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Wednesday, April 18, 2007

cover of Fable

An interesting story with all kinds of fairy tale characters. The premise is that years ago their homeland was invaded by an emperor who was taking over all the magical kingdoms, and those who survived escaped into our world-- and now they live in New York with their own secret "Fabletown," which they keep hidden from the regular people ("mundys", as they call them, for mundane). Rose Red is missing, with blood spattered all over the walls of her apartment, so the Fabletown policeman -- Bigby Wolf (known as the Big Bad Wolf to you and me)-- investigates the case, along with Rose's estranged sister, Snow White.

It's an interesting twist on the fairy tale idea, and it's fun to see all kinds of different characters consorting together-- Old King Cole is the unofficial mayor-for-life of Fabletown, Jack (of beanstalk fame) is Rose Red's boyfriend, Bluebeard gives fencing lessons to Cinderella, and one of the three pigs stays at the Big Bad Wolf's house when he escapes from the Fable farm to come to the city. In some cases, the way they "updated" the characters and stories made them seem a little too sullied and modern to me-- Snow White was abused by the dwarves, Beast is only human when Beauty is in love with him and their marriage is on the rocks, etc.

Bigby looks human, but at one point reverts to a huge wolfish form-- and I wondered about that. It's not explained during the course of the main story, but there's a brief prose story at the end that describes the invasion of the Fables' home kingdom and the part that Bigby played (harassing the armies, freeing Fables and helping them escape-- although mostly for his own reasons), and the time he first met Snow White (he has a bit of a crush on her). And, eventually, the story reveals that his human form is kind of an inversion of the werewolf curse that lets him live with the human Fables in New York.

An interesting enough story (the resolution to Rose Red's disappearance was fairly clever) and enjoyable artwork. I wouldn't buy this book, but I'd probably read subsequent volumes if I see them at the library.

Title:Fable: Legends in Exile
Author:Bill Willingham
Date published:2003
Genre:Graphic Novel
Number of pages:128


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