Graphic Novel Review Week
When the Fables books first started to come out, a friend of mine told me about them, suggested I’d like them, and so I bought the first few issues. My friend was correct…I did like them. I thought (and think) of them as one of the best concepts for a comic book/graphic novel series that has come forward in a very long time.
For those who aren’t familiar at all with the concept, the series takes existing characters from myths, fables, and fairy tales and puts them in the modern world, with all the knowledge of their ‘other’ lives.
This book actually contains two stories. The first, which takes up one-third of the book, is titled “A Revolution in Oz.” This story is told in three page increments which I suspect means it was a short tag-on story at the end of each comic. The art, by Shawn McManus is wonderfully ‘odd’ – I’m not sure what is a better way to describe it. It comfortably captures the strangeness and frightening aspects of Oz. The story is definitely suitable for a tag-on story in a comic series, but I will admit I grew tired of it before it ended. The story here is that tiny Lily Martagnion leads some friends, including Jack Pumpkinhead, on a mission to rescue her boyfriend, Bufkin (a monkey), Prince of the Revolutionaries. Parts of the story were quite fun, such as the Lollipop Killed sequence.
The rest of the book is taken up with the Snow White story, in which Prince Brandish appears, making a legal claim as Snow White’s husband, and ensnares her in magic. Snow’s current husband Bigby Wolf fights for her release and some terrible things happen. Snow does get free from the magical ensnarement (thanks in part to her sister) and she faces off against Brandish herself.
It’s a well-plotted story, though it does seem to take a little more time than seemed really necessary, but I was definitely hooked and wanted to read it all the way through. The art is strong and appropriate for the genre.
In my ARC version, the Oz story came first in the book, and because it went on quite long (one-third of the book) I wondered if we were going to get to the ‘real’ story. Anyone not familiar with Fables may struggle to get through the Oz story.
Looking for a good book? Fables is a great concept for a graphic novel and whether you’re a long-time fan or this is your first look, there’s a lot to like in this volume of the book.
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Fables, Volume 19: Snow White
author: Bill Willingham
artists: Mark Buckingham and Sean McManus
paperback, 168 pages