Fables 15: Rose Red

As fans of the series may know, the fifteenth Fables trade paperback came out earlier this week, on April 11, and it contains the series’ 100th issue.  The collection, titled “Rose Red,” follows the Fables community as it rallies to fight a new enemy, Mister Dark.  Of course, with Rose Red still in a deep depression over Boy Blue’s recent death, and all of the New York Fables living at the farm due to Mister Dark’s destruction of Fabletown, many different Fables and factions are vying for power.

I’ll try my hardest to not to give too much away,with this review, but I must warn you that there may be some SPOILERS.  If you don’t want to know anything about what happens in this story arc, stop reading now.

Rose Red

One thing I really enjoyed about this collection is that we finally had the opportunity to hear Rose Red’s whole back story.  We have known for years that Rose ended her sister Snow White’s marriage to Prince Charming, but this book shows us why and how.  It also shows us that this event was not actually what tore the sisters apart to begin with.  It was nice to be able to put Rose’s choices over the past few centuries into context.

Another thing that I loved was getting to see Frau Totenkinder unleash her full magical power to battle Fabletown’s newest adversary, Mister Dark.  Their battle is fantastic, and I always love plotlines that involve her.  Seeing as she’s one of the series’ richest and most interesting characters, I was saddened by this edition’s suggestion that we won’t be hearing any more about her.  The witch of the Black Forest will be greatly missed.

A few plotlines appeared in this collection that I’m really looking forward to hearing more about.  For one thing, the ever unpleasant Nurse Spratt appears to be more than just a bitch; she’s on her way to great betrayal.  Secondly, it seems like Snow and Bigby’s secret seventh child, Ghost, will finally be featured in the story that’s been hinted at for years, now; his grandfather, the North Wind, has discovered his existence.

One thing that got a little frustrating in this story arc was its overuse of twist endings.  In quick succession, a character dies, returns, and kills another character who also returns several pages later.  The last fifteen pages of the story are unnecessarily roller-coaster-esque.  While interesting, it was frankly a little ridiculous.

Overall, however, this collection was fantastic, and I loved the opportunity to read more about Fabletown’s most terrifying enemy to date.  This is a must-read for any fan of the series.

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Cinderella’s Eigenvectors: An XKCD Fairy Tale

One of my favorite webcomics is XKCD, which I religiously read on its post days (Monday, Wednesday, and Friday).  Imagine my delight, this morning, when I got online to read my emails and daily webcomics and saw the comic strip below.

Goldilocks' discovery of Newton's method for approximation required surprisingly few changes.

I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that XKCD has combined fairy tales and math; the webcomic proclaims itself to be about romance, sarcasm, math, and language.  It was only a matter of time before fairy tales, as an integral part of our pop culture language, found their way into the mix.  Even if you don’t know enough about the mathematical and scientific concepts referenced in this comic to fully understand the jokes, everyone can recognize the fairy tales and dredge up some childhood memories of occasionally distracted parents.  Once again, fairy tales help to create a joke in which all members of our culture can participate.

Fairy Tales and Comic Books: Not Just For Kids

As the sort of people who would read a fairy tale blog, you probably already believe that fairy tales are not just for children.  In my opinion, neither are comic books.  In fact, there are more and more comic books out there geared toward mature audiences.

That being said, fairy tales and adult comic books are a match made in heaven.  Vertigo’s “Fables,” although it is not the only adult fairy tale comic (Its main competitor is probably Zenescope’s “Grimm Fairy Tales.”), is arguably the best.

“Fables” is based on the premise that all of our favorite fairy tale characters are real beings from magical parallel worlds.  After being chased from their homes by “the Adversary,” they fled to New York City, where they began a secret community right under the noses of us “mundies,” meaning “mundane, non-magical people”–sort of the “Fables” version of J. K. Rowling’s “muggles.”  These “fables,” as they call themselves, are essentially immortal, and are kept alive by the mundies’ belief in them and love of their stories.

Their lives in New York City, however, are not a paradise.  The Adversary is still out to get them, and they have their own drama to deal with.  Snow White is now the deputy mayor of Fabletown, the Big Bad Wolf has taken human form and works as the town Sheriff, Prince Charming is sleeping with anything that moves, and Cinderella works at a shoe store, which gives her time to moonlight as a Fabletown secret agent.  Let’s just say that these are not your little sister’s fairy tales, and you should never read them to her.  These are definitely meant for mature audiences.

Overall, “Fables” is a brilliant series.  You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll marvel at the darkness its creators have brought to the series, and you’ll love every second of it.  Not only that, but there’s also a spin-off series to keep you occupied; “Jack of Fables” chronicles the often sordid adventures of Jack Horner following his banishment from Fabletown.

This is a perfect example of modern fairy tales done correctly.  This series has been running for almost ten years (since 2002), and I am hoping for at least another ten.

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