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Peter & Max

(Fables (Collected Editions))

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  3,881 ratings  ·  530 reviews
A new stand-alone Fables novel from award-winning and wildly acclaimed author, Bill Willingham.
This story stars Peter Piper and his incorrigible brother Max in a tale about jealousy, betrayal and revenge. Set in two distinct time periods, prepare to travel back to medieval times and learn the tragic back-story of the Piper family, a medieval-era family of traveling minstre
Hardcover, 400 pages
Published October 13th 2009 by Vertigo
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Mark No, it is not necessary to read before reading the other fables graphic novels.

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Average rating 3.93  · 
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 ·  3,881 ratings  ·  530 reviews

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May 24, 2012 rated it liked it
A quick side-story about Peter Piper and his estranged brother, Max. It's meant to be a stand-alone novel in the world of the Fables comic series. As such, it doesn't provide any information critical to understanding the series. I think it is set up well enough that a reader who hadn't read the comics would still get something out of it. Willingham is a capable writer, though at times he gets in his own way. He is stuck describing things in words rather than pictures, and a lot of his descriptio ...more
Paul Eckert
Jan 22, 2010 rated it liked it
I've never read any of the Fables comics, but Willingham makes the universe very approachable to newbies. The novel is written so that even someone who has never read Fables comics can appreciate this book.

The plot in a nutshell: The characters from our fables and fairy tales have been living in our world for hundreds of years, though their communities are hidden through magic. They escaped from various different worlds to settle on Earth.

The novel is about Peter Piper and his older brother Ma
Aug 03, 2011 rated it liked it
Peter And Max, a Fables Novel, in which Bill Willingham gives prose writing a shot and succeeds more serviceably than spectacularly. There are moments of grandeur and cleverness, especially the chapter that re-unites Bo (Little Bo Peep) and Peter (Peter Piper)and the final duel between Peter and his evil older brother Max Piper.

The world building is excellent, and this is something Willingham scores high on in the ongoing Fables comic published by DC/Vertigo.

The narrative goes back and forth fr
Quentin Wallace
Jan 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a great prose novel based in the world of Fables. This one explores the stories of brothers Max and Peter Piper. Peter is the pickled pepper guy with his wife in the pumpkin and all that, while Max is the Pied Piper of Hamlin who stole the children from the town. Max is also an evil psycho and Peter is the good guy.

The novel details the early days of the two when they were both traveling musicians with their family before the adversary invaded and Max became a homicidal maniac. Then we
Oct 30, 2009 rated it it was amazing
You don’t need to be a fan of Bill Willingham’s Fables comics to like this book--you don’t even have to know what they are to understand Peter & Max. This is a re-telling of the Pied Piper of Hamelin story from a different perspective, one of those “what really happened” kind of tales. For every other character or event that might confuse the reader, Willingham explains the course of the comics in a few words and lines that, if anything, spoil crucial points of suspense that have navigated and p ...more
Feb 28, 2010 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Chad Bearden
Oct 13, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
I'd assumed that being a longtime reader of Bill Willingham's "Fables" comic book would give an added boost to my enjoyment of his new Fables-related novel, "Peter & Max". In fact, I think it lessened it.

"Fables" fans are already familiar with the clever and subtle ways in which Willingham weaves together classic fairy tale characters with more modern interpretations. On a month to month basis, I never ceased to be impressed with his story-telling virtuosity. But upon reading "Peter & Max", I re
Oct 20, 2009 rated it liked it
I am a big fan of fairy tale retellings. I learned how to read from fables and fairy tales when I was a child, and have retained a fascination for them since. In this book, Bill Willingham introduces a bold choice in the remaking of fairy tales. Peter & Max is his first novel novel, but as I haven't read any of his graphic novels, I
can't really offer much insight on the background of his idea. Peter & Max are the two Piper brothers, one responsible for the Pied Piper legend, the other for the p
Apr 23, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: adult
I'm so caught between giving this book a 3 or a 4. I ended up with four because I'm a rabid Fables fan and this took me deeper into the world I love so much, but it really deserves a 3.5--for several reasons.

Don't get me wrong, I did really, really like it--it was Bill Willingham, one of my heroes, and most of the book left me heartily entertained and happy. But at the end, all I could really muster for this book was a sort of positive sounding "Meh."

As I see it, there were three flaws in this
Feb 26, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Two things you should know going into this review. The first is that this novel is based on a comic series called Fables, which tells stories about characters from fairy tales living in the real world. The second is that, while you don't need to read Fables in order to enjoy this novel, if you line up ten comic fans, only one of which reads Fables, Fables is still going to be the best continuing series any of them have ever read. Hands down.

Alright, now that that's out of the way; Peter and Max
Oct 07, 2009 rated it it was amazing
In a similar vein to Gregory Maguire's Wicked, Bill Willingham's Peter & Max: A Fables Novel takes a well-known story and characters, and imbues them with a rich history and fleshed-out present. But unlike Wicked, which was a political allegory, Peter & Max is all fairytale -- dark, disturbing and solely for adults.

In the Fables universe, characters from fairytales, nursery rhymes and other legendary stories have all come together in our world after theirs was taken over by an invading army know
Jan 05, 2010 rated it really liked it
Really, my rating for this book is about 3 and a half stars. The book is good, and a very easy read. I don't know how appealing it would be to someone who isn't a Fables fan. In short, if you enjoy reworking of fairy tales, it's worth a read. It builds on the darkness of the original faeiy tale (The Pipe Piper of Hamelin) without changing it radically like Wicked does the Wizard of Oz.

For Fables fans, the question is whether or not Bill Willingham has potential as a novel writer. His writing he
Peter and Max Piper are brothers. But aside from the same mother and father and musical giftedness, the two have little in common. Their story opens in the present in the recondite part of New York known as Fabletown with Peter learning of his brother's return. Peter lives in Fabletown with his paraplegic wife Bo Peep and other characters of fantasy and fairy lore such as Snow White, the Beast, and the Big Bad Wolf.

Despite Bo's protests and concern for Peter's safety, Peter resolves to find Max
Mary Beth
Jan 05, 2010 rated it really liked it
I was/am a very happy reader of Willingham's Fables graphic novels, and was thrilled to learn about this book, a novel set within the same world, contemporaneous to the story in the graphic novels, but independent of them as well. It was a fantastic romp and I marvel at the creativity and respectful license that the author takes with well known fairy tale characters.

The eponymous protagonists are brothers, and are based on several familiar tales. Peter is both Peter Piper of pickled pepper fame
Christopher Scott
May 17, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I credit the finding of this book to my wife. I was only slightly familiar with the Fables comic. My wife, being the lovely person she is, went to the comic store to buy my valentines gift (that is love ladies and gentlemen) and the guy there told her about this book and thought I might enjoy it. As it turned out, he was right. There definitely is no need to have read any of the Fables comics to have an understanding of what is going on in this novel, as the author states. It stands alone by its ...more
Sep 20, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Thanks to my friend Ron, I received an advance copy of this book, which hits shelves quite soon. I must say, I was always relatively lukewarm about Fables, the comic: I read the issues when they were first published, then switched to the trades after I lost my job at the comic store, and then fell behind in those as well--I've missed out on the last several volumes now, and haven't started the spin-off (Jack of Fables?) yet.

That said, I picked up this book thinking it would help to pass the time
Sep 29, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love Bill Willingham's Fables comics, and was really looking forward to this first novel set in the Fables universe. It did not disappoint. I listened to the audiobook narrated by Wil Wheaton, who was surprisingly good on Agent to the Stars. Peter & Max is a great little tale, full of funny bits, genuinely frightening moments, and a very satisfying and believable finale. Bravo. ...more
Quandra Chaffers
Oct 27, 2009 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: ongoing readers of Fables, not new readers
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
The only reason I didn't give it 5 stars is because I didn't love the writing. The author tended to tell about things rather than show them. Which makes sense, because he usually writes comics and doesn't have to describe things. I've never read the comics, but I really liked this book.
This story was fun and enjoyable but nothing like the Fables comics. The descriptions of things were far too long and the story, at times, seemed too slow. Bill should just stick with Graphic Novels.
Eric Leeson
Sep 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
The Fables series has been a pleasure to have read. When I found a novel based upon previously unelaborated characters from the series, I gladly picked this book up. Great backstory, I always have enjoyed a well thought out novel that incorporates both past tense and present storylines. Peter and Max is a classic good versus evil; the evil is developed from a small slight to become a full blown inferno of rage, hatred, psychopathic, murderous need for revenge that causes grief and pain for milli ...more
Mar 06, 2012 rated it liked it
A friend let me borrow a book recently, Peter & Max, by Bill Willingham. This isn't a book I would've chosen on my own, but I actually enjoyed it much more than I had anticipated. This book is a Fables Novel, meaning that is a part of the Fables comic series. You don't have to know anything about the comic books or even anything about the Fables world to enjoy this book. It is a stand alone novel.

The book opens with a bit of an explanation of the setting. The people are fairy tale characters
Blake Fraina
Feb 21, 2010 rated it liked it
Before reading Peter and Max, I was not familiar with the "Fables" series of graphic novels put out by Vertigo Comics (also home of Neil Gaiman’s Sandman series). For those who are, my initial thoughts may seem obvious or even redundant. The basic conceit here is that all the characters we’re familiar with from fairy tales, nursery rhymes, legends and fables actually exist and have come to Earth to escape an evil dictator who’s taken over their world. Those who can pass as human live in a small ...more
Scott Foley
Oct 31, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In many cases, novelists have difficulty making the jump to comic book writing just as comic book writers and screenwriters may have a rough time adapting to pure prose writing. I'm happy to report that Bill Willingham not only made the jump to prose writing well, but he exceeded my already lofty expectations.

Okay, I'd be remiss if I didn't offer full disclosure and admit that I am a huge Fables fan. That doesn't mean I automatically give Willingham a free pass, though. I've written some glowing
Nov 25, 2010 rated it really liked it
Right off the bat, I do have to give any potential readers a bit of warning. If you haven't read Willingham's fantastic comics, you will probably be a little bit lost during some parts of this story. The book can be read apart from the rest of the Fables comics & Willingham does give a bit of background in the book's beginning, but I expect that some will be a little lost during some of the scenes that take place during Fabletown's present. (Of course they could read up on Fables via it's Wikipe ...more
Mar 08, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction-misc
As a kid I was a big fan of comic books, although I usually preferred the ones that were actually "comic" over what are now called "graphic novels". So maybe I'm not the typical audience for this book, but still I was intrigued by the idea. It turns out that the stories we call fairy tales and nursery rhymes are real events from another world, a world where some animals can talk, wicked witches live in forests and trolls under bridges, Bo Peep is a bratty little girl, and Peter Piper and his fam ...more
Carrie Mansfield
Mar 31, 2013 rated it did not like it
Shelves: fantasy

One of the most critical components of whether I like a show, a movie or a book is characterization. Are these people interesting, do they have a backstory, do I have a reason to like or care about them?

In the case of Peter and Max I'd say they have the backstory, but little else. Peter is ultimately a kind of generic Good Guy. Yeah, there's a section where he becomes a thief, but it's nothing special. Hell, I've seen it done a million times better in The Name of the Wind. The comp
Nov 24, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This is a fairy tale with teeth. Razor sharp, bloody, carnivorous teeth. Wolf’s teeth. The Big Bad Wolf, in fact. Oh yes, he makes an appearance. And his name is Bigsby in Bill Willingham’s universe – the FABLES universe. It’s a compelling and fascinating place.
Let me backtrack a bit. FABLES started as a graphic novel series (comics!). Peter & Max is a novel, with occasional, ancillary illustrations. You don’t need to know the comics to get the story. I didn’t, at any rate. But the story left me
Toi Thomas
Nov 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This is a retelling of the classic fairy tale of the Pipe Piper, but there’s very little cute about it (no Disney here). Peter and Max are brothers with skills and talents over any instrument, but they are masters as pipers and they’ve barely hit puberty. Their nomadic lifestyle and happy family are pretty sweet until strange creatures come into their land to enslave, I mean govern, their people. Too bad this new government isn’t the least of Peter’s worries as his jealous older brother begins t ...more
Sep 01, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
a great *first* for Vertigo, hopefully not the last

first off let me just say that after reading this book, i'm sorely tempted to read it again right now. the writing has this magical lure that brings you right in, letting you really invest in the story and the characters.

now, you don't need to be familiar with the Fables graphic novel to enjoy Peter & Max but i think it's good to know the gist of it...
you'll be acquainted with many of the characters that fill it's pages (Snow White, Bigby the bi
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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 year ...more

Other books in the series

Fables (Collected Editions) (1 - 10 of 22 books)
  • Fables, Vol. 1: Legends in Exile
  • 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, Vol. 8: Wolves
  • Fables, Vol. 9: Sons of Empire
  • Fables, Vol. 10: The Good Prince

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