiful, but there will be blood. 
cover by ADAM HUGHES
PRICE: $2.99
IN STORES: March 7, 2012

In an interview HERE from January 20, 2012, Bill Willingham talks about his plans for Fairest, including the writers and artists, their approaches to the stories and his use (and other writers' uses) of fairy tales in this new "sister-series". Here are three excerpts that caught my attention:

Fairest Issue #1 wrap-around cover art by Adam Hughes for March 2012 

Let's understand that the tone and the diversity will come from the writers themselves because we're not assigning them stories. We're not saying, "Here, do a Cinderella story and have this, this, and this happen to her." It's more, "Do you have a Cinderella story?" Of course with Chris and Shawn, not only were able to answer yes to one of those, they were able to answer yes to many of those. That's the same template with the others. Lauren Beukes had a very particular Japanese mythology-based, folklore-based Rapunzel story in mind, which answers the question, "Where does the wishing well come from?" and it answers it nicely with a very sound folkloric base. We said, "Yes, of course that has to be what that story is!" These are different characters; we want them to be considered wildly different. We don't want a bunch of cookie-cutter beautiful female leads, we want vastly different ones, so having different writers is obviously the way to do that.

...Why did you want to tell the story of Sleeping Beauty in this very first arc rather than, say, Spratt or any of the other characters?
Well, interestingly enough I didn't think about Sleeping Beauty -- if I was to be one of the regular returning people in this rotation I was going to go with Thumbelina. The idea of a tiny character in a very big world appealed to me and I think there's a lot you can do with that that hasn't been explored yet. But Thumbelina couldn't really be the first arc in this because one thing we discussed is, if we are going to do this we've left poor Briar Rose sleeping away for years if not forever. So the very first thing we have to do with "Fairest" is get her awake and back in action, and we thought it was politic to kick off the series with me doing the first arc. So that's why those two combined together. We have a very specific place where all three of those characters -- Ali Baba, Briar Rose the Sleeping Beauty and the Snow Queen -- are going to be left in at the end of this arc. But they're places where other writers can pick them up and run with them if that turns out to be the case. My job is to kind of get these characters in the right place to be part of the whole "Fairest" rotation, the whole "Fables" rotation again, and hopefully tell a good story in the process of doing that. 
Fairest #1 variant cover by Phil Jimenez with color by Romulo Fajardo Jr.
...What is it about fairytales that originally captivated you as a storyteller?
Several things. One of the, I don't know if you'd call it faults, but one of the aspects of the way I write stories that I don't think is as strong with me as it is with other writers is I don't feel I introduce characters well. It takes me a while to get to know them. With using characters that have already been established, everybody's read and knows a little bit of, "Well of course I know Snow White, at least I know this much about her." That kind of awkward, ice-breaking introductory moment at the beginning of this kind of storytelling is bypassed. We can move right beyond that into the meat of it. Sure there are some introductory aspects in that, sure this isn't the Snow White you thought you knew and this is what's happened to her lately. But that's not quite the same, because that builds more intrigue. The reader interest is already written into the equation. You don't have to romance the reader into liking that character. That's one aspect of it.
The other aspect of it is just the idea that these are folktales in every sense of that. They're not just public domain characters that anyone can use because of vast collective ownership. If everyone owned every 100% piece of this character in some kind of multiple universe overlap kind of way, everyone who wants to can come along and do their own Snow White. That kind of just absolute freedom -- it's like the universe of a million previous authors and writers and story-spinners has left this to you in their will. Why not make use of these treasures that have been handed down to you? Interestingly enough they left it to everyone else too, but that's OK! It's having a treasure trove where you can play any kind of game you want. How could I resist that?

Fairest Issue #2 cover art by Adam Hughes for April 2012

You can read the whole interview HERE (please note that there is a large gap in the middle making it look like a short article but scroll on down for the rest).

Fairest Issue #1 is scheduled to go on sale March 7, 2012.

(I'm beginning to feel like there should be a fairy tale release calendar we can collaboratively keep plugging things into somewhere online. 2012 is a busy year for fairy tales!)

1 comment:

  1. I started one just for films, and even that I've since abandoned, but maybe if kept to some key events and there was widget that could clearly display them in the sidebar of a blog that could be manageable. A couple of things from that I'll put forth that might not be on your radar is that a film based on the Chinese tale of Madame White Snake is getting a UK cinema release on 30 March 2012 and Michel Ocelot's Les Contes de la nuit/Tales of the Night (a set of recent entries in his silhouette animation fairy tales of the world) is released there on 6 April and in the USA some time in 2012. Also, the English-language Chinese movie Cinderella Moon, an interpretation of Ye Xian, is finally getting a US première, at the New York International Children's Film Festival in March this year.