If I could read only one graphic novel series, I think that Fables would be my choice. The characters are familiar and yet newly imagined, made relevant to readers today and interact with one another in completely new ways. If you haven’t read any of the Fables series you really need to go back and experience this journey from the beginning. Though I’ll admit that I’ve missed a number of issues in the middle and feel I’ve managed to catch up quite rapidly.
Many of the different storylines seem to be converging (perhaps because the series is coming to an end?) and each of them is intriguing and remarkable.
Rose Red is re-creating Camelot, Brandish isn’t quite dead, Bigsby Wolf is visited in in the afterlife by two friends (possibly my favorite sequence in this book), Rose Red and Snow White squabble like sisters, and Bigsby’s remains go missing. There is so much here, and it’s tremendously fun.
Author Bill Willingham clearly has had a passion for these characters and knows how to tell an ongoing story. He doesn’t waste time (so many comics/graphic novels lately seem to be padded with unnecessary story just to fill out the pages) and he knows precisely when to shift viewpoints. There is ‘filler’ here, but it’s written as additional stories. Here we have two parts to a “The Boys in the Band” storyline, and a Gepetto storyline “Root and Branch.”
The artwork is a perfect complement to the story. I particularly like the side panels throughout, which reflect the theme, mood, and location of the action panels.
This is a really wonderful series, one that will be missed by many, but hopefully it means that Willingham has other ideas that he wants to invest his time in to, and whatever it is, readers should take note. He clearly knows how to tell a story.
Looking for a good book? Fables should be on your reading list. Fables, Vol. 20: Camelot is a strong addition to an ongoing storyline, with great storytelling and beautiful art.
* * * * * *
Fables, Volume 20: Camelot
author: Bill Willingham
artists: Barry Kitson, Gary Erskine, Mark Buckingham, Steve Leialoha, Andrew Pepoy, Russ Braun
paperback, 256 pages