Hi again, everyone. Sorry for the delay from yesterday! (I know how eagerly you await these reviews). Over the weekend I finished reading the first volume, or the first five issues, of Fables. Fables is a graphic novel that has been highly recommended to me by a couple of sources, and I’ve gotta say – it really delivered.
I wasn’t expecting anything great. The recent influx of fairy tale revision stories (starting with Once Upon A Time and only getting worse from there) have left a sour taste in my mouth and I didn’t think I would be very impressed with this latest one (I say latest because it is the latest one that I’ve encountered, but actually Fables began in 2002 and so predates most of the sloppy trash that’s circulated in the past handful of years).
When I picked this book up, I read the back cover, which told me that the fairy tale creatures, after being exiled from their magical lands, now live among regular New Yorkers and I thought “Wait. Hold up. How is this NOT Once Upon A Time? Fairy tale creatures living regular lives? It’s been done!” And it has. But not so well as this. I think a big part of the reason I enjoyed it so much was what the graphic format allowed for (but I’ll get to that in a moment).
The story is pretty simple: the Big Bad Wolf is a now-human detective trying to solve a case – the murder of Snow White’s sister. Let me just pause here to say that you can give me any kind of whodunnit story and I will likely love it. About 65% of the television shows I watch are whodunnit style dramas. So, of course, I was sold on this pretty quickly. If mystery isn’t your cup of tea, don’t worry, because it’s got a lot of other merits too.
Some of its best qualities lie in the detail – Snow White (assistant to the mayor, but essentially the mayor)’s office is a great example of that. It’s filled with trinkets and statues like a giant’s armor, a lamp on a pedestal, and a buff man wielding a trident… all things that pretty much scream fairy tales. There was also one scene, which I particularly liked, that showed the now-human BBW’s shadow as a wolf – very cool stuff, and very rewarding for those willing to stare at a single page for 10 minutes. (I’m also pretty sure that Aslan makes a guest appearance – I’d be lion if I said I didn’t appreciate that.)
The characters are pretty wonderfully done too: you’ve got the wolf turned detective, who sniffs out crime. There’s the trickster Jack who’s always got a get-rich-quick scheme. Let’s not forget Prince Charming, the sly devil whose only useful trait is that he’s handsome, and moreover is quite the philanderer. Every transformation that the characters have made seem like natural roles for their fairy tale selves to assume; plus, they’ve all got some good nicknames and insults for one another based on their fairy tale stories.
There are currently 149 issues (not including spinoffs), and I’m really excited to get into the next arc, wherein we’ll find out what the heck the Farm is and why one of the three little pigs is so desperate to escape it.
Stay tuned for more, and until next time: Happy Reading!