“Once we were a thousand separate kingdoms, spread over a hundred magic worlds. We were kings and cobblers. Wizards and woodcarvers. We had our sinners, our saints, and our blatant social climbers. And from the grandest lord to the lowliest peasant girl, we were, for the most part, strangers one to another.”
“It took an invasion to unite us.”
Reimagining fairy tales is not necessarily a new endeavor. They have ranged from the cute and fun “Tangled” to the popular TV series “Once Upon A Time” to the strange action-oriented stuff like “Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters.” Authors like Neil Gaiman (“Snow Glass Apples”), Anne Rice (The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty) and Alan Moore (Lost Girls) have taken their shot at spinning these classic tales as often darker, more sexual and more dangerous than their original versions allowed. It’s the nature of these stories that they’re rich enough to withstand being reworked in new ways by new creative forces and still retain a lot of their potency.
Like many, I was first exposed to Bill Willingham’s Eisner Award winning series Fables through Telltale Games’ great game “The Wolf Among Us.” It is a wonderful game that acts as a prequel to the series and lets you into the world of Fabletown and its various inhabitants. That said, even without playing a minute of the game, the first volume of the series, titled “Legends in Exile”, acts as a solid introduction to the series.
Fables tells the tale of the denizens of Fabletown, beings and creatures out of the fables and fairy tale stories of old. Centuries ago, an unknown and powerful being dubbed “The Adversary” marched upon their various lands and conquered, enslaved and killed many of the fairy folk. Those lucky enough to escape found their way to New York City, where they founded a new community: Fabletown. Refugees in a strange and dangerous new land, the fable folk took to finding new positions within their community or the normal (aka the mundane or “mundy”) world as best they could. Some managed to escape with their vast wealth intact while others left with nothing but the clothes on their backs. This has created a stratified society where some live in relative luxury while others scrounge just to get by.