Fantasy Mystery Comics Non-Fiction Fiction

Fables: 1001 Night of Snowfall

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Fables: 1001 Night of Snowfall (2006) Bill Willingham

If you haven’t read Bill Willingham’s Fables series, then you have really been missing out. Fables tells of the characters–Fables–who have escaped the lands of fairy tales after they were drive out by the adversary, and are now living in New York, hiding their true nature from the citizens around them. However, everything you need to know about the Fables before reading 1001 Nights of Snowfall is explained in the introduction.

If you have not read Fables before, 1001 Nights of Snowfall is set more than a hundred years before the events in the series, so you won’t be missing anything by starting here, nor will it give away any of the continuing story in the series. However, it is an excellent introduction to Fabletown and its characters.

For those who are reading the series, this is a wonderful addition to the series. We finally learn the back stories of several characters, including the Frog Prince, Bigby, and King Cole. We’ve learned bits and pieces about some of the characters as the series has progressed, and have gotten hints about the pasts of others, but now we learn what really happened to these characters, and for many, what made them they way they are.

I also like the way that these stories affect how we think about the characters in the current time line–especially Bigby. Sometimes, knowing a characters past does change how I view that character in the current timeline. The Frog Prince is even more sympathetic of a character after learning his history; it makes him less pathetic, because you can see how he became what he is.

Regarding the stories, even more so than the series, the stories here are wonderful. There are tales within tales within tales, as Snow tells the stories of her past, and the stories of her friends. Each story in the collection is good, and all are hard to put down. (I was doing laundry while reading this, and had to complete the story I was reading before I could run downstairs to put in another load of clothes.) The more we learn, the more complex the characters become, and this collection is a chance for some of the characters who have played only tangential roles so far to have their stories told, and to be fleshed out further.

As far as the illustrations, I’ve said before I’m a terrible judge, as I don’t really appreciate them. However, I have to admit that in some of the stories–particularly “Diaspora/A Witches Tale” the illustrations made the stories as strong as they are–I found it intriguing how the older tale was more vibrant than the tale surrounding it, which seemed washed out and pale. That was a lovely touch. Additionally, it was nice to see anatomically correct females–when we see the witches past, she grew up in a time when humans were barely civilized. Her dress–or lack thereof–is appropriate to the time, and the body drawn is appropriate to the budding teenager described.

But just to make it clear, this book is not for children. There is a good deal of sex and violence, some of which is explicit in the artwork. However, it should be fine for teens, who are perfectly aware of the mechanics of sex.

If you have not yet forayed into Fables, 1001 Nights of Snowfall is an excellent introduction to the characters and the series. If you are already reading Fables, this is a collection you do not want to miss.

Now I’m impatiently waiting for the next installment in the series.
Rating: 9/10

Categories: 9/10, Folk & Fairy Tales, Graphic Novels     Comments (0)    

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