Willingham, Bill. Fables: Legends in Exile. New York: DC Comics, 2002. Print.
Annotation: Snow White’s sister, Rose Red, is missing. Her blood paints the walls of her apartment, but she is nowhere to be found. Living in Fabletown, a secret community of fairytale legends living in New York City, Snow White and Sheriff “big bad wolf” Bigby, search for a killer.
Justification for Rejection: Fables: Legends in Exile, Volume 1, is a graphic wonderland. Set in New York City, “Fables” are living among humans; but living quite a different life than that lived in the traditional fairytales. For those Fables who can blend among humans, theirs is a life lived in Fabletown, a secret community of fairytale creatures living in a luxury apartment in New York City. For those creatures that cannot blend into society (like a pig from the Three Little Pigs), a refuge called “The Farm” in upstate New York, is home. The Fables have been forced out of their Homeland by an evil Adversary. For now, the Fables have found safety in a world he is not interested in; “a dreary mundane place”, in New York City.
A spin on the traditional folklore characters created by the Brothers Grimm, Charles Perrault or Hans Christian Andersen, the creatures in Fables, are, let’s say, a bit different. Snow White, once married to Prince Charming, is now divorced. In fact, Prince Charming has divorced Snow White, Cinderella AND Briar Rose. This guys gets around. Oh, what all the little girls would think if they heard this about Prince Charming. Sheriff Bigby is really the Big Bad Wolf, originally famous for blowing the Three Pigs' house down. So many spins, and so little time to explain them all! In this story, lead characters, Snow White and Sheriff Bigby, are in search of a killer, the killer of Snow White’s sister, Rose Red. The investigation leads to a surprise ending through a fairytale maze of characters and circumstances.
Artistically speaking, the story flows well from panel to panel, and the graphics are amazingly well-executed by some truly great artists. There are interludes of artwork that are uniquely different as far as the medium and style, and contain no text. This adds a lot of interest, and keeps the pages turning. There is a center interlude where the story of the Fables and their Homeland is told, as well. This is a unique and interesting diversion from the story and helps to put the tale together. The text is easy to follow, but not simplistic. The panels are often encased and include fairytale-type artwork, almost like an illuminated manuscript, and this adds to the modern look of the graphics. This look would be appealing to teens with its modern, and ornate fairytale combinations.
Although the graphic novel, Fables: Legends in Exile, is a fun, exciting story and is a must-read for teens and adults who love graphic novels and comics, there are a number of reasons why I would not nominate it for an award. Importantly, Fables does not have the message that a graphic novel such as Maus, by author Art Spiegelman, does, which I believe is award worthy. Fables is a graphic fairytale, which would appeal to the young adult reader in many respects, however, we know this doesn't always make a book award material. This novel contains adult themes, visual violence, sexual encounters, sexual language, and in-text graphic language. Graphic language and adult themes may make the content of the novel unacceptable to a younger audience teen audience, or rather, their parents or teachers! The story is good, however, it is not outstanding, nor outstandingly moving, and I think an award winning story should stick. I would say, however, the graphics in this story are amazing in their execution, in format and artistically speaking.