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Fable Comics Blogtour: The Boy Who Cried Wolf

As was mentioned previously, Fleen today participates in the blogtour for Fable Comics from :01 Books; for those of you that have been following the tour¹ for the past ten days, know that we’re only about a third of the way through the book, and there’s plenty more to come. But in today’s installment we look at the well-known (perhaps the best known of all the fables, anywhere, ever) The Boy Who Cried Wolf, and we consider a question that has perhaps never been asked of a fable before.

Namely, Is there anybody that works as much emotional heft into as few lines as Jaime Hernandez?

Check out the first bit of action in the brief story [click to embiggen]: the colors are flat and contrasting, the clothes and sky and grass as simple as could be, but the faces in in panel one! An extra bit of wobble in a line turns a mouth to a panicked rictus, a few droplets of sweat and slight shifts of posture into crouches turns villagers into men prepared to give their lives to preserve their families and flocks from danger.

Panel two’s simple shrug couldn’t be simpler, the face couldn’t contain fewer details and still be a face, and yet they tell us everything about that shepherd boy. Maybe, just maybe, it was sheer boredom and not malice that prompted the first cry of wolf!, and panel three still leaves him the possibility of knocking off the nonsense. Panel four, he’s edging up to the line of no return.

Panel five. Bam. He’s lost whatever moral struggle he had and gone over to the dark side.

We know what happens next — a repeat, false contrition (I think it might have been real a few panels ago, but now it’s not), and then the inevitable occurs. Enter wolf, stage right [click to embiggen] and it’s suddenly chaos, frantic motion, a Chuck Jones cartoon, all flailing limbs and speed lines. The wolf is a black amorph, all curves when sneaking, limbs not even in view when running flat out, the space of a panel too small to contain his swift traverse. It’s only when the wolf plummets over the cliff that it appears as creature and not force of nature.

And then it wraps up [click to embiggen], with the sure knowledge that nobody will ever believe anything he says again, not even hello, all tied up not in the protestations of panels two, three, and four, but in the slump of shoulders in the final panel [click to embiggen]. Six pages, a handful of drawings per page, as little detail as humanly possible. There are very few pixels in these images, very little actual signal, and the message comes through loud and clear. And that, my friends, is why Jaime Hernandez is (and always will be) a national treasure.

Fleen thanks Gina Gagliano at :01 for the review copy of Fable Comics, and for the high resolution artwork included today.

Spam of the day:

Subject: There’s a new message

Man, even if your “message” didn’t consist solely of a link to an obviously bogus site, you think I would actually respond to LinkedIn? They’re the biggest spammers on the planet.

¹ Not unlike following The Dead, only with fewer hippies.

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