Fables, Vol. 1: Legends in Exile (Fables, #1)
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Fables, Vol. 1: Legends in Exile (Fables #1)

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4.06 of 5 stars 4.06  ·  rating details  ·  50,759 ratings  ·  1,780 reviews
When a savage creature known only as the Adversary conquered the fabled lands of legends and fairy tales, all of the infamous inhabitants of folklore were forced into exile. Disguised among the normal citizens of modern-day New York, these magical characters have created their own peaceful and secret society within an exclusive luxury apartment building called Fabletown. B...more
Paperback, 128 pages
Published December 31st 2002 by Vertigo (first published December 1st 2001)
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Community Reviews

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Keely
I remember being somewhat taken aback the first time I read an original Fairy Tale. They aren't child-friendly, in fact many of them were written to unnerve and frighten children. The characters in fairytales are usually half-mad, murderous, sexually-charged, and grotesque.

Authors have returned to them again and again for inspiration, exploring the history of storytelling, moralizing tales, propaganda, and archetypes. Gaiman's 'Sandman' is notable for some remarkable insights into the nature of...more
Emily May
Apr 30, 2013 Emily May rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Emily May by: Tatiana
I'd been wondering why lately I've had such bad luck with books. Almost everything I picked up went back down again and more than half of what I read through and reviewed was a disappointment. After reading this first volume of the Fables series, it hit me all of a sudden - Tatiana. Or lack of Tatiana and her excellent book-recommending skills. Thanks for the rec, T, I knew you'd get it right ^_^

The Fables series has been one I've wanted to start since I first heard of it. Adult retellings of cl...more
Melki
This was a pretty fun read, though since the premise was better than the execution, my rating is actually a 3.5.

Fairy tale and nursery rhyme characters are forced to make it in the big city after their worlds are overthrown by the mysterious "Adversary". Bigby Wolf owns a detective agency and he's hired by Snow White to investigate the disappearance of her sister, Rose Red. In this tale meant strictly for grown-ups, Jack, of Beanstalk fame, is quite the social climber, and Prince Charming turns...more
Sparrow
Aug 03, 2012 Sparrow rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommended to Sparrow by: Andy
I was told this would be funny . . .

???

Maybe to some people character soup is funny on its own without any kind of actual cleverness? It seems like a pretty lazy form of humor, though, if that is actually humor. Is that humor???

THIS IS A MYSTERY, not a comedy. And a somewhat lame mystery without any comedic elements I could identify. I mean, I haven’t been that big of a fan of mystery story since I was like 10 and read most of the Agatha Christies. I think that was the same year I ate a tuna fi...more
Nick
I have finally caught up on the current 70 issues (Vol. 1-10) of ‘Fables’ and am at a loss of words about how great this series truly is. Willingham, Jean, and Buckingham have created a highly imaginative world of depth, maturity, and beauty in all possible aspects. They have managed to redefine and present characters in a universe I have grown to sincerely care about. I originally intended to write a lengthy spoiler-filled review but found I cannot, as I feel I should refrain until the series c...more
Seth Hahne
Fables by Bill Willingham and Mark Buckingham

Fractured faery tales and contemporary reimaginings of the classic fables have proliferated over the last several decades. Perhaps marked by the playfulness of postmodern revisitation, traditional narratives have seemed a ripe harvest for gleaning new meaning from old stock. So with Bill Willingham and Mark Buckingham’s Fables, we can’t really find ourselves wowed by the ingenuity of exploring third-millennium expressions of old yarns—after all, it’s not as if it hasn’t been done often and recen...more
Brian Hodges
Grabbed this comic off the bargain pile because the premise seemed promising: all the characters from fairy tales have been exiled in New York City because of some mysterious adversary that slaughtered their people and forced them out of their fairy tale land. If the authors had simply stuck to THAT premise, it would have made for a cool story.

Instead, the first volume disintegrates into nothing more than a comparatively lame murder mystery (in the style of "Clue") over "Who Killed Rose Red". A...more
Jonathan
Aug 15, 2013 Jonathan rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: It gets better in later volumes...

Having finally returned to the first book in this Fables series I can most certainly state that I am glad I did not begin here. Sure, it's a much shorter work than some of the others - at 127 pages it was a half hour's short demolition job. But, it lacked the wow factor and fantasy elements of later novels.

What this became instead was a graphic novel mystery. A book with fairytale characters in it, but that was concerned more with its own little internal arc - a police procedural style graphic...more
Stephen
2.5 stars. This was somewhere between okay and "I liked it" hence the 2.5 stars. I really thought I was going to like this more than I did. I love the concept and the graphic novel format but I just thought the execution didn't quite hit the mark. It seemed to go from campy to dark and back again and I just never got sucked in. Anyway, the premise was good enough that I will certainly give the next book in the series a chance and hope for a better experience.
Amber Tucker
Feb 24, 2011 Amber Tucker rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Recent comic book-to-GN graduates
This graphic novel really couldn't impress me that much. The straight visual quality is good but, despite the fairytale origins this story's meant to be drawing on – an immediate attraction, to me – the majority of the graphics are sadly simplistic. The graphics are the meat of a graphic novel, right? – and no matter how good the mashed potato text is, you can't have a good meal without a juicy (soy) steak, rich and chewable to the eyes. Compared to the finer graphic novels, there seems to be a...more
Ronyell
Characters of Fairy Tale land, meet the crew from CSI!

CSI

At least, the plot of this volume seems like something you would see out of an episode of “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation!”

Brief Introduction:

After I have been hearing so many good things about the “Fable” series, I just had to check this series out for myself! So, I picked up the first volume of “Fables” called “Fables: Legends in Exile” and I must admit that this volume did have me interested in reading more from the “Fables” series, so...more
Brad
I feel like reviewing each issue as I go, so take that, reader.

Fables: Chapter #1 -- "Old Tales Revisited":
There are times when everything is stacked against a work. For me, that time comes most often when everyone and everything is telling me that I should and will adore the work in question. Fables is my case in point. It is a multi-award winning, literature based satire/allegory that multiple reviewers, whom I trust, and friends have recommended, but Fables cannot survive that weight (at leas
...more
 Danielle The Book Huntress (Angels Weep For Goodreads)
There is something irresistible about fairy tales to me. So fairy tale retellings that capture what I appreciate about the source material and take it in a new and interesting direction are greatly appreciated.

Fables is a great example of what a fairy tale retelling can accomplish. The artwork itself is beautiful and vibrant. Truly colorful and appealing--successful in using the visual medium to tell the story.. The writing is sharp and witty, and adult without veering into distasteful elements...more
Wendy Browne
I am a fan of Once Upon A Time, which inspired me to finally get on with reading Fables. For those who still believe that Once is a rip off of Fables, be sure to check out Bill Willingham's interview with Bill Willingham to learn the error of your ways. There certainly are similarities, considering they are both pulling from the same source materials, but both stand quite well on their own.

Fables Volume 1: Legends in Exile takes place in New York, centuries after the fairy tale characters we kno...more
Ferdy
Spoilers

The story wasn't all that compelling, probably because the main mystery with Snow White's missing sister was utterly predictable. However, I did like the Fables world as well as most of the characters - I loved how Prince Charming was such a slutty sleaze, and that Bigby/the big bad wolf had one of the three pigs staying overnight at his flat, and Beauty and the Beast's marital problems were pretty funny too. I wasn't all that impressed by the artwork though, it was just okay. I'll proba...more
Jeannette
Final Rating 3-1/2 stars

I enjoyed this a lot more than I expected to! I don't typically enjoy American comics; the art style seems a bit overblown, and I usually encounter more violence and sex than I enjoy. But, the first volume of the Fables series is a pleasant surprise. I like the idea of the inhabitants of fable land (fairy-tale and nursery rhyme creatures, as well as some characters from fantasy stories) being forced from their homes by some unnamed evil (Sauron?). They escape to the human...more
Alison
When I saw this in my local comic book shop while I was waiting out a sudden rain storm, I found myself immediately comparing Fables to an illustrated version of Gregery McGuire's stories, which I really enjoy (Wicked, etc.). The first three collections in this series were only 10 bucks each, so I grabbed them all. The guy at the counter told me, "You'll be back for more tomorrow, trust me." He also told me that the first was his least favorite, he said they get better as the series continues.
T...more
Miriam
The Fables series starts off in medias res, with the daily business of running the small secret community interrupted by a murder investigation. Many of the major characters are introduced, but in retrospect it is clear that the characters are still in flux and that the larger story arc has not yet begun. As the beginning of a long story with very rich material this is surprisingly slight. I'm glad I read a later installment first so I knew it gets better.
Riku Sayuj
Wow, this was particularly bad jumble of random characters with no relation to any so called 'fables'. I am not sure if the series gets better from the next issue and I am not about to find out. I would be too busy trying to remember who tricked me into reading this by talking it up and figuring an equally cruel trick on him (pretty sure it is not a her - a girl is yet to recommend a comic to me).
Lynn
When fairy tale personalities stop being polite and start getting real. This is such great idea for a graphic novel that I can't believe it took so long for someone to come up with it. All your childhood favorite fairy tale characters are real and living normal, or semi-normal, lives while still dealing with the remnants of their fantasy pasts. Well written and a lot of fun.
Sam Quixote
Rose Red is dead – who killed her? It’s up to Bigby Wolf, Fabletown’s gumshoe, to track down the killer.

What I really like about the first volume of Fables is that it doesn’t read like a first volume of a multi-volume series - it reads like a standalone book. I’m sure Rose Red plays a big part later on but this book is concerned more with the done-in-one murder mystery than it is in explicitly detailing to the reader all about the world of the series, etc.

The genius of this approach is that Bil...more
Seak (Bryce L.)
Really interesting world created here, but the detective story was pretty boring, especially the ending. I'll read more probably, but this is the first strike.
Natasha
Fables: Legends in Exile is my first Bill Willingham graphic novel.
I was really pleased by both the art and the story. The story was one I could get addicted to fast.
The idea of fairy tale creatures being cast out of the kingdoms to live among us was good enough for me to read, but adding Snow White as basically the ruler of the fables and Big bad wolf being the Sheriff of them, had me reeled in!
Red Rose (Snow Whites sister) has gone missing, and her disappearance looks deadly. Snow wants to...more
Marissa
I started out reading Fables as kind of a dorky guilty pleasure. It reminds me a lot of the kinds of comic books I was really into as a teenager. Admittedly modern reworkings of fairy tales have been done to death and there's not too many especially clever interpretations here, but the series really does draw you in. I really enjoy comic books which focus on an ensemble team, as an old school X-Men fan and someone who enjoys BPRD more than Hellboy on his own. Fables fit into this really nicely,...more
Elijah Kinch Spector
Fables is a great damn idea with a lot of potential that I am pretty sure it will realize later on (it is a highly-lauded comic), but the first volume is a little shaky, as the series finds its feet. This volume feels a little like an info-dump, there's a lot of exposition, and mixed in with the exposition that we readers need to know are also a whole lot of moments in which these various characters remind us who they are in our greater cultural mythology: "Kill any brides lately, Bluebeard?" "C...more
Punk
Graphic Novel. The denizens of fairy tales and nursery rhymes have been forced from their fabled homes by the Adversary and for the past two hundred years have been living in exile, in New York City. Snow White is deputy mayor of their secret diaspora. Now happily divorced from Prince Charming, she's the one that enforces the laws and keeps their people in order. Today that means yelling at The Beast for reverting to form whenever Beauty is less than pleased with him. It also means teaming up wi...more
Kat
Basic plot: Fairytale characters escaped their homelands when they were taken over by "the adversary" and are currently living in New York today. Ostensibly immortal, it's a shock when a Fable is murdered and the case must be solved.

I really want to give this book five stars, but can't quite do it and I'm not sure why.

Fantastic story, with great characters and plenty of clues within the mystery. A smart reader can figure it out as the characters do, but won't be disappointed at the "big reveal"...more
Shanon
Mar 04, 2009 Shanon rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Shanon by: Kathryn Langford
Shelves: graphic-novels, 2009
I origionally rated this as a 3 - then I got smart and realized I only read chapter 1! Oops.

This is the first graphic novel I have read. I loved that the author is playing on all the classic fairy tale names/characters. I also enjoyed the art and story. This is a fun seires and I am looking forward to reading the rest.
new_user
Art's fine, but the characters and plot are just clothes to dress the political message-- I'm not loving the agenda he's pushing. It's not social or positive;it's deliberate and distinctly political, and it gets very heavy-handed where he speaks about the "plight" of his "fables".
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In the late 1970s to early 1980s he drew fantasy ink pictures for the Dungeons & Dragons Basic and Expert game rulebooks. He first gained attention for his 1980s comic book series Elementals published by Comico, which he both wrote and drew. However, for reasons unknown, the series had trouble maintaining an original schedule, and Willingham's position in the industry remained spotty for many...more
More about Bill Willingham...
Fables, Vol. 4: March of the Wooden Soldiers (Fables, #4) Fables, Vol. 2: Animal Farm (Fables, #2) Fables, Vol. 6: Homelands (Fables, #6) Fables, Vol. 3: Storybook Love (Fables, #3) Fables, Vol. 5: The Mean Seasons (Fables, #5)

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