Twelve volumes and counting, with no end in sight, Fables by Bill Willingham is probably Vertigo’s finest on-going series. It tells the story of a particularly special community of immigrants in New York—namely, characters out of fables. Snow White, Prince Charming, Beauty, Beast, Pinocchio, the big bad wolf and basically every other one you can think of. These fine people have been disguised as New Yorkers for over a century now, ever since an unknown adversary forced them out of the fairytale lands.
It’s like if all your favourite fairytale characters were produced by HBO. Sex, violence and soap opera. And above all: wonderful characters. That’s all a good story needs, really. Fantastical characters that feel like real people. You know, like in Buffy. Willingham’s ability to make you care about whether Snow White and Bigby Wolf end up together, or whether Prince Charming will one day outgrow being a douche, is close to magic. Pick up the first volume now, and it’s pretty much guaranteed that you’ll be spending your last dope money on the twelfth volume within a month.
But that’s not all. For those of us who can’t get enough of contemporary fantasy, there’s also a Fables spin-off. Jack of Fables (up to 6 volumes now) follows the Loki / Han Solo / trickster type of the Fableverse: Jack (the one from Jack and the Beanstalk). A narcissistic con-man who’s hard to love but even harder to loathe. His exploits are not as beautifully written as the Fables, but a fun, fun, fun addition to a lovely, well crafted, good old fashioned comic book universe for people who like their entertainment smart.
- Created by: Bill Willingham and various artists.