Fables is written by Bill Willingham. It is the story of all the Fables you remember from childhood, but living in our world in modern day New York. The Big Bad Wolf is a grizzled detective. Snow White is the Mayor’s assistant. The Prince Charming from the fables of Snow White, Cinderella, and Sleeping Beauty is the same Prince, and he married all of them. Goldilocks is dating baby bear from the Three Bears. This book is a Vertigo title, and deservedly so. Despite the somewhat childish source material, it is unquestionably an adult title.
The reason that all these fable characters are living in New York is that an invincible evil chased them from their homeland. Who that evil is becomes a major part of the story in the later volumes. This first volume is a plain detective story, but with the Big Bad Wolf as the detective. Rose Red is the victim. The suspects are Jack (of Beanstalk fame), Bluebeard, Snow White, and Prince Charming. How Bigby Wolf (His human name in the comic) solves the mystery is straight out of classic noir. Imagine Raymond Chandler but with magic. One problem I have with a lot of mystery fiction is that there are no real clues. When you reread the book, there is nothing you can grasp on and think to yourself, “there’s a clue.” But Fables does not have that deficiency. When I reread this book for comic club, I thought, “Ooh, there’s a clue! How did I miss that the first time!?” And it avoids some of the clichés that are usually found in detective novels, and it plays around with those clichés. Makes you think its going one way, but then goes the other.
What is really interesting about the first volume is that the story doesn’t require any of the characters to be magical in nature. You could remove all the characters history and change their names and the story could go almost unchanged. I think the purpose of this was to get you to relate with these mystical characters before it gets into the full-on magic stuff that starts in volume 2 and is still present in the issues currently coming out. I don't think it was necessary because Willingham does such an amazing job at making these characters real flesh and bone instead of pixie dust and magic apples. This book starts out great, and only gets better. Check it out!
For every comic book club we always make a list of who we would cast in a movie:
Bigby Wolf – Clive Owen
Snow White – Parker Posey
Jack – Cristian Bale
Mayor Cole – Wilfred Brimley
Flycatcher – DJ Qualls
Little Boy Blue – Casey Affleck
Rose Red – Anne Hathaway
Cinderella – Kirsten Bell
Beauty – Scarlet Johansen
Beast – Hugh Jackman
Prince Charming – Robert Downey Jr