Bill Willingham's amazing graphic novel series Fables is one of those unbelievably, game-changingly epic series, one where I'm just as excited to get a peek at the edges of the world and the backstory of the characters as I am to see how the grand sweep of the plot turns out. The last one of these I can remember is Stephen King's Gunslinger books, where the sidewise discursions were as exciting as the forward movement.
Volume 18 of the Fables was published last week, and it's definitely more sidewide than forwards. Cubs in Toyland is a blood-freezingly scary episode exploring the ancient parent's nightmare of a child spirited away, one that combines the inherent creepiness of anthropomorphic toys (Chucky, anyone?) with the mythic resonances of the Fisher King.
By the time it was over, I was wrung out, but not exhausted. For all that my emotions had been taken through the gamut of wonderment, fear, disgust, suspense and triumph, I wanted more. Specifically, more about the future of the Fables, and the place where they will all go when the tale has run its course. In other words, this is yet another volume where Willingham hits it out of the park; it's reason enough for you to start reading the series, or to keep up with it.
Fables, Vol. 18: Cubs in Toyland
When I was a kid, I was terrified of farting in class. At home, it was no big deal: it was a daily fart festival with my family. But at school? TOTAL FEAR OF FLATULENCE. But then it dawned on me: EVERYBODY FARTS. And that’s one of the reasons why I’ve decided to write a graphic novel about how our bodies work. It’s about all the stuff that goes on inside our bodies daily, or throughout our lives, and that this stuff – whether it’s digestion, or respiration, or defecation – is necessary for us to live. And it gives you excellent come-back material if anyone teases you for farting in school!
Alan Turing and the codebreakers of Bletchley Park invented modern crypto and computers in the course of breaking Enigma ciphers, the codes that Axis powers created with repurposed Enigma Machines — sophisticated (for the day) encryption tools invented for the banking industry — to keep the Allies from listening in on their communications.
In 1948, the Institute of Applied Science commissioned an unknown illustrator to depict a fistful of squirming, terrified criminals caught in an authoritative fist, under the headline “CAUGHT BY THEIR FINGERTIPS” — they were advertising a home Criminal Investigation and Identification course.
The Lytro Illum dares to be different, boasting even more robust features than its first generation predecessor and a sleek design reminiscent of professional DSLRs. What’s so cool about it? Most cameras capture the position of light rays, producing a statoc 2D image.
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