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Old 03-29-2009, 03:49 PM
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Columbus, Ohio
Posts: 4,416
"The Great Fables Crossover"--Do I need to start reading Jack & Literals, too?

I've recently been introduced to (and devoured every issue of) Bill Willingham's incredible comic, Fables. In the latest issue, I learned that the next storyline will be "The Great Fables Crossover," spanning both of the spinoff titles (Jack of Fables, and The Literals) as well as Fables itself.

I'm a bit of a comic-book neophyte; I just started last year, when an itch to read some Batman dropped me right into the middle of (the rather incomprehensible) R.I.P. I gave up on Bats pretty quickly and turned my attention to Star Wars comics and Elephantmen. The SW: Vector crossover was no problem for me, as I was already reading all of the SW titles except for Clone Wars. Now that I've picked up Fables, though, I'm not feeling a great urge to get into Jack or Literals. (Feel free to try to convince me--more Fabley goodness each month would be marvelous, but I'm just not that interested in Jack or... whatever Literals is about.) I'm a bit concerned that if I don't pick up the other titles for the crossover, though, I may miss something important--particularly as it looks like the GFC may be dealing with some Seriously Heavy Shit, judging from Stinky's conversation with Totenkinder.

Of course, none of you knows what's going to be going down in the crossover itself, but based on your far greater collective wisdom about comics generally, should I start reading Jack and Literals? Should I just pick them up for the crossover and then leave them when its done? More generally, ought I read them to keep up on stuff that's going on in the main Fables series? I always worried when I was reading Bats that I was missing out by not following the myriad spinoffs (Nightwing, Robin, etc.), either on stuff that would deepen my enjoyment of the main storyline, or worse, on events that I would need to know about to understand plot developments.

Thanks for your help, folks!

Random Fables Comment 1: I do hope Stinky's not about to start a religion. He's always been one of my favorite secondary characters, and he never really seemed like the fanatical type. Far too earthy for that--he's a badger, after all!

Random Fables Comment 2: Why can't guest artists stay even vaguely on model? It took me several panels of this issue to figure out that it was Beauty & Beast. Pinocchio seems to be the worst target for this--every handful of issues, someone will come along and draw him like a normal boy instead of the square-jawed prizefighter caricature that I've come to know him as over dozens of issues. It's quite distracting. Ok, griping done!
Old 03-30-2009, 12:35 AM
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Perth, Western Australia
Posts: 549
I've only read the first Fables tpb and didn't especially like it. However I have ben told that Jack is not an essential reading experience to follow the main story.
Old 03-30-2009, 12:36 AM
Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: New York, NY, USA
Posts: 12,664
If the Literals are involved, then a knowledge of Jack of Fables is going to be necessary to understand them; I don't recall ever seeing them mentioned in the main Fables book. It's only in Jack that the Literals are described: personifications of the "powers of story" whose actions apparently created the Fables and their worlds. (What relationship they have to Mundies might be clarified during this storyline.) Known literals are:

First generation: The Pathetic Fallacy (aka Gary) and Dues Ex Machina
Pathetic Fallacy's son is Kevin Thorn, who was seen in Fables but whose story is essentially revealed in Jack of Fables; it seems that most (or all) of the familiar Fable stories were written, and in turn the characters created, by him.
Kevin Thorn's to sons are Revise, head librarian of the Golden Boughs retirement home fo Fables, where he tries to render Fables forgotten and thus reduce their magic and its abilty toaffect he Mundy world; and Bookburner, who destroys them and somehow turns the characters int his slaves.
The three Page sisters, major characters in Jack, are daughters of Revise or Bookburner.
Deus ex Machina has four childen, one of whom is the fourth wall.
Old 03-30-2009, 04:07 AM
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: Starbucksistan
Posts: 3,151
There's also the possibility, recently revealed by the Fallacy in Jack of Fables, that
Jack may be half-Literal, and his father was Prince Charming, and his mother would become Revise's wife - so the Page sisters may be his half-sisters.
Old 03-30-2009, 07:40 AM
Domo Arigato Mister Moderato
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: On the run with Kilroy
Posts: 20,451
Ultimate bad-boy, man! You banged all three of your half-sisters!

In terms of continuity it's hard to tell. Literals hasn't started yet and, honestly, they've not got a lot of mention in FABLES. There's been a much greater exploration of the backstory of the Fableverse in Jack of Fables. The main Fables book has spent a lot of time working on the just completed conflict with the Adversary and the War.

Where the crossover comes in? I dunno. Willingham, when Jack of Fables started, promised his MB that Jack would NEVER be back in the main book. But it appears that might not be true now.

I will add, though, that Jack of Fables is a pretty good book. Egocentric Jack, a delusional midget ox, three hot librarians, and a lot of back story on the mechanics of the setting. It's worth a read.
Old 03-30-2009, 07:46 AM
Join Date: Apr 2002
Posts: 3,444
Originally Posted by First Amongst Daves View Post
I've only read the first Fables tpb and didn't especially like it.
I had the same reaction at first. Someone convinced me to try the second and I was hooked by it. That first storyline isn't very good and not properly indicative of what the series becomes. I can't say that I list it among my favorites but I did wind up liking it quite a bit.
Old 03-30-2009, 09:12 AM
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Morgantown, WV
Posts: 10,857
I quite enjoy Jack of Fables. The Literals is only going to be a three-issue miniseries - it runs for the duration of the crossover. If you want the whole story, you'll probably have no choice but to buy Jack and the Literals, at least the crossover issues.
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Old 03-30-2009, 02:01 PM
Creature of the Night
Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: Fort Worth, Texas
Posts: 20,803
I enjoy reading Jack, if only to see him get smacked down in various ways. I was really thrown for a loop when Babe's sex was revealed.

I gotta hit the comic shop some day this week.
Old 04-18-2009, 08:30 AM
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 2
I had the same reservations as you--I'm an avid Fables devotee, but I just really didn't care at all about a series based on Jack and had absolutely zero interest in checking it out. Somewhere along the way I picked up the first two trades for some reason (probably while waiting for new issues of Fables to come out), and I was hooked immediately.

The writing's fantastic, the stories are full of caddish adventure & humor, and while Jack's events may not directly follow what's been going on in Fabletown/the Homelands, the series is very much tied to the greater Fables universe, basically giving you a window into things that have been happening outside of Fabletown--plus, in addition to a whole new crew of fables and adversaries (it's not just Jack interacting with a slew of unrecognizable characters or the mundy world), some of the fables you know and love (or hate) from the original series do turn up here as well. To me the crossover makes perfect sense, because Jack of Fables has never felt very far removed from the original series (in a good way).

From reading interviews with Willingham & Sturges, it seems like reading the whole Jack series is not 100% necessary in regards to understanding the crossover, but apart from that, all of the things that make Fables interesting are very much alive & well in Jack of Fables and it's definitely worth reading on its own merit.
Old 04-18-2009, 08:37 AM
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 2
Oh, and yes--even if you decide not to read previous issues of Jack of Fables, I think reading the 3 issues + the 3 Literals issues associated with the crossover is going to be necessary to understanding what's going on.
Old 04-18-2009, 01:34 PM
Join Date: Apr 2001
Posts: 246
Originally Posted by Just Some Guy View Post
I had the same reaction at first. Someone convinced me to try the second and I was hooked by it. That first storyline isn't very good and not properly indicative of what the series becomes. I can't say that I list it among my favorites but I did wind up liking it quite a bit.

Seconded. I never would have read the second TPB if I hadn't ordered it along with the first. The series picks up steam and becomes much more engaging.

I hope Willingham can keep it up, though. I'm near the end of the Adversary storyline, and since there is only one TPB left, I can't help but worry that it ends on a rather perfunctory note. The Flycatcher story seemed a little too Deus Ex Machina to me. I hate to see good villains easily undercut, whether it be by cute Ewoks or bug eating janitors.

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