Daily Graphic Novel Recommendation 226


by Bill Willingham and Mark Buckingham
Genre notes: faerytales, adventure
22+ vols
ISBN: 140122427X (Amazon)

Fables’ foundation is built on the idea that all the faery tales and nursery rhymes that have been expressed over the centuries in our world are somehow reflections on a multitude of very real other worlds. Worlds in which Snow White and Rose Red live and breathe. Worlds in which the Big Bad Wolf roams around large and hungry. Worlds in which Boy Blue, Red Riding Hood, Beauty and her Beast, Pinocchio, and more each have full lives only hinted at in our own versions of their stories. And circumstances being what they were, these auspicious figures were forced to evacuate their fabled realms and flee here, to the mundane world.

Because a grave and merciless Adversary had begun conquering their lands one after another, the fables found themselves escaped to 1600s Europe from where they then made passage to the New World. There, they established in New Amsterdam an enclave they call Fabletown. Protected by numerous spells and wards, Fabletown sits undiscovered in the midst of the growing New York City—and that is where Willingham first deposits the reader, four hundred years later. The fables have grown comfortable in their adopted homeland, leading relatively normal lives and holding jobs. Of course things are more complicated than that, but that is our introduction to what turns out to be a collection of indelible characters.

Also: it’s pretty aggravating, but the first volume of this otherwise wonderful series—the one in which all the principal characters are introduced—is really just a mediocre book. It holds none of the charm of the later series. Essentially, whenever I do recommend the series (as I am doing now), I have to caveat by saying: “No matter what you think of the first volume, keep going and read the second one. And then the third. It just gets better and better.” Really, the next rough patch doesn’t crop up until volume thirteen (vol 13 is a trash book), so that’s a pretty good spread.

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