We knew it was coming, but that doesn’t make it any less sad. The last issue of Fables has arrived, issue #150. The issue rings in at a full 160 pages, which also makes it Fables vol. 22, the last trade. This was a genius move because of how many readers “wait for the trade” on Fables, so they make the final release the same for both crowds. This marks the end of a thirteen year run, making it by far Vertigo’s longest running current series, and one of the longest series in general along with books like Swamp Thing and Hellblazer. It is one of the books that really traces us back to Vertigo’s past, before DC recouped their fringe properties into the New 52 and made Vertigo a more creator-owned department similar to Image. It has spawned other series, miniseries, a videogame, graphic novels, and a prose novel, and not to mention a fandom that has maintained their commitment for well over a decade. This comes from Bill Willingham and Mark Buckingham’s commitment to storytelling over flash, which has made each volume a solid read with a continuing audience.
In an interview with the Washington Post, writer Bill Willingham said that this was a sure fire end of the series, and that no knots would be left untied. So to speak.
The very last exchange of dialogue in my mind could be perfectly the last thing about ‘Fables.’ Willingham said of the final pages of the series.
This 160 page (which is more like a “true” 150 pages) volume has taken several months, with the last regular run issue of Fables, issue #149, coming in the earlier spring. This was intended to be a final blow-out that was a massive achievement. This was similar to the longer and anthology type issues that they did with #50 and #100, not to mention the graphic novel tie-ins. Willingham noted that this was meant to match the numbering that was happening with the issue.
We wanted [the final issue] larger than just a normal single issue, but I think [Vertigo] surprised us both when they said: Since its Issue 150, let’s make it 150 pages long…At 150 pages, which seemed overwhelming at first, in the actual [production of the last issue], both of us could have used more pages — to spread out a little bit more of the end, to take some of the plot points a little more leisurely.
Fables’ lead artist Mark Buckingham reflected on the diversity of the book, which looked at an entire world of characters interacting from the word’s different cultural folklores.
Every time we came to a new story arc, we could pick on a different aspect of the fairy-tale universe, or we could explore the life of a different character, go to a different world, and it was like the book completely reinvented itself throughout the 13 years that we’ve been working together. It really felt like every six to eight months it was like I was working on a brand-new book with Bill.
Besides Buckingham, the final book has Steve Lieahola, Andrew Pepoy, Dan Green, Joe Marzan Jr joining him on inking. Though this was likely a huge help, this is still a huge project for a single pencilist.
So now as we enter a post-Fables world we still have a few more issues left before Fables: A Wolf Among Us finishes, and then there will no longer be a Fables story to look forward to. Until recently this spelled a difficult future for Vertigo because it was both a successful and long-standing series, but now that they have announced twelve new series for the fourth quarter it looks like they will have a lot to offer.
Interested in picking up the final issue/trade of Fables? Check out the sale we are offering below for followers of Vertigology!