Fables Super Team: turning the Silver Age superhero inside out to find the fables within

The sixteenth collected volume in Bill Willingham's long-running Fables series is Fables Super Team, and Willingham uses the volume to demonstrate his absolutely catholic approach to mythmaking and storytelling. The Fables, faced with an impossible fight, decide to plumb new mythologies to find ways of overcoming the odds, and hit on the idea of creating an archetypal, X-Men style Super Team. They hold tryouts, locate their miniature person, their giant, their vulpine berserker, and all the other necessary personas for completing the Silver Age formula. This is a lovely bit of inside-out storytelling, a sly way of calling our attention to the ways in which the earlier comics creators filed the serial numbers off the Old Stories for the raw materials to make their spandex-clad heroes. But it's more than a conceit -- because this is Willingham, who never lets it rest at a mere conceit -- and Super Team is actually a suspenseful and sometimes scary story about hopeless bravery and impossible choices. The literal Deus Ex Machina is a rather nice touch, too.

I wouldn't try to read this until you've read the other fifteen volumes in the series. But if you haven't read those, you should.

Fables Super Team


  1. I really like Fables, but for me I was done with the Meta-statements regarding superheroes after reading all of the Marshal Law comics back in the 80s. 

  2. I love Fables and have all the other previous volumes. However, after eagerly awaiting this one I was really disappointed with it when it arrived. Just didn’t work for me, and personally I thought it was a very underwhelming ending.

     Still, hopefully that story arc is over now, because I was getting a little fed up of it.

  3. Cory, when you use small-“c” “catholic” here are you using it as a noun and accidentally omitting the capitalization? Meaning his writing is informed by the influence of the Catholic church. Or are you using it as an adjective taking meaning from the Latin/Greek origin of the word meaning a universal approach to the original author’s craft?

    I’m confused because either works, but both have divergent semantic values.

    1.  cath·o·lic  [kath-uh-lik, kath-lik] 
      adjective 1. broad or wide-ranging in tastes, interests, or the like; having sympathies with all; broad-minded; liberal.2. universal in extent; involving all; of interest to all.

      1.  I know the meaning of the word (see my own use of the word “universal” in my inquiry) I was wondering at the intent of the OP author’s use of it here. Was I ambiguous?

          1.  Not to me, that’s why I asked. I was curious about the author and wanted to know better before approaching the work Cory’s observation or if this person was a Catholic or grew up Catholic and writes modern mythos because I find that interesting also since, to me, strong theological dogmas that deal with their own heroic characters (like Samson, or Jesus, etc) would maybe offer an interesting perspective and inform the way the writer approaches the subject.

            Here’s another thing I’m not not sure if I’m reading correctly: Are you guys trying to be snarky cockbags or is that just my own read?

        1.  For some reason I can’t reply to your latest response, but even the Roman Catholic church understands the meaning of the word ‘catholic’ with a small ‘c’. Heck, they even use the small-c ‘catholic’ in the Nicene Creed. Cory’s a pretty intelligent dude and I’m pretty sure he’s aware of the difference too.

          1.  I know there’s a difference too, the fact that there’s a difference means there is more than one meaning and in this case both meanings are valid.

            So I don’t give a slim fuck anymore about this as there seems to be a contest on who can be a bigger asshole going and I wasn’t even given an entry form but here goes:

            You can do something in a (small “c”) catholic way meaning a total/universal approach.


            You can do something in a (big “C”) Catholic way, meaning informed by your upbringing in Catholicism, using your indoctrination and education of that dogma to inform your perspective on your work.

            I’m not, and never was, busting balls. I wanted to know if it was a capitalization error, because those happen. What the fuck do you guys think my agenda was here when you all got the notion of giving me a bunch of shit over a question asked as a person interested in reading some comics and wanting a clarification?

            Cory, if you’re interested, I have no beef with you (although I honestly still don’t know if you made a cap error or not but I’ll assume you didn’t and was assuming so in the first place but figured a few keystrokes worth of inquiry was a reasonable investment in getting knowing for sure) but for some reason you have some, what I can only guess, are devoted fanboys who get all assholish if someone does not automatically believe you’re incapable of missing a “SHIFT” key every so often.

            Is this like a response to some mass exodus from Gawker or something? You can’t be an asshole there all day so you need to do it here? Fuck, go to FARK. I expect it there.

    1. I’m pretty sure it’s a reference to scenes where Clark Kent ducks into a closet/phone booth/other semi-private location while saying or thinking “This is a job for …” before dramatically pausing, ripping open his shirt to reveal the S-shield on his costume, and finishing “Superman!”

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