Pick of the Week: Fables
Fables is a series of comic books created by writer Bill Willingham with various artists and illustrators starting in 2002 and still on going. There are 140 comics so far in the series but for this review I am looking at the deluxe editions instead of the individual comics. I first heard about Fables because the cover art for the first 81 comics was done by one of my favourite artists, James Jean. It wasn’t until the Telltale Game “The Wolf Among Us” came out though that I made the leap in to the rich fantasy world of Fables **. The story of Fables is based off of characters found in folklore and fairy tales that have been exiled from their fairy-tale homes and into modern day New York to escape from “The Adversary”. The story is rich in detail and contains many different arcs that switch from a variety of genres like murder mystery and other subgenres common to crime fiction. You are introduced to several interesting characters with well-built back stories to help you understand their current circumstance and motivation within the overall story line. I don’t want to go into the story too much for spoiler reasons but for the first few comics the main people you follow are Bigby the reformed Big Bad Wolf who is the sheriff of Fabletown as he looks into crimes and Snow White who is the deputy mayor. When you get more into the story is goes more into the conflict between Fabletown and “The Adversary” and has more action. I personally enjoy the who-done-it plot lines the most so far. As well as the sexual and romantic tension between Bigby and Snow White. And just so you know the comics do have graphic material in them which is probably one of the reasons I enjoy them so much as I prefer comics and graphic novels that are aimed at an older audience. The Fables’ stories are all gripping and I have yet to find one that I didn’t enjoy, when I first picked up my first deluxe edition I was surprised on how addictive it was to read. Not only that but the artwork is beyond stunning and I really need to reread them because it’s the kind of comic where there is so much detail in the illustration that you can miss part of it during the first read through. I love the character design as well although I did play the game first so I tend to enjoy Telltale’s Bigby more. The illustrations work so well with the story and enhanced my experience and emersion within the Fables world. I read the first 10 comics in the edition and immediately had to buy another. In the span of a month I’ve read 3 and I’ve actually bought the next two editions as well as one of the spin off comics as well. I love that there is years and years of comics I can get into as well as countless spin offs. The great thing about the editions is that they contain roughly 10 of the comics so it’ll take a few hours to get through it and they contain a prelude from the author or artists and sometimes extra material like sketches. The one downside I always feel about buying editions of comics is that you don’t have the individual covers but I was so pleased to find out there each James Jean cover is included as a divider between stories. The hardcover is also a great bonus as I like to carry my books around with me to work and they need to be able to take a little abuse. The one negative I have is that the deluxe editions only go up to comic #69 so be warned if you get addicted to this comic like I did you may have to resort to waiting or buying the comic or trade paperbacks (they go to #137). I’ve loved comics since I was a kid and have been getting into graphic novels recently and this is by far one of the best stories I’ve started to read. I would recommend it if like me you enjoy a little bit of art with your fantasy story.
** “The Wolf Among Us” is a point-and-click episodic adventure game that has started to release episodes in October of last year. It serves as a prequel to the comics and includes many of the main characters of the comics.
a closer look at the art style and extras: