Fairest: In All the Land by Bill Willingham
Art: Chrissie Zullo, Karl Kerschl, Renae de Liz, Fiona Meng, Mark Buckingham, Phil Noto, Meghan Hetrick, Russ Braun, Tony Akins, Gene Ha, Tula Lotay, Marley Zarcone, Ming Doyle, Chris Sprouse, Nimit Malavia, Dean Ormston, Kurt Huggins, Adam Hughes, Al Davison, Shawn McManus, Inaki Miranda, and Kevin Maguire
This was perhaps one of the best Fables stories that I’ve read in a long time. It wasn’t interrupted by one of Willingham’s favorite characters that didn’t make sense. Cinderella had the whole narrative from beginning to end, and while she certainly had the help of others, she was the one who figured out the mystery and came up with a solution to the problem.
As much as I was excited to see that many of my favorite artists were working on this book, having the tale jump from artist to artist was a bit distracting. I really loved de Liz’s Cinderella and Hetrick’s Snow White. I was also surprised just how much I enjoyed Doyle’s art, which particularly worked with the ’60s flashback to Briar Rose’s all-girl band.
All that said, I did have a hard time getting into this book. Continue reading “Fairest: In All the Land Graphic Novel Review”
Fables (Vol 19): Snow White by Bill Willingham
Art: Mark Buckingham, Steve Leialoha, Shawn McManus, and Andrew Pepoy
Let’s start with half this trade being taken up by the tale of Bufkin and the overthrow of the Gnome King that ruled Oz. Boring. There were no emotional connections. It felt like reading some kind of dry history textbook, not enjoying the story. And Lily felt like a fetishized woman who did everything for love. Her obsession with Bufkin started out as gross, and then the end where it shows the “three times they fell in love and she pumped out a bunch of babies” made Bufkin also gross. He could only love her if they were the same species. And all Lily wanted was love, babies, and to play house. They only did things when they were different species. Don’t even get me started on the weird note that when they were both Barelycorn, they had a boatload of children, but the children all died.
Then we meet Prince Brandish. Or more that we discover Werian Holt is actually Prince Brandish, who back-in-the-day was betrothed to Snow White after she and Rose Red broke a curse where he was turned into a bear. Frankly, after seeing more of him in action, he was much better off as a bear. Continue reading “Fables (Vol 19): Snow White Graphic Novel Review”
Fairest Vol 1: Wide Awake by Bill Willingham and Matthew Sturges
Art: Phil Jimenez, Andy Lanning, Steve Sadowski, Mark Farmer, Andrew Pepoy, and Shawn McManus
I was super excited for Fairest. I’d really hoped for some great stories focused on the women of Fables, telling who they are and giving them great agency. However, I found myself somewhat disappointed by this book. Lots of mixed feelings here. As much as I’m happy to have Briar Rose and the Snow Queen back in circulation, it could’ve been better.
My biggest gripe with Briar Rose and the Snow Queen’s literal revival was that they told it through the eyes of Ali Baba. A man became the center of the first volume of Fairest. And to make it worst, the main conflict between the two women becomes Ali Baba’s love. Or at least some competition around it.
Jonah Panghammer wasn’t quite as amusing as Willingham thought he was, despite the funny Firefly moment. Though it was a nice irony for Ali. And for what readers were probably expecting by Jonah’s addition to the tales. Continue reading “Fairest Vol 1: Wide Awake Graphic Novel Review”
Fables Vol 15: Rose Red by Bill Willingham
Art: Mark Buckingham, Steve Leialoha, Inaki Miranda, Andrew Pepoy, Dan Green, Chrissie Zullo, Dave Johnson, Kate McElroy, J.H. Williams III, Joao Ruas, and Adam Hughes
The Story of Frau Totenkinder
I’ve been reading Fables now for a very long time. Fables is not without it’s problems (see the Arabian Fables, see Willingham’s often too transparent politics, see the time I told Willingham how Snow White’s my favorite and he was genuinely shocked). But Fables is a world that has sucked me in. It’s created characters that I love; women characters who’d I’d toss up on that “strong women” characters list from Snow White, Rose Red, and Cinderella to Ozma, Baba Yaga, and the Snow Queen. I cheered the Blue Fairy on in her vendetta against Geppetto as much as I loved to hate Goldilocks. And a character I loved almost as much as Snow White has been Frau Totenkinder, aka Bellflower.
One of the best things about Frau Totenkinder in the entire Fables series has been that she’s an old witch whom everyone is a little frightened of. Even if she’s on their side. Totenkinder is always hiding some knowledge up her sleeve and leading the magical Fables to pull out tricks just when they need them. In the last trade paperback volume, Frau Totenkinder went from being a crone witch to a young witch again, going by her original name Bellflower. There was a smallish outcry against her reverting from crone to mother/maiden in years. In media in general, there’s a distinct lack of older female characters, and with all her power, Totenkinder was powerhouse against both sexism and ageism. Of course, Totenkinder’s story as told in Fables: 1001 Nights of Snowfall points out that Totenkinder chose to let herself age.
Totenkinder’s de-aging back into Bellflower didn’t bother me until this volume, until Ozma Continue reading “Fables Vol 15: Rose Red Graphic Novel Review”
Fables (Vol 14): Witches by Bill Willingham
I felt somewhat disappointed by Witches. I’ve been long waiting for more stories about Frau Totenkinder and the spell-casters, and I felt that as soon as this story got going, it stopped. While the trade itself is not thin, the story felt thin. Plus, the beginning with Bigby ranting felt really Mary Sue-ish, and it started off the whole trade with a bad taste in my mouth.
Part of it was that I’m not very entranced with Bufkin’s story. While I totally understand how Willingham likes to tell the stories where the underdog wins, Bufkin verses Continue reading “Fables (Vol 14): Witches Graphic Novel Review”