To be completely honest, I bought Fables: 1001 Nights of Snowfall because of one artist: Tara McPherson. Of course, adding Derek Krik Kim and Jill Thompson (not to mention Charles Vess and well, mostly every one else) into the mix didn’t exactly hurt my desire for this book.
That’s kind of my long way of saying I don’t read the montly title of Fables nor do I believe I’ve ever read anything by Bill Willingham before.
Last night, I bought the book and sat down and read it straight through. I didn’t want to stop because I was enjoying it so much. The concept is nothing new — retelling fairy tales was quite popular there for a while — nor is restoring a level of darkness and violence to these tales, but Willingham does something a bit different with it. He isn’t trying to prove how “edgy” he is by making childhood tales “scary.” His approach doesn’t feel out-right revisionist but rather like he’s taking these familiar archetypes and turning them into characters that have motivations and conflicts. He’s doing something very cool.
But yes, the art is amazing. The individual stories which range from tragic to funny to touching are perfectly married to the style of each artist, from the three-page joke of “A Mother’s Love” illustrated by Kim to the sexy “Fencing Lessons” with John Bolton to the playfulness of “Fair Division” with Thomspon. The range of both art and stories makes the book an enjoyably diverse read.
It makes me want to pick up the rest of Fables.
And yes, I liked the McPherson tale. I love her art but I was still impressed how well she managed to pull off the comic book format. I look forward her comic, Donor, which will be out from Vertigo … eventually.