Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Why I Love... Fables

Over at Historical Tapestry we have this guest post feature where authors post about things they love and why they love them... I am borrowing it for my blog today.

I think it is no secret that I am a HUGE fan of Fables by Bill Willingham and all his various co-authors, artists, letterers, etc. So, I thought I would share, in honour of Valentine's Day, Why I Love the series so much.

I first read Fables in 2009. My library didn't have them, but many people that I trusted loved the series. The thing was, I still hadn't read that many graphic novels at the time... Archie comics when I was younger. I think I had read Persepolis in maybe 2008 or so... I bought Maus when I bought Fables... So it was still the beginning of my journey.

So, here was my thought process at the time... Fables was all ready a huge series. I read really fast and comic books are so short... Were they worth the money? I stared at them online... I love fairy tale retellings... Fables had fairy tale retelling... I enjoy strong women characters... For the most part, Fables had strong female characters... I like pretty pictures... Fables looked like it has pretty pictures. The only bookstore near me didn't sell comic books, so I had never actually seen Fables in person. It was all online at this point.

(This would change. The store an hour from me, at the time, did have graphic novels... And both my mother and the guy got the special priviledge to discover a part of the store they knew nothing about because I wanted the next Fables, please. Oh, my, did the people working know nothing. My mother called me one time so I could help her find Volume 7, I think it was. And, another time it took like an hour and the guy found it quite by accident. If you want to put independent stores out of business... You could maybe TRAIN people!)

But, obviously, I took the chance. Oh, my, did I not know what I was getting myself into. I had Christmas gift cards, I bought the first two comics, and by some point in the year I was caught up and waiting for the new releases. I haven't looked back and I refuse to do the math on just how much money I spent on comics that year... (Full disclosure... I just counted... I read 18 Fables/Jack of Fables in 2009. This also includes the novel Peter & Max. Yep. I should not have just counted...)

So, why do I love it?

  • The art is fantastic! Especially those first two that launched it all for me. There have been times where I haven't been blown away by it, but that is sometimes about the artists style and less about their talent.
  • The characters feel like family. I love learning more about them. The most recent edition talked about Snow White more and her history, for example. She has been a central character since comic 1, so I loved it. And, I get sad when bad stuff happens. It is not an ideal world... People die... Sometimes they come back, but sometimes they don't. 
  • It is not just fairy tales. One of the things I loved over the years is trying to get all the connections. There was one that had Animal Farm as its backdrop. Aladdin has been in there. Arabian Nights is another. I am not sure I have got all the connections. I think that is partly why I am rereading them.
  • Strong female characters. Considering this was fairy tale retellings, they could just as easily not be. But, Snow White runs Fabletown in the beginning. Cinderella has an entire background that lead to her having her very own spin-offs. Goldilocks was all sorts of interesting! And then there are the witches. Yep, lots of great women in Fables.
  • They come out regularly. One thing with series is that there can be an agonizing wait for everything... Fables never does that! Between the series itself, which usually comes out about twice a year, there is also spin-offs, special editions, and now the impending crossover with The Unwritten a bit later this year to contend with.
  • The storyline is great. It is not always perfect. Sometimes the side stories were boring. Sometimes an entire trade paperback was not as good as some of the others. But, overall, it has been an awesome ride. And, I like the direction the comics are going at the moment. When I finished Volume 19 I was excited for Volume 20. This is a series that has been going for years and I still get excited about! When I get an email saying the next one has shipped, I stalk my mailbox.
  • It brings people together. I started reading Fables because of Heather and Carl. I started reading The Unwritten because of Ana. And, I know so many people that have read it since I started. (Maybe because of me?) I get just as excited when they read them as when I read them that first time. We chat about it, I offer opinions, and I watch the world spread out before them through blog posts and tweets.
This all leads up to my sadness that all good things must come to an end. I have been avoiding looking into it too much, but my understanding is that Fables ends in 2015. One day there won't be a Fables for me to pre-order. While I think this has its benefits, you must as well go out while you are still on top, I find myself preparing to mourn. I have all ready started frantically trying to find other series to fill the void. And, because Fables releases faster than any other series I read, I am prepared that it just might not be possible.

I am so happy I took that chance five years ago. I have read so many graphic novels since that I may never have read without Fables. I am beyond delighted with the experiences and the excitement. I never thought this would be me. And then I might have missed out on Saga another Brian K. Vaughan awesomeness. I think my world would be an entirely different place if I hadn't let Fables in at just that moment.

I raise my hat to you, Bill Willingham. You have made a huge impact on the literary world and I can't wait to see what else the future has in store for you.
This post is part of a fun event hosted by Doing Dewey, Estella's Revenge, From Isi, and Love at First Book. Head over to these blogs to see other posts and link up your own!

15 comments:

  1. and you got me (and by extension The Hubster) hooked on this series too! So Good. Such fun,

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  2. No graphic novel has ever really grabbed me but this series sounds really fascinating. I'm definitely going to have to give this a try!

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  3. My son adores graphic novels. I've been trying to get him into this series, but so far he's shown no interest. I'll have to keep trying to push them on him. They sound like they would be perfect for him!

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  4. Aw, what a great post! I need to reread this series -- it's been too long, and I'm at least four volumes out of date.

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  5. Perfect timing! I just started rereading the Fables series today. You are so right, when you aren't impressed by a volume it is usually because of the artistic style. There are a few volumes from the series I didn't like for that reason alone.

    I had no idea that Fables is coming to an end next year. :-(

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  6. I really must check these out. I know, I've said that before and then been distracted....

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  7. Great post! I loved Maus & Persepolis and can't wait to read more beautiful graphic novels!

    So glad to have found you through Literary Love 14! :D

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  8. I wish they had continued to use the same format for the spine - they start with using part of the cover art and they chance to full colors. The type-A in me would love to see a uniform collection on the shelf :)

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  9. I love this post! It's so enthusiastic. I liked the first Fables but didn't really connect with it, but this post is making me want to totally try again! So you can add me to the list of people who are reading Fables because of you :)

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  10. Ok, how can anyone not want to read these after your post! :) I have heard of Fables of course but have never even seen one. I really, really must try these. I think I would definitely enjoy them and would love to see the artwork.

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  11. I swear you're going to get me to read this all by yourself. I want to start it so bad!

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  12. Aw, I love this post! And it made me miss the series - I think I'm like two volumes of the TB behind.

    Also, yay, The Unwritten :D Swapping recommendations is the best.

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  13. I am waiting for the next Jack book to come into the library so that I can get back to the main series. And yes, it was predominantly your fault that I started reading the series.

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  14. I started the series thanks Kai, when she sent me a preview copy of the series. I fell for it right away. But, it was you that helped me read them more effectively and inspired me to read The Unwritten, Fairest, and Cinderella! I am really curious how they are going to do a crossover with The Unwritten.

    This is a fabulous piece, by the way. I loved reading it and agree with you on all points!

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