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Interview: Leah Moore & John Reppion on DAMSELS from Dynamite Entertainment

A comic about fairy tale characters might sound familiar but check out the new information uncovered about the upcoming series.

Last month Dynamite Entertainment announced a new series, DAMSELS, by Leah Moore, John Reppion and art by Aneke. There's no way to avoid the obvious comparison to FABLES, a comic featuring fairy tale characters that debuted in 2002. This question will be asked a good point is brought up.

Check out what we were able to find out about this new series set to debut this September. Both Leah and John jumped in to answer our questions.

Comic Vine: The immediate comparisons will be to FABLES. Any comment on that?

Moore/Reppion: Well, the first point we should probably make about that is that neither of us has ever read FABLES. We know the basic concept, obviously, but nothing beyond that really. The series are superficially similar in that our initial premise of a world where characters from fairy and folktales co-exist but from then on in we’ve just written it the way we think it should be written and remain entirely oblivious to what FABLES-esque stuff we may or may not be touching on.

We were in exactly the same situation with our zombie series RAISE THE DEAD back in 2007 in so much as we were writing a book that was certain to be compared to THE WALKING DEAD and neither of us had ever read it. And even though we started from the jumping off point in terms of our story as Kirkman and co. did, we produced something that was written on our own terms, drew on our own interests, and which ended up being a success in its own right. If WALKING DEAD fans enjoyed RAISE THE DEAD, then it stands to reason that FABLES fans should enjoy DAMSELS, surely? If you’re into comics, and you like the whole fairy tale / fantasy thing we’ve got you covered.

== TEASER ==

CV: Is this story taking place in a more pure "fairly tale" setting?

Moore/Reppion: We’re focussing primarily on the interactions of three kingdoms in this initial story arc and each of those is ruled over by recognisable fairy tale royalty. However, the world in which DAMSELS takes place is not entirely “fairy tale” in the strictest Disney, or Hans Christian Andersen, sense.

So far as we’re concerned story-verse in which Jack beats the giant at the top of the beanstalk is the same one in which Odysseus beats Polyphemus and where David beats Goliath. All three tales are just alternate versions of the same ever-changing story. The world of Fairy Tales is also the realm of classical and biblical mythology – just like Narnia, and Middle Earth, and the Discworld. That’s not to say we’re getting too high and mighty about things, just that we’re not entirely restricted to the most well trodden fairy tale paths and characters.

CV: Rapunzel, Sleeping Beauty, and the Little Mermaid have all been mentioned in the pre-release material for the series. Why these “Damsels”, particularly?

Moore/Reppion: “Damsel in distress” is obviously the phrase we’re playing off and the female protagonists we’ve chosen to lead with all traditionally fall into that category, one way or another. They are usually portrayed as helpless women in need of rescuing or recklessly desperate to be loved but what we’re doing with DAMSELS is trying to put a twist – or several – on those clichéd depictions.

CV: Will other fairy tale characters make appearances?

Moore/Reppion: Yes! Big time. Too many to list, and we’re not giving anything away we don’t have to at this point. We want the readers to have that “Is that…? Did she…? Was that…?” thrill as and when they get their hands on the issues.

CV: If the 'damsels' are teaming up, can we expect their respective villains or others to be teaming up against them?

Moore/Reppion: That’s a difficult question to answer without giving anything away, to be perfectly honest. There’s something big brewing and people are going to have to choose sides, or else have them chosen for them. That’s about as much as we can say without blowing too much.

CV: How many issues or arcs have been mapped out so far?

Moore/Reppion: This first arc is 8 issues. We have lots of ideas beyond that and really hope to be playing round with this world and these characters for a good while.

CV: With so many different versions of these characters told over the years in stories and movies and with some having big differences, do we need to worry which version of the characters appear? In other words, will the characters here be based on the basic concepts of the characters rather than one particular rendition/interpretation?

Moore/Reppion: When Dynamite first approached us with the initial concept for DAMSELS, one of the things we found most appealing was the idea of getting to play with all these incredibly well established, well known characters who really have no strict, set canon or continuity.

Fairy tales and folktales are kind of fluid – they shift and change all the time and always have done. The Brothers Grimm were criticised for their versions of traditional tales when they first published their volume Grimms Märchen two-hundred years ago. They were asked to tone down the sex and violence to make the stories more suitable for children! Even so, the wolf who tried to trick Red Riding Hood still had his stomach hacked open with an axe, filled with stones, and sewed shut again. Which is, I’m sure you’ll agree, quite different to the version most children probably know today.

So, to answer your question, we’re not basing our characters on any particular versions that have gone before. We’re sticking with a centuries old tradition and using core story elements and character traits to create thoroughly recognisable, yet suitably altered versions of those characters.

Be sure to let your local comic shop know you want them to order this series for you. The first issue is on sale in September. Here's some more character sketches to check out.

6 Comments
Posted by Jack the Ripper

Not reading Fables? I'm appalled.

And to be honest, I wouldn't have drawn a comparison between the two, I immediately thought of Grimm Fairy Tales, seems more in line with that to me. I might check it out after the first couple issues come out but I'm not as sold on fairy tale babes as I would expect myself to be.

Posted by RedheadedAtrocitus

That's odd they never read Fables before doing this. All that aside though it seems like an interesting venture to me to say the least.

Posted by Green ankh

I am really getting into Fariest so i'll give this a shot too.

Posted by Nova`Prime`

This might actually be worth picking up, Dynamite hasn't let me down yet so I can risk it.

Edited by Whiskeyjack

Given the J Scott Campbell cheesecakey cover I thought of Grimm's Fairy Tales before Fables. It's a little strange that not only are they writing something that is (superficially) similar to Fables, a rather well known and regarded series, and never read it.. but that their previous effort was something (again, just superficially) in-line to The Walking Dead, also a rather well known and regarded series, and never read that either. Next thing you're going to tell me is they're writing a super hero book about a guy who sounds a whole lot like Bruce Wayne, but they've never read Batman.

Writers all build on what came before. You don't write in a vacuum. Just look at Campbell's The Hero With A Thousand Faces (that actually could be a fun name for a comic book). There's no shame in taking inspiration from others' works, as long as you're not just photocopying it whole hog. If anything, reading similar works strengthens your own as you can see what worked and didn't work for others, and if you so choose, make sure your story goes in a wholly different direction so you can show how much you didn't rip off so-and-so's story.

Posted by Figueiredo

I've never read fables, too... honest! I also never read ComicVine, I swear... Comic books??? Come on... ;)