Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The Big Bad Wolf, Oh My

I read a lot of manga and graphic novels. And one of my favorite series is the Fables series by Bill Willingham. I just finished Volume 8: Wolves last night and the series continues to impress me.

The background for this series is that the characters in the old fairy tales are all real. They have been driven out of their ancestral home (called appropriately enough "Homeland") by the armies of an evil tyrant who is bent on ruling the Homelands and making all the characters into his slaves. Those who have been lucky enough to escape have come to New York city (for those who have a human form) or a farm in upstate New York (for those like the three little pigs who cannot live in human society). All the fables live in secret in a small part of New York called fabletown.

The stories revolve around the efforts of the various fables to fit into our world. Old King Cole and Prince Charming are running for mayor of Fabletown, the Big Bad wolf is the town sherrif, the former frog prince cleans buildings and Frau Totenkinder advises them all on ways to fit in and fight to regain their homes in the Homelands.

In the volume "Wolves", the big bad wolf is recruited for a secret mission back to the Homelands to stike a blow for freedom and pay back "The Adversary" for a recent incursion into fabletown. The Wolf travels through the cloud kingdom of the giants and ends up fighting the forces of The Adversary, who turns out to be another well known fable personage.

I like the directions that the author takes this series. It is interesting to see Prince Charming dealing with his ex-wives, the relationship between Rose Red and Snow White, how the fables themselves deal with the fact that some of them want to fit into our world while others want nothing more than to re-invade the Homelands and ultimately go home.

This is not a graphic novel for children. There are adult issues of relationships, betrayal, violence and nudity in the series. It is a great story and if you like graphic novels at all you should try the first issue of this series.



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