by Matt O’Keefe
It was a packed room at the show’s official panel for the comic for which the convention was named. Bill Willingham, Mark Buckingham, Shelly Bond and company began the event giving out prizes to winners of the con scavenger hunt. The grand prize winners, a couple and their baby daughter, received first a song from Gene Ha, who sang “Blue Skies” to loud applause. Willingham then blindfolded the mother and challenged her to identify several objects by feel alone. Whatever she identified, she got to keep. She wasn’t able to guess the first item, the pen with which Willingham wrote Fables #47, or the second, the dollar editor Shelly Bond told Willingham his first draft of Fables #97 was worth. She successfully guessed the third object: an engagement ring. The father proposed in front of everyone and she accepted, to more applause.
Next it was time for announcements. Willingham repeated the announcement from Emerald City Comic Con that Vertigo would publish a Fables Encyclopedia written by Jess Nevins with a cover by Adam Hughes. He went on to tell the crowd that they were working on a companion book for a 2014 release, which would have interviews with the Fables creators and background on the series.
Fables editor Shelly Bond then talked about the upcoming Fairest original graphic novel also announced at ECCC which, like the 1001 Nights of Snowfall OGN, will be an anthology with art by a variety of artists. She revealed that Fables regular Chrissie Zullo would provide the framing sequence and that other illustrators included Mark Chiarello, Karl Kerschl, Adam Hughes, Phil Noto, Renae de Liz, Chris Sprouse, and sometimes singer Gene Ha.
Bond went through a PowerPoint presentation to talk about issues of Fables coming up in the next few months. She highlighted three future covers. The first teased the return of Boy Blue, the second showed Snow White kissing someone other than her husband Bigby Wolf, and the third showed Snow as Joan of Arc. She talked about the issue after the “Snow White” arc, which will be illustrated by Barry Kitson. In the issue Junebug, the daughter of former wooden soldiers Rodney and June, would visit the abandoned Fabletown.
Willingham opened the floor to a Q&A.
Asked about his unique borders for the series, Buckingham talked about how in the third arc of Fables, once he knew that he was the ongoing artist, he began to get playful and designed the borders so readers would know which character’s stories they were reading.
Plans to bring back Jack? Willingham pointed out that his death in Jack of Fables happened at some undisclosed time in the future, so his return to the main Fables series was a possibility.
An attendee asked the panel which character from Fables they most identified with. Gene Ha said Flycatcher because he was someone who didn’t reach his full potential until later in his life. Willingham joked that he was like Bufkin because he drinks too often and has too many books. Bond chose Thumbelina so she could beat Willingham to the punch on a joke about her height. Buckingham said he was like Wellstoff because when drawing he tends to sit around all day eating jellybeans.
Does Bill Willingham always have a big picture in mind when writing? Yes. Willingham said he could do a three page comic and still conceive the whole world in which the story takes place. His default setting is to think big.
Would Bufkin’s solo adventure be in the next Fables trade paperback? Yes.
Asked about spontaneous changes, Willingham told the audience that he was going to kill off Flycatcher in the March of the Wooden Soldiers arc, but Buckingham convinced him to reconsider. Flycatcher went on to become a significant character in the series.
The Beat Staff is an elite group of trained ninjas.