Bill Willingham’s epic story Fables has been a well-loved comic book series since its first issue way back in 2002, and with the final issue of #150 released July 22, it appears that the story of Fabletown and its inhabitants is all but over. But it looks like secrets kept in The Farm have a way of worming out: Some extremely cool test pages from current Dr Fate artist Sonny Liew have been revealed, giving us a look into a what if … in the Vertigo world.
In a Facebook post on July 29, Liew posted some pencil tests for his own stab at Fables which he got back years after handing them in. At this point, he was fresh out of the Rhode Island School of Design, but one can see, well, the early Sonny-Liew-ness of the pages.
And while Liew didn’t get the gig (it went to Lan Medina), there was much to celebrate – he had made enough of an impression that just several months later, he was offered My Faith In Frankie with Mike Carey and Marc Hampel. And while a long-term gig like Fables is nothing to look down upon, if Liew got the gig and stayed for 150 issues, then we probably wouldn’t have had The Art Of Charlie Chan Hock Chye (our review) – possibly one of the most important pieces of Singapore literature yet. And let’s not forget Liew is still doing great work on Dr Fate!
For reference, here are pages 11 and 12 from issue #1 of Fables by Land Medina, with word balloons and all:
It’s hard to say who would have done it better without more pages to compare, but looking at the success of Fables (Mark Buckingham did most of the issues later with other rotating artists including Medina himself), I’m sure the guys at Vertigo had good reasons to choose Medina in the end. Still, it’s a nice little What If …