Saturday, August 11, 2007

Fables: Legends in Exile

I just now finished reading Bill Willingham's Fables: Legends in Exile, a collection of the first five issues of the Fables comic book series - wow! I'm a comics-neophyte, having just come to realize that my three decades old assumption that comics were just about superheroes in capes and tights is completely incorrect. After reading this first Fables book, I'm now pretty confident in the books I've chosen with which to educate myself.

The premise behind this series is that all the denizens of the Lands of Make-Believe, both human and non-human were - hundreds of years ago - under attack by some mysterious adversary. After this Adversary decimated the Land of Oz and and the Land of Narnia, the rest of the faerie tale folk found an escape from their worlds into our mundane world, and they now live in New York. Those who can pass for human [Cinderella, Pinnochio, the witch from Hansel and Gretel, Bluebeard, etc.] live in Manhattan; those who can't [elves, trolls, faeries, three pigs, blind mice, and so on] live on farms upstate. These comics tell the tales of the Fables trying to live in our modern times.

The illustrations are simply amazing, far surpassing anything I could have expected. Each panel is so detailed, rife with fantasy references - total eye-candy to a faerie tale fan like me. The story arc of this first collection seemed to fizzle out slightly at the final reveal - these are fantasy folks and I wanted a fantastic climax! But the whodunit turned out to have sprung from the characters' mundane motivations and I guess that fits better, given that these Fablefolk are trying to fit into a mundane reality.

No matter. I adore faerie tales (I have a copy of The Complete Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm which is a treasure - 279 tales in 729 pages and so much bloodier in the unabridged version!) and I am thrilled to have discovered a whole new venue in which to indulge. The second collection, Animal Farm, is lined up and ready to read next. I can't wait!

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