One of my favorite comic books, Fables, has just put out it’s 100th issue which makes it the perfect time to write about this incredible series. I did pick up issue 100, even though I usually wait for single issues to be collected in the larger trade paperback. Reaching 100 issues is a landmark to be proud of, since it’s a relatively rare thing for a comic to continue being published each month for so many years. Another good reason to own this issue is because it’s loaded down with a ton of extra artwork and story.
In addition to the 100th issue, the new Fables: Witches trade (which collects issues 86-93) came out on the same day, so I’ve had a great comic book week.
Fables tells the story of various characters from, funny enough, traditionally unrelated fairy-tales and fables who have been forced from their homelands and exiled to New York. I won’t go into the story too much, because I know I won’t do it justice. The idea may sound a little cliché at first, and I might have thought that myself if I hadn’t read the series, but writer Bill Willingham has created something unique and new in Fables.
It is the characters that bring the story to life. Characters like Rose Red and her sister, Snow White. The playboy Prince Charming and the super-spy Cinderella. The three little pigs and the Big Bad Wolf (a.k.a. Bigby, my favorite!). Baba Yaga and Frau Totenkinder (another favorite character!). It’s nice to watch somebody like the Frog Prince evolve into such an important savior. Or realizing, as the story of Little Boy Blue unfolds, that this seemingly innocent and charming musician is really the ultimate warrior. The list of interesting characters goes on and on.
The artwork on these books couldn’t get any better. Most of the pages for this entire series have been drawn by Mark Buckingham, and the style he’s developed also helps the story gel and come together. One of my favorite illustrators, James Jean, was the cover artist for every issue until #81. Since then, João Ruas has taken over cover illustration, and the covers have only gotten better.
There are also many spin-off titles to Fables, including: 1001 Nights of Snowfall, Cinderella – From Fabletown With Love, Peter and Max – A Fables Novel. All of these are great! There is also a Jack of Fables title, but I never liked it’s protagonist Jack, so I didn’t follow that story.