- Age Range: 6 - 12 years
- Grade Level: 2 - 3
- Hardcover: 128 pages
- Publisher: First Second (September 22, 2015)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1626721076
- ISBN-13: 978-1626721074
- Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 0.5 x 10.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 5 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #111,044 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Fable Comics: Amazing Cartoonists Take On Classic Fables from Aesop and Beyond Hardcover – September 22, 2015
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“Consistently strong and exceptionally cohesive for such a varied collection, this will appeal to a wide range of readers.” ―Booklist
About the Author
Contributors include: Graham Annable, Greg Benton, R.O. Blechman, Vera Brosgol, Graham Chaffee, Eleanor Davis, Tom Gauld, Sophie Goldstein, Charise Harper, Jaime Hernandez, John Kerschbaum, James Kochalka, Simone Lia, Liniers, Jennifer Meyer, Corinne Mucha, Mark Newgarden, George O'Connor, Shelly Paroline and Braden Lamb, Israel Sanchez, Robert Sikoryak, Maris Wicks, Keny Widjaja
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A fable is a short narrative usually encompassing a moral. After Aesop, they also usually contain anthropomorphized animals. But different cultures have different catalogues of stories such as these passed down from generation to generation, mostly by word of mouth. Just recently, fables have become popular again, and Fable Comics takes full advantage of it. Getting a cross section of some of the best in comic artists, Fable Comics lets the artist go crazy providing there is a moral to the story. This leads to some rather eclectic renditions of these classic narratives.
Letting the artist go free spins a fresh post-modern twist on classic fables and allows them to let their creativity shine through and some rather unique endings. Twist endings were allowed providing a moral had to be told. These range from the classical interpretation of the tale, to “Artists are Stupid, Art is Dead, Everyone’s a Critic” (some of my all-time favorites). Maris Wicks uses her biology background to elucidate and educate on sea mammals. In “The Dolphin, The Whale and the Sprat,” and James Kochalka pulls out all the traditional stops in “The Fox and the Grapes.” These twists almost seemed necessary to propel the graphic novel forward, but with the traditional morals mixed in, it turned out to be a refreshing mix (although I would have changed a bit of the ordering of the fables).
I have to admit, from personal experience, that letting the artist go wild is not necessarily a good thing. Some of the Fables were cute, but contrived; others left you yawning in boredom, wanting to skip ahead to the next one. It’s a good thing fables are generally short. The roster of artists is also in a distinctly American style, cartoonish with few exceptions. This is not a bad thing, however, I would have preferred a more culturally diverse drawing style, but for what the book was trying to convey, it suited me fine.
There are a few gems in the lot. Jaime Hernandez does a spectacular job with “The Boy Who Cried Wolf,” Roger Langridge handles “”Democles and His Fable” with grace and flair, Shelli Pardline gracefully pens “The Thief and the Watchdog,” and George O’Conner renders in a prince Valiant type manner, the various “Hermes” tales. My personal favorite was R. Sikoryak’s Krazy Kat rendition of “The Lion and the Mouse.” It really spoke in the words and depictions of the famous George Harriman cartoon strip. Skillfully rendered in Harriman’s style, the moral at the end left me giggling inanely for minutes, at passing gags, and the stereotypical morphing backgrounds that Krazy Kat was noted for.
If you are a fan of Aesop you will not want to miss this collection. Fable Comics has something for everyone, and the diverse art will defiantly have you lustering after any new artists you come across (or already know, there are a few New York Times artists here). With it’s easy to read format, hopefully you will learn yourself a moral or two.
I always found fables as being pretty ho hum as a kid although one must say he has held up pretty well for 2500 year old literature. Bright colors and wildly drawn comics breathe new life and humor into the tales. There are a lot of beautifully illustrated versions of the Fables, but I think this will be the one that gets read.
Most, though not all, of the stories are based on fables from Aesop. A note in the back of the book defines a fable as “a story with a lesson, usually—not always—starring animals.” The oldest fables may come from many authors and many sources, but some of the more modern ones come from people who are well known, like the Russian satirist Ivan Krilof or the American author Ambrose Bierce.
This collection is accessible for kids as young as six, and should be fun for the whole family. Each tale is reimagined by the artists with both words and graphics, and the origin of the fable is labeled. Because different artists illustrate each fable, many styles and color schemes appear in the book. It could be fun to compare them, and to look for other titles by the artists. It could also be interesting for family members to talk about which styles they like best and why.
The publisher provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.