I, like many kids in the States, grew up with fairytales. Be it through books, cassette tapes (remember those?), or movies, fairytales were always around, particularly around bedtime and they never ceased to entertain, excite, and occasionally scare. Imagine my delight when I found out that my favourite fairytale characters had grown up with me.
Fables by Bill Willingham is the grown up version of the characters we all know and love, but these are no children’s stories. There is cursing, violence, sex, and gore and it all takes place in the only place imaginable where fairytale creatures would live in modern days–New York City. Years ago, an enemy known only as The Adversary and his army began invading all of the kingdoms of fairyland. One by one, the kingdoms were conquered and felled and its inhabitants escaped to NYC where a city within a city was set up. This city, Fabletown, governs the more human-like fairyland population while its annex, located in upstate New York, holds the rest of the citizens.
We readers enter Fabletown via a mystery. Director of Operations, Snow White’s sister Rose Red, has disappeared, with her apartment trashed and covered in blood. Fabletown’s sheriff Bigby Wolf (Big Bad Wolf) has been tasked with gathering clues, rounding up the suspects, and solving the crime of what happened to our poor girl. Or is she and the other characters we know as innocent as we remembered them to be? A large portion of the fun of reading Fables is learning how corrupt and scandalous our beloved characters can be. Which is one of the quiet tragedies of growing up in general.
But don’t let me make you think that Fables is a tragic look at lost youth. It’s a fun and wild ride you only get to take once you’ve passed into the realm of adulthood, so pick it up and enjoy!