It's now over 100 issues so would it be too much to read from book one? Want to start with the Deluxe Book 1. I’ve heard awesome things about it. Found it for $15. Should I get it?
Is Fables worth reading?
The answer is simple: YES.
Get or borrow the first two volumes, Legends in Exile and Animal Farm, or pick up the first hardcover, and see how you like it.
This will set you up with what you need to know about the world, and introduce you to major players, and the regular creative team with Mark Buckingham drawing Animal Farm, so that will show you what it looks and feels like on a regular basis. (Of course Mr. Buckingham is always upping his game, and the art only gets better...!)
I've been reading Fables since The Good Prince storyline was new on the shelves, which is the 10th volume in trade format. I started because it looked fun and I was a big fan of James Jean's artwork. I didn't get into the Legends in Exile trade on the first read, but then picked up Animal Farm anyway, and read them both straight through. It gave me a better feeling for the series and I liked that second arc better, as tends to be the impression I get from others too. Once you read that, it is an easy transition through the next volumes, with Storybook Love covering a fun heist and two characters being pursued by a crazy, crazy Fable... and then you are in the throws of an invasion of Fabletown in March of the Wooden Soldiers where things really start to heat up... At that point, you should be fully and thoroughly hooked.
Throughout its run, Fables is one of my all-time favorite series. I always say if I had to cut down on the comics I buy, I would limit myself to my three consistent favorites: Fables, Daredevil, and Criminal/Incognito. I have not only bought every single issue I could, but it is the only series that I buy the trades for as well, because it is that much fun to re-read. I am constantly recommending it to comic readers and non-comic readers alike. I have friends that barely read comics, that don't go to the store regularly, but pre-order each new trade as they become available on Amazon. It is also one of the few series that I know a lot of females who love it as well as older readers. My friend (the aforementioned pre-order-er) has his brother and his mom (a 50-something woman) read the series... and she loves it.
Fables is great because it has new spins and continuing adventures of classic characters you may have grown up hearing about. To see how Bill Willingham interprets what they do next is always entertaining, and the characters are so rich, you will find yourself wishing to know more about even the background characters. And the series slowly delivers on that. What is also fun is seeing a character involved in the story and trying to piece together what fairy tale they are derived from, and then getting a nice reveal... Hansel and others from his fable are some of the most interesting. It is also a great series because of the magical nature of the characters and the world(s) they inhabit. There are also many great mysteries and questions that develop throughout... such as, which came first the Fable or the Fairy Tale they are known to us from..? It is also fun because how he turns their stories on their ear, or really relies on the original fable version, and not the Disney-fied interpretation. So it all comes from the original Grimm, etc. tales and tends to be a little darker or more real than the modern-popularized-watered-down kid's tale. He also plays with the themes, concepts, and characters that re-occur in different stories. For example, Prince Charming is not only Snow White's Prince Charming... but Sleeping Beauty's, and Cinderella's...! As a result, he is a bit of a cad. A lovable cad, but a cad just the same. Another is that the character of Jack is the one from not only Jack and the Beanstalk, but Jack Be Nimble, Jack Frost, Jack and Jill, etc. Or another example is that originally he wanted the great villain to be Peter Pan, and depict Hook as having become a hero (licensing prevented this from being the case, but I think I like the way it turned out better...).
In summation, Fables is a wonderful, exciting series, and I find it to be a highly rewarding one. I recommend it with the highest praise. Sorry if I rambled, but hopefully that is a helpful tease of what the series is like, and I hope you go pick it up and love it!
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