14. Fables: Legends in Exile by Bill Wallingham Illustrations by Lan Medina, Steve Leialoha, Craig Hamilton, Sherilyn van Valkenburgh, Todd Klein
I read my first graphic novel! I tried with Maus, I tried with Watchmen, but I finished Fables. I should have remembered to start slow, as when learning a new language.
Fables is a delightful and familiarly narrative tale about fairy tale characters exiled from their homelands by a villain called the Adversary. Those who were not enslaved or massacred managed to escape their various worlds to the "mundane" world (that is, Earth), where the Adversary seems uninterested in pursuing them. Centuries after the General Amnesty, when all characters were forgiven for deeds committed before relocation, we pick up our story in New York City. The Big Bad Wolf, known as Bigby, is sheriff of Fabletown. Snow White is its deputy mayor. And Jack, of beanstalk fame, reports a terrible disturbance at the apartment of Snow White's lesser known sister, Rose Red, who's missing.
Wallingham's gritty reinterpretation of the characters is a hoot-Prince Charming is a ne'er-do-well who mooches off the women who can't resist him, Bluebeard is a wealthy businessman, and Bigby has the hots for the tough-as-nails Ms. White.
Reading Fables is like watching an episode of your favorite fairy-tale remake TV Show, except you can read it whenever you want. The illustrations are colorful, yet suited to the noir undertones of the story. The first volume at least though, is none too grim (or should I say Grimm?).
Definitely worth a whirl for a bored adult. A couple of sex scenes and R-rated language make it inappropriate for kids.