Fables, you’re still the one

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Joao Ruas has maintained the high quality of cover art James Jean established for Fables.

Longtime readers may recall a short post I did a couple years back, called PROJECT: FABLES. That little ditty recounted my experience of catching up on Bill Willingham’s acclaimed series by reading the first 73 issues of Fables, all in rapid succession (during a surprisingly invigorating week without TV or Internet). Among the heaps of praise I threw upon the book, I called it the greatest run I’ve ever read in comics.

Two and a half years later, Fables #100 came out Wednesday. It was less of a comic book and more of an event: a 100-page, prestige-format issue befitting of the milestone and featuring, as its main story, the climactic duel between Bellflower/Frau Totenkinder and Mister Dark.

The story lived up to expectations, and the issue included a number of well-done backup features. There was an entry where “The ‘Hams” (as Spiffy once nicknamed them) switched roles, with regular artist Mark Buckingham writing a short story with series writer/creator Bill Willingham providing illustrations. Toward the back, there was a weird “create-your-own puppet theater” thing, followed by the introduction of a Fables board game (DC also issued a Fables poster of the game on a larger scale). My favorite feature, though, was a section where four celebrity readers wrote in questions, which Willingham answered with short stories drawn by various artists. There was one by Phil Lamarr (Mad TV, Pulp Fiction, various voice acting), Eddie Cahill (Miracle, CSI: New York and other things, but I still recognized him as Tag, the young assistant Rachel dated for a while on Friends), and Michael McMillian (whom I didn’t actually recognize at all, but apparently he’s been in True Blood, What I Like About You, and a brief role in Firefly). But the coolest/best one, both in the celeb’s question and the questioner’s identity, was Cobie Smulders, the super hottie who plays Robin Scherbatsky in How I Met Your Mother. Being funny and attractive is great enough, but she’s into comics?! Between this revelation and her spread in Maxim this month, the already smoldering Smulders has never been hotter. (Plus she’s apparently studying to be a marine biologist, so she has a brain, too. Wow.)

What was I talking about? Oh yeah, Fables. Since I declared the book my all-time favorite in PROJECT: FABLES, I have launched into a quest to read as many of the great classic runs in comic book history as I can. Progress has been slow overall, but rewarding nonetheless. But while I’ve read a couple runs that are surely the equal of Willingham’s run here, I don’t think I can definitively say that anything is better, yet. After 100 issues, the book is still going strong. The characters are still fresh, and you can tell Willingham still has a lot of stories left in him. 100 issues is already an epic run in today’s comic world, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he doubled it before finishing.

So let me salute Fables on its milestone issue, say thank you from a grateful fan, and wish for many more of its entertaining stories in the future.

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One Response to “Fables, you’re still the one”

  1. gokitalo Says:

    Woo-hoo! Much-deserved congrats to Fables. I’m way behind on the series, but the extras alone make #100 sound like a worthy purchase. If only I’d thought to buy it when I went to the store on Wednesday…

    I knew Phil Lamarr (John Stewart!) was a comic book fan, but the others are all surprises. We should both arrange dates with Cobie Smulders; in fact, I’ll gladly act as your substitute should suffer from a hilarious terrible mishap.

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