Thursday, November 19, 2009

Book Review: Fables, Volumes 1 and 2

After all these years, I've finally done it...I've read a graphic novel. Two, in fact! And I expect to read more.

My dear friend T.S. lent me the first two volumes of Fables by Bill Willingham--"Legends in Exile" and "Animal Farm"--as my first introduction to the genre. I've always had trouble with comics--I follow around in the wrong order and get myself all mixed up. But I read these volumes quickly and with voracity. With only one little blip of confusion (and it was because of me, not the novel!).

This series is genius, I must say. How can a graphic novel that takes all the fairytale characters and creatures, puts them in an underground city below NYC called Fabletown, and not be awesome? The storylines are unique and riveting, the characters funny and distinct, and the art intense.

I definitely recommend this series to anyone looking to try out a graphic novel. I enjoyed it more than I expected to. It was smart and funny and I was honestly very surprised by hits complexity. I guess I have always had kind of a skewed view of graphic novels, as I think most non-graphic novel readers do. I always thought of them as very simple, just like a comic strip lacking character development or real plot. But they aren't that way at all. It was refreshing, an interesting new way to read that got me interacting with the work in a very different way than purely text on a page.

I also had no idea that so many people were involved in creating each graphic novel. Someone creates it, someone pencils it, someone shades it, someone colors it, someone letters it, etc. etc. I always thought of it as having a writer and an illustrator and that's it. But it's an impressively collaborative effort, and one with pretty striking results.

Anyway, I am now beginning to ramble because I have yet to snag the third volume from T.S. and am itching for more!

The Last Word: An entertaining, clever, and multi-dimensional graphic novel series that's well worth a read.

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