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Fables, Vol. 1: Legends in Exile Comic – December 1, 2002

4.4 out of 5 stars 305 customer reviews

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"The Elemental Assassins Series"
Book fourteen in the New York Times bestselling urban fantasy series RT Book Reviews calls unbeatable entertainment!. Learn more | See series page

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This elaborate fantasy series begins as a whodunit, but quickly unfurls into a much larger story about Fabletown, a place where fairy tale legends live alongside regular New Yorkers. Years ago, fables and fairy tales like Jack and the Beanstalk and Cinderella "were a thousand separate kingdoms spread over a hundred magic worlds," until they were invaded and driven into hiding and, eventually, into modern-day Gotham. And so, on the city streets we find Beauty and the Beast in trouble with the law and Prince Charming reduced to a broke cad auctioning off his royal title, while his ex-wife, Snow White, rules over the de facto kingdom the fables created. When Snow White's sister, Rose Red, disappears from a blood-soaked apartment, the Wolf, reformed and now the kingdom's house detective, is assigned to the case. Willingham uses the Wolf's investigation to introduce readers to Fabletown's dissolute, hard-luck inhabitants, and he is at his best here, relishing one-liners and spinning funky background information of a world where fairy tale characters spend their time fretting about money and thinking up get-rich schemes. The mystery seems mostly an excuse to delineate Willingham's world, as the caper is easily resolved-in true fairy tale fashion-during a massive ballroom celebration. Willingham's dialogue is humorous, his characterizations are sharp and his plot encompasses a tremendous amount of information with no strain at all. The art, mostly by Medina and Leialoha, is well drawn and serviceable, if somewhat unremarkable, with occasional flares of decorative invention. But it's Willingham's script that carries the tale.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Once upon a time--recently--Jack, not that much older looking than when he climbed the beanstalk, rushes breathlessly into the office of Woodland Luxury Apartments security chief Bigby Wolf to report that his girlfriend Red Rose's Village pad is awash with blood and she is missing. That gives Wolf a case to investigate--a rare occurrence during the centuries that he and other refugees from Fableland have lived in their Manhattan colony since being harried from their world. Of course, Wolf has to put up with his boss, Snow White, long divorced from Prince Charming, dogging his heels because, after all, Rose is her sister. The mystery is solved in a classic Agatha Christie-ish parlor-room confab, displaced to King Cole's penthouse, but not before milking gallons of good entertainment from the conceit of fairy-tale characters as fully human and full of human weaknesses, prominently including lust. Willingham caps the dashingly drawn mainstream-comics-style graphic novel with a prose-only story that accounts for how Wolf got his job. Great fun. Ray Olson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Product Details

  • Comic: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Vertigo; eight edition (December 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1563899426
  • ISBN-13: 978-1563899423
  • Product Dimensions: 6.6 x 0.3 x 10.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (305 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #643,242 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Bill Willingham never fought a desperate and losing battle in a good cause, never contributed to society in a meaningful way, and hasn't lived a life of adventure, but he's had a few moments of near adventure. At some point in his life Bill learned how to get paid for telling scurrilous lies to good people, and he's been doing it ever since. He lives in the wild and frosty woods of Minnesota.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Comic
i first read this collection a few months ago. i was delighted that willingham had this amazing idea...but the problem seems to be in execution for the first book...the story is kind of like a pulpy detective series...even down to a parlour scene in which the hero explains how he solved the crime...the reason i've only given it 3 stars and that i say it's a good start is because:

a) it is in fact enjoyable...

b) i've caught up and read the rest (and they get better each volume)

c) i want you to read it.

stepping away from this book for a moment, this series is entirely worthy of your time and money if you ever enjoyed fairy tales...willingham masterfully takes what were once 2 dimensional characters and gives them personality...the problem is that you can't (or shouldn't) read the story without starting here...i highly recommend the series, but this is the worst book in it...
1 Comment 115 of 129 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Comic
Recently, I have found myself being drawn closer and closer to the world of Graphic Novels. Now, I do not speak of the ones that the teenie boppers are clobbering themselves over, but instead the dark sinister tales that are being woven by some of the masters of the trade. I am speaking of Frank Miller, Neil Gaiman, Alan Moore, and Jamie Delano. Now, with the greatest of comfort, I can add Bill Willingham to that list. I know there are probably more (possibly better) graphic novel artists out there, but these are the foundation on which I am building up from. I know they can only get better from here.

But, back to Bill Willingham. After my wife graduated with a Master's in Children's Literature, and even sometime before, I began to see the utter chaos and darkness surrounding these tales that help the youth of our future sleep at night. They have been glossed over in years past by the subliminal corporation known as Disney, and lost that eerie creep factor that they long deserved. You cannot tell me that Alice in Wonderland is a colorful story that should be told to every three-year-old out there ... I don't think I could say that. In my eye I have always envisioned it as this dark hole that she falls into, a sinister nightmare that I think has only been captured well on film by famed director Jan Svankmajer. Now, with Willingham's writing, I can see that darkness emerge again.

Fables: Legends in Exile is a perfect introductory to the new world of infamous children's characters. After fleeing their homeland, these magical and mysterious people have been forced to find refuge in none other than NYC. Here, Willingham takes us through mazes of people as we learn their rituals, their magic, and their secrets.
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Comment 56 of 67 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Comic
Fairy tales are real. They have a life of their own. Unfortunately, most of the fairy tale lands have been taken over by a villain known as the Adversary. As a result, the characters have fled to our world where they lead a hidden existence in New York. Most have been here for centuries. The main settlement is a colony on Bullfinch street. King Cole is in charge but Snow White really runs things. The sheriff is the Big Bad Wolf (a.k.a. Bigby).

At the start of the story, there is a crisis. Snow White's sister Rose Red has been murdered. Bigby must try and solve the murder while the community is planning for their annual festival where they raise the money needed to operate for another year.

Jack the Giant Killer, Prince Charming, the Three Pigs, Bluebeard. Little Boy Blue, Beauty and the Beast, and many others come together in this wonderful treatment of fairy tales. It doesn't hurt that the mystery is well plotted and developed. A very entertaining read.
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Format: School & Library Binding
Fables: Legends in Exile reprints the first 5 issues of the Vertigo Comics' series, Fables. The concept of the series is well done, original, and interesting. The classic fairy tale figures of legend were driven from their lands by a mysterious creature named "the Adversary". Left with no choice but leave their lands or die, the Fables fled to New York City, living in secret, judging, policing, and governing themselves.

This volume centers around the question, ` Who murdered Rose Red?" The beloved sister of Snow White is violently murdered, her apartment soaked in blood, her body missing. Immediately Snow White, who is now the Deputy Mayor of the Fable community enlists the help of Bigby Wolf, who is now the Sheriff. Together, they sort through a very unusual list of suspects, including Bluebeard, Jack (of Jack and the Beanstalk), and Prince Charming himself.

Personally, I love this volume and Willingham's take on the characters. Happy ever after rarely means just that, everyone has distinct personalities that are more mature and devolved than the original fairy tales had time to discuss, and the characters are flawed. It makes for a brilliantly fun read.

The only word of caution I have is this story has adult language and sexual situations, so keep that in mind when determining appropriateness. But for every adult out there, this is a great, fun graphic to read, with nice art and an original prose story by Willingham " A Wolf in the Fold".
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