Monday, December 04, 2006

Modern Scherezade meets every fable of every land - graphic novel

If you like Neil Gaiman you will like this - Bill Willingham's Fables.
A new volume in the series, 1001 Nights of Snowfall, has just been published. It is set outside of the main action of the series, with Snow White visiting Scheherezade's Sultan to beg his help in rallying the Arabian fables to fight the Adversary, who even now marches on their worlds.

The Sultan imprisons and threatens to kill Snow White, but she charms him with her life's story -- a retelling of the Snow White myth from the dankest, filthiest Grimm rendition, mixed with enough vivid detail to curl your hair. The Sultan spares her life, but promises to kill her the next night if she doesn't have another story. So the next night she tells the origin stories of two more of the Fables whom we've met through the long-running series, and then again the next night, and the next.

I love origins-of comics, Peter Parker and his radioactive spider and all that. But this is absolutely the cleverest frame for an origins story I've ever read, capturing (as all the Fables storylines do) the true feeling of old legends and the odd dissonance of imagining them unfolding today.
The first issue of the Fables series is available for free from the Vertigo Comics portion of DC Comics website. All nine of the Fables graphic novels at Amazon.

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