Fables, Vol. 1: Legends in Exile

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...

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Title:Fables, Vol. 1: Legends in Exile
Author:Bill Willingham
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.

  • Sparrow
    Aug 01, 2012

    I was told this would be funny . . .

    ???

    Maybe to some people character soup is funny on its own without any kind of actual cleverness? It seems like a pretty lazy form of humor, though, if that is actually humor. Is that humor???

    THIS IS A MYSTERY, not a comedy. And a somewhat lame mystery without any comedic elements I could identify. I mean, I haven’t been that big of a fan of mystery story since I was like 10 and read most of the Agatha Christies. I think that was the same year I ate a tuna fi

    I was told this would be funny . . .

    ???

    Maybe to some people character soup is funny on its own without any kind of actual cleverness? It seems like a pretty lazy form of humor, though, if that is actually humor. Is that humor???

    THIS IS A MYSTERY, not a comedy. And a somewhat lame mystery without any comedic elements I could identify. I mean, I haven’t been that big of a fan of mystery story since I was like 10 and read most of the Agatha Christies. I think that was the same year I ate a tuna fish sandwich almost every day. I learned my overdose lesson for the most part that year, but I still gag a little when I smell tuna. And I lost the suspense you’re supposed to have at a mystery. It got replaced with boredom. But, also, this was a REALLY obvious mystery.

    I like mysteries like

    or the

    s, where it’s more about the story than the mystery. Those are great. I have a slight sense that this was supposed to be about the characters, too, but that didn’t make it enjoyable to me. I don’t get this thing of taking fairy tales and going, “What if we made all of the characters super unpleasant?! People will love it!” Why? I mean, I guess there is a sort of a

    motivation of saying, this is how fairy tales work out in real life.

    But, Dina Goldstein is a goddess of concise, poignant visual impact. This story just didn’t have the same immediate resonance, and I don’t necessarily think it was trying for that. It mostly just seemed like it was going for making characters unpleasant, not necessarily more realistic. It floundered, and then in the end it seemed to somehow have actually been mostly about how

    . I don’t get it, and whatever it is, it was not funny. It was totally not horrible, though.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>

  • 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.

  • Hershey
    Oct 06, 2014

    Welcome, queer folk of the modern age, welcome!

    The queer folk of the Fabled lands of legends are now living as exiles in your very queer world indeed and they seem to have adapted very well by creating this very secret society called Fabletown. Oh, don't bother looking for them for you will never recognize them.

    From wearing pretty gowns and armour, from fighting against evil and saving princesses, these folks have changed tremendously. They have lost their touch with magic and true love for your

    Welcome, queer folk of the modern age, welcome!

    The queer folk of the Fabled lands of legends are now living as exiles in your very queer world indeed and they seem to have adapted very well by creating this very secret society called Fabletown. Oh, don't bother looking for them for you will never recognize them.

    From wearing pretty gowns and armour, from fighting against evil and saving princesses, these folks have changed tremendously. They have lost their touch with magic and true love for your world is very corrupt indeed. Like I said, you wouldn't even recognize them.

    But then, you find this book. You pick it up for some light reading. And just like that, you're sucked into their new world in your world. You come to know secrets and shocking revelations and at times, how sexy your once favourite characters have become.

    But right now, in this particular volume, you realize that Snow White's sister Rose Red is missing. 'Oh dear' you might exclaim or you might just roll your eyes or you might taken it upon yourself to find her and get inside this secret society. Good luck, queer person! You won't be fast enough.

    Snow White and the Big Bad Wolf team up to find her sister and what a team they make! Don't be alarmed, queer person, the Big Bad Wolf is now the Sheriff of this secret society and he's now a very good wolf indeed.

    And thus, you are pulled inside this story, lost inside this story and finally, yearning for more tales from this very secret society. Or are they just tales, queer folk of the modern age? Keep your eyes wide open for a fair maiden with a sword up her sleeve, a grumpy looking Sheriff, a red haired vixen, handsome charming men and folks with elvish appearances and also if you have acquired this wonderful first volume, I suggest you start your hunt for the next one!

    Until next time, queer folk of the modern age!

  • 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*

  • Norah Una Sumner
    Apr 02, 2016

    Such an interesting and fun concept! I definitely enjoyed reading this volume which represents the perfect introduction to this story's characters and the world they live in. This volume is like one big investigation and I really enjoyed trying to figure out what happened to Rose Red. Also, Snow White is a bad ass. Love her. Looking forward to reading the sequel!

  • 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.