Fables is an American comic book series created and written by Bill Willingham, published by DC Comics' Vertigo. Willingham served as sole writer for its entirety, with Mark Buckingham penciling more than 110 issues. The series featured various other pencillers over the years, most notably Lan Medina and Steve Leialoha. Fables was launched in July 2002, and concluded in July 2015.
The series features various characters from fairy tales and folklore – referring to themselves as "Fables" – who formed a clandestine community centuries ago within New York City known as Fabletown, after their Homelands have been conquered by a mysterious and deadly enemy known as "The Adversary". It is set in modern-day and follows several of Fabletown's legal representatives, such as sheriff Bigby Wolf, deputy mayor Snow White, her sister Rose Red, Prince Charming, and Boy Blue, as they deal with troublesome Fables and try to solve conflicts in both Fabletown and "the Farm", a hidden town in upstate New York for Fables unable to blend in with human society. The series also deals with such other matters as the main characters' personal lives, their attempts to hide the Fables' true nature from regular humans (or "Mundies"), and, later, the return of the Adversary.
Fables was a critical and commercial success, winning many Eisner Awards and receiving several Hugo Award nominations for Best Graphic Story. Its success led to several spin-offs and a 2013 canon prequel video game titled The Wolf Among Us.
Cover page of Legends in Exile
|Genre||Contemporary fantasy, dark fantasy, urban fantasy|
|Publication date||July 2002 – July 2015|
|No. of issues||150|
|Main character(s)||Bigby Wolf, Snow White, Boy Blue, Rose Red|
|Created by||Bill Willingham|
|Written by||Bill Willingham|
|Penciller(s)||Mark Buckingham, Lan Medina, Steve Leialoha, Craig Hamilton|
|Inker(s)||Andrew Pepoy, Steve Leialoha, Mark Buckingham, P. Craig Russell|
Various artists worked on the title. The covers were done by James Jean, who left the book after issue 81. João Ruas took over as cover artist after Jean left the series. The majority of the interior pencil work was done by Mark Buckingham (who reportedly would have been given the writing reins if Willingham became unable to continue it). Other artists include Bryan Talbot, Lan Medina, P. Craig Russell, Mike Allred, Craig Hamilton, and Linda Medley.
It was announced in November 2013 that the series would end with issue #150 in early 2015. The final issue of Fables was a larger than normal issue comprising most of the twenty-second Fables trade paperback. It was released in July 2015.
The main characters of Fables are public domain figures from folklore, mythology, and literature. Bill Willingham said the only considerations in deciding what characters and fables to use were "is the character or story free for use?" and "do I want to use it?" A principal character is the Big Bad Wolf ("Big Bad Wolf," calling himself "Bigby"), who has not only reformed but gained the ability to take on a more human appearance. At the series' beginning he serves as Fabletown's sheriff.
Most of the characters who appear in Fables are from European stories, the major exceptions being Arabian fables and American fables (from the fable world of "Americana," appearing in Jack of Fables, such as Paul Bunyan, Black Sambo [now known as Sam] and the Lone Ranger. Most of these characters appear primarily in the Jack of Fables spin-off.)
The series proper is principally being collected in trade paperbacks. Deluxe edition hardcovers are also being produced. The spin-off graphic novel 1001 Nights of Snowfall and other works are available in both hardcover and softcover format.
|#||Title||ISBN||Release date||Collected material|
|1||Fables: Legends in Exile||ISBN 1-56389-942-6||April 25, 2003||Fables #1–5 and the new prose story "A Wolf in the Fold".|
|2||Fables: Animal Farm||ISBN 1-4012-0077-X||August 1, 2003||Fables #6–10|
|3||Fables: Storybook Love||ISBN 1-4012-0256-X||May 1, 2004||Fables #11–18|
|4||Fables: March of the Wooden Soldiers||ISBN 1-4012-0222-5||November 30, 2004||Fables #19–21, 23–27, and The Last Castle one-shot|
|5||Fables: The Mean Seasons||ISBN 1-4012-0486-4||April 30, 2005||Fables #22, 28–33|
|6||Fables: Homelands||ISBN 1-4012-0500-3||January 27, 2006||Fables #34–41|
|7||Fables: Arabian Nights (and Days)||ISBN 1-4012-1000-7||July 5, 2006||Fables #42–47|
|8||Fables: Wolves||ISBN 1-4012-1001-5||December 20, 2006||Fables #48–51, maps of Fabletown and the Farm, script for #50|
|9||Fables: Sons of Empire||ISBN 1-4012-1316-2||June 13, 2007||Fables #52–59|
|10||Fables: The Good Prince||ISBN 1-4012-1686-2||June 4, 2008||Fables #60–69|
|11||Fables: War and Pieces||ISBN 1-4012-1913-6||November 19, 2008||Fables #70–75, sketches by Mark Buckingham|
|12||Fables: The Dark Ages||ISBN 1-4012-2316-8||August 11, 2009||Fables #76–82|
|13||Fables: The Great Fables Crossover||ISBN 1-4012-2572-1||February 9, 2010||Fables #83–85, Jack of Fables #33–35 and The Literals #1–3|
|14||Fables: Witches||ISBN 1-4012-2880-1||December 7, 2010||Fables #86–93|
|15||Fables: Rose Red||ISBN 1-4012-3000-8||April 11, 2011||Fables #94–100 and the new prose story "Pinocchio's Army".|
|16||Fables: Super Team||ISBN 1-4012-3306-6||December 14, 2011||Fables #101–107|
|17||Fables: Inherit the Wind||ISBN 1-4012-3516-6||July 10, 2012||Fables #108–113|
|18||Fables: Cubs in Toyland||ISBN 1-4012-3769-X||January 22, 2013||Fables #114–123|
|19||Fables: Snow White||ISBN 1-4012-4248-0||December 24, 2013||Fables #124–129 and the Oz backup stories from #114–123|
|20||Fables: Camelot||ISBN 1-4012-4516-1||September 2, 2014||Fables #130–140|
|21||Fables: Happily Ever After||ISBN 1-4012-5132-3||May 5, 2015||Fables #141–149|
|22||Fables: Farewell||ISBN 1-4012-5233-8||July 28, 2015 ||Fables #150, plus several extras: "Lucky 13: A Fables Afterword in Three Parts", "Bill's Comic Writing School Lesson 67.3: The Jekyll and Hyde Syndrome", "A Fables Gallery", and "Creator Biographies".|
|#||Title||ISBN||Release date||Collected material|
|1||Volume 1||ISBN 1-4012-2427-X||September 30, 2009||Fables #1–10|
|2||Volume 2||ISBN 1-4012-2879-8||November 17, 2010||Fables #11–18, The Last Castle and A Wolf in the Fold|
|3||Volume 3||ISBN 1-4012-3097-0||August 17, 2011||Fables #19–27|
|4||Volume 4||ISBN 1-4012-3390-2||December 14, 2011||Fables #28–33, Fables: 1001 Nights of Snowfall|
|5||Volume 5||ISBN 1-4012-3496-8||May 30, 2012||Fables #34–45|
|6||Volume 6||ISBN 1-4012-3724-X||February 20, 2013||Fables #46–51 with maps of Fabletown and the Farm, script for #50|
|7||Volume 7||ISBN 1-4012-4040-2||September 10, 2013||Fables #52–59 and 64|
|8||Volume 8||ISBN 1-4012-4279-0||February 5, 2014||Fables #60–63, 65–69|
|9||Volume 9||ISBN 1-4012-5004-1||October 14, 2014||Fables #70–82|
|10||Volume 10||ISBN 1-4012-5521-3||May 19, 2015||Fables #83–85, The Literals #1–3, Jack of Fables #33–35 and Fables: Werewolves of the Heartland|
|11||Volume 11||ISBN 1-4012-5826-3||November 3, 2015||Fables #86–100 and the new prose story "Pinocchio's Army".|
|12||Volume 12||ISBN 1-4012-6138-8||May 24, 2016||Fables #101–113|
|13||Volume 13||ISBN 1-4012-6449-2||September 21, 2016||Fables #114–129|
|14||Volume 14||ISBN 1-4012-6856-0||April 18, 2017||Fables #130–140|
|15||Volume 15||ISBN 1-4012-7464-1||November 22, 2017||Fables #141-150|
Prequel to Fables written by Willingham. It was initially released in hardcover on October 18, 2006. Based on the One Thousand and One Nights, it tells a story from a time early in Fabletown's history when Snow White was sent as an emissary to the Arabian Fables. The Sultan's Vizier secretly presents Snow to Sultan as his next wife in order to delay his daughter Scheherazade from suffering the same fate. Snow must amuse the Sultan with a new story every night to prevent him from executing her at dawn, as he has done with all his former wives.
A spin-off mini-series announced at the Fables Panel at the 2008 San Diego Comic-Con. Written by novelist and publisher Chris Roberson (another of Willingham and Sturges's fellow Clockwork Storybook alumni) with painted cover art by Chrissie Zullo, the miniseries was drawn by Shawn McManus, and (according to Comic Book Resources ' Timothy Callahan) "answers the question of what happened to Cinderella's fairy godmother." Writer Roberson says, "It's On Her Majesty's Secret Service meets Sex and the City." The concluding issue was released in April 2010.
A six-issue sequel to Chris Roberson and Shawn McManus's earlier Cinderella: From Fabletown with Love series, was released in mid-2011.
A prestige format one-shot in which Boy Blue retells to Snow White the tale of the last stand against the Adversary's forces in the Homelands.
Announced at the Fables Panel at the 2009 San Diego Comic-Con, Fables: Werewolves of the Heartland is an original graphic novel written by Willingham with art by Craig Hamilton, and Jim Fern. It was released in hardcover in November 2012. In the story, Bigby Wolf embarks on a quest through the American Heartland to find a new location for Fabletown.
At the 2011 San Diego Comic-Con International, Willingham announced his plan to start a series following the lives of some female Fables, including Sleeping Beauty, Rapunzel, and Cinderella. It debuted on March 7, 2012 with the first arc written by Willingham and art by Phil Jimenez. Subsequent arcs will be handed off to writers of Willingham's choosing.
Series focusing on Jack Horner. It debuted in July 2006 and follows Fables #35 ("Jack Be Nimble" part 2). It is co-written by Willingham and former Clockwork Storybook author Lilah Sturges. The series ended with its fiftieth issue in March 2011.
Three issue miniseries comprising one third of The Great Fables Crossover. It is co-written by Willingham and Sturges, and was published April 2009 through June 2009. All issues are included in the Fables: The Great Fables Crossover and in the Deluxe Edition: Volume 10
An illustrated novel centering on Peter Piper, his wife Bo Peep and his brother Max, who will later grow up to be the Pied Piper. Written by Willingham and illustrated by Steve Leialoha, it is available in hardcover, paperback, ebook, and audiobook editions. It includes a brief comic-book story that deals with Pete and Bo Peep's adventures after the events in the novel.
At the 2014 New York Comic Con, Vertigo Comics announced that they would be adapting The Wolf Among Us into comic form, to be released digitally first in December 2014 and later as print comic. The story's been adapted for the comic by Lilah Sturges, who has previously written for the Fables series, and Dave Justus, staying otherwise true to the game's story but exploring some characters and back story in more depth. The comic is canon to the Fables universe.
"A Wolf in the Fold", featured in "Legends in Exile" trade paperback and in the "Deluxe Edition: Volume 2", tells the history of Bigby Wolf and Snow White and how they came to the mundane world. "Pinocchio's Army", featured in "Fables: Rose Red", focuses on Pinocchio and Geppetto during the events of the "Rose Red" story arc.
A new series, set following the events of Fables #150, debuted in 2016. Titled Everafter: From the Pages of Fables, the series was cancelled after 12 issues.
|Title||Format||ISBN||Release date||Collected material|
|1001 Nights of Snowfall||Hardcover||ISBN 1-4012-0367-1||October 18, 2006||Original Graphic Novel|
|Softcover||ISBN 1-4012-0369-8||March 5, 2008|
|Fables: Covers by James Jean||Hardcover||ISBN 1-4012-1576-9||November 18, 2008||Covers from issues 1 to 75, and TP vol. 1 to 11|
|Peter & Max: A Fables Novel||Hardcover||ISBN 1-4012-1573-4||October 7, 2009||An original prose novel set in the Fables universe|
|Softcover||ISBN 1-4012-2537-3||December 28, 2010|
|Cinderella: From Fabletown with Love||Softcover||ISBN 1-4012-2750-3||August 10, 2010||Cinderella: From Fabletown with Love issues 1–6|
|Cinderella: Fables Are Forever||Softcover||ISBN 1-4012-3385-6||April 18, 2012||Cinderella: Fables Are Forever issues 1–6; Fables #51|
|Fables: Werewolves of the Heartland||Hardcover||ISBN 1-4012-2479-2||November 20, 2012||Original Graphic Novel|
|Everafter: From the Pages of Fables||Softcover||ISBN 1-401-26836-6||May 9, 2017||Everafter: From the Pages of Fables issues 1–6|
Fables won fourteen Eisner Awards.
While Fables only advertises winning fourteen Eisner Awards on their covers, the following Eisner awards have also been won by members of their staff for their work on Fables:
Fabletown and Beyond was a comic convention created and hosted by Willingham to showcase and appreciate comic books that fall under the genre of mythic fiction. Willingham announced this new project during his panel at the 2012 San Diego Comic Convention, stating "We're going to have a nearly-all Fables dedicated con called 'Fabletown and Beyond' – it's Fables and books like Fables."
Fables artist Mark Buckingham was the guest of honor for the first FablesCon, held on March 22–24, 2013, at the Mayo Civic Center in Rochester, Minnesota. Other guests included Gene Ha, Mike Carey, Matt Sturges, Peter Gross, Kurt Busiek, Anthony Del Col, Shelly Bond, Adam Hughes, Chrissie Zullo, and Lauren Beukes.
A television series based on Fables was put into development by NBC in 2005 for the 2006–2007 Television Season. The show received a script order and was developed by Craig Silverstein and Warner Bros. Television but was not developed any further than the scripting stage. NBC would later go on to produce Grimm, a police procedural set in a world where fairytales are real.
On December 8, 2008, it was announced that ABC had picked up the rights to develop a pilot of Fables for the 2009–2010 television season. Six Degrees creators and executive producers Stu Zicherman and Raven Metzner were writing the script for the hourlong drama, again set up at Warner Bros. Television, while David Semel had come on board to direct. There has been no news since concerning a series based directly on Willingham's series and, in late 2010, he said "[t]he TV show that was prematurely announced is probably dead." Instead, ABC announced a new series called Once Upon a Time, which features fairy tale characters such as Snow White and Prince Charming who have been cursed to live in the real world by the Evil Queen without the memories of their former lives. The show's creators, Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz, stated that they "read a couple issues" of Fables but believe that while the two concepts are "in the same playground," they are "telling a different story."
In 2015, it was announced that Warner Bros. was developing a live action Fables film with David Heyman and Jeffrey Clifford producing, Jeremy Slater and Jane Goldman writing and Nikolaj Arcel directing.
On February 17, 2011, Telltale Games announced The Wolf Among Us, an episodic graphic adventure game based upon Fables. With the first of its five episodes released on October 11, 2013 (and the final episode released on July 8, 2014), the game is canon with the comic book universe and is set as a prequel to the comic book. In July 2017 Telltale Games announced that a second season of The Wolf Among Us was in production, and was planned to be released sometime in 2018. However, it was announced in May 2018 that the game was delayed and was rescheduled for release in 2019 before ultimately being cancelled in September 2018 following the studio's closure.