A must-read!!!

Made me see popular Fairy Tale characters in a totally different light.

by Bill Willingham (writer), Mark Buckingham (penciller), Steve Leialoha (inker)
NLB Call No.: 741.5973 WIL -[ART]
ISBN: 1845762789

Beauty is married to Beast. She’s working as the Mayor’s secretary and Beast is the sheriff of Fabletown.

Prince Charming is the mayor. He’s a charmer who, as Beauty says in one scene, is a “ton of slick romance, encrusted with not a particle of real love”.

There’s King Cole (who looks like Colonel Sanders of Kentucky Fried Chicken fame), Mr. North (the North Wind), Snow White, Mowgli, Red Riding Hood (who appears lost), Boy Blue.

Halfway into the graphic novel, I gathered this as much: Fabletown exists in modern day Manhattan. Its inhabitants are refugees from the Fairy Tale realm.

Well, why repeat what this Wikipedia entry has already explained?

Fables is an ongoing Vertigo comic book series created and written by Bill Willingham, starting in 2002. The series deals with various characters from fairy tales and folklore – referring to themselves as “Fables” – who have been forced out of their Homelands by a mysterious enemy known as the Adversary.

This collection essentially has two main stories.

First one is “Arabian Nights (and Days)”, in four parts. Aladdin appears with his entourage. His wizard unleashes the Genie. Fabletown rallies to prevent a disaster. Frau Totenkinder (the Black Forest Witch) saves the day by altering the language (presumably Arabic) used to invoke the Genie. Had to smile at the clever plot in which the super-powerful genie and its instructions are neutralised.

For me, the best part of this collection is the second one: The Ballad of Rodney and June. They are of the “Sacred Wood”, i.e. they are human-sized wooden beings. Autonomous Puppets, if we want to be slightly Scifi-ish. The story is narrated by a letter written by Rodney and later, June. The letter, and the accompanying art panels, reveals how Rodney and June try to learn the human emotion of “love”. They eventually seek permission to turn into flesh so that they can marry and do the thing that married people do. Their wish is granted, but it comes with a price. I’ll let you read to find out what that is.

Very nice artwork.

Excellent storytelling.

I’m not surprised this series has been a winner of several Eisner Awards.

I say again: A must-read!