Details: First published in 2002. There are 150 issues in total, with a bunch of spin-offs and miniseries. More information can be found at https://www.dccomics.com/graphic-novels/fables-2002/fables-vol-1-legends-in-exile
Fables is one of the most well received books in the past twenty years. I recently started playing through the game The Wolf Among Us and was intrigued to give it a read. I enjoyed the story, but the crux of the story relies on its premise and that premise has been revisited a number of times through a multitude of media. That kind of takes away some of the novelty of the story.
Fables takes place in a universe where there are many worlds and in those worlds, every single fairy tale, story or legend is real and the characters from those stories live real lives. One day, a great adversary started conquering these various worlds and the survivors fled their worlds to our world or the real world. These characters have since learned to live in secret on our world and try their best to blend in.
It’s a concept that’s been done before. I think the example that comes up first in my mind is the television show, Once, where they take Disney characters and bring them into the real world. I don’t know which show came first, but I can’t imagine that Once or Fables were the first to try to take fictional characters, introduce them into the real world and make them contemporary in a very self aware way.
A lot of the appeal of this series is simply seeing how characters are twisted from the characters we knew from those fairy tales. For instance, Prince Charming is a notorious womanizer who uses each of his sexual conquests for their money. The Big Bad Wolf is now the sheriff of the town in which the escaped characters inhabit. Snow White is a bureaucrat in charge of managing the government of the town. And there’s lots more. Half the fun is watching the twists that come with each character.
The other appeal is to watch these Fables deal with real problems. Issues like politics, governance, romantic relationships between characters from completely different stories, etc. This group of refugees constantly faces some threat, large or small, and must constantly find solutions to these problems.
The art is good. Sometimes its spectacular, but mostly it’s just fine.
Overall, this was an entertaining book. I definitely felt it got worse in the latter chapters. You could feel the story start to drag under the weight of a novel premise losing its novelty. It’s still an entertaining book and beloved by many fans.