"Fables" creator Bill Willingham and editor Shelly Bond announced last year at Comic-Con International a very special issue of the hugely acclaimed Vertigo series. Known as the "Burning Questions" issue, "Fables" #59 was designed to feature short stories depicting the answers to readers' questions about the book. To fans' delight, "Fables" #59 shipped last month, and Shelly Bond sat down with CBR to talk about the landmark issue.
"Basically, we need your help," said Willingham at last year's SDCC. The author went on to explain that in order to give series artist Mark Buckingham a short break between large arcs, "We're going to do a special one issue story. The title is 'Burning Questions.' Shelly Bond once asked me, 'Bill, who caught the bouquet at Snow and Bigby's wedding?' I thought I could tell her, but how cool would it be to just show her in a tiny two or three page story?"
'Burning Questions' was Bill's brainchild, and like a proud parent, he was beyond eager for fans to participate," Shelly Bond told CBR News. "There were hundreds and hundreds of questions sent in to the website. And I think Bill had far too much fun answering them. At least that's what the end result seemed to suggest."
Besides the fun of involving "Fables'" famously loyal fans in such an interactive capacity, the "Burning Questions" issue gave Willingham and Bond the opportunity to work with some amazing artists who are massive "Fables" fans, but who are generally too busy to commit to a full issue. "We came up with a wish-list of amazing artists long before the questions poured in and I started making phone calls," Bond explained. "And then Bill said it was okay for me to match up each story with an appropriate artist. First I was flattered, assuming that he valued my keen artistic judgment and that he wanted to be surprised and enthralled by the choices I made. And then, once I returned to planet Earth, I realized that he was just looking for another excuse to get me fired…."
Some of those artists included "Age of Bronze" creator Eric Shanower; "Supergirl and the Legion of Super-Heroes" artist Barry Kitson; "Stray Bullets" creator David Lapham, Jill Thompson, J.K. Snyder III, Andrew Pepoy, D'Israeli, and "The Plain Janes'" Jim Rugg.
As for Bond's Burning Question about who caught the bouquet at Snow and Bigby's wedding, we asked the esteemed editor what she thought of Willingham's answer. "Actually, I was hoping someone would get hit on the head with the bouquet. Death by flowers seemed like a reasonable way to up the body count in 'Fables.' Just kidding. I loved Bill's answer to the question. It was Barry Kitson's artwork that knocked me out cold. I like my job. I really, really like my job."
"Fables" #59 is on sale now, as is issue #60, beginning the new "The Good Prince" storyline, focusing on fan-favorite background player Flycatcher, the Frog Prince. For more Fables fun, check out our interview with "Jack of Fables" co-writer Matthew Sturges.