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

4.01  ·  Rating Details  ·  84,364 Ratings  ·  2,479 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, 127 pages
Published December 31st 2002 by Vertigo (first published December 1st 2001)
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Basil Godevenos No difference in content as far as I can tell. This is just a collection of the first 5 issues. You get all of the single issues in one volume. And…moreNo difference in content as far as I can tell. This is just a collection of the first 5 issues. You get all of the single issues in one volume. And you get each single issue's cover art, without the graphic overlay (so no "FABLES" title or anything like that, just a painting).(less)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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J.G. Keely
Nov 11, 2010 J.G. Keely rated it did not like it
Shelves: comics, fantasy, reviewed
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
Emily May
Apr 30, 2013 Emily May rated it really liked it
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
Karly *The Vampire Ninja & Luminescent Monster*
Jan 20, 2016 Karly *The Vampire Ninja & Luminescent Monster* rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Karly *The Vampire Ninja & Luminescent Monster* by: Sean Gibson
Shelves: lets-get-graphic
3 Stars

So this Graphic Novel was very reminiscent of 'Once Upon a Time' for me. Our fairy tale creatures have been thrown into modern-day world and basically just have to deal with it... Awesome!! I love that shit.

Beyond being our introduction to the characters within the world, and some personalities that maybe don't exactly meet expectations, this first volume is a murder mystery.

Rose Red has disappeared, leaving behind an apartment splattered with blood and a big old mess.

Our unlikely Sher
Welcome, queer folk of the modern age, welcome!

The queer folk of the Fabled lands of legends are now living as exiles in your very queer world indeed and they seem to have adapted very well by creating this very secret society called Fabletown. Oh, don't bother looking for them for you will never recognize them.

From wearing pretty gowns and armour, from fighting against evil and saving princesses, these folks have changed tremendously. They have lost their touch with magic and true love for your
Norah Una Sumner
3.5 stars


Such an interesting and fun concept! I definitely enjoyed reading this volume which represents the perfect introduction to this story's characters and the world they live in. This volume is like one big investigation and I really enjoyed trying to figure out what happened to Rose Red. Also, Snow White is a bad ass. Love her. Looking forward to reading the sequel!
Feb 07, 2009 Felicia rated it it was amazing
Lovely lovely lovely.
Aug 03, 2012 Sparrow rated it liked it
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
Mar 29, 2012 Melki rated it really liked it
Shelves: graphic-novel
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
May 09, 2008 Nick rated it it was amazing
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 T.
Aug 05, 2011 Seth T. rated it it was amazing
Shelves: comics
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
Brian Hodges
Jul 14, 2008 Brian Hodges rated it it was ok
Shelves: comics
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
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
 Danielle The Book Huntress (Self-Proclaimed Book Ninja)
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
Amber Tucker
Feb 24, 2011 Amber Tucker rated it liked it
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
Aug 15, 2013 Jonathan rated it it was ok
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
Characters of Fairy Tale land, meet the crew from 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, s
Jan 11, 2016 Rosie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-own
Having played the Wolf Among Us game, I knew I was going to love this though I wasn't expecting it to make me gasp from the plot twists etc.

I love the little moments of comedy and just the whole concept of Fairy Tale creatures in the real world.

I think I just became addicted :)
Jul 25, 2010 Stephen rated it it was ok
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.

This was enjoyable, but I personally prefer more complicated mythology that I have to figure out for myself. So I may continue on with this series, but I don't feel especially compelled by it.

On the other hand, it was great to have a closed story arc in these first five issues!
Crystal Starr Light
May 29, 2015 Crystal Starr Light rated it really liked it
Bullet Review:

A VERY enjoyable read even for a mystery/who-dunnit (these are touchy for me).

Can't wait for the rest of the series!
Apr 16, 2016 Camilla rated it really liked it
3.5 stars.
Nov 23, 2015 Meg rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This fall I had played 'The Wolf Among Us' which is a video game based off of the characters from 'Fables.' I loved the game and I fell in love with all of the characters in the world. I put it off for quite some time but after about a month I finally gave in and bought Fables Volume One.

I was not disappointed.

The characters are fantastic as well as the story itself. I have always been a fan of fairy tales and a fan of mysteries. So when you combine the two of them together I am a very happy l
Jul 22, 2014 Ferdy rated it liked it

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
Jun 28, 2010 Miriam rated it liked it
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
Nov 02, 2013 Riku Sayuj rated it did not like it
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).
Shera (Book Whispers)
Pretty ding dong cool! The art is wonderful and I adore how gritty and naughty this first collection is! This is how I had always wished Once Upon a Time could have been. Thank goodness a Goodreads friend reviewed this and told me this is what I had been waiting for. It’s the best of Urban Fantasy mixed with the kind of brave stuff I want out of my fairytale reimaginings!

It’s enchanting to see the fables shadowing the fair city of New York. The art captures the dark tone of the city itself as w
Sam Quixote
Jan 18, 2014 Sam Quixote rated it really liked it
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
Nov 12, 2013 Wendy rated it really liked it
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
May 29, 2008 Alison rated it really liked it
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.
Inés Izal
Aug 03, 2015 Inés Izal rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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  • Y: The Last Man, Vol. 3: One Small Step (Y: The Last Man, #3)
  • The Unwritten, Vol. 2: Inside Man
  • Cinderella, Vol. 1: From Fabletown with Love
  • Fray
  • House of Mystery, Vol. 1: Room and Boredom
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...

Other Books in the Series

Fables (1 - 10 of 25 books)
  • Fables, Vol. 2: Animal Farm
  • Fables, Vol. 3: Storybook Love
  • Fables, Vol. 4: March of the Wooden Soldiers
  • Fables, Vol. 5: The Mean Seasons
  • Fables, Vol. 6: Homelands
  • Fables, Vol. 7: Arabian Nights [and Days]
  • Fables: 1001 Nights of Snowfall
  • Fables, Vol. 8: Wolves
  • Fables, Vol. 9: Sons of Empire
  • Fables, Vol. 10: The Good Prince

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