Sunday, August 21, 2011

17: The Fables Series

I've been in a comic mood lately, largely because of all the press being given to the upcoming DC reboot. So, I decided to suggest another comic series today, though not a superhero series. This is one of my faves, and has maintained a high standard through the years, largely under the helm of the same writer and artists.


Bill Willingham (creator and author), Mark Buckingham (majority art), James Jean and João Ruas (covers), et al
Published: 2007-Present

Fables is a highly imaginative retelling of the folk tales from various cultures. The characters are engaging, the story lines vary (more in the past than they do at present), and they're even allowed to grow and change over time, which is a rarity in the comic industry. Since Willingham has stayed dedicated to the series, the characters get to stay more true to themselves than in more mainstream comics. Basically, it's a fun read and I enjoy it!

These are the collections, which are put together twice a year or so based on the individual comics. The series is released by DC, and was once part of their more adult-based, non-superhero Vertigo line.

Gist: Fairy tale characters are real, and they live among us. Although once spread across dozens of worlds, a group of them have been stranded in our "mundane" world since the first European settlements of North America. They were driven from their homes by the evil adversary, who serves as the faceless baddy for the first eight collections or so. These immortal characters have to survive in our modern world. The leaders of the society are King Cole, who serves as the face of the government, Snow White, who does the actual work, and Bigby Wolf, former Big Bad Wolf turned more-or-less full-time man, the Fables' sheriff. Those who look human live on a well guarded street in New York City; those who don't live in upstate NY at The Farm.

The early story lines changed genres, beginning with a noir-style murder mystery, moving into a conspiracy thriller up at the Farm, followed by a classic adventure story. Woven throughout these first seven books is the evolving relationship between Bigby and Snow, as well as Snow's contentious relationship with her twin sister, Rose Red.

Gomez is a fan, as you can see here. He thoroughly enjoys getting between me and my Fables collections while I'm reading.

Later on, the Fables spent a good amount of time at war, and the stories have continued to be strongly adventure-based. Some other characters who have great storylines include the frog prince (Ambrose, who is a sweet and nuanced character), the little-known but brave Boy Blue, Prince Charming (thrice divorced - Snow, then Cinderella, then Sleeping Beauty), Beauty and the Beast (still married after all these years!), and the Three Little Pigs. It's the characters who really make the series special, and the ties and nods to old folk tales, fables, and legends are huge fun!

I finally lost my patience after the last book and started buying the individual comics. *hangs head in shame* These editions are well made and excellent, though, and not ridiculously overpriced like some graphic novels.

Bonus Info: Some comic readers are offended by some of Willingham's conservative views, such as toward abortion and marriage/family (since I share his views on these, they doesn't bother me). However, in the same way that I can read mainstream comics which are increasingly liberal, I don't think your standard reader would have any trouble looking past the occasional politics in the story.

The last storyline, which will be collected for release in December, was a bit silly. I'm interested to see where he'll go from here.

Bonus Bonus Info: Television series based on Fables have died at the script stage both at NBC and ABC. :( It could make a good series with the correct writing, or it could end up just missing something, like the television adaptation of the Dresden books.

Bonus Info, The Trilogy: Fables has two spin-offs, Jack of Fables (which I'm not a fan of) and Cinderella (which is fun; she's Bigby's #1 spy/secret agent). One of the few Fables storylines I didn't care for required a lot of knowledge of the Jack series mythos, which was annoying since I don't care for the character.

Genres: Fiction, Comic
Keywords: Fantasy, Adventure, Drama

I turned one of the spare bedrooms into a book-lined office, but there are a few series that stay in my own bedroom for easy access. As you can see, Fables is one of them!

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