Sunday, March 18, 2007 

Comics For People Who Don't Read Comics: Fables

Continuing in my attempt to show that not every comic book is a teenage-male power fantasy where every problem's solved with angst and fistfighting, and every chick has a gigantic rack...not that there's anything wrong with that.

It begins with "Once upon a time," yet we're not in a mythical, faraway, pastoral land. We're in the heart of New York City--our New York City--which makes it all the more unsettling. Fables, an ongoing series from Vertigo, starts off by peeling back the mythological curtain, Wizard of Oz-style: every single fable, every single story, from Pinocchio to Snow White, the Three Pigs to creepy Middle Eastern tales you've never heard--they're all true. And not only are they all true--they walk among us unnoticed.

But Fables isn't some goofy unicorns-and-rainbows treacle. It pinballs between murder mysteries, conspiracies, detective stories, political intrigue--Grimm's Fairy Tales blended with James Ellroy. One of the series' overarching plot threads was the role of the Adversary, a mysterious, evil figure who drove most of the Fables out of Europe. The more human-looking Fables, like Snow White--now a powerful woman, and ready to kill anybody who mentions that business with the dwarves--settle in New York City. Less-human Fables like the Three Little Pigs are restricted to a farm in upstate New York--and they aren't exactly pleased. And the identity of the Adversary? You already know who he is--a well-known figure from literature--and while his identity would surprise you, it makes perfect sense in the context of Fables.
The canvas on which Fables creator can work is almost infinite; he's already turning his gaze to other cultures' fables for inspiration. Fables is well worth checking out; read the entire first issue by clicking here, and get the rest in collections off Amazon. Trust me...you'll never read Pinocchio the same way again.

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Bio

Jay Busbee runs Yahoo! Sports' NASCAR Blog From The Marbles, Atlanta Magazine's Atlanta sports blog Right Down Peachtree, and the Southern sports/humor blog Sports Gone South. He also writes for damn near anybody who'll throw him a buck and a byline, and he's at work on the books The Quiet Dynasty: The History Of The Atlanta Braves' Championship Run (2009, Sports Publishing LLC) and God Is A Bulldog: Georgia, Florida, And The Greatest Play In College Football History (2010, Sports Publishing LLC). Click below for more info on his novels, articles, and comics.
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