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.

What Fairy Tale Do You Want Retold?

With Hollywood going through a bit of a fairy tale phase, a lot of classic fairy tales are getting retold.  Despite this, many still remain untouched.  When was the last time you read or saw a retelling of Goldilocks and the Three Bears?  The only one I can think of off the top of my head is the character in Bill Willingham’s “Fables,”  and even then, it’s more of a reference than a full retelling.

In the "Fables" comic series, Goldilocks is a murderous, mentally unstable revolutionary.

With this in mind, I have a question for all of you; what fairy tale would you most like to see retold?  This can be a well-known fairy tale like “Jack and the Beanstalk” or a more obscure story, such as the Romanian tale of “Little Wildrose.”  Feel free to include a story concept!

Peter & Max: A Fables Novel

Although I have been a fan of Bill Willingham’s “Fables” comic series for years, I only recently had the opportunity to read the series’ first ever full-length novel, “Peter & Max.”  The book centered around the characters of Peter Piper, his wife Bo Peep, and his evil brother Max Piper.

 

Here is the beautiful cover art from Bill Willingham's novel, "Peter & Max."

Because the name “Peter” crops up in so many familiar fairy tales and nursery rhymes, Willingham is able to combine all of these stories into the life of one individual, masterfully placing the stories of “Peter and the Wolf” (which is not actually a fairy tale), “Peter Piper,”  and “Peter, Peter, Pumpkin Eater” on a logical time-line.  These stories are also woven around the tales and misadventures of Max, who is the Pied Piper of Hamelin.

As with his Fables comic series, Willingham’s book offers us a seamless blend of magical and modern.  He describes both the skyscrapers of New York in the twenty-first century and the intricacies of ancient and mystical worlds with ease.  Not only that, but he brings his customary twist of darkness and tragedy to every familiar tale he incorporates.  Although they retain their flavors, these stories are anything but predictable.

Willingham also makes it possible for both old fans and new readers to enjoy his book.  The details of the Fables world are quickly described at the start of the novel, making this a book I would recommend to any lover of fairy tales or fantasy.

ABC’s “Once Upon a Time”

It looks like NBC’s upcoming show “Grimm” is going to have some competition.  ABC is developing their own fairy tale show, “Once Upon a Time.”  The show, which comes from the writers of “Lost,” features a star-studded cast; Jennifer Morrison, Ginnifer Goodwin, and more are listed on the official cast list, and “Pirates of the Caribbean” veteran Lee Arenberg announced his involvement on Twitter less than 24 hours ago.

 

Jennifer Morrison of "House" is set to play Anna Swan, the star of "Once Upon a Time."

“Once Upon a Time” centers around a town called Storybrook where fairy tale characters exist in the modern world.  Although this has the potential to be a great show, it also feels a bit like a rip-off of Bill Willingham’s comic series, “Fables.”  Since ABC got the rights to a “Fables” television show in 2008, one wonders why they seem to be abandoning it for such a similar concept, especially since the comic series has already proven its success; “Fables” has won 14 Eisner awards during its nine year run and it does not seem to be losing any steam.  It really makes me wonder if ABC and Vertigo might be having some trouble with their deal, after all.

I also think it’s fascinating that two fairy tale shows are coming out at once.  In fact, NBC has another show in development with an equally mystical plotline: magical cop drama “17th Precinct.”  I have not heard any fairy tales mentioned in association with it, but with all the fairy tale films that have been cropping up lately (Snow White especially) I wouldn’t be surprised if a few found their way onto the show.

To see a collection of the other tweets and stories I consulted while writing this post, check out the story I created with them on Storify.  I’ve included everything from concept summaries to tweets from the actors themselves.

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