Superficial Saturdays #1 – FABLES #71 by James Jean

I decided to start a new feature here on Five With Flores, dedicated to cool / beautiful / paper-pushing comic book covers.

Most of the discussion you’ll hear from me RE: comics is from the Alan Moore / Brian K. Vaughan / Jonathan Hickman side, but comics is more than just engaging stories, clever puns, and slavish devotion to the history of the genre… What makes comics such a unique art form is the combination of great stories and great art… And lots of that art is devoted to — you guessed it — the cover.

I decided to start this feature off with my all-time favorite piece of comics art, the cover to FABLES #71 by James Jean:

Fables 71
Comic: FABLES #71
Artist: James Jean

The subject of this piece is glass slipper princess Cinderella (though if you are not a regular FABLES reader you probably never would have guessed that). Bill Willingham’s re-imagination of popular storybook characters like Snow White and The Big Bad Wolf in the modern era has some of them taking on vastly different roles than you might be familiar with. Cindy in FABLES is a secret agent.

Rockwell-level draftsmanship aside, there is basically one thing that I love about this piece above all others, and that is the detail to Cindy’s right garter. All the details in the outfit, the smoke spiraling up, the feathering on her hood are great, but artists have so much opportunity to phone it in around the edges — literally a spot that, with the right cropping, could get covered up with a bar code — but Jean’s implementation here, the sliver of skin, the lighting, shows you how much effort he must put into basically everything.

I love essentially every choice Jean makes on this one; like I said, it is probably my all-time favorite piece of comics art.

I would guess that FABLES #71 holds a special place in the artist’s heart as well. He dedicated a blog post to its conception and development over on his blog: FABLES 71.

If you ever want to gun me a lavish present, if there is one high-end print or piece of original art I would ever want, it’s this one. You know, if you are ever in the market for that sort of thing 🙂


P.S. If you have any comics covers you love, please share them in the comments; I am going to make a super duper long-term effort to keep this a weekly feature indefinitely. Love to hear all of your input!

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