James Jean, whose distinctive painted covers have helped to set the tone of Vertigo’s Fables for the past six years, is leaving the series with February’s Issue 81.
Jean, who wants to devote his time to painting and personal projects, made the announcement today on his website:
I first received the call to create the first cover to Fables in October, 2001, a month after my roommate, Yuko Shimizu, and I watched the twin towers crumble from our loft in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Not long after, I got on a plane to Austria for 3 weeks and watched news of the anthrax scares from abroad, returning home to a message from Vertigo comics on my answering machine, asking me to create the first five covers to Fables. Now the suspected sender of those anthrax-laced letters has committed suicide this month, and we’ve gone 2 terms with a war-time president. In between, I’ve been fortunate enough to have done a lot of illustration. But for the past year or so, I’ve stopped working for magazines, books, and advertising as I tried to make the transition towards my personal work . . . until now, Fables has represented the last vestige of my illustration career. Now it’s onto personal projects full-time.
Jean won five back-to-back Eisner Awards for Best Cover Artist for his work on Fables and other titles, and another for Best Short Story for his collaboration with Bill Willingham on Fables: 1001 Nights of Snowfall.