Cinderella: Superspy: Writer Talks 'Fables' Spin-off

Cinderella: Superspy

Who knew Cinderella was such a bad-ass?

Yes, the former wife of Prince Charming has impeccable taste in shoes and jewelry. And she always makes sure her lipstick is the right shade to compliment her fashion ensemble. But there's more to this chic blond princess than meets the eye.

She's secretly a superspy.

Cinderella: From Fabletown with Love, next month's six-issue mini-series by writer Chris Roberson and artist Shawn McManus, will show the kick-ass side of Cindy as she faces a formidable foe from the Fable lands.

The mini-series is a spin-off from the ongoing Vertigo series Fables, the comic by Bill Willingham that follows the adventures of fairy tale characters who escaped from an invasion of their magical world to form a secret community in the heart of New York City. The almost-immortal "fables," as they're called, still hold somewhat true to their histories, but have evolved over the hundreds of years that they've been walking around our "mundane" world.

Fables has been one of the publisher's more successful titles, currently on issue #90 with a spin-off series, Jack of Fables already over 30 issues strong. Fables is also being translated for television as ABC has ordered a pilot for an hour-long drama series based on the series.

Now fan-favorite character Cinderella gets her own mini-series by Roberson and McManus in November. Roberson, a novelist, is also one of Willingham's cohorts from "Clockwork Storybook," the writing group that also included DC exclusive writer Matt Sturges. Roberson dabbled in the Fables universe earlier this year when he wrote Jack of Fables #36, a one-issue fill-in.

With the first issue set to be released on November 4th, we talked to Roberson about Cinderella: From Fabletown with Love and what readers can expect from the world's best dressed secret agent.

Newsarama: What can you tell us about the premise for the Cinderella mini-series? Does it tie into the current events we're seeing in Fables?

Chris Roberson: The mini-series is basically a showcase for Willingham’s genius reinvention of Cinderella as a superspy. We get to see the end of her previous mission, in pure James Bond pre-credits style, and then follow her as she returns to Fabletown and gets her next assignment. Someone has been smuggling magical artifacts into the Mundy world from the Fable lands, and it’s Cindy’s job to put a stop to it.

The series actually takes place just before the events of the Big Fables Crossover, if I’m remembering correctly, after the end of the war but before the destruction of Fabletown.

Nrama: Will Cinderella interact with any of the characters we know from Fables?

Roberson: She does, indeed. Frau Totenkinder and Beast are both featured in supporting roles, among others, as are a few other Fables who so far have only appeared in crowd scenes. And there are a couple of surprises along the way, as well.

Nrama: What new characters will we see in the mini-series?

Roberson: One of the major characters introduced in the series is another Fable superspy, who has been mentioned in one panel in the run of Fables and briefly glimpsed in another. I won’t give away just who he is or who he’s working for, so as not to spoil the surprise, but I can say that he has a magic lamp. Mmm…

Nrama: Sounds a little familiar. Why do you think Cinderella is the first "fable" to get a mini-series? What makes her so special?

Roberson: Cinderella superspy is just such a tremendous idea, how could she not get her own mini-series? More than a year before Bill and his editor Shelly Bond approached me about writing this series, I was having lunch with Matt Sturges and telling him that Cinderella had to get a mini-series sooner or later. What I didn’t tell Matt was my secret plan I was hatching in the back of my head to somehow trick Bill into letting me write it.

Fast forward a year, and Bill calls me up one night as I’m fixing my daughter dinner, and asks if I’d be interested in writing a Cinderella mini-series. Obviously my secret plan was genius, as it worked without me actually ever putting it into motion! As I told Bill, I could not in front of my then 4-year-old daughter use the language that would adequately express the degree to which my answer was “Yes!”

One of the great things about Cindy is that she’s been a superspy for a long time. We’ve only seen the most recent of her missions in the pages of Fables, and there are centuries of adventures she’s had that we don’t know anything about. Yet, that is…

Nrama: You've obviously been a friend of Matt and Bill for awhile. How has it been working with the Fables team to put together this mini-series?

Roberson: An absolute dream. I was primarily a novelist before now, with somewhere around a dozen novels out, but I’ve always been a huge comics fanatic and wanted to find a way to break in. Bill was kind enough to invite me to write a fill-in issue of Jack of Fables, and that opened the door for me. Bill and Shelly have been tremendously helpful in shepherding me along, and I can’t thank them enough for the opportunity.

As for the chance to have Shawn McManus illustrate my script? To have Todd Klein letter my words? Are you kidding me? Every time I see a new set of inked pencils, or lettered pages, I’m reminded again that I’ve just won the lottery somehow. (And it doesn’t hurt at all that newcomer Chrissie Zullo’s covers are so fabulous!)

Nrama: What's it been like working with Shawn?

Roberson: I’ve been a fan of Shawn’s since “Pog” (though his work on Omega Men is probably my favorite) so this was a dream come true for me. And considering that he provided the art for one of the terrific Cinderella stories that Bill had already told in the pages of Fables, he was perfect for this mini-series.

Nrama: Where might we see your work next?

Roberson: Right around the time that the Cinderella mini-series wraps up, Vertigo will be launching my new ongoing creator-owned series with Mike Allred,I, Zombie, about a zombie girl detective. There’s a brief teaser story for I, Zombie in the pages of the House of Mystery Halloween Annual that just came out.

Nrama: Anything else you want to tell readers about Cinderella: From Fabletown with Love?

Roberson: It’s Cinderella superspy, it’s gorgeous, and it’s full of awesome. What else is there to know?

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