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Headscratchers: Fables
  • If the belief in their stories in the Mundane world sustains and empowers them, then why is the Adversary waging all-out war on both the Fables and the Mundanes, and turning the planet into a prison in the aftermath? You'd think that someone as resourceful and clever as Geppetto would realize he'd be slitting his own throat with his plan.
    • Actually, people are believing in Fables less and less. But once the big bad wolf shows up and starts chowing on relatives, your belief in him skyrockets. While the adversary threatened to exterminate the mundanes, his real plan is subjugation - a which point their belief can be amplified, controlled, and directed at approporiately loyal targets.
    • The Adversary rules a massive Fable empire filled with subjects no human had ever heard of, and they all seem to be fine. Besides, Geppetto had been conquering for centuries before The Adventures of Pinocchio was published in the 1880s. If anyone has cause to doubt the human belief theory, it's him.
    • It's probable he doesn't know about that theory, and if he did... he wouldn't like it. His goverment confiscated all the magic artifacts for a reason, he doesn't want more powerful subjects that he already has because they would be more difficult to control.
    • The Voice of God has been very clear that the idea that Fables' power is tied to their popularity is just an in-universe theory held by the Fables, not a fundamental rule. He has heavily implied that the real rules of the universe are more complicated, or at least different. Even if they turn out to be right, as mentioned above, the Adversary very well may not believe it. Even among Fables it isn't a universal theory.
    • They way it's been presented so far is that it only allows them to live through otherwise deadly wounds, and Geppetto had enough magic protection on him not to really care.
    • The Adversary does have spies on the Mundane world. He -knows- that the more the humans believe in the Fables, the more powerful they get. Coincidence? Maybe. But it would scare anyone with common sense. Plus, they have guns. Sniper rifle from half a mile beats Ten Foot Stun Ray any day of the week.
    • It isn't completely clear that the popularity power (even if correct) applies only to the Mundane world. There are "mundy's" inhabiting all the Fable worlds too - the common people who do not figure in any stories. These people presumably have tales and legends and fables of their own, perhaps overlapping ones with those in the Mundane world. It could be that the Fable worlds empower each other.
  • By its own Canon, the "normal" Narnia is dead and gone for anyone not in Heaven, but although it was going to pot in the final book, Aslan was ultimately the one who decided it was time to lay his creation to rest and who started its Armaggedon. In Fables, how certain is it that the Adversary personally destroyed that world, and how possible is it that he simply claims to have destroyed that world? Is this whole thing a simple nod to Narnia, or merely another author's Take That?
    • He never said it was Narnia ;) Also when asked he denies it is, it would be too much of a stretch to pay the copyright.
      • Or, if you want to be really bleak about it all, The Last Battle might have been made up. In Voyage of the Dawn Treader, it's hinted at one point that C. S. Lewis wrote these stories because the Pevensie children told him about their experiences in Narnia (he refers briefly to a conversation he had with Lucy about the story). But The Last Battle has no actual survivors, so there's nobody left to go back to our world and tell Lewis what happened. So when the train accident happened and the Pevensies all died, Lewis could have made up the final Narnia tale, as a way of comforting himself by imagining a happy ending for them.
    • And what's Aslan known for? Coming back from the dead/rebooting the hell out of things. Maybe the Adversary did destroy his place and it just didn't stick.
  • I know it's called "Fables", but where's Ender? Where's Known Space? Where's Dune and the 2001 where we went to Titan and Star Trek and Star Wars and the Lord of the Rings? Hell, where's Dungeons and Dragons? These things all occupy just as much, if not more, headspace as the other fables found in the comics, and yet they're not even given a passing mention.
    • When the Big Bad took over, it was scores of years ago. Presumably, something he did then shut down the "human imagination becomes real here" effect. This effect shutdown was coincidentally timed to match the advent of international copyright law.
      • I don't think that's something that can be shut down. Possibily those worlds exist but the Adversary and the other more classic don't know about them. Which is good because this gives them time to preparate to fight him before he finds allies among them.
      • It was centuries ago. And yet not only are characters from The Jungle Book present, so is King Louie.
    • Most of 'em aren't public domain.
      • If it isn't public domain, Willingham can't use it, you are asking for the impossible... or at least the expensive.
      • Speaking of which, HP Lovecraft's works recently became public domain. What would this mean for all of the characters?
      • Lovecraft? You saw what came out when the Bagman in Jack of Fables was cut open, right? ^_~
      • Also, worlds dominated by unspeakable horrors are unlikely to be touched by the Big Bad's armies, let alone conquered.
      • This is also why the Adversary was Geppetto. Originally, The Adversary was intended to be Peter Pan.
    • Maybe it takes a century or two for ideas from this side to filter over there. Or maybe the sci-fi realms all won their fights against the Adversary, and so none of their Fables had to flee to Earth.
      • Say, about as long as it takes for copyright to wear off and for characters and worlds to enter into the public domain? Perhaps the Obstructive Bureaucrats who keep extending copyright protection are servants of the Adversary, making it harder for “our” world to intersect with the Fables’ worlds.
      • Considering that the Adversary has all of fiction to conquer, I think it's more likely that he's deliberately avoiding the sci-fi worlds. Remember that he doesn't want modern age weaponry because that puts a peasant on the same footing with his greatest warlock.
    • I'm guessing most of those things just aren't Fables. They may take up a lot of headspace, but each of them are basically the invention of one or a few persons. I think it's the act of imagining them that creates/sustains Fables, and just consuming stories about ready-made characters isn't enough. Creepy thought: The Harry Potter created in masses of erotic fanfiction may be a Fable while the one created by JK Rowling isn't.
      • Dungeons and Dragons is the product of hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people all imagining and designing worlds. Wouldn't those worlds exist?
      • Maybe that's what fills the Adversary's armies.
      • None of those worlds is actively imagined the same way by many people, the way the Big Bad Wolf is, though.
      • On the other hand Narnia and Oz, both with one creator, are mentioned. One guy isn't a limit.
      • Neither is mentioned, as neither is Public Domain. Both have been merely implied.
      • Narnia is copyrighted. Oz isn't. The USA rule for copyright expiry is first published before 1923, and the EU rule is last surviving author died before 1938. Oz author L. Frank Baum died in 1919; do the math.
    • I think that in the Fableverse the Fables that exist there never really went out of style and remained around. This is supported by the popularity of Jack's movies, the cubs playing with action figures of Jack and King Arthur and in an early comic Blue, Pinnochio and Flycatcher are seen reading comics called Oz-Men, Red Hood: Riding Hood Returns, and Fairytale Four.
    • Kevin Thorn was revealed as the creator of all the Fables.. and he had his memory wiped for a while. He didn't write Star Trek so Star Trek doesn't get Fables.
    • According to King Cole's "remembrance" speech in Legends in Exile, the Fables lived in "a thousand separate kingdoms, spread over a hundred worlds." The Empire, in other words, spanned at least a hundred worlds, possibly more — and since the unconquered worlds knew little about one another, it's not that unlikely that there are many more worlds out there. All the above-mentioned worlds could be either undiscovered as of yet, or even already conquered by the Empire, even if the narrative hasn't mentioned them.
    • In Jack of Fables, Jack Frost has adventures in a number of generic sci-fi-y worlds (mostly reminiscent of 1950's-60's golden age scifi). The Empire definitely had not conquered them. Either they couldn't, didn't want to, or had not gotten around to trying yet.
    • Geppetto had major problems fighting a small number of soldiers armed with modern firearms; in all likely hood he decided that sci-fi worlds where to tough and egg to crack for the moment.
  • In #80, the Woodland collapses. Post 9/11. On the upper west side of Manhattan. And they were able to get out of there without any issues worth mentioning?
    • Mr. Dark mind screwed the city into ignoring it.
      • Mr. Dark only arrived at the scene long after the buildings had collapsed and the Fabletown residents had fled. Maybe he retroactively made people forget the whole thing, but that doesn't explain why the Fables had seemingly no problems getting out of there.
      • Any authorities that might have responded to the scene would cease to matter once Mr. Dark arrived.
    • The Fables have had many years to make their home-street a place of magical power. When things go bad, it is extremely difficult for the Mundanes to give a hoot.
      • Yes, but it's specified that all the spells they put up to keep people from noticing dropped right before the building did (part of why it was able to collapse at all).

  • So, now we have the Literals, beings who represent literary concepts instead of merely characters, and are thus exponentially more powerful. So, does that mean that we might be seeing a Literal that governs Rule 34 in the future?
    • Not after the Great Fables Crossover. Willingham has confirmed that nothing more will be mentioned of the Literals in either title.
  • The entire Flycatcher-has-his-own-kingdom arc. Leaving aside the fact that's he's a complete Mary Sue; he protects his kingdom with an anti-magic field of limited range. Hasn't the Empire ever heard of catapults?
    • Looks like they don't have any, guess it's just easier to just have giants throw rocks
    • Totally ignoring the fact that catapaults would be utterly useless against an army of ghosts. What would they have done, annoy Fly to death?
    • Plus Fly's people have their own long range attacks. The giants and or any beasties launching the rocks would be vulnerable.

  • Where did Sam go? Did he run off and is how hiding in a plothole?
    • If you mean the fable that Jack meet He got a fate worse than death. He was condemed to roam the earth for a thousand years without being able to be seen, heard or felt by anyone.
    • That was retconned in the final Jack arc. He's back to normal now. How was never explained.
      • He fell into a Plot Hole and is now normal.

  • Sure, Jack of all Tales is a gigantic jerk but when has he ever went against the Fables in a real dangerous way? When the Adversary is running rough-shod all over them and friends are dropping like flies, they don't even -consider- picking up the one guy who is, at this point, pretty much unkillable and sending him against the bad guys.
    • And now to play Devil's Advocate against what I just wrote; they know Jack was kicking ass in Americana and the other locales and let him. But they should have mentioned it. Would have been a nice cross-over ad.
    • Goldilocks pretty conclusively established that being unable to die does not a battle win. One man, immortal or otherwise, can't hope to stand alone against a massive empire the spans hundreds of worlds.
      • Jack is pretty horrible when it comes to wars. Remember the Bookburner episode? He was quite literally ignoring the screams of his dying troops in order to have his willie waxed. At this point, I think the Fables Powers That Be would have killed him years ago if it was at all possible.
      • Jack would be useless in war, no matter how powerful he is. He is completely unreliable, cares only for himself, and does not obey orders.

  • I know that instability may just be part of the nature of the series, but how is Jack both part literal, and a copy of Wicked John?
    • WMG here, but the fact that Jack was a copy doesn't mean that all other people also had a copy... basically, I think the universe retconned him into being a fable/literal hybrid, and then have the same life as Wicked John

  • In the first story arc, Bigby Wolf should be able to tell through his super-canine sense of smell that the blood spilled in Rose Red's apartment was not fresh, but had been stored in the refrigerator. I thought I would add this because it is a literal case of Fridge Logic.
    • As the mention of his super-senses come later, they may have been a sort of Retcon that was not explored earlier.
      • Alternatively, it's implied that he knew something wasn't as it seemed at the start of the investigation, a combination of clues, as well as the fact he was enjoying doing more then deal with drunk Fables for once meant he wanted his "Poirot Moment" at the end of the investigation. And he enjoyed just stringing Snow along.
      • The super senses were mentioned in issue two. Bigby tells Snow his nose identified the blood as Rose Red's.

  • When Mr. Dark unbound the Witching Cloak, he cancelled out every other spell in the area as well. So why wasn't Grimble's disguise cancelled as well?
    • MAYBE Grimble's disguise works as Beast's or Bigby's- After all, if all spells were cancelled, Beast shouldn't be able to become Beast anymore, and Bigby should have become a wolf , due to being human-shaped thanks to the dagger instead of his own abilities.
    • Mr. Dark only sent a spell of unbinding, which relate to the cloak, etc. As Grimble's disguise is a glamour and Beast's was a transformation, they don't count as bindings.

  • Why did it take everyone centuries, even within the empire to figure out that the Emperor was really Geppetto? Everything pointed towards him from the beginning, what with his troops, and depictions of the Empire couldn't seem to decide if it was actually a secret or an "open secret".
    • Its simple and not really a headscratcher since its perfectly established in the series: the wooden soldiers are Elite Mooks, only sent for special missions or made to impersonate people and take their place. The common Mooks are Orcs, goblins, giants, dragons, normal human soldiers and whatever else from the many worlds conquered by The Empire. The Fables didn't even know about the wooden soldiers until the specific Story Arc introduced them. As for Geppetto, pincochio and by extension the fables came to the conclusion that rather than killed in the invasion, he was captured and forced to create the wooden soldiers. Not only that, but the Empire is so mind-numbingly large that most people don't even know who Geppetto is, and just think that he's some old man that talks to the Emperor and is for some reason considered important despite being some old woodcarver. Really, the only ones in the Empire who do know are Geppetto's sons, the Snow Queen, The Emperor and possibly The Nome King and Baba Yaga and Frau totenkinder, but she didn't tell the fables that.
  • What determines how and when Fables age? It seems to be fairly random. Some of them are old people and some of them are 20 or 30 somethings forever. Is everyone in the Homelands a Fable, and by that I mean immortal, and ageless? Because that doesn't jar with the pictures of the Homelands we've seen - everyone should be in their 20's in terms of appearance. Also, you'd have generation upon generation of immortals cooped up with each other instead of the sensible progressing of aging and dying that we see in most of the character's backstories. Are only "named" Fables immortal and ageless with the rest being average humans, the literary equivalent of "extras"? If so, why isn't this noticed.
    • Geppetto told Boy Blue when talking about getting rid of some of his co-conspirators about trying to figure out if they where like "Us". It would seem that the immortality thing true of every person living in the homeland. It probably has to do if the person is a character in a folktale or not.

  • How did Jack pull his postmortem Karma Houdini moment at the end of his series? I seem to recall that each Deal with the Devil included buying up the previous agreement.
    • If I understand the implied question, Jack has spend much time and effort into making himself incredibly powerful and near-unkillable.
    • That's not it at all. Jack had made a series of life-extending deals with devils, each one IIRC roughly saying, "I'll give you more life and buy out your current contract, but you'll be mine." Then all the devil figures he'd made deals with all pop up upon his death, thinking they have a unique claim on him, when each one has dialogue when they establish Jack's soul-selling past that pretty bluntly implies they all knew he had an existing deal at the time he made the new one, and were going to take care of it as part of the deal. They literally *had no reason to be arguing* and let Jack slip away like a bunch of idiots; only his most recent deal was valid.

  • In issue 60, Kay reveals to Frau Totenkinder that he's used his abilities to see sins on her, and confronts her with the fact that while she traditionally maintained her power by killing two children a year, she now draws power from hundreds of deaths. She responds that the way she invests her wealth is perfectly legal in the mundy world. Um, what? Exactly what kind of venture can you legally support that kills hundreds of children a year? Do abortion clinics sell stock? What activities could she possibly be financing?
    • Depends on how much blame can be attributed to her if she doesn't do the kill personally, she can be financing: Abortion clinics, "War", Weapons, assorted poisons, hitmen, drugs, etc.
    • She runs and funds abortion clinics, yes. You'll remember that the Fables see abortion as inherently evil (Snow White says as much after she finds out she's pregnant).
  • This question has spoilers for the "Peter & Max" novel. Why was Frau Totenkinder unable to kill Max when she was later shown to be capable of nearly taking out a primal force of darkness who could affect things on a planetary scale?
    • It's a matter of skill vs strength in regards to magic. Mister Dark had alot of power, but isn't particularly good at using it efficiently. Both Frau Totenkinder and Max Piper are extremely skilled in how they use their magic.
      • Not a bad theory, but is there any proof of this?
      • Yes. There has been many Fables pages devoted to people practicing their magic craft; magic tends to be a case of brains defeats brawn.
      • How would that prove the embodiment of darkness is less skilled in magic than Totenkinder?
      • The same way that a middleweight wrestler can perform flashier moves than a heavyweight one. When you have so much raw power over time you get used to just blasting people to take them down, while those with less power have to use their abilities more creatively, such as using a small amount of magic to pinch off the artery supplying blood to your brain.

  • In Animal Farm, the rebelling Farm Fables, armed with guns, immediately surrender when Snow White reveals that she is backed up by Clara, the dragon, considering themselves hopelessly outgunned. However, in War and Pieces we see that even entire armies of dragons are no match for modern firearms.
    • Possible explanations 1) In War and Pieces the dragons were felled by anti-aircraft munitions, while the Farm Fables in Animal Farm had mostly anti-personnel automatic weapons. Clara could possibly have simply flown higher than the effective range of these kinds of guns, and she and Snow White were lucky that the rebel Fables had not thought to arm themselves with any anti-air weapons. 2) Snow White was bluffing, but the rebel Fables, being amateurs, simply didn't know the full extent of what their weapons could do. 3) Clara is just that awesome.

  • So, what happened to the Bookburner? And more importantly, what about the poor Fables that are under his control? Are they doomed forever?

  • While all this stuff is going on, I have to ask. How are the mundies faring through all this?
    • They live, they die. Etcetera. With Mr. Dark gone, I imagine things are back to normal in NYC, giant ass castle notwithstanding. Probably got some crazy mojo on it to keep people from noticing it.

  • How can Dorothy be a Fable if she's from Kansas?
    • The same way Lancelot can be a fable and be from Britain or Sinbad can be from Baghdad. There are fable versions of each of those including a fable version of Kansas.
      • This is shown to be incorrect by the second Cinderalla Mini there is a portal to Oz above the Mundane version of Kansas and that's how she was transported to Oz. Presumably living in the Homelands can turn a Mundy into a Fable.

  • Why was the Wolf banned from the Farm? Our four-legged pals may have some bad memories of him, but it wasn't until he started eating humans only that he got to be a truly terrifying, city-leveling monster; seems that whatever cruel things he could have had time to do to any animal fables he must have done ten times over to the human ones, as he grew into the fullness of his power and voracity. (See 1001 Nights.)
    • Politics banned Wolf from the farm. Remember; anything the Fables did pre-coming-to-Earth doesn't count. Many of them did bad things. You sign the Fable compact, your slate gets wiped clean.
  • So, in the post Mr. Dark story arc why on earth were the Fabletown folks so slow when it came to helping Snow with her technical first husband? Yes, he had a lot of magic, and he was legally in the clear. But the Fables aren't supposed to be a bunch of sticklers for the rules (they're a family not a nation ruled by an uncaring government), and from what we know, the magic only protected the prince from physical harm.
    • Yes, it does seem as if they'd been authorially constrained not to deal with the situation until Rose Red and Bigby showed up, doesn't it? Was Rose really the only one capable of thinking of "knock him out and tie him up"? And also in that storyline, was Snow really planning to just keep her mouth shut and let Bigby unknowingly murder her? Even if she didn't care if she lived or died at that point, it seems like a pretty terrible thing to do to someone she loved.

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