Eight years ago when I met my husband he re-introduced me to the wonderful world of comics and graphic novels. There has been a lot of stuff I love, Castle Waiting, Bone, and X-Men , just to name a few, but my favourite to date has been Fables .
Bill Willingham, with cover art by the talented James Jean (oh what I wouldn't do to own some of this mans original art work!), the internal art is off and on good but the story is what gets me every time. The premise is simple, forced out of their own lands by The Adversary's armies, a whole mix of human and animal fables end up in New York where they start a safe haven of their kind. Fabletown in New York for the ones who can fit in with people and for those that can't the Farm in upstate New York.
Populated by such characters as Prince Charming and all his various Ex-wives (Cinderella, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty), The Big Bad Wolf (the Sheriff of Fabletown), Pinocchio, Baba Yaga, The Snow Queen, the Frog Prince (now a janitor), Black beard, Bagheera, the three little pigs, Beauty and the Beast (still somewhat happily married), and many others, Willingham built himself a story base that literally could go anywhere.
And go anywhere he has, anywhere and everywhere, since the series started in 2002. There have been dozens of one off back stories and various side stories, as well as two different spin offs (Jack of Fables and Cinderella, as well as a spinoff novel Peter & Max: A Fables Novel), but the main story arc is simple, The Fables of Fabletown want to get back to their homelands and defeat the mysterious Adversary, and they'll do whatever it takes to make that happen.
Funny and intriguing, always full of wonderful personal twists to the original tale (come on, who ever thought that all the Prince Charming’s were just the same guy? Nobody, because that would make him smarmy....but it makes sense in a modern adaptation), Willingham tells a riveting story that has me always itching for more. I think I was also sold when early on he had characters escape into a portal from the homelands into Saskatchewan (hahahahahahahahah, you should have heard how excited I was by that!).
Fables currently has 14 collected trades, or 93 single issues. I reccomend reading it in Trade format, they're a better length and easier to come by when looking to buy them.
Fables Vol. 1: Legends in Exile- April 25, 2003 -Fables Issues #1–5 and the new prose story "A Wolf in the Fold"
Fables Vol. 2: Animal Farm- August 1, 2003 -Fables Issues #6–10
Fables Vol. 3: Storybook Love- May 1, 2004 -Fables Issues #11–18
Fables Vol. 4: March of the Wooden Soldiers- November 30, 2004 -Fables Issues #19–21, 23–27, and The Last Castle one-shot
Fables Vol. 5: The Mean Seasons- April 30, 2005 -Fables Issues #22, 28–33
Fables Vol. 6: Homelands- January 27, 2006 -Fables Issues#34–41
Fables Vol. 7: Arabian Nights (and Days)- July 5, 2006 -Fables Issues#42–47
Fables Vol. 8: Wolves- December 20, 2006- Fables Issues #48–51, maps of Fabletown and the Farm, script for #50
Fables Vol. 9: Sons of Empire- June 13, 2007 -Fables Issues #52–59
Fables Vol. 10: The Good Prince- June 4, 2008 -Fables Issues #60–69
Fables, Vol. 11: War and Pieces- November 19, 2008 -Fables Issues #70-75, sketches by Mark Buckingham
Fables Vol. 12: The Dark Ages- August 11, 2009 -Fables Issues #76-82
Fables Vol. 13: The Great Fables Crossover- February 9, 2010 -Fables Issues #83-85, Jack of Fables #33-35 and The Literals #1-3
Fables: Witches -November 2010 -Fables Issues #86-93
Fables , By Bill Willingham
Published by Vertigo, 2002- Present