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2009.11.09

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Yeah, long-running series like [i]Fables[/i] can be daunting. I'd say check out the first arc/trade and decide from there. Also [i]Fables[/i] has an on-going spin-off in [i]Jack of Fables[/i] plus a couple one-shots like "The Last Castle" and "1001 Nights"...

Still, one of my personal favorite Vertigo titles, in spite of series creator/writer Bill Willingham being a bit a conservative jack-ass...

Forget the Virgin Read thing, you must read all of Fables. Start from the first trade (which is a murder mystery starring Snow White and the Big Bad Wolf) and read the whole thing. You'll love it, it's one of the best comics ever.

See, all the things you're crediting Chris Roberson for are actually things that Bill Willingham (the writer of Fables) set up. This miniseries is like "Fables Lite".

That's a really nice review - I'm always happy when someone who's not a avid reader has this much enthusiasm for a comic book, and the books of the Fables family definitely deserve the praise. If you liked

Cinderella, I also recommend that you look for "Sandman Presents: The Thessaliad". It was written by Bill WIllingham (the same writer of Fables) and drawn by Shaw McManus (the same penciller of Cinderella), and has a set-up and lead character similar to Cinderella. It was only four issues, and I think you can find it collected in one volume. Definitely worth a shot.

Oh, and of course, by all means check the Fables books out! ;)

Best,
J.

"Anyhow. Loved that the former guy to give Cindy her "marching orders" was Bigby Wolf (Big Bad Wolf! I get it!). And now it's Beast, from Beauty and the Beast."

I wandered in here randomly, following a link, and at first I thought it was really odd that you were talking about things that were not notable about this miniseries at all, when in fact the only thing of note appeared to be the James Bond pastiche (which I thought was kind of a meh idea). Then I realized you had never read an issue of Fables before, and this was the Virgin Read feature.

Ok. They've been doing this comic, like, forever (ok, maybe at least 7 years).

Its sort of for me like reading a review of the most recent episode of Gilligan's Island and the reviewer states "I really enjoyed how it seemed like they were going to get off the island, then something went wrong!"

But maybe this is more a personal reaction feature, and not a review, so I approached it with the wrong attitude?

Nevertheless, I remember the Virgin Read feature from before, and its funny how this review parallels an earlier one:


"And then I got to the page where they are all there, walking out of a spaceship, thinking they are on Earth. They are all represented. And the lightbulb went off. “Oh, I get it. I get it! This is, like, for comic people, the equivalent of when the kids I teach go and see Elmo Live. Its like, ELMO! LIVE! And all the others are there too! Big Bird! And Sully! And Zoe! Singing! And Dancing! But ALL TOGETHER."

Its Cinderella, and Beast, and Beauty, and look, they're dancing!!!!

Don't get me wrong, I thought the Elmo live reference was amusing, but the main conceit of Fables is surely the same thing.

"After I wrote this, I was told that this is a spin-off story from Fables, a comic that's already got 13 of those book collections. I don't know if I'll make time to read those or not."

Fables is by a different writer, and probably has a different tone, so there's no guarantee you'll like it as much. (It's pretty good though)

There's also a spinoff series Jack of Fables, which is generally funnier and takes itself less seriously, which I happen to prefer. That one has co-writers. Fables is the original book by the original writer.

This is in now way directed at the commenters above, this is just a personal pet peeve of mine...whenever someone says "hey, I like this," there's nothing worse when people jump in with a bunch of other series they want you to check out to. It gets confusing and who has the time or money for all that stuff? I'm saying this because I *really* want to suggest some fairy tale books to you, but what's the point?

Anyway, I haven't read Fables. Shaun McManus is one incredible artist. I'm glad you had a good time reading it! I think the biggest problem the comics medium faces is most of the books people see are the really awful superhero stuff, so they're like - this medium is a wasteland. But there are good books out there, it's just hard to find them.

Yes, I happen to love Fables, and it's one of the series that my wife really enjoys as well. If you start reading it, you'll find that there's a whole long plotline about how they got into the mundy world and an evil emperor taking over all the fairy tale worlds and whatnot; it's very fun stuff. I do think the first volume is only so-so; the second one is where it really picks up, possibly because Mark Buckingham comes on board as the regular artist. So yeah, if you like the concept, I definitely recommend giving it a try.

Also, I always hear about Willingham being obnoxiously conservative, but I haven't seen much in the way of examples of that. Of course, I don't read his blog (if he has one) or anything, so I haven't been seeking examples of it in hopes of disagreeing with him. I don't think it comes out in the work very much; the main example people seem to give is a scene in which a character gives a speech that seems to be in support of Israel, but I didn't think it was all that out of place or anything. In fact, some of the later stories seem kind of anti-conservative, or at odds with American Republican policies, so I don't think he's trying to indoctrinate anybody. I guess it's a case of separating the art from the artist; hopefully you don't find his political views so distasteful that you scour the work for some hint of him trying to sneak in some propaganda or something. He's a good enough writer (on this series anyway; from what I understand, his work on various superhero books has been kind of awful) that his stories work on their own rather than as a delivery device for his politics.

His superhero HAS been awful, but the stuff I've read from him that's non-superhero...pretty solid.

I remember reading the issue of Fables that finally established Cinderella as a spy, and it was going fine until the last page when Bigby just abruptly starts with the really lame France-bashing and I was like "We get it Willingham, you're a conservative. Shut the fuck up."

I think that was the point I really stopped caring about the series, because I don't remember even reading the rest of the trade past that issue.

I would caution you against going into Fables with too high expectations. It has its fervent fans, yes, but it's really annoying in concentrated doses. If you just read an issue here or there, it's easy to ignore the ideology, but if you read a lot and read consistently it's hard to ignore Willingham's repulsive conservatism. It informs just about every creative decision he makes in the book, from rote Mary Sue-ish characterization straight out of later Robert Heinlein to the triumphalist military AD&D campaign jack-off material of some of the longer "epic" storylines. Plus, there is some really grating, particularly rancid knee-jerk anti-intellectualism that creeps out occasionally, specifically in the Jack of Fables spin-off and the recent crossover between the two books. Like many self-styled "independent" conservatives, he's just not as smart as he thinks he is, and the attitude makes it hard to forgive faults in the series that would seem less glaring under a more nuanced writer.

I haven't noticed any Conservative values leaking into any of the books. Like, I haven't even noticed one example of that. Maybe it's more subtle than I think? Or maybe dudes are just reading into it hell of much.

I think the series is great, and as a liberal, I've never once been bothered by any political subtext. One might even interpret the evil Empire's strategy of waging war to achieve peace as a criticism of the military-industrial complex run amok. I get the feeling that those who strongly disagree with Willingham's personal politics are predisposed to perceive this book as some sort of conservatives' handbook. Nina, don't let others scare you away from Fables. One of its great strengths is its accessibility. The cast is large, but most of us already know a little about all the characters. The fun is in learning how they have evolved beyond the familiar fairy tales.

You should just assume that all writers are liberal and therefore all their books are safe for your consumption unless otherwise instructed. If a writer is 'out' as a conservative (or god forbid Republican, which is 20-45% of the population in the US) be sure to continuously look for hidden messages and unacceptable sympathies.

(This advice is of course not directed at Nina herself.)

My wife thinks Fables is the bee's knees.

She is a girl.

A friend of mine got me to read Fables a few months ago and I did enjoy it for the most part. I particularly enjoyed the storyline with Boy Blue, and overall I felt it was a good read, but after a while I got a little tired of it. I can't put my finger on exactly what it was, but along the way I just started to not care as much what was happening. While I felt it was overall pretty solid, it never really hit that sweet spot where everything just meshed perfectly the way really great series do. That could just be my personal aesthetic, of course, and it hits all the right notes for other people, but I figured I'd throw my two cents in since I've actually read a good portion of the story.

Also, I did not care for the *spoilery thing* that happened with Bigby and Snow with Goldy in the mix. It struck me as very lazy, contrived writing and there were much better ways to reach the same ending. But that's me.

No, don't tell her to read ALL the Fables books. That is a daunting task and more likely to scare away than entice.

Fables is a really great series though.
It is one of the books DC has been pushing as part of their After Watchmen program. They re-published several of the first issues of those series for $1.00
You might check with your local comic shop to see if they have any copies of that promotional Fables issue.
If not, I think you can actually download it here:
http://www.dccomics.com/vertigo/graphic_novels/?gn=1606

Most mainstream comic book writers are pretty conservative. Pack a room with aging white men, and you'll end up with lots and lots of right-wingers who insist, in spite of all available evidence, that they are "liberal." See, for instance, Mark Millar, a man who seems to have convinced himself he's the second coming of Eugene Debs, but writes like a borderline fascist.

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