Spot the not -- could she be a fable?

I was doing my rounds of local blogs today (part of my daily work routine) and came across the strangest thing: a mysterious ghostly sighting that’s been popping up all over the city all week!  It was on both Chuvaness and Byahilo, and I managed to catch Enrico (Mr. Byahilo himself!) online to ask about it — and he sent me this photo (thanks, Eric)!

That’s kind of freaky — imagine riding a train to work, partly drifting in and out of sleep, and being jolted out of your early morning stupor to find this ghastly woman in a period costume right in front of you, her cold, clammy hands gripping the handrail! She looks as if she stepped out of the pages of Noli Me Tangere, or maybe even Snow White!

This “ghost” sighting comes just in time — I was about to publish this review of the Fables Deluxe Edition by Bill Willingham, et al, so I hurriedly had to edit this entry to add this photo!

Anyway, you probably know the story — because of my impossible schedule, my reading diet this year has been composed of shorter novels, anthologies, picture books, comics, and yes, graphic novels.

The Fables deluxe edition by Bill Willingham et al, contains the first two compilations (issues 1-10) of the famed Fables series, Legends in Exile and Animal Farm. Fables has won, among other awards, over a dozen Eisners, including Best Serialized Story in 2003 for Legends in Exile.

I’ve been looking forward to trying out Fables even long before I got my autographed (by cover artist James Jean!) copy of the deluxe edition, because my book club friends have been raving about it, and comparing it to works of one of my favorite writers, Jasper Fforde.

Fables is a comic book series that features characters from fairy tales and folklore. They live in New York City, in a secret  neighborhood called “Fabletown,” because they have been driven out of the “Homelands” by a certain “Adversary,” who remains incognito in the issues included in this compilation.

In his introduction, Willingham states, “You’re about to meet some old friends that you haven’t seen in a while. You alredy know their first stories — their adventurous tales from long ago. Now you get to find out what they’ve been up to lately.”

In the first book, Legends in Exile, Jack (as in Horner, and giant-killer) comes to Bigby (as in Big Bad) Wolf’s office to report the possible murder of Rose Red, Snow White’s estranged sister (Bigby Wolf is the Sheriff of Fabletown and Snow White is the Deputy Mayor of Fabletown). Bigby and Snow investigate the crime against Rose Red.

In Animal Farm, Snow pays a visit to the Farm, a place where non-Mundys (the animals, who are not mundane because of their animal form) live because their animal form prevents them from blending into the human population of New York. Snow runs smack into an animal revolution, because the non-Mundys are fed up with their “incarceration” at the Farm.

I really enjoyed reading Fables — I love intertextual works (Jasper Fforde!), and seeing familiar characters and plot devices in a more visual form is quite an experience. I love the idea of fables living in our world, trying to fit in with the rest of us. On top of Willingham’s clever storyline, the art — by geniuses like James Jean, Lan Medina (who’s a Filipino artist, the first to win an Eisner! Yay!), Mark Buckingham, Steve Leialoha, and Craig Hamilton — is simply breathtaking!

This deluxe edition is awesome, because it’s hardcover, and is printed on glossy paper unlike the colored newsprint (?) of the individual books. It also features a special sketchbook section showcasing original character designs from Bill Willingham, Lan Medina, and Mark Buckingham. And of course (and I’ll say it again, squee!), my copy has James Jean’s autograph!

Willingham mentions in his introduction that they’ll be releasing a deluxe volume of Fables each year until the whole saga (unfinished, until now) is collected. I’m definitely waiting for the next one!

***

Fables Deluxe Edition Book 1, hardcover with dustjacket
Legends in Exile (issues 1-5), 5/5 stars
Animal Farm (issues 6-10), 4/5 stars

Book #19-20 for 2010
W for the A-Z challenge

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