Fables: 1001 Nights of Snowfall Hardcover – Oct 18 2006
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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Probably the smartest mainstream comic going, Fables usually concentrates on the contemporary activities of characters from children's stories who now are living as secret refugees in New York. This collection gives glimpses of their individual backstories before the armies of the brutal Adversary drove them out of Fairyland. Readers will learn, for example, what spoiled the Big Bad Wolf's disposition and what happened to the witch after Hansel and Gretel pushed her into the oven. It would be relatively easy to do clever, merely cynical readings of the fairy tales, but Willingham is after something much more interesting. Like Neil Gaiman and Tanith Lee, he's reimagining the old stories, trying to see why they have survived and also to point out the aspects they somehow neglect: it's only natural that Snow White would take revenge on the seven little rapists who abducted her, but the independent way she goes about it casts doubt on her subservient relationship to Prince Charming. Willingham reminds readers of how much they ignore in their anxiety to believe that all stories end happily ever after. Artists like Charles Vess, Mark Buckingham and Jill Thompson work up to the level of the perceptive scripts, making this a memorable, uncomfortably amusing treat. (Oct.)
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A volume full of backstories about the fairy- and folktale characters who figure in the hit comic book Fables gets the kind of classy treatment success merits. Every story in it is drawn by a different artist who shows off his or her distinctiveness in manners ranging from traditional comics realism and photo-based naturalism to Maxfield Parrish-Howard Pyle sumptuousness and a panoply of caricatural styles. The book is painted throughout, and it's debuting in hardcover. But is it any good? In a word, yes. From latter-nineteenth--century Fabletown in Manhattan, Snow White is dispatched to the Arabian sultan's court in the homeland to enlist his support in the fight against the Adversary, who drove the European fables into exile but hasn't yet threatened the Middle Eastern contingent. The ruler entraps her, and she must, a la Scheherazade, tell him the primary contents of the book to stay alive while wooing his cooperation. The stories are both clever and psychologically explanatory of the characters as they appear in the ongoing, contemporarily set Fables story. Ray Olson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Top Customer Reviews
Summary: Snow White is sent to the land of the Arabian fables to ask for their help in fighting the Adversary. The time period is shortly after the fables have settled in our world and from information gathered in this book that is probably somewhere in the 1600s. When she arrives the court of the Sultan does not know what to do with such an insult, a woman emissary! They lock her in her rooms for quite some time but after she becomes troublesome they decide to send her to the Sultan as his nightly bride who will be killed the following morning but Snow White decides to tell him a story and so she continues on for 1001 nights. This book contains only a select few of those tales.
Comments: This book is not a part of the Fables series proper. It was not published in comic book format but is an original graphic novel. The book is still written by Bill Willingham but each story has been illustrated by various different artists, creating a visually pleasing book. The book is often listed as a prequel to the series since the events take place some hundreds of years prior to the Fables series, yet it can be read at any time. I chose to read it now, after book 7, because this is when it was chronologically published. In book 7, Arabian Nights (and Days), there is a brief scene where someone asks Snow White hadn't she been to the Arabian fables world before and she replies shortly with oh that was a long time ago, I'm paraphrasing here. Thus Willingham has set up the scene for introducing this book at this time.
A great book! Beautiful art work. It was really enjoyable to see the Fables world come alive through different artists' perspectives, some of the art is especially fantastic. The stories are all great fun.Read more ›
I've read all the 12 TPB books available at this time of writing, before getting into this one.
What bothered me the most was the change of artists, of methods used to represent the worlds and the fables characters. The many mini-stories we find in this book, all drawn with differents approach, somehow calmed me and made me appreciate what have been artistically tried in the 12 TPB I've read before. i'm okay now. I dont need Snow, BigBy, Rose Red, Beast and all the others to always look the same. It's alright to have fun in representing them in different ways. That is the main thing I got from this book. And it's big one for me, for my appreciation of the Fables collection.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Charles Vess, one of my favorite fantasy artists, provides the book's foundation, working with Michael Wm. Kaluta to give brilliant, highly detailed and colorful life to Snow, the sultan and his fantastic court. Each of Snow White's stories features the work of a different artist, and the differing artistic styles provides eye-pleasing transitions between tales.
This book is certainly intended for mature readers; youngsters are probably not ready for a naked Snow White, the ugly truth about her time with the dwarves or the fate of the Frog Prince's wife and children. But for adults, whether or not they read the Fables series, this is a masterwork of prose and artistic storytelling. Set apart from the regular series and yet deeply grounded within it, "1001 Nights of Snowfall" is a richer, fuller, more satisfying collection than anything the series has yet produced.
Scheherazade herself should envy this treasure trove of stories. I only regret the book held only a handful and not the full set of 1,001. This is easily one of the best graphic novels of the year.
by Tom Knapp, Rambles editor
The art is by a stable of guest artists, including James Jean, the Fables cover artist, who does a spectacular job illustrating Flycatcher's story. All of the art is good, and some is better than that.
If you're a Fables fan, you'll definitely want this book. It may not be the best place to begin for a Fables newbie, but once you've gotten to know who is who, you'll definitely want it.
So, as any prequel, it should be read after 2-3 TPB volumes of Fables otherwise it's just like watching the flashback parts from Lost episodes without the events happening on the island.
On the bright side, it has some of the greatest art in comics i've seen and the variation makes it even greater. This is the kind of comics that i find perfectly crafted: a single writer for story consistency and a variation of illustrators to provide different perspectives on the same characters.
It also got some awards so it's a warm recommendation but as i said, only after getting acquainted with the characters whose origins and dark secrets are presented here.
Warning: don't buy this for your kids even if it looks shiny and contains pictures of Snow White, Prince Charming and goblins. Fables is a series for mature readers, with mature (even sexually oriented) themes dressed in a fairytale form and it achieves that without falling into parody or mockery (which makes it great). It walks the same path as the works of Neil Gaiman or Roger Zelazny with a stronger mainstream appeal (meaning that you don't have to read volumes of mythology and classic literature or to buy companion books in order to understand all the references).
The world of fairy tales and "Fables" is the backdrop for this collection. Prince Charming really married Snow White, and Sleeping Beauty, and Cinderella (didn't you know it was the *same* Prince?). Snow White escaped not only the evil Queen of her own story, but she had to flee from a greater menace, "The Advesary". This evil tyrant has chased all of the European fables out of their own worlds, and into ours.
This story is a bit of a prequel to the series. As such, this book reads very easily on its own. Personally, this was my first book in the series. Although there are several trade paperbacks of the Fables comics out now (seven as of this writing with #8 soon on its way - we hope!), none of those are needed at all to enjoy this book.
In this story Snow White is sent from the exiled world of the European Fables to the world of Arabian Fables. Her goal is to speak with their ruler and join forces against "The Adversary". Through her efforts to gain the support of the Arabian King this story unfolds. This book is a collection of stories from the European Fables. We learn much more about many of the faces familiar to those reading the comics.
Whether you are a fan of the series, a fan of fairy tales or fables, or looking for a graphic novel that tells a rich, layered story with great depth and beautiful art - this book is for you!