Fables Creator Bill Willingham Stops by!
Jeff got to sit down and have a chat with Fables creator Bill Willingham! Lots of interesting anecdotes and stories are found in this amazing interview!
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Interview scheduled by Jeffery Haas
Theme music by Good Co Music:
Bill Willingham Interview
[00:00:00] welcome listeners of spoiler country. Today. I have the fantastic writer of fables, mr. Bill Willingham. How are you mr. Willingham? apparently I’m fantastic. I’m glad to hear it. you’re making out, well in the new world that we live in.
sure. I gotta tell you. I, I started social distancing about 10 years ago. So, so my skills in this particular world are, are pretty, pretty well practiced, well refined. So you’re already, you’re already an expert. You got a head start on it. Yeah, it’s a, it’s mostly a case of, I have never been a terribly comfortable in public and, I would kinda, Perhaps overdo the hail fellow, well met kind of covered, to, to mask that, but a little while ago about the time fables was ending.
So maybe it’s not tenure. I dunno. I realized that if I wanted to, I didn’t have to go anywhere [00:01:00] anymore. And, it actually took a while to ease into that. There were, there were some outstanding, Obligations, I told different, conventions and such then. Yeah, I’ll, I’ll do someday. And, it took me a while to retire those.
but then I just started staying home and found out that that is just a lovely place to be. Yeah, it’s fantastic that in the new reality, you pretty much kind of don’t have to, everything can be delivered to your house. Now groceries can be delivered. Anything you need is delivered. You can do everything or purchasing online.
You can virtually live as solitary existence. If you choose, we as, as a, a technological culture, there are, there are certain aspects of. The human beast that we’ll never, quite a distance charge, the kind of need to be in herds from time to time. But technologically, yeah. It’s like we prepared for [00:02:00] exactly this kind of an eventuality.
imagine how different the world would be. If during the black plague, everyone could just stay home and isolate, You know what a third of the world’s population died during that. And, who knows how many would have died? That said the scientists that, that I find most credible say that then all of this is a way to certainly delay it.
But the all important, what portion of humanity is going to end up being immune to this particular or plague, requires that about, 60%, exposure to it. Take place. You’re talking about a herd immunity. Yeah. Yeah. so that what we’re doing is we’re delaying the, the, the time of, of getting some significant heard of unity.
but at the benefit of, you know, just not [00:03:00] dying off in droves, well, it kind of reminds me of, There’s an episode, the West wing. I’m not remember all the details of it, but there was a conversation about what to do about, cause we’re, we’re actually, interestingly, if we can come up, come out later, the Israeli Palestinian conflict.
And one of the characters asked the other character, what are we waiting on? And it’s doctor said until we’re waiting on someone to have a better idea, it feels like we’re almost sort of like that, doing that with Kobe where we’re kind of hoping someone figures out how to. How to solve this issue and hopefully push the date back as much as possible to someone can figure it out, which is kind of, hopefully that’s a, that’s a workable hypothesis.
I don’t know that would actually work, but be nice if we can wait till someone come up with a viable vaccine that can, help. Well, I think last I heard the best facts. He’s only about 77% effective, but even if it is 77% of active that’s, it would be. Decent, you know, at least some of us could feel safer, especially those of us with preexisting conditions.
Yeah. Vaccine would be nice. we, as a species do not have a great track [00:04:00] record of, being willing to do what some leader tells us to do, just because, well, that’s rational. so, you know, good luck if such a, a great leader in set of solutions comes along. But, but I I’ll, I’ll remain a little dubious.
Yeah. I mean, I must say there’s certain aspects of this, that as someone who’s, they, I’m kind of a germaphobic person who never liked to shake hands or be in big groups. Does this find, see some benefits of this since apparently shaking hands is officially defunct is we don’t have to do it anymore, which is kind of a nice cultural thing to lose.
We don’t have to do that anymore. Which is okay. I was, I was ambivalent about shaking hands, but I got to tell you something. I don’t want to the accused of seeing a, silver lining in this cloud, it’s a plague. Plague is not a good thing, but. I hope or at least suspect, [00:05:00] that, this is the death of hugging.
Yes. I have never liked hugging. I have a few friends that just cannot, get it into their heads and I don’t like that hugging, nowadays I just get to backup and say, stay, stay away. Yeah. In those rare times when I see him and boy conventions, the number of people, you know, God bless him. I’m, I’m glad that they’d like meeting, you know, someone who’s, who’s done a story that, that has, has affected them, and emotional and, sometimes even spiritual level, you know, good for you, and I’m glad you want to see me and I’m, and I’m, you know, I’m even pleased at you.
You want to hug me in public, but, but I just, I just hated that, especially when they would come in explaining that they’re a hugger as they’re already in, in route now. What do you do? Do you push that person away? [00:06:00] That’s, that’s a, that’s not a very kind way to treat someone who, who’s supported your, your indolence, for 13 years and kept you from having to get a job.
briefly, just before this broke, I invented the, the hug coupon. I just got back and say, hug coupon. And like, you know, we, we, we get the value of the hug of actually having to do the thing. Right. I used the excuse. I have a cold, no, I, you know, Maybe because every year at a big convention, people go home and get sick with the con crud.
If I can happy using that as my excuse, they would go home the conquer club crowd and blame me. It says, and he even at the one who gave it to me, admitted it to me. So I didn’t want to be that Rella. So no. Using using I’m sick as an excuse is, is fraught with peril. [00:07:00] There’s too many, too many bad things that can come as an unintended consequence of it.
and, and I, and I will say too, like I said, I agree with you. There’s a play does not have silver linings. And I totally agree with, especially someone like me who had diabetes, my, the wife has asthma. It’s certainly not something that, We, we, we look, you know, we like having in the environment around us, but I will say it’s the idea of the handshake.
I had a job interview as a judgment of character. I’m glad that’s gone or will be gone. I, I thought it was the most ridiculous customs I’ve ever heard of mine. Well, it’s a, it’s a lingering one. It took us a long time to dispense with it. the handshake is proof that, that you’re not armed and not about to kill the other guy.
You know, we probably don’t need to have a physical demonstration of that. And, you know, if. If you’re still a little worried have, have your body guards do a Pat down on me and I’ll have my body guard do a Pat down on you. yeah. Handshakes aren’t important. Although the thing is, is that it’s been with [00:08:00] us for so long.
I mean, handshakes have been with us through, through generations. I mean, multitudes of generations to where at least a, a fairly agreed upon. etiquette for handshakes has developed, I mean, two strong pumps and you disengage. And if they’re, if they’re not doing that, there’s something weird or creepy going on.
so, you know, when I was a little Wipper snapper, back before I became an old man who yelled at clouds, we would get a, a manners, Expert to come in around, you know, second grade, third grade, whatever, and just start explaining to us the, the manners one needs to get along, and social life.
And the handshake was part of that. You know, hold the door open for a woman. Never, never push away in front of a woman to enter a room, except except on an elevator on an [00:09:00] elevator. The polite thing to do is to proceed a woman onto the elevator, because this was back on the old technological days where there was a reasonable chance that as soon as someone entered the elevator, right.
Plunge to doom. Yeah. So it was up to the guy to, to take that chance. Many times. And the thing is when you’re young, that stuff sticks. The, the telephone etiquette was you never let it ring more than five rings. Now, nowadays we have, answer certain things that pick up for them. But, but my entire life, even if I knew they were there and maybe they, yeah, they had a tough time getting to the phone at that fifth ring.
I had to hang up. I couldn’t, I couldn’t overcome this and I can’t overcome the. yep. Elevator comes you, you step on first and sometimes I’ve gotten like, well, that’s certainly road from people. And then, and then I had a very short elevator ride to explain to them on how actually I was being mannerly.
Well, you, you know, it, I, one thing we do all need to recognize is [00:10:00] that it, you’re not necessarily ruinous and, being. A subject of how you were raised is different things sometimes. And we do need to be well, whether it’s to be understanding and maybe take the moment to allow for the misunderstanding before attacking the misunder.
Sure. I think the, the, well, the, the five rings is just because. telephones were new enough to where it was still considered a rude intrusion, to, to call someone, Beck hint. you know, you’d have to call someone to get permission to say, what would you mind terribly if I called you? of course the feeds of purpose.
So, so that. That was just a matter of manners, but so much of how we were to behave is, was a, We’re variations on if it’s you and a woman. Yeah. Make sure that you take the bullet or you take the sword or you, you get hit by the car or [00:11:00] whatever. so yeah, the, the reason what’s behind it would probably change.
What’s nice now is that with texting and all that, a telephone is become rare again. And once again, it’s kind of becoming an intrusion and unwarranted intrusion. When’s the last time you called someone without, you know, like maybe a texting person saying mind if I give you a call in a few minutes, the only person to ever do that too, is my father.
My father I’ll call without, you know, warning as it were everyone else. I would rather just, I don’t want to talk, call them at all, to be honest with you. Me too. It’s like, you know, like the worst case scenario, I gotta make a phone call. Yeah. Some of the, Some of the most blessed moments in my life.
I’ve had some ups and downs in my career and there are times when, like after elementals, but before fables, when very few people were, picking up my calls and I couldn’t afford to make anyway, there were times when I couldn’t really afford it, a phone and, it was frustrating and the [00:12:00] looking for work aspect, but, but I gotta tell you, those were, were some of the most comfortable.
memories of my life. It’s just how the pressure’s off. Yeah, I know. I’m going to take this nap and no one’s going to call, you know, isn’t that nice. So, yeah, it has its advantages. Now the one thing, if I read correctly, I obviously did a little bit of background on you is that you actually grew up in a military family now is being, the stereotype of a military family is that is the idea of being a very rigid, family system.
Is that part of what created your, you know, if I’ve called you’re you’re very, you know, you’re, you’re very into, it seems like, Ethics and whatnot of what’s supposed to be done for behaviors and things of that nature. You think that comes a bit from the military household? Certainly there was, there was an absolute, a need to behave in a certain way.
part of it was, setting an example, what I didn’t realize as a little kid, there were. enlisted, [00:13:00] men in the army and there were offices. I didn’t quite get that distinction. The enlisted, residences were all, separated from where officers and officers, families, and, in Germany, in boot Spock where we were stationed at one time, the enlisted barracks were these long rows of apartment like buildings.
Row after row after row, after row in each of these buildings, the, the top, ranking enlisted man was sort of captain of the building. he had to do all sorts of, he was the leader of, of the residence be the person that people came through with complaints or whatever. And that was my dad, as a result, as a kid, I thought my dad ran the army, because.
In the little area that we were able to go to, everyone deferred to him. so, and we had to act in certain ways, there was often the, the, the adjudication that, that, you know, you have to do this because how can [00:14:00] I, you know, settle disputes with so-and-so. If I can’t even control my own family, we had a sprawling big family.
so there was that it was a very disciplined. childhood, a little anecdote that, that hopefully will shock people, is, my dad was not always a pleasant person and he would often pine things like this army, and this will be okay if it wasn’t for all the, the crowds and the, Kind, I can’t even bring myself to say anymore.
The N words that are, that are infesting. Everything, blacks were, were getting pretty prominent in, the military then. And, and cross the, you got to understand, the army stationed in Germany, during the entire time, up until recently, the army was the number one employer of all Germans. So there was lots of civilian personnel doing everything.
and I would hear this tirades, many times and I didn’t, three years old, [00:15:00] then three, four years old. I knew they were bad people, but I didn’t know who they were. Although I guess I was picking up context because one time I was out on our porch and I saw the, the blackest human being I’d ever seen in my life, walking up, Towards the housing complex.
Yeah. He was a major in the army black major and yeah, I was just curious because I think he was one of the categories that, That the, the people that were ruined in the army fell into so very politely I shouted, excuse me, sir. Are you a crowd or a, and, that’s when I found out that my dad didn’t actually run the army because there was pounding on our door and yelling and stuff.
And for the first time in my life, I. A witness, my dad saying a whole bunch of yes, sir. And a whole bunch of no, sir. and then I was sure terrible afterwards, but it really wasn’t honest. you know, I just, I had no idea, which was, which, and I was curious, a friend later [00:16:00] on in life said that, you know, You asked your dad very few things.
and I can’t understand growing up that way. Cause this, this guy, Billy Gilbert Burke was him and his dad. They talked about everything and I didn’t know why I never asked my dad’s stuff, but it was probably back to that incident where, you know, you ask certain questions, you can get in trouble. anyway, I’m not sure what we were speaking to them, but yes.
very disciplined family. we were a very nuclear family. My mother, during the second world war, worked at the Hannaford atomic works. So she was part of the Manhattan project. when we had a farm later on, downwind of Hannaford, if you ever heard about the downwinders incident, where. Hannaford was, was venting, nuclear, the steam and gas without telling anyone, we were one of the farms that was downwind of all that.
So we’re soaking up the nukes. and then when, when I went into the army, I guarded nukes. for a long time and learned how to blow them up to [00:17:00] keep them out of those godless Ruskies hands. so yeah, we were a very, a very nuclear family, probably disciplined now. One of the hardest things to do is, is to taken what you’ve been educated on and obviously go beyond it.
So when, what point did you realize where your father was going with that? With his beliefs on it’s the Germans and African Americans or black people was wrong? Like, do you do that on your own? Does it, was it someone came to you? No, it was, it was a lesson done. And in about a 10 minute segment that day, I mean, he was in a lot of trouble.
and then bye bye. Virtue of that. I was in a lot of trouble, so yeah, it didn’t take a very long lesson at all. It didn’t take a long time for it to sink in. we have lots of, discussions, meaning I shut up and listen to it. And he talked about how you have to treat people of all types of well, and it’s just a, I did not ask the, the [00:18:00] obvious question well is like, But when we’re home, when the doors close and whatever, and you’ve had a, a couple, you’re not exactly list, living the life you preach dad.
I would never have said that even if I had the era addition at the time to do so. but no, the lesson was not a long one. calming at, it, it happened very quickly and, and sunk in immediately. So how did being, living in a military family? Does it have an impact on you as a writer as well on, especially how it, altered or had an effect on your worldview?
Sure. in a couple of ways, first of all, back then we could not, afford a TV. there was very limited furniture and stuff that they would bring over, for you and televisions were considered a luxury and there probably wasn’t much TV available then anyway, So we had a lot of free time for three years while I was stationed over there with my parents.
so we got into reading now. I was too young to really [00:19:00] read on my own. but, probably, 20 years before that, with a lack of TV, he, gave us the, plethora, the about 6,000 older sisters that, I had, you know, since there’s nothing to watch on TV. Well, Whatever. So I had a lot of oldest sisters and, they could, I could usually find one to read, which I did often.
I loved comics books early on. I could see and understand the pictures. Couldn’t get all the words, finding one of the sisters to read to me. I became a, a comic book kid very early on. And ah, and that never went away, stories. it took me a while to realize that stories also came from the television.
Stories came from either the post theater. My father has a, moonlighting job. I lost the word moonlighting for a second there, worked at the post theater as a [00:20:00] projectionist. so here’s what I understood about my father. As he ran the army. and when I go to visit him in his office on, on base, you know, he controlled everyone there too, because, because all of these, these little lieutenants and, and, and young captains, when you get a, a Sergeant major, there there’s, there was a lot of, you know, you tell them what to do, even though obstensibly they were, they outranked you.
so I believed it when, when he would say he ran the army and, I would ask him questions about how he knew what was coming up. We would often go up to the projection booth and just watch movies with him late at night. three, four years old. And we’re watching these. You know, lots of Bible pictures and the destruction of Gomorrah and things like that.
but he predict what’s coming up, says, Oh, you’re gonna want to watch this. Now. I did not know that these weren’t the first time these things were shown. So I’d asked, how did you know that was going to happen? Daddy? He goes, well, when I made this picture [00:21:00] and I believe that because he’s the one showing the movies, so he must run, you know, Right, right.
Yeah. My gullibility factor was pretty, pretty damn high. but, but yeah, so I found out the stories can come from them too, but it took me, it took them retiring. they retired, he retired right after. the Cuban missile crisis in which Germany was going to be the battleground. If it all went to hell.
I did not know that as a kid, I just knew that we were finally going to America to live and, it wasn’t until we got settled down in the States that, that I really experienced TV for the first time. And by then, Storytelling was done with books and occasionally movies, but TV as the, as the larger, more influential delivery platform for stories, didn’t come along until much later.
So speaking of community, we touched a little bit of your [00:22:00] worldview and you and your military family. I felt one thing I found out the most interesting in actually doing some research on, fables is that, and I don’t know if this is correct or not, but you stated this was an allegory for the Israeli Palestinian conflict.
No. Others have stated that otherwise stated that. Now, what would you interpret it? What I put in there because I use, I used an allegory as an example, in one situation. Now would you say that that is their thing as well? You’re, I’m serious fables that it became so popular and it’s so well regarded that there are a lot of college level papers written about and graduate level papers.
Now, would you say that that idea of that allegory is totally off base? Or would you say there’s something in there that may be. You can see or can see where they got it from. Or would you say that’s kind of wishful thinking, whoever made a, wanted to discuss that topic? Well, I think both now here, here’s the thing is, Israel in his very existence is his a powder [00:23:00] keg, in people’s minds.
I will, to my dying day, not understand about the, the one democracy in the middle East and a Senator of freedom is revived and, and, a billion. Population of, of surrounding countries bent on their destruction that are considered by many, the, the good guys. so that puzzles me. I believe I inherited that from my mother who was a rabidly, pro Israel, not Jewish, but just, my mother was, was a supporter of the underdog, I guess.
Was how she put it at one point. But anyway, so that stuck with me. but I tried to keep it up, but. But just in deciding to use, the Israeli, so-called cycle of violence as a Philips creation, for that one scene, was sort of like, you know, [00:24:00] popping the cork on, you know, a high pressure product there.
so it was wrong of them to him. Assume, I was pro Israeli just because of that one scene, even though they got it right. but they got there in the wrong way. So how dare they, you know, you can’t, you can’t assume something. I mean, I ride file villains all the time. Do you assume that I want people, you know, killed in vast numbers?
I don’t, So the assumption was made and, and then, you know, it was frustrating because well, You came to the right conclusion on which I’m pro Israeli, but you got there. What I consider like, you know, Finn evidence, it reminds me of, Alan Moore’s, let’s just Jack the ripper tail, Oh, from hell from hell, where that end line was the, the, the, the so-called, psychic who said, yeah, hi, I made it all up, everything I said, but it all came through anyway.
So, you know, it’s just the, these [00:25:00] weird. Confluences of stuff, or maybe people are just so much smarter than, than I gave him credit for. So that on very tenuous evidence, you know, they’re all a bunch of, Sherlock Holmes is that can, you know, look at one small out of praise, place thread and deduce an entire crime scene or something.
Okay. As a writer, is it hard to know that the moment you publish wherever it is, you’re writing that it kind of, you kind of lose it to some extent, to those who are reading well, you have to, you don’t just kind of lose it to those who are reading it. the story only takes place in the collaboration between the storyteller and the reader.
it doesn’t take place when you just present the story, because, You don’t always have the best view of the story. You’re telling a good example of this. You know, I talk on those few times when I lecture people about how to write is try to be careful of the story you think you’re telling versus the story you’re actually telling, [00:26:00] which is how I met your mom.
And as example, it’s supposedly this, you know, kind of good hearted, long winded, tell him to his children of how he met. Their mother, which is like, what, you know, what a, what a nice family tale to tell. But in the course of it, he goes into so much detail to provide the, you know, all the material for the sit-com that he’s like, you know, he’s telling his, just a dating age daughter about how he would, he would nail single women, right.
And left, you know, knocking him off. And even when he, she, he finds out one of them is basically a Nazi. It’s like, yeah, she was pretty. So I did her. That’s the story. They were really telling. It was like, this is an icky thing for a dad to be telling his, his, his teenage son and teenage daughter. one of whom is going to be a subject to guys like him.
And one of whom is in danger of becoming a guy like him. that’s the story that we’re actually telling him. So, so you need to breathe. cognizant [00:27:00] of, are you actually telling the story you think you’re telling the reader definitely decides that the reader is the ultimate collaboration. Collaboration is that’s a bad word, but, and it’s a story isn’t told until it’s filtered through.
There you go to a play, you read a book and you, and you say, you know, the night approached the city now. If you were going to tell every detail and not leave anything for the reader to do on his own, you would then have to bring the story to a screeching halt while you describe every aspect of this city, what the Hill was like, that it was on what the names of all the streets are, what the names of all the people are and all the chemists.
And of course, Yeah, sorry, would get bogged down. That would be a terrible decision to make. So instead you have to trust the night approach the city, and unless it’s vitally important to know a lot of details about that city, trust your collaborator, the reader to fill in those details. They’ll do just fine.
[00:28:00] Without you, the nice part about that is I can legitimately say, you know, that there’s the, there’s the controversy on who really wrote the, the complete works of Shakespeare? it was me, Because those stories weren’t fully told until I received them and process them. and I think I got everyone every play, the read or seen performed, therefore that that’s it.
I’m the guy who really wrote the complete works of Shakespeare. It’s funny to just say that though, isn’t it? Oh yeah. But, I mean, do you ever worry that your readers are getting the wrong thing out of your works? Or do you, are you able to totally release it, like and feel comfortable with that release of, of what you know, saying?
Yeah, sometimes I feel more comfortable sometimes less, but here’s the thing you don’t control it once you present your part of the collaboration to them, they own the story. So, you know, you can, you can worry that they’re not getting what you want you, but what [00:29:00] senses that worry it’s out of your hands.
Now let’s begin since we’re not going to go into a little bit of, fables itself. I think one interesting thing, You did a lot in 150 issues, plus, Jack of fables. We were trying to know you didn’t write specifically, but then also you have a thousand nice of ’em. I think it was no fall. and there’s a lot of big ideas in that story.
And I like to go over some of our, somebody with you. And I think when the more interesting ones is that people in town is a secret from the, from what you called the mundanes correct. Right? Now do you think as the, I mean, you’re the writer, so you kinda know, but same time you, you don’t explicitly say it.
Do you think if it was ever, if it is revealed or was revealed that the tables were real, the time was real, would they have found acceptance? Whether or not, they find accepted tens is a story still to be told perhaps someday. but since this is boiler country, I’m going to spoil it. Like, you know, near the end of the series, fable town is revealed. [00:30:00]
it might be interesting in at some point to go back to that moment that the, the Mondays find out that they actually do live in a magical world. And, and answer, the inevitable question in serialized literature, which is what happens next. but I’m not saying, look. If I were to say what, what they would find except for, or not now that this broadcast would actually, constitute a SQL do that series.
And, and I’m not willing to do that yet. Well one day, are you thinking about doing a sequel? can I say no comment? Oh, you can always say no comment. I may not ever, I mean, not stop asking anyway, but you’re more than welcome to always say that. A no comment. That’s a totally fair answer. Okay. If no comment doesn’t work, I will, I will, switch to shut your damn mouth at some point, but we’re not there yet.
So a plow ahead. I will, I will tread lightly, sir. Now I kind of [00:31:00] almost thought of when, When, when, when learn interesting parts about the story, as well as the relationship you create between beast and beauty, which I thought it was a fantastic allegory for, marriage life. And that idea that the angrier or the worst of each ship gets, the more beating out, happens to, the beast.
Now is that beasting out. That is that because of how beauty sees them and it becomes a reflection of how he sees, see she sees him, or is that a reflection of how he’s being inside himself through her eyes? It was really, this is gonna sound hoity, toity. It was really a meditation on the fairytale idea of perfect love, which I don’t think.
Perfect love. this side of, various promised after lives can actually exist. So since it was her love of him, that changed him from a beast back into the handsome Prince. As that love waxes and wanes. I just asked the question of myself. Well, what if, what if the curse waxes and wanes [00:32:00] along with that?
and that was entirely sure it was to be a meditation on what really fairytale love is about, but also it was a, and this was foremost for, for a lot of issues, a lot of scenes do I think this would be funny. And I thought, you know, half a basic and hardly talk because his mouth hasn’t adjusted to the growing fangs and stuff.
That would be funny. And, and some people agreed and, if, if some didn’t agree. Yeah. At least they were polite enough not to let me know. Now the interesting thing about that though, as well, may I say the joke, you know, a drug side, which I did, nothing was very entertained. I did think it was very entertaining is that, Oh, no worries.
because of the curse itself is there, then the argument we made that beast is with beauty because of the curse off, because he sold it. it became, I don’t know that I set out. How about this, but there were so many different kinds of love stories told in, in a sprawling [00:33:00] 150 issues. then at some point, I decided, and I believe Bucky went along that let’s have at least one marriage that works, that has stood the test of time.
And is kind of a Testament to, you know, sometime you, sometimes you really do just find your lifelong love and, and, and that’s who you want, forever. And of course, as soon as we decided that we had to test it by having Prince charming with his, his radiant power of seduction, take a run at her. And, I like that we made her seriously tempted.
I mean, there’s something about him to where, you know, there was, there was part of her that was just on the threshold of, okay, I guess this is happening and I’m going to, and, and then she managed to pull off self out, which is either an indication that maybe is, seduction powers magically enhanced weren’t as strong as he [00:34:00] thought they were, or maybe, You know, the, the love between her and base, where it was just that, that powerful to where she was able to pull herself back from the brink.
you know, I have no idea whether or not I answered your question. No, don’t worry about it. I mean, it. It also, I mean, it’s something that you seem like you also hint hinted at in kind of approach a little bit wet, snow and big D as well, where you actually have the, the beautiful woman and the Beasley guy who the woman is helping keep us in control on some level.
Was that something that as well, you were making a connection to as well? Well, it was really, as soon as. I decided that they were going to be the will they won’t they couple, by the way, I learned the definition of shipping, Because of that people on the fables forum back in the time we’re set, I’m shipping big beans, snow I’m shipping, baby and snow.
And I didn’t know the way, you know, you kids with your lingo [00:35:00] and bilingual. I mean, your Patois refer to dang. So I finally had to ask is like, so you don’t like. The romance between them. They, what are you talking about? We’re shipping them and I go, yeah, you’re trying to get rid of them. Cause it’s all I could think of is the meadow.
The shipping was the metaphor of put them on a ship and send them out over the rising tide, rid of them. And then they explain that. No, no, no, you, you, you silly daughterly old man, shipping his relationship being it’s, you know, We’re putting them together and I go, nah, too late. I did it already. But yeah.
So, so, when I decided that, it occurred, it would be kind of a parallel to the beauty and the beast story. but she did not, fall in love with him despite his basically form, She fell in love with the regardless of the form, the human, the Wolf, the whatever, the, the strength of character, the.
Oh, this guy is devoted to [00:36:00] me and he’s always, always going to be there when I need them, which is, I guess, something, you know, hopefully whenever you find your spouse, he, she, or it, that’s a quality that’s, that’s going to be a present, like, will this, this person or creature be there when you need them?
So that was, that was the basis of that. The real origin of, of the big, bad Wolf as a good guy was simply because he was my favorite fairytale character. And if he was a villain, I could not use him too often, maybe once, maybe twice to present some trouble. But if the same villain keeps showing up again and again, and again, then really remember the rule.
The story you think you’re telling versus the story you’re actually telling really the story is what a bunch of inept here. This, this community has no right to exist because they can’t even get rid of the, the, the dangerous monsters trying to prey on [00:37:00] them with any functionality. that’s why, you know, Every every DC superhero, no matter how magnificent their power is, is ultimately a failure.
That’s, that’s the story of, of every superhero character, as long as they face recurring villains that are valuable company properties. So we can’t kill them because these are assets belong in those shareholders. Therefore, they’re always going to show up. Every once in a while, say boo, and here we go again.
I didn’t think I could do that with Biggby. So the only solution to that problem was let’s make him a good guy. Now, how can I justify this now? The, the interesting with big B, I mean, obviously his backstory is extremely bloody, especially, once again, the graphic novel that you were as well, where he killed.
And a lot of people. Yes you’re by having him Mary Snow and basically have the happy ending, even though you [00:38:00] obviously died once. are you then arguing that he is re that it’s everyone’s redeemable, he’s redeemable or through snow he’s redeemable? I think my worldview is not that everyone is redeemable.
And it’s not that no one is redeemable, but somewhere in between is, is indeed a redemption story though. That’s successful one, I think so. But any, and you think he deserved it? I mean, is there. Did he, in your opinion, he did enough to make up for what he did as Daniel? No. No. he received forgiveness and the general anesthesia of the Fayetteville town charter, which is one of the ongoing themes.
Good works. Doing enough to make up for your bad was not a precondition of that. I might get a little religious at this point where in the sense that forgiveness is not dependent on earning you, you’re way [00:39:00] out of being a bad person. If you can earn your way out, you don’t need forgiveness. you know, it is a, an exercise in and spiritual capitalism.
I don’t quite believe that’s possible. God knows. I never want to, receive everything I deserve in life. I suspect that’s the same for just about anyone. No, he has not done enough. I mean in my mind, he hasn’t, others can, can, disagree. Nope. He received forgiveness, not, but then you wouldn’t say he, he has not necessarily redeemed him himself and he was, but it’s been almost now.
I won’t say excused, but you do say he is. Able to at least, make the attempt to make amends for what he’s done. I think he has made amends in many ways, and that was the word I was looking for. A men’s a redemption and a men’s are two different concepts. Redemption is basically you have this many green stamps that you’ve saved up.
You can take it into. You know, store back when the restores that [00:40:00] redeemed green stamps and get, you know, a new toy or whatever, you get a value for the work you did in collecting all of those green stamps. he has not been redeemed in that sense of the word, because, You know, he was accepted, before he’d done anything to, to make up for his, his, bad past.
so yeah. Yeah, he wasn’t, he wasn’t redeemed in that sense. It’s a redemption story in the end, the Uber sense of that word. but, yeah, I don’t, I don’t think you get that kind of forgiveness because you deserve it. it devalues the, the wonderful concept of forgiveness, for one thing, which is, I mean, by God, what a, what a thing to come up with, if we are.
Just, I am in the eighth. Yes. By, by default in the sense that I just can’t believe. You know, the [00:41:00] very stories explaining things, but, but when you, when you discuss concepts, like the ability to forgive without, without getting all of the stuff they’ve done paid for, that’s a pretty extraordinary invention.
and, and one that probably, probably saved our civilization from going extinct a few times over now. In the world of the fables, they don’t necessarily have, I don’t think necessarily a afterlife. I don’t even seem to, recall that in the series at all. Am I wrong in that a themselves? Do you want me to give it away?
does it impact a future story that you may or may not be writing? Well, For anyone out there that hasn’t completed all 150 issues of fables starting. When I say now, put your hands over your ears and in seconds. okay. Starting now, in the last issue of fables, it did show [00:42:00] that, that some of the dead ones went on indeed to other afterlives.
Now one thing I think was interesting as well, is that, in the story, I think you’ve seen, I think you, hit it more early on than you did later on is the idea that in some level, on some way the fables are empowered by the belief and the mundanes. Am I getting that correctly? How that works? You are doing that correct?
That was the prevailing theory. But there was no point in which the, the series ever said absolutely. That’s how it works. As a matter of fact, there’s a point at which a frog totally bender says, that’s a nice concept, but no, that’s not how it works. she seemed to think something else was going on, but, being a, a secretive old way, she never quite explained what that might be.
Then again, she might be wrong. Remember, she’s lied many times, to cover up her own scheming. so yeah, possibly that’s what was happening now. One thing that you also did [00:43:00] extremely well talking about the ideas of mundanes and the idea of magic that you definitely created an interesting magical world.
And one thing I found was kind of interesting is that when the series starts, you kind of refer to New York as a fictional land, Now is that fictional land in the sense of, you know, in the story quite literal, fictional, or do you, are you saying that because there’s some sort of unnatural quality to New York itself that we can look at and go like this obviously has gone with all the people in keeping of people that city itself is almost like a living.
Magical entity on some level. Well, hopefully it works many levels in, in one sense. I knew even then that our world was not the one world devoid of magic the way everyone thought it was, but somehow it was locked up. So I was, I was sitting alone signaling that a little bit. When you want to talk about, for shadowing, I was laying groundwork to things that weren’t going to happen and, and didn’t until [00:44:00] about 150 issues later.
on another level, every, every location, every person, every, Anything in existence, you don’t see all the reality of it. You just see the story you’ve told yourself about it. New York is, is, you know, 8 million different things, depending on, the stories and the perceptions of it. 8 million and a half minutes.
Probably more than that now, I think, but you know, I’m, I’m going by the, there are 8 million stories in the naked city. This is one of them. Shut up. So in that sense, it’s, it’s a fictional land, called New York. and in, in that same sense that we all live in fictional places, because our perception of it and, and the reality of it, if there is like one, objective reality, and that can also be argued.
but anyway, our perception and the objective [00:45:00] reality, there’s always going to be differences between those two things and the difference hinges on the stories we tell each other. We are the storytelling people, as I say, one of the introductions to one of the collections, we should not be called homo erectus, even though we can stand erect.
All sorts of critters can stand erect. We are, we are homo fabulously storytelling people, and we, we exist and we’ve kind of conquered this world. Strictly because we became adept at telling each other’s stories. Just as much as you’re saying, then the cities that we live in are on some level have effects are fictional because we always, we shared stories like that about ourselves and people we know as well, or that’s in a word on some level fictional, as far as our perceptions of each other and ourselves.
I would say I would answer that, with the, best of the Cohen brothers movies, which was Miller’s crossing where at one point, Miller, the crook [00:46:00] says nobody knows anybody. then he qualifies that by saying not that well, I would’ve, I would’ve kept it stronger just by. Because he’s, he plays a cynical character.
Nobody knows anybody. And that’s true. I think that is true. No one really knows anyone. and I would even go so far as to say, including, you know, the old know thyself. some of us get closer, deeper. I’m more aware than others. but, but we never, we never plumbed those depths. once again, did I answer your question?
I mean, that’s, that’s my philosophy. I, your mileage of course, may. No, I think was a good question. And I just say, I like that. You’ve touched on it a few times, the idea of religion and because I do think, and I may be wrong in this as well, is that you definitely have a lot of religious undertones to the tables as well.
What that, especially with an idea, like the character of the adversary, which we know later on is Japan. Sorry to ruin it for anybody who didn’t read it, [00:47:00] but, which is also the illusion emphasis spoiler country. Indeed. It is indeed a, which is obviously a reference to the entity and the Torah, which, honestly, for those who may not be Jewish, obviously, is that in the initial, in the Torah, the devil there’s no, that there’s no direct.
Reference to the devil. The idea is that there’s something called the adversary, which is going against God. And his I’m kind of in the background of doing certain things, but it’s not known as some, it’s not mentioned at all as the devil, but in your fables, you definitely have the character that we know to be later.
refer to as the adversary, where are you going for that religious context? I bet now the thing with the old Testament and especially the Torah and, and, the Bible commentaries. Then I read if I’ve understood them. And that is, that is a big F the adversary character who eventually evolved within the books of the Bible, into the devil, started out as kind of [00:48:00] a, maybe opposing counsel that, that he is the, the, the prosecuting attorney.
In the court case, which is in which God is the judge, et cetera, et cetera. and it’s intent. It’s like the, the, the, the cosmos set up to be that way that got him, you know, just like a court system says, no, you need, you need a defense guy. You needed a prosecutor. This is, this is the way we, we get at the truth and that, You know, especially like in the book of job, you could all almost see, God and the devil going for beers after, after a day’s work, even though, you know, while they’re on the clock, they are, they are, you know, God and, and, and the adversary.
and then that, that coalescent to other things, I privately suspect that, all of the devils and the Satans and the snake and the gardens and the adversary, of Joe, [00:49:00] for example, we’re all referring to different. cosmological figures that, that eventually the, the later, authors of the Bible, decided to do what I did with fables, which is when you have a lot of similar characters, let’s see if we can’t combine them into one for storytelling, ease.
and, yeah, so, yes. I flirted for a while in my, last year of high school. and then early years of college, with, the Christian religion, I wanted to become a Christian, because, cause that’s what a Becky Baird was. And, and yeah, apparently I wanted Becky Baird in a, in a pretty significant way.
Not a great motivation in which to, to, to, choose a faith. Right. but I like many aspects about it. I liked, at some 0.1 of the, parishioners predicted that I was going to become a preacher because I did one of those, you know, the youth [00:50:00] ministers take over the, the service one weekend kind of things.
And I gave the. The the sermon and it was good. I mean, I loved it. I loved, I loved everything about it. The ability to get up there, spin a tail, get this audience in the Palm of your hands. And I had them, I had, they were, they were by the end of this, they were going where I wanted to lead them. And I’d loved that.
and so I was going to pursue that for a while, until I realized that’s not the thing you need out of the desire to be a minister, that shouldn’t be the, the controlling motivation, the fact that you could do it any more than, you know, a 14, I can tell her are terrible card reader or whatever like that.
you know, if, if that’s all you’re getting from it, you’re kind of more like a swindler. and at this time I was seeing lots of traveling evangelists and you know, about, 50 50, there were [00:51:00] really authentic believers and, and real flimflam man. So I thought that, well, that’s the wrong motivation.
I love so much about the Christian Church and the stories of the Bible and everything like that. And if only I could believe a single one of the tails, they would have had me, but that was just not there. So when obviously, was Japan always then going to be your adversary? Nope. was the second choice, was the better choice.
initially, Peter Han was going to be the adversary because Peter pan scared the bejesus out of me as a little kid. we went to the Disney movie. Everything was life and wonderful and spectacular and all that kind of stuff. But what I understood of it is this Peter pan guy goes to two good family’s houses and steals the children in a way.
Okay. And that, through the entire rest of the movie, just. Scared the [00:52:00] child is piss out of me. And I had a nightmare for four days afterwards. our bedroom, was, we had the split level ranch and our bedroom was in the, the sort of basement, the kind that, you have a, A little window high up on the wall, but outside that little window was like right at ground level.
So it was one of those kinds of affairs. Yeah. So I would, I would lie awake watching that window, knowing that he could get in at any time. And I, you know, what was I going to do? And I had my brother and I shared a bedroom. He had the, The bed away from the window. I had a right under and it’s like, yeah, he’s coming after me first.
so I was, I was very much afraid of Peter pan. and so I was going to go with that and, and the original version of Peter pan was going to be, the adversary is still continuing to still children. Its power source was a Tinkerbell who. came across as this, you know, light and lovely little, little pixie is saying, but was actually [00:53:00] a, a terrible demonic thing captured by Peter pan and forced to, to empower all of us.
Yeah. and so, captain hook was going to be the good guy, rescuing, he would, bring. the ship into Neverland every once in a while. And every, every once in a while, 16 and getting a few of those kids that never grew up back, back home and the original captain cook was of the visual design was blue beard, which is why the F the first time, when, when I found out we couldn’t use captain hook or any of the Peter pan.
This house. the first time you see blue beer, since it was that design business, little wink of a, of a hook under glass, as one of his trophies up on the walls. If you look for it, that’s very cool, but that was going to be the first adversary. And then DC comics said, yep. You know, you did very good work and making sure that everything you tried to use here is in the public domain.
And Peter pan is absolutely in the public domain, in the U S but it is not yet in the public domain, in the UK, [00:54:00] because of the Ormond Sachar children’s hospital, which, Jim Berry, I was spacing his name, willed all rights to the Peter pan stuff to keep the hospital going. And as a result, parliament passed a special extension of, of, copyright, so that the hospital wouldn’t lose.
Their income. And, so they said, so we really can’t use them because we want to sell books in the UK. I go, well, I guess that’s okay. And plus I don’t want to be the guy known as the, the, the fellow stealing, important hospital money from little children. I am capable of, of some degree of evil, I suppose, but, but I mean, I’m gonna say, but looking back though, you must have, have to admit that Japan was actually the better idea for it.
I think it’s better idea. it feels way more organic, to be honest, the, it should have occurred. We’ll see. I wanted, because of Peter pan that someone that everyone thought was a hero, I was going to make up a villain. So we’re looking [00:55:00] for. Who’s the replacement adversary. And when I say we, lots of people were making suggestions, but it was ultimately my choice.
And I’m just going down this mental list of who were considered nice loving characters that I can, I can legitimately make into a villain and a. Part of the problem is that I set for myself as said, everything in the original tale has to have happened. So you can’t just say, no, it didn’t happen like this.
It happened like this instead. so I needed someone where I could say, okay, so did, I was kind of a decent person, but you know, became a villain. And the, the puppet master was obviously right. They’re just crying to be used such a way. Coincidentally when I finally re-read the original story, before Disney.
Yeah. Cleaned it up and made him so, so loving and gentle, Japan was a mean old man story. he had a legitimate desire to have a son and [00:56:00] there was love in that relation, but he was a cranky old bastard. I felt justified in saying that he had issues, he had depths, he had levels. and then hopefully in the story of, of how he incrementally became the ad, that I justified it, that it’s like, yes, I can see how.
You know, you don’t wake up and decide, I shall be evil from now on although many, a comic villain, that’s their origin instead increment by increment. Eventually, you know, it looks back and says, Oh, okay. At some point I set out to rule everything. and even then. I wanted to go, do you remember this checklist of the ultimate overlord on how so many evil characters in so many books, stories and movies are just idiots and they have a checklist of things you should never do.
If you capture [00:57:00] James Bond, kill him immediately, that type of stuff. I just had, he had to be smart enough to, not hit anything on that checklist, as far as the things to watch out for. But at the same time, if he did, there would be at least at the time, a damn good reason for, you know, and, so I had a lot of fun, which had pedo and in hindsight, he was so much better a, an ultimate villain first choice.
I think it was interesting with, Japan as the adversary is that, Is that you, obviously, we created it. You call them the ad, the adversary from obviously bill biblical, but he’s also on the other hand, a creator and a puppeteer. So in a weird way, you do seem to have a melding of have a God character on some level and the adversary as well, mixed into one.
Well sort of, I was influenced by the, similarity and or a symbol. Yeah. Am I pronouncing that correctly? Tolkien’s [00:58:00] work. Awesome. I think so. Really thank you. where, the kind of distorted races of middle earth, the orcs and such where this one Malkoff or whatever his attempt to. Make his own race, the way the God of middle earth or, or that, that mythos, they, the elves and the men.
And so, and he was, he was arrogant. Well, I, I can create a race too, and I’m going to create a race better than the ELLs, right? The Orix for the closest he could, you know, we’ll get to that, showing that, that, you know, even your creative urges is if you’re not the guy, the best you can do as a corrupted version.
And to a certain extent that is your pedo, he’s creative, but what he created was ultimately a corrupt, although not, not as visually, so with the like oryx, but, but in their, their spiritual essence. if you want to say, the adversary. [00:59:00] Yes, there was some, some, a biblical reference in there. but also there was just a practical consideration, which is you gotta call the bad guy something.
And, the tyrant and taken the overlord is, you know, a lot of the good names were taken, but the adversary, what’s still available. Well, like I said, I think that what you do with and, and I missed her. That was a fantastic, reveal as well. And I think, well, the other thing I thought was kind of intro when I thought about the importance of the pedo and that, and those issues is that, once I think a lot of people, maybe myself included.
Kind of thought that one pedal was defeated. That was going to be the wrap up to the series. Did you always know you’re going to go to the one 50 issues or was there initially a thought that the defeat of Japan is the end goal of that? Well, I wanted to go a long time. I would have loved to have gone 301 issues just because [01:00:00] Dave SIM.
You know, set this record with 300 and I wanted to do one better. I do better with the long Epic, slow to reveal type stories then than short done in one type stuff. so anytime I set out to tell a story, it it’s, it’s intended to be a saga and sometimes it works out and sometimes it doesn’t, sales being the.
The ultimate decider of that. so I wanted it to go a long time and I knew going into it that, that, that when Japan was forced to sign the fable town compact, that was the last issue. and that was, you know, there was plenty of stuff to do before we got here to that. so I always had the, you know, I have the first couple of stories in mind.
I have the very last story in mind and now let’s see what happened in between. but. As we were going, I began to feel that the last story was getting kind of [01:01:00] stale in my mind, if that makes sense, sense that, either get to it or, or do something else because this is, you know, these are, these are old rotten crackers now.
So I decided to just do it and like with many things, once I knew that fables had legs. And that we were going to be able to pretty much go for as long as we wanted to. I challenged myself as like, okay, we’ll do this and then we’ll go on from it. And I don’t know how we’re going to go on from it, but I’ve got confidence.
I, I have a bit of an ego, many things I plant in stories. I plant purposely not. Knowing what they’re going to be, but I know that there’ll be important someday. and then if they are indeed important Sunday, here’s a trick for all writers, plant a lot of stuff that you don’t explain right away.
Yeah. Eventually you’ll come up with great things for that stuff that you planted and then your readers will [01:02:00] look, you go, Oh my God, God. He had this figured out 75 issues ago. He’s a genius. And I would say no super genius. If you don’t mind. And the thing is as with a good stage or a swindling psychic, they remember the stuff that eventually became came important and, and a big reveal and all that other stuff you planted.
And he never did work out something to do with it. They, they forgot that because it was just a little done in one thing at the beginning. And, and. You know, people forget things that aren’t important to the story. so it’s a win, win, you know, you look like a super genius. So feeling my oats talked it over with a, and I said, yeah, let’s, let’s bring this part to a close and do the war and do the Japan joining fable town, and then just continue.
And, Shelly bond was a little worried that Shelly bond, the series editor say, well, what are you going to do next? And you go, Oh, you’ll see. [01:03:00] And Oh, go ahead. The truth is I had no idea. But I pulled off the, Oh, you’ll see, because she had, Oh, okay. You, you you’re, you’re driving the ship. You go. Now. Now one of the interesting things I think about how you finally wrapped it up, maybe it’s, it’s interesting to me.
I don’t know, but it felt like you definitely kind of subvert subverted some expectations at the end of that series, because I think most people were expecting the major showdown and, you know, and it kind of, it, it ends on a very. Kind of hopeful, positive note where you’ve seen the belt, you’re going to build up to one hell, you know, a massive battle.
Did you, were, were you trying to, I’m trying to like try to suggest that there are peaceful resolutions or, and as well. And then to answer that question as well also, did you feel that people were going to be. either disappointed that there wasn’t gonna be that major battle, or do you think they felt happier that it would have been resolved in a positive manner?
I knew in advance that there would be people [01:04:00] upset that the big fine final war to end all Wars, didn’t happen. you gotta understand if you go back and look at that buildup, if they had that battle, that’s it. all of them. And even as, as you know, some of the powers that they brought into play, the world doesn’t survive.
It there’s no way it does. so yeah, they could have had the battle and that would have ended the series. It would have been kind of a pretty grim ending of the series. but there are times, few and far between in which, you know, great forces came opposed to each other. And they realize this is, this is foolishness.
And they worked it out. the tradition of having a partly before big battles where you’ve got your forces lined up with each other, didn’t didn’t occur. And wasn’t like, Locked into such a steadfast tradition because [01:05:00] it never worked. the, the partly had to work, many times otherwise they would have just discarded that as a, as a, you know, needless little bit of precedence before.
Get into it. so I decided to do that story instead, and yes, I knew they were people that, that got upset, but we’d done big battles. We’d done a lot of big battles and fables by that. exploring the story of what happens when you go to, or, and, the big story after Japan auto turned out to be a very timely.
Bit of business with the first Iraq war having just taken place, that shows that the, you know, the only thing worse than winning a war is, I mean, losing a war is winning it, you know, because the troubles are manifests. so the, the whole. Mr dark issues and all that after that was all the troubles that result from, from winning the war.
so yeah, [01:06:00] we’d done war to Wars in big ways. We did, the sloppy. We didn’t expect this kind of war from fable town. We did the, the more elegant and magical because there were, there were spiritual underpinnings to it, Wars that flycatcher, engaged in and his creation of, of the city of Haven. we could have done another war, but in my mind that would have been boring.
so I thought let’s try it. Yeah, the, the more difficult thing of there should be a war, but instead we decided to have a piece, ending. and, I think it worked in the sense that I think there was enough groundwork laid in the buildup to it, to where you can see. Okay, this could have happened.
and that there was a price. There’s a price for peace, even as there’s a price for war, just total capitulation on, on some nations part, you know, snow and, and, Rose red. [01:07:00] As a result of this, went far away from each other for, for a thousand years and never spoke to each other. And then, then the very last fables we saw that they were about to.
But we never saw that conversation because, you know, did it still mean that yeah, we can’t be sure the same room, the same world, whatever you, you need to go back and, and we need to be far apart. Right. so there was, you know, in that sense of terrible price, terrible sacrifice for this resolution, I thought it was legitimate.
I think several readers did too. And several readers said Bob boo hiss. and, I would not go so far as to say one group of breeders is absolutely right. And one is absolutely wrong. I think that at least I thought it was a fascinating way to end it, especially cause I think it does open the idea of, resolution without violence, which I think in many ways is a beautiful way to be moral to, to that long standing series with all the, everything that happened.
But, anyways, so we [01:08:00] talked about it for about 80 minutes, so I, where I’m going to, We’re going to get there. But before we do that, when I say, what can fans do at this current time to help you given that, obviously conventions are out and everything else? Well, not much. I mean, here’s the thing I.
I don’t need fans and readers to help me in the sense that, you know, things aren’t bad here. I’m living the good best life. I’ve got a nice home down in the woods by the river. it is the, the best place. In order to write stories that I’ve ever lived in. I’ve been well off and I’ve been poor. I’ve enjoyed both.
but well off gets you a nicer place to write stories in and a nicer view. You’re, you’re a, a writing room. I don’t, I don’t need help in that sense. we did a fables con. once just because of all the conventions I’ve been to, like everyone else, [01:09:00] I suppose I’ve made this list of here’s things that work at a convention and here’s things they should stop doing.
Absolutely. and I get a little grunt, like I I’ve, it looked forward to for many years becoming this grumpy old man and, and I, I previewed it at many, a convention, and did the convention with, with lots and lots of help from, from good people. but it came off wonderfully, because it was designed to be here’s everything that should be in a convention and everything it shouldn’t.
and that happened. And by Sunday, the last day of the show, I was finally beginning to relax a little bit and say, this may actually work. And then it turned out that there were zero complaints from anyone who attended as a guest and zero complaints from anyone who attended as a, a, an attending member.
and it turned out a wonderful time. And I said to myself, well, why not? Quit while you’re ahead. And because there were promotional needs and all [01:10:00] that kind of stuff still, I did more conventions, but in my mind, that was like, that was, that was good. Let’s. Let’s end on a high note. Yeah. So I don’t really miss conventions.
I like the one thing I liked about, doing San Diego show and things like that, it was a mess and I was just miserable. Yeah. Entire time, except for when we were sitting at the, the fables table with a S dining. And I got to spend a little bit of time with every single person who was willing to, to line up and, and.
And have me sign for something for them. and some didn’t even have anything to sign. So we just had a little chat, and I love that because, When you write for a living, it’s a very solitary exercise. It’s not a performance art, unless you’re Harlan Ellison in a story or window. but it’s very, very lonely.
And every once in a while you need that kind of spiritual kick in the head reminding you that these aren’t just being sent out and thrown in a dumpster [01:11:00] that people are reading these and you’re having an effect on people’s lives. So that’s nice to say that favorite part. I missed, I missed. My 20 minute chance to have a conversation with Sarah, Michelle Gellar, Buffy fame.
Because of that, I had this, I had this attitude, I swore to myself that seen many people do signings and it sort of just. treating the, the customer, the person to wait in line like cattle and, you know, the sign in the stuff. But at the same time, they’re having a conversation with the, the other comics star next to them, or what have you.
And I always thought that was a cheat. And I, I swore that when the, the person who you waited in line, as they’re in front of me, they get all of me for four they’re allotted five minutes or so. Yeah. and a few times. That was interrupted by, by, other comics pros that, that step to the head of the line, thinking that they had some kind of special dispensation.
and at one point I saw [01:12:00] the, the girl who’s turned. It was, when this happened. And I’m trying to, to hint to this guy that maybe, you know, what he had to say to me, wasn’t as important as he thought. And finally, I said to her, I just want you to know you’re going to get your full a lot in amount of time.
After he’s gone. And I think that had him give him, gave him the hint, but anyway, so that was my attitude. So I finished up one of the signing sessions at San Diego show. And this was back in the days when the DC booth was the exact gravitational center of the entire sales floor or the dealer’s floor.
And so anyone who was everyone, came through there. And I saw it, you know, Ian McClellan and, you know, I got thrown off on a escalator by one of William Shatner. His bodyguard is, you know, but so I was doing the signing and, when I get done and one of the DC guys, it may have been, John Cunningham, but now the memory is vague, but he [01:13:00] asked me after it was like, what did you and Sarah Michelle Gellar talk about?
You know, what are you talking about? Because you and Sarah, Michelle Gellar, she was standing there. Apparently she was standing there at my table, but not willing to intrude, just waiting for her time for me to notice her and chat a bit. and I never noticed it. I never, my attention was the person in front of me and then the next in line and then the next in line and all that kind of stuff, really, she stayed there for about 20 minutes and then gave up and left.
Now take this with a grain of salt because Cunningham is a Merry prankster. And one of the reasons I, I very much liked. His time at DC. it stolen him away from, I think st. Martins press or something, but anyway, so that may be all bullshit. well maybe not. I think the universe owes me 20 minutes with Sarah Michelle Gellar, but I’m not, I’m not certain well we’ll, we’ll have to do a shout out to Sarah Michelle Gellar on the, when we posted me like everybody.
[01:14:00] Sarah Michelle Gellar needs. It’s 20 minutes with mr. Bill Willingham. You know, she gave it apparently 20 minutes and then gave up. And I, I feel that, yeah, the university to me, but, but for good, good reasons. It’s like, it was, it was the price one pays when one dedicates itself to the fan. So yes, I will miss.
Interaction with fables readers nowadays, we can’t really have that even, even if we do have, I have conventions, So I appreciate the fact that you’re out there and I trust the fact that you’re out there, even if I can’t directly hear from you. thank you very much. we’ll try and do something nice and fables for you, in the future before, I’m dead, dead, dead.
but we’ll see. Well, we definitely look forward to it. Like you said, your PayPal series definitely go down as one of the most well regarded run, especially at vertical, but definitely in comic books. And I remember reading the issues and I loved them. I think he did a fantastic job. I appreciate that. [01:15:00] I’m still at the stage where, when I reread them all, I can see as the things I wish I’d done differently or a little more elegantly.
hopefully one day that will pass every once in a while. I can look back at an old, old story and say, you know what, not so bad. I hope that comes to so that I can, I can be a, enjoy reading fables guy too. Well, I hope so. Thank you so much for talking to me, mr. Willington. I really did appreciate it.