Author: Bill Willingham
Genre: Graphic Novel
Review: I have never been a reader of graphic novels or comics. Someone bought me a few episodes of Buffy season 8 since I am a big fan of the show, but I didn't take a liking to them. I felt like something was missing in between those still pictures. I could barely pick up what the story was and the characters felt completely off.
However, I've seen some rather complimentary reviews of the Fables series by a reviewer with whom I find myself fairly consistently in agreement over books. That still hadn't persuaded me to read Fables. However, when I saw the books of my friend's wish list for Christmas, I decided that might make a rather neat gift. Well, Christmas is well over and my friend let me borrow the books, so I could try them for myself.
I knew the general premise of the series. It follows a number of traditional fairy tale characters, but puts a twist on their stories. The characters have all escaped their original worlds, pursued by The Adversary and made a new home for themselves in Fabletown, hidden within the mundane world of New York City. This novel is a prequel, telling the story of how some of the characters escaped their original worlds.
The author does some rather clever things with the story. It has the feeling of the traditional fairy tale, but with a dark twist and the novel is definitely not aimed at kids. Different stories are illustrated by different artists and while I enjoyed some of the drawings better than others, overall they are all good quality and pleasing. I think the combination of excellent story telling and pictures made me appreciate this novel despite the unfamiliar medium.
The stories are quick, they often pack a punch, and I was curious to see how the author would wrap up the overall story arch in the book. The ending was to my satisfaction, and I just wish I could have remembered some of the fairy tales referenced a bit better -- sometimes I felt like I was missing out on the joke underneath a story. I've got volumes 1 and 2 also waiting to be read and I am looking forward to them.