Recomended Reading: Fables

I love fairy tales.  As a child I spent many a summer day holed up in a study carrel in the back of the library with stacks of fairy tale books, generally favoring the color fairy books by Andrew Lang, which, collected in the late Victorian era, still simmered with the sex and violence of earlier versions, just below the surface.  As an adult I have developed a fondness for modern retellings of classic tales, and Fables is one of my favorites.  It is a comic, still ongoing, that tells the story of fairy tale characters, including Snow White, the Big Bad Wolf, the Evil Witch (named Frau Totenkinder), and Prince Charming, among others, who have been exiled from their homelands by an evil ruler known only as the Emperor to a large apartment building in New York.  In Fables they have to avoid the notice of the "mundanes" while plotting to re-take the Homelands.
As cheesy as that premise could have turned out, Fables is a masterful story that has appeal for hard core folklorists as well as casual fairy tale fans and even those whose main exposure to the stories has been through Disney (for instance, all Disney Princes Charming are one guy, a philandering playboy who married and divorced each of the princesses in order of the release of the Disney films).   The art is always amazing, especially the cover art, but even the interior artwork is nice.  The overall story-line is epic, sweeping, and magical, full of engaging, flawed, wonderful characters, magical happenings, and derring-dos.

I myself am a bit behind on the series.  I don't read a lot of comics but when I do I always wait for the trades to come out rather than collecting each issue, and I haven't read anything since the end of the first major story arc.
If you are not a comics reader for whatever reason I suggest reading 1001 Nights of Snowfall, a one-shot graphic novel that gives back story for the characters in Fables inside the frame of 1001 Arabian Nights (sort of).  It is good on its own, but I posit is so much better if you have read much of the rest of fables (I would say to book 8 minimum).  It's definitely my favorite single book.  The artwork is the best in the series and every story is wonderful.


Post a Comment