Fables, Vol. 1: Legends in Exile by Bill Willingham

Fables, Vol. 1: Legends in Exile

When a savage creature known only as the Adversary conquered the fabled lands of legends and fairy tales, all of the infamous inhabitants of folklore were forced into exile. Disguised among the normal citizens of modern-day New York, these magical characters have created their own peaceful and secret society within an exclusive luxury apartment building called Fabletown. B...

Title:Fables, Vol. 1: Legends in Exile
Author:
Rating:
ISBN:1563899426
Edition Language:English
Format Type:Paperback
Number of Pages:128 pages

Fables, Vol. 1: Legends in Exile Reviews

  • Felicia
    Feb 07, 2009

    Lovely lovely lovely.

  • J.G. Keely
    Nov 10, 2010

    I remember being somewhat taken aback the first time I read an original Fairy Tale. They aren't child-friendly, in fact many of them were written to unnerve and frighten children. The characters in fairytales are usually half-mad, murderous, sexually-charged, and grotesque.

    Authors have returned to them again and again for inspiration, exploring the history of storytelling, moralizing tales, propaganda, and archetypes. Gaiman's 'Sandman' is notable for some remarkable insights into the nature of

    I remember being somewhat taken aback the first time I read an original Fairy Tale. They aren't child-friendly, in fact many of them were written to unnerve and frighten children. The characters in fairytales are usually half-mad, murderous, sexually-charged, and grotesque.

    Authors have returned to them again and again for inspiration, exploring the history of storytelling, moralizing tales, propaganda, and archetypes. Gaiman's 'Sandman' is notable for some remarkable insights into the nature of fairy tales and how they comment on what has changed in our modern storytelling tradition--and what hasn't. Likewise Mignola has recalled to us some of the

    of fairy stories in 'Hellboy', where the madness of these myths is hardly forgotten.

    Hellboy was a decade before Fables, and Sandman twenty years before, but Fables is, if anything, a regression, doing less with myth than earlier comics. Names are dropped, but the characters attached neither typify nor subvert the characters they are aping. In the end, Willingham portrays a less nuanced take on the original myth than the average Disney movie.

    His dialogue is wooden, lacking in subtlety or thrust. The characters say what you would expect them to, with plenty of awkward exposition:

    There's no style or charm to be found in the writing and the characters show none of the grotesque vividness of their sources.

    Willingham seems unable to imagine a larger world than the one directly implied by his plot, which is a straightforward murder-mystery. His setting has all the depth of a painted backdrop. If he had hoped to achieve a sliver of what Gaiman did with old myths, he should have delved deeper into his source materials.

    His interweaving is clumsy, with the suggestion that Oz and 'The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe' are part of his fairytale tradition. This inclusion conflicts with the backstory, since both were written after the fables were ousted from fairy land and relocated to America (the result of a war with Satan in a flashback swiped from 'The Lord of The Rings' Films).

    The art is workmanlike, often as wooden and simplified as the dialogue. It tells the story with little flair or movement. Characters are successfully reproduced, but not explored or played with. Most of the frames are closeups of people talking, and the rest are mid-range bird's eye group shots. It's all yawningly safe. The color palate shows little variance or mood, more 'Jughead Digest' than Vertigo, and lacking even the lurid appeal of a 4-color.

    Once again I'm haunted by the phrase "it gets better!", which is all the more maddening because in a tiny fraction of cases, it proves to be true. Unfortunately, the next two volumes don't get much better, though with practice, the dull, awkward storytelling does get more streamlined, which is kind of like a bad restaurant which puts out fliers to announce that it now has delivery service.

    Mediocrity is one of the few things made worse by improving its convenience.

    I usually save one-star reviews for books that were overtly insulting or stupid, but this one gets it purely on uninspired dullness. I tried reading it when it first came out, and couldn't get through it. After hearing all the praise more recently, I tried again. I'm not going to be one of those who says that comics used to be better and suck now, I know there must be good comics out right now, but they can be hard to find. I'm back to looking, it seems.

  • Emily May
    Apr 24, 2013

    I'd been wondering why lately I've had such bad luck with books. Almost everything I picked up went back down again and more than half of what I read through and reviewed was a disappointment. After reading this first volume of the Fables series, it hit me all of a sudden -

    . Or lack of Tatiana and her excellent book-recommending skills. Thanks for the rec, T, I knew you'd get it right ^_^

    The Fables series has been one I've wanted to start since I first heard of it. Adult retellings of cl

    I'd been wondering why lately I've had such bad luck with books. Almost everything I picked up went back down again and more than half of what I read through and reviewed was a disappointment. After reading this first volume of the Fables series, it hit me all of a sudden -

    . Or lack of Tatiana and her excellent book-recommending skills. Thanks for the rec, T, I knew you'd get it right ^_^

    The Fables series has been one I've wanted to start since I first heard of it. Adult retellings of classic fairytales with a few touches of sex, violence and humour? SOLD! However, I talked myself out of it about a year ago when I foolishly picked up a random volume - nine, I believe - and didn't get it at all. Perhaps volume nine happens to be a bad apple in an otherwise excellent bunch, or perhaps that particular volume wasn't made to be read as a standalone (IMO, the first three can be enjoyed individually), whatever the reason, I found myself putting off a series which I'd previously been certain I'd love. I've learned my lesson and am now breezing through these fantastic volumes (I'll be starting number four soon) and becoming more and more addicted to the characters, the world and the humour.

    Will you enjoy this? Personally, I think it depends on whether the humour is your cup of tea. I also don't believe it would be fair to sell this series as merely a comedy; each volume is very different, some are darker and gorier than others, some are primarily mysteries, others not so much. But the humour is behind it all and is what, for me, turns this into something more than a regular urban fantasy, fairytale retelling. It's what makes these characters memorable and there's not much I like more than a funny villain - everyone has a sense of humour here. I, for one, am finding it more and more funny with every installment I read.

    Another thing is the artwork, which I like a lot in this series. The art has to receive a mention when you're reading a graphic novel because it inevitably affects how you read the story and how you view the characters. I tend to prefer realistic drawings, as opposed to arty, scrawly messes that are supposed to set some kind of tone. Give me this instead any day:

    This first volume opens with the discovery of Rose Red's destroyed apartment. The place has been turned on its head and blood is splattered on every surface. Bigby Wolf and Snow White must investigate... can all that blood really be Rose Red's? Is she dead? Who would have a reason to hurt her? This first story is enjoyable and, in my opinion, they just keep getting better.

    .....................................................................

    I just want to take this opportunity to also recommend the TV show Once Upon A Time. Originally, they were planning to make a show out of Fables but they modified it a bit and Once Upon A Time came out the other end. And it's a favourite of mine - you should check it out!

  • Lyn
    Sep 01, 2013

    Legends in Exile by Bill Willingham and a team of illustrators begin the Fables series of adult graphic novels.

    This is a very imaginative extension of fables such as Snow White, Old King Cole, the big bad wolf, Jack and the Beanstalk, etc. The idea is that the fables were exiled from their home lands by a common enemy, The Adversary, and relocated to New York but maintained a community of exiles called Fable Town.

    Very entertaining and creative. One of the best scenes is a self-pitying monologu

    Legends in Exile by Bill Willingham and a team of illustrators begin the Fables series of adult graphic novels.

    This is a very imaginative extension of fables such as Snow White, Old King Cole, the big bad wolf, Jack and the Beanstalk, etc. The idea is that the fables were exiled from their home lands by a common enemy, The Adversary, and relocated to New York but maintained a community of exiles called Fable Town.

    Very entertaining and creative. One of the best scenes is a self-pitying monologue by Pinocchio.

  • Jess ❈Harbinger of Blood-Soaked Rainbows❈
    Mar 09, 2017

    Because Gibsy said so.....

    I paid good money for these Gibsy. You and your pasty skin better hope you didn't steer me wrong.

    ____________________________

    Luckily, for Gibsy and all his

    acolytes, he will not be meeting an untimely demise via shrimp death.

    Because I really liked this book.

    The art is some of the most stunning art I have ever come across. And I'm not talking about Lan Medina's drawings which tell the story, though it was amazeballs too. I'm talking about James Jean's gorgeous wo

    Because Gibsy said so.....

    I paid good money for these Gibsy. You and your pasty skin better hope you didn't steer me wrong.

    ____________________________

    Luckily, for Gibsy and all his

    acolytes, he will not be meeting an untimely demise via shrimp death.

    Because I really liked this book.

    The art is some of the most stunning art I have ever come across. And I'm not talking about Lan Medina's drawings which tell the story, though it was amazeballs too. I'm talking about James Jean's gorgeous works of art which separate the individual issues. Artwork which I want in poster form, on my bedroom wall.

    This volume was a tiny bit lacking in the characterization department, but overall I was very entertained the whole way through and I zipped through this thing. I enjoyed reading about the specific characters and how their lives have shifted since their happily ever afters. Fairy tale legends live alongside regular New Yorkers (called Mundanes) ever since their kingdom was destroyed by an unknown and faceless enemy called The Adversary. It was kinda like a darker, better written this:

    But without the angst. And the plotholes. And the crazy convoluted plots that didn't make sense. And DEFINITELY without these two.

    Who (spoiler alert) completely ruined the show for me.

    Anywhoo, these characters know about their magic, know about their homeland. Most of them lost their kingdoms and their riches and their titles and now have to figure out a way to live among us normal folk. Snow White is the mayor and the Big Bad Wolf is the sheriff. And that's all fine and dandy because after their worlds were destroyed, there was this great big

    thing and all the past crimes were forgiven, and in light of working together against the adversary, villains became heroes. And some heroes became villains.

    Or maybe heroes and villains embody various shades of gray. That's better anyway.

    Snow White's sister, Rose Red, appears to have been murdered, and the big bad wolf (otherwise known as Bigby) is on the case. Snow insists on tagging along. These two reminded me a bit of

    Except Snow was a little bit more on the melodramatic side rather than the cute quirky side. She cried all the time. Like every other frame. It got on my nerves.

    And like EVERY fairytale couple is divorced. Snow and Charming, Cinderella and her prince. The only ones who seem to be giving it a good run are beauty and the beast. And even they are far from the couple of the year.

    I enjoyed the stellar storytelling chops from Willingham but also from the artist Lan Medina. A lot. I enjoyed the subtle hints into their true natures.

    I also enjoyed much of the humor strewn throughout. It made me laugh.

    I also enjoyed the needed bit of backstory we got into what really happened at The Homeland.

    Poor little piggies. They never seem to catch a break.

    The thing lacking for me was there wasn't really a character I liked all that much. Bigby has some potential, as does Bluebeard, but really, I found a lot of them shallow and whiny and pretentious. I'm hoping that future volumes can flesh out individual backstories because I want more.

    So Gibsy shall live to see the sun rise and fall at least one more time. But I still have two more volumes to read before I make any decisions. I'm still watching you Gibsy.

  • Karly *The Vampire Ninja, Luminescent Monster & Wendigo Nerd Goddess of Canada (according to The Hulk)*
    Jul 29, 2015

    So this Graphic Novel was very reminiscent of 'Once Upon a Time' for me. Our fairy tale creatures have been thrown into modern-day world and basically just have to deal with it... Awesome!! I love that shit.

    Beyond being our introduction to the characters within the world, and some personalities that maybe don't exactly meet expectations, this first volume is a murder mystery.

    Rose Red has disappeared, leaving behind an apartment splattered with blood and a big old mess.

    Our unlikely Sher

    So this Graphic Novel was very reminiscent of 'Once Upon a Time' for me. Our fairy tale creatures have been thrown into modern-day world and basically just have to deal with it... Awesome!! I love that shit.

    Beyond being our introduction to the characters within the world, and some personalities that maybe don't exactly meet expectations, this first volume is a murder mystery.

    Rose Red has disappeared, leaving behind an apartment splattered with blood and a big old mess.

    Our unlikely Sherlock and Holmes Duo is B. Wolfe and Snow. This volume was so much fun, guys!! I thoroughly enjoyed getting to see how all these characters were getting on in the big, wide world of norms.

    : Dude, what's with the three stars then??

    : I didn't care for the art, at all. *shrugs*

  • Trish
    Jun 18, 2016

    Since I'm a huge fan of fairytales from all over the globe, it was just a matter of time before I started this charming comic series about a number of fairytale characters living in our world in exile after some "adversary" took their kingdoms (yes, all of them, one after another).

    This first volume introduces us to the colourful and diverse community they have established which is basically run by Snow White. The day-to-day routine is interrupted when one of the Fables, as they call themselves,

    Since I'm a huge fan of fairytales from all over the globe, it was just a matter of time before I started this charming comic series about a number of fairytale characters living in our world in exile after some "adversary" took their kingdoms (yes, all of them, one after another).

    This first volume introduces us to the colourful and diverse community they have established which is basically run by Snow White. The day-to-day routine is interrupted when one of the Fables, as they call themselves, is murdered.

    The set-up with the Big Bad Wolf as Fabletown's sheriff is very well done and I like Bigby very much (yes, especially his wolf form ;P). Snow White as a clever, snarky, independent woman running the government was quite nice as well.

    Other than that, there were quite a lot of chuckle-worthy situations and the play with fairytale tropes and potential what-happened-afterwards was cleverly done (although some are sad of course, no matter how predictable they were). Moreover, I'm a sucker for murder mysteries. Always have been. So the combination was just one more thing to draw me in. Throughout the entire tale I was therefore very well entertained although I figured out the murder mystery pretty early on.

    The art is very pretty too, colourful but not chaotic, rich with detail. So the book is witty and fun and beautiful and I will definitely continue this series (the printed versions since they will look lovely on my shelf).

    As a side note, and this has nothing to do with this comic or my rating of it, I'm just saying:

    Snow White is NOT the sister of Rose Red. The fairytale is called Schneeweißchen und Rosenrot. Rosenrot is Rose Red and "wittchen" (from Schneewittchen) is an old version of "weißchen" which is a belittlement of weiß (white), but Schneeweißchen is not the English Snow White. In the respective fairytales, Snow White was the only daughter of a King and Queen, while Schneeweißchen und Rosenrot are sisters from a normal family that meet a bear and help him - the bear turning out to be a prince, marrying Schneeweißchen while Rosenrot marries the prince's younger brother.

    I don't know if there is no distinction in the English language because of the names, but just so you know. ;) *end of know-it-all mode*

    And another side-note:

    Other than that, I discovered a character I don't actually know about (Boy Blue?) so my research begins. :)

    P.S.: I had to grin like a loony when reading the name Grimble - Sean? xD

  • Sh3lly ✨ Bring on the Weird ✨
    Sep 12, 2016

    This seems like a solid start to a series. The fairy tale characters' homeland has been taken over by an enemy called The Adversary and have fled to the mundane world we live in. Snow White is a politician who works for the Mayor, King Cole, and The Big Bad Wolf is the sheriff.

    Snow White's sister, Rose Red, has apparently been murdered and the crime must be solved. The solving of the crime and big reveal wasn't really anything special, but there is a great premise set up with a lot of potential.

    This seems like a solid start to a series. The fairy tale characters' homeland has been taken over by an enemy called The Adversary and have fled to the mundane world we live in. Snow White is a politician who works for the Mayor, King Cole, and The Big Bad Wolf is the sheriff.

    Snow White's sister, Rose Red, has apparently been murdered and the crime must be solved. The solving of the crime and big reveal wasn't really anything special, but there is a great premise set up with a lot of potential. The characters we have all heard of are tweaked and often the result is really funny.

    I think my favorite line was with Pinocchio. He's at the Fabletown yearly gala and complains about having to always come to the ball because he's looking for the fairy who turned him into a real boy:

    HAHA

    Rose Red, the party girl:

    Bluebeard, who spars with Cinderella in one scene:

    Prince Charming is a mooching womanizer:

    Overall, I enjoyed this and plan to continue.


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