Disney has ruined fairy tales for me, well for all of us really. I mean we grow up thinking that there is a happily ever after, except when we start reading the original fairy tales that the Disney versions are based off of, we end up with a rude awakening. Namely that the fairy tales don’t really have a ‘happily ever after’ in fact they usually have a warning label or a lessons learned disclaimer on the back.
Interestingly enough, I started to really enjoy the original fairy tales and soon started to look for other tales from various other cultures to satiate my thirst. That was when I was introduced to “Fables”.
You see, Fables is a comic series from Vertigo that takes all the beloved fairy tale characters and sends them to live in New York City, far from their Homelands where a singular enemy has turned all these beloved characters into refugees on the Earth or Mundy as they like to all it. Not only is this a witty conglomeration of every beloved fairy tale that you can possibly think of, but the creator of the series: Bill Willingham, has quite intelligently combined fairy tales and nursery rhymes together when necessary.
- Take the Big Bad Wolf for example (also known as Bigby Wolf in the series), he is a singular character in the Fables universe, but he is the same major wolf character in a variety of stories.
- Snow White is widely known as the beloved princess of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, but she is also the sister to Rose Red in the fairy tale of Snow White and Rose Red. In the Fables universe she is also introduced as the uptight, strict deputy mayor of Fabletown.
- Little Boy Blue isn’t quite so “little”, rather he is not only Snow White’s right hand man in the mayor’s office, he also has a hell of a military back story from back in the Homelands
What Bill has done is very creatively and realistically tied together stories to create a richer back story to these beloved characters in such a realistic and natural way that you can’t help but love them even more.
Then Bill did something new, he expanded upon the universe and created a world of Literals beings who were essentially the personification of literary themes and terms. The Editor became Mr Revise, Deus Ex Machina became Dex, and the various fictional categories became The Genres. All of these characters found in the spin-off series: Jack of Fables.