Comics that should be on your radar: Fables

The Fables series is a fresh look at the fairytale genre of stories. Created by Bill Willingham, the long-running series offers an interesting interpretation at nearly every fable, fairytale or tall tale.The fables once lived in a world of their own before an evil entity, The Adversary, systematically destroyed most of the kingdoms, forcing the fables to flee to the “real” world. After the loss of their home world, the fables take up residence in New York, trying to adapt to their new lives while planning to take back their home world.

While in the “real” world, the fables sign a general amnesty treaty, forgiving all previous transgressions. The result? The Big Bad Wolf, known as Bigby Wolf, becomes the new sheriff in addition to several inversions of previous roles by characters.

Throughout the series, Willingham performs character studies of several of the fables. Ever wonder why Prince Charming shows up in so many fairytales? Willingham offers a provoking explanation that intertwines lore and modern thinking seamlessly.

Add all of that on top of a story that is epic in every sense of the word. Heart-pumping battles are strewn throughout the series, peaking with the end of the first major storyline in issue #75. And, these aren’t the fairytale battles you grew up with. For example, the tortoise and the hare team up to form a mobile machinegun platform, reminiscent of modern military vehicles. And, that’s just a peak of Willingham’s incredible imagination on display.

The 93rd issue just came out and the series is plunging headfirst into its second major storyline. And, the new storyline has done what is nearly impossible… be a sequel that doesn’t feel like a sequel, it’s just as creative and thoughtful as the first.

I couldn’t recommend this book highly enough. Admittedly, I didn’t find the series until issue #62 but that brings up another strong point of the series. After every sixth of seventh issue, they are combined into a trade book, making entry into the series very easy. In addition, each trade is more or less a self-contained story, while working on the overall storyline.

The series has spawned a couple spin offs including the Jack of Fables series and the newer Cinderella series.

Do yourself a favor and check out the first couple of trades for this series. The first two are slower than the rest, but set the stage well. From the closing pages of the second book to the issues coming out now, Willingham takes readers on a wild and exciting trip no one should miss.

Despite the book’s grounding in children’s literature, the book is suggested for mature audiences.