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Friday, February 22, 2008

Fables: Legends in Exile

**** Fables: Legends in Exile. Written by Bill Willingham, illustrated by Lan Medina, Steve Leialoha, and Craig Hamilton. Graphic novel.

I bought this quite a while ago, the year I bought graphic novels for all the kids for Christmas--2006, I think. Maybe 2005. I found it lying out in the living room, so I stuck it in my TBR pile, and here we are.

Despite the urgings of a friend who's a big comics fan (she writes for Sequential Tart), I haven't seriously checked out graphic novels. It's a case of too many books, too little time, and a lack of recommendations.

This is the first of the Fables series. Think The Tenth Kingdom: fairy tales exist, but in another dimension. The fairy tale denizens are exiles from their world, and are living in ours--incognito, except for those who can't pass as human. Those have to live a more secluded lifestyle. The exiles have their own government of sorts to deal with their internal issues.

As the story opens, Snow White's sister, Rose Red, is missing, possibly murdered, and gumshoe Bigby Wolf (Big Bad Wolf, geddit?) has to find her, and/or her killer. The case touches on the refugees' history and politics, and everyone's a suspect.

Not having read a lot of comics or graphic novels, I don't really feel qualified to comment on the artwork, which is a shame, because it's such a big part of the genre. All I can say is that it seemed appropriate to the story, and helped tell it. It was a fairly gritty style, which fit the tone of the story, in a way that a slick, pretty style wouldn't.

Being the first in the series, with a pretty large cast and complex worldbuilding, and also being fairly short, it's perhaps understandable that I was a bit lost at times, particularly at first. But I enjoyed the concept, and the mystery was clever and entertaining. I've put the second in my to-look-for list.

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If you do end up picking up more graphic novels, Maison Ikkoku (Takahashi; US pub: Viz) may be up your alley. No giant robots, no swords, no supernatural junk; just romance and comedy in the real world.
I'm wondering...are you gonna buy Diana Gabaldon graphic novels? Did you take peek at some of the drawing in progress at her website?

Also did you buy Christine Feehan (I'm not sure if it graphic novels or comic. I forgot which one) yet?
Thanks for the recommendation, Mike! It sounds good--I've put the first one on my to-buy list.

Julia, I skipped Feehan's because it's a graphic novel of one of her books--not a new one. What's Gabaldon's like? Is it just a graphic novel version of her previous books, or something new?

Jim Butcher, btw, is coming out with some Dresden Files comics/graphic novels, but they're new material (very cool, too--I've read the scripts for the first two and seen some of the artwork. Those I'll definitely be buying, though it probably goes without saying. :)
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