Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Fables, Vol. 1: Legends in Exile (Fables, #1)” as Want to Read:
Fables, Vol. 1: Legends in Exile (Fables, #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

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

4.03 of 5 stars 4.03  ·  rating details  ·  65,010 ratings  ·  2,045 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 1st 2002 by Vertigo (first published December 1st 2001)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Fables, Vol. 1, please sign up.

Popular Answered Questions

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)
Watchmen by Alan MooreThe Complete Maus by Art SpiegelmanV for Vendetta by Alan MooreThe Sandman, Vol. 1 by Neil GaimanThe Complete Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
Best Graphic Novels
10th out of 1,925 books — 4,407 voters
Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson LevineThe Goose Girl by Shannon HaleBeauty by Robin McKinleyThe Princess Bride by William GoldmanFairest by Gail Carson Levine
The Best Fairytales and Retellings
41st out of 1,555 books — 6,862 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
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
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
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
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
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
Lovely lovely lovely.
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
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
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

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!
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
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
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

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
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).
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
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.
Mauoijenn ~ *Mouthy Jenn* ~
Thanks to Seak! I pounced on these babies at the library.
I checked out Volumes 1-6.
Glad I did.

I literally got so engrossed with this concept of a story for a comic.
Now I am not one for comics. That's a fact.
But these, I don't know what it is but i liked this one very much.

Especially the part with Pinocchio pissed off cause he hadn't... well I don't like to give things away in my reviews, but trust me... it's hysterical!!

On to Volume #2...
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.
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
Oct 18, 2011 seak rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2011
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.
The Winter Rose
I truly do not understand what all the hype is about with this series.
I am on volume 8 and still I find it to be a trite and contrived collection of unimaganitive swill.

The author seems like he's attenpting to painstainkling deconstruct beloved, familar fairy tale characters for his own cynical amusement. Why does everyone and their mother seem bent on doing the "modern-edgy twist" on classic fairy tales. I haven't seen it done right yet. This has been done before. It's old, it's unoriginal, it'
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
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 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
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
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
  • The Unwritten, Vol. 2: Inside Man
  • Y: The Last Man, Vol. 6: Girl on Girl (Y: The Last Man, #6)
  • Cinderella, Vol. 1: From Fabletown with Love (Cinderella, #1)
  • The Sandman, Vol. 7: Brief Lives  (The Sandman #7)
  • House of Mystery, Vol. 1: Room and Boredom
  • Transmetropolitan, Vol. 4: The New Scum (Transmetropolitan, #4)
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 (Collected) (1 - 10 of 25 books)
  • Fables, Vol. 2: Animal Farm (Fables, #2)
  • Fables, Vol. 3: Storybook Love (Fables, #3)
  • Fables, Vol. 4: March of the Wooden Soldiers (Fables, #4)
  • Fables, Vol. 5: The Mean Seasons (Fables, #5)
  • Fables, Vol. 6: Homelands (Fables, #6)
  • Fables, Vol. 7: Arabian Nights (and Days) (Fables, #7)
  • Fables: 1001 Nights of Snowfall (Fables)
  • Fables, Vol. 8: Wolves (Fables, #8)
  • Fables, Vol. 9: Sons of Empire (Fables, #9)
  • Fables, Vol. 10: The Good Prince (Fables, #10)
Fables, Vol. 4: March of the Wooden Soldiers (Fables, #4) Fables, Vol. 2: Animal Farm (Fables, #2) Fables, Vol. 3: Storybook Love (Fables, #3) Fables, Vol. 6: Homelands (Fables, #6) Fables, Vol. 5: The Mean Seasons (Fables, #5)

Share This Book

“The only easy day was yesterday.” 2 likes
“Isn't there a statute of limitation on playing the poor abused victim?” 1 likes
More quotes…