Super Team-Up

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Preview of Fairest #15 from Vertigo/DC Comics. Art by Stephen Sadowski and Phil Jimenez.

Super Team-Up By David Rogers

I’ve always been a fan of those team-up comic books like Marvel Team-Up and Marvel Two-In-One but now I have a real life team-up of two of my favorite comic book artists who just happen to be gay men. Stephen Sadowski and Phil Jimenez are teaming up on Fairest from DC’s Vertigo imprint starting with issue 15 which will be released in May. Fairest is a spinoff of the comic Fables focusing on many of the female characters from Fabletown in the original series, like Sleeping Beauty, Rapunzel, Cinderella, The Snow Queen, Thumbelina, Snow White, Rose Red and others.

"Fables chronicles the world’s most beloved fairy tale characters hiding out in a magically hidden neighborhood within Manhattan. Run out of their happily-ever-after homeworlds by a mighty conqueror known only as The Adversary, these universally recognized princes, princesses, talking animals, heroes, and villains now face a new challenge: adapting to a modern world filled with sex, violence, and lots of moral ambiguity."-from Vertigo Comics

Jimenez started work on the series when it debuted in 2012 and now he is collaborating with Sadowski on a brand new story arc, “The Return of the Maharaja”, which is a great place to jump on for new readers. In the story we meet Nalayani, who after her her humble village is attacked is sent on a quest that will transform all Fables forever. 

I met, and subsequently wrote about, Stephen Sadowski after my first big Comic-Con in New York City 2010, but I’ve been a fan since discovering his work in the pages of DC’s JSA in 1999. JSA was a hugely popular and critically acclaimed relaunch of the classic Justice Society of America, the first ever superhero team-up comic (The Justice Society of America debuted in All-Star Comics #3 back in 1940). I commissioned Stephen to do a sketch of Wolverine for me that I will always treasure. Along with JSA, Sadowski is known for his work on Firestorm, Hawkman, Starman, Avengers/Invaders, and Paradise X, just to name a few.


My Wolverine©™ sketch by Stephen Sadowski.

Stephen, who lives in Vancouver, told me a little about how this new project came about. “Basically, I was approached by Phil to see if I'd be interested in doing an arc with him. I sent some samples for him to ink and Shelly Bond (editor) liked what she saw and offered me the gig.”

 “It's been a great process so far,” he continued, “I'm very excited to see the final results. Writer Sean Williams has written a terrific story that will sure to be a big surprise for Fables fans and with Todd Klein lettering and Andrew Dalhouse coloring plus an Adam Hughes cover I could not be more pleased with the team!”

I met Phil Jimenez at the Pittsburgh Comic-Con in 2011 and he granted me an interview while doing a sketch of Northstar from Alpha Flight, as a line of eager but patient fans grew behind me. Phil is known for his detailed and expressive artwork on many books for both Marvel and DC like Tempest, Teen Titans, Wonder Woman, Infinite Crisis, Spider-Man and the X-Men. He also wrote The Essential Wonder Woman Encyclopedia with John Wells. 

Phil is also the co-host of The Ansible, a YouTube interview series about understanding the world of comics. On March 7th, a lively round-table discussion with Mark Waid (writer, Daredevil, Hulk, etc.), publisher Alonso Nunez, and "cosplaying power couple" Claire & Clyde Max about many hot topics, including first influences in comics,  the proper pronunciation of Micheline (hint: sounds like "pickle my knee"), and the Orson Scott Card controversy, was insightful and enlightening. I can't wait to see more.


My Northstar©™  sketch by Phil Jimenez.

I asked Phil, who lives in New York, why he had Stephen in mind for this project. “I sought out Stephen because he draws some of the most beautiful men in comics. Plus, I just thought it would be fun; I felt like I could bring something to the pencils, and I thought the book would be a wonderful showcase for Steve's work. I think I'm right.” 

I agree. 

Also, they both told me about a very exciting character who will appear in this story arc, but I've been sworn to secrecy. It will have fans in a frenzy. 

I'm always excited when someone in the LGBT community is writing, drawing, or just being represented in comic books, but Stephen and Phil working on a project together is a dream team-up. Enjoy these two great artists and storytellers joining forces in Fairest by reserving your copy now. If you live in Pittsburgh, I recommend the Eisner Award nominated Comic Shop Phantom of the Attic in Oakland, where I get all my comics. Tell 'em David sent you!

Thanks again to Phil and Stephen for chatting with me!

Fairest #15 will be released on May 1st, 2012 from Vertigo.

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