- Paperback: 128 pages
- Publisher: Vertigo; 1st Printing edition (February 28, 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1401212220
- ISBN-13: 978-1401212223
- Product Dimensions: 6.6 x 0.3 x 10.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 0.8 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 30 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #612,785 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Jack of Fables Vol. 1: The (Nearly) Great Escape Paperback – February 28, 2007
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From Publishers Weekly
Willingham first created a contemporary world inhabited by fairy tale characters in his series, Fables. He continues that success with Sturges, who co-writes this recent spinoff. A new story line further develops Jack Horner's escapades in Hollywood and establishes him as the most dangerous Fable loose in the "mundy"—short for "mundane"—world. Jack is forced into the Golden Boughs Retirement Community, a jail of sorts where Fables are imprisoned until society-at-large forgets about them, thereby diminishing their magic powers. Enlisting the support of Goldilocks and a cage full of fairies, Jack plans the entire retirement community's escape. Willingham and Sturges give Jack a bad-boy attitude, making him an everyman hero that readers won't always identify with, but will enjoy watching flub and fake his way to freedom, complete with clever riffs on the Turtle and the Hare, the Toothfairy, Mother Goose and Humpty Dumpty. Readers will enjoy this more if they first familiarize themselves with Willingham's established Fables world (Legends in Exile, Wolves, etc.). Rated for mature readers, the tale includes sex, nudity, corruption, so it's got a little bit of everything that any sophisticated comics fan will enjoy. (Mar.)
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I have loved Fables nearly from the get-go. The first comic was a little slow, but it picked up the pace very quickly, and it grew into magnificent by the second trade paperback in the whole series. I love every character, I love every story arc, and I have been on the edge of my seat most of the time when I read it. Once I start a trade of Fables, I cannot stop reading it until it's done. Stopping anywhere in the middle, place a bookmark inside of one of those trade paperbacks (or TPs) is almost insulting the comic--to me, anyway. I'm not going to press this idea upon anyone, it's simply a reaction I have to the idea of pausing to do anything other than read the TP to the conclusion.
So to ask what I liked or disliked about the Jack of Fables "spin-off" is almost heartbreaking. There's nothing I dislike about this comic; Jack is a quirky scoundrel who's tale I was only briefly worried I wouldn't get to see to the end--or at least until he met up with the rest of his fellow Fables again. I had started to pick up the single-issues when they were still being produced, but then the comic book store I was a patron of went to an online-only type deal, and I moved back home, so I was unable to continue buying the singles. Then I finally broke down and bought this TP.
If you read Fables and have ever wanted to know more about Jack of the Tales, this is the comic series for you. Also, it's his own storyline! What more could one ask for? Buy the rest--you'll need to so you can know what's been going on when you pick up Fables TP #13 to read it.
I mean, I knew Goldy wasn't killed by Snow White, despite the axe buried deeply in her skull, blood sloshing all over the place, plus the truck that collected her on the windshield and the plunge into the river. Goldilocks is hard to kill, because...
Well, I'm sure Bill Willingham has read Roald Dahl's Revolting Rhymes and had Dahl's delinquent B&E girl in mind when he characterized Fables's Goldilocks. Because she is just about what you'd expect from the more grown-up young lady described by Roald Dahl as "Goldilocks, that little toad, That nosey thieving little louse, [who] Comes sneaking in your empty house...". But, of course, a 'Fable' survives partially on its popularity with the common folk, and Goldilocks is, after all, very popular.
Goldi was the one who shot Snow White in the head, but fortunately the latter also is very popular, and therefore survived for long enough to have Bigby Wolf's odd little cubs. Here we have one of the great antitheses of these stories. On one side the selfish, murderous Goldie, who led a bloody rebellion at 'The Farm', and turned out to be the worst of self-serving cynical ideological agitators in the stories. On the other a less-than angelic tough-chick Snow White, the right hand and executive mayor of 'Fabletown', who ran the show for centuries, before this thing with the cubs happened.
A similar contrast exists between Jack and Bigby Wolf. Jack is the charming cad, whose only interest is himself. Period. He isn't quite as nasty as the late Bluebeard, but take away the wife-killing fetish of the latter, the two are damn close. Whatever Jack does is for Jack's benefit. Egomania as a driving motive for action, ethics and everything else is fascinating. It isn't 'evil' per se--or maybe it is more evil than the 'evil' that's recognizable as such. I'm still pondering that one.
Contrast him to Bigby Wolf, a man who spent most of his life as a giant wolf--and still spends the occasional stretches of quality-time in that condition. At one time he was a creature of simple appetites, which went to killing whatever came his way. His father was the emotionally-distant 'North Wind', whom Bigby once describes as 'truly evil'. Bigby's animal nature was transformed and he was redeemed into becoming a human being through the intervention of Snow White, whose scent he could never forget since the first time he caught a whiff of her. Ever since then his life has been, in one way or the other, about her. Redemption by love and all that--ultimately for both of them, because Snow has her issues, too; all of which are called 'Prince Charming' or connected to that particular cad.
No such redemption for Jack, who is a true psychopath and therefore unredeemable. Same goes for Goldilocks, and so the story of Jack of Fables and the conspiracy plays out. As usual, cool stuff; this one on the nasty side.
Was I ever wrong! To be honest, I still don't like Jack, but the book introduced a whole new collection of Fables, many of American origin (like Paul Bunyan and Babe or Dorothy and her buds from the WIZARD OF OZ). Maybe of the others seemed to be of more recent origin, like the several characters from Lewis Carroll who populated the story, including Alice. The most surprising fable was Sam, who for the life of me I couldn't identify until very late in the book, when he ran so fast he turned tigers into butter. Very few people today are familiar with the widely reviled former children's classic LITTLE BLACK SAMBO, but Sam turned out to be that story's title character. Goldilocks was back and we learned about her unpleasant (though deserved) fate after her attempt to kill Snow White and Bigby Wolf. All in all, this was just a great collection of characters and I thoroughly enjoyed every page of their story.
So if you are like me and don't like Jack, no worries. If you love FABLES, you'll love this. It has all of the magic, originality, humor, and charm of the main series. Even before I had finished reading this I had run to my computer and ordered the second Jack book.