Category Archives: graphic novel

Fables: Legends in Exile

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fables vol 1

Into the woods we go! The Fables Buddy Read and Blog Tour has begun. Check it out here and at Come Hither Books for more information. Up first is Bill Willingham’s Legends in Exile, the first installment in the Fables series. We are introduced to many fairy tale characters that we know and love whether it be from Grimm’s fairy tales or even Disney movies. There’s the big bad wolf, Bigby in the Fables realm, Snow White, and even Beauty and the Beast. However, these aren’t quite the characters that we all think we know. The fairy tale characters in Willingham’s universe are tinged with noir. The women are beautiful and deadly, the men a bit grizzled and jaded. These characters have lost it all and have had to rebuild their lives in Manhattan, away from their fairy tale happy ever afters.

This first installment centers on Snow White and Bigby’s search for what happened to Snow’s sister Rose Red, a link back to the old Grimm’s fairy tale. Their search leads them all over the Fable community where we are able to meet other familiar characters. The plot takes many queues from Agatha Christie, with Bigby becoming a bit like her Poirot. The clues are scattered throughout the novel cleverly and with precision, including the occasional red herring. The ending reads much like a Golden Age mystery, with a big reveal at the end where all characters are present in one fashion or another.

So far I’m loving this series and can’t wait to see what’s in store!

Discussion Questions:

1. Are the personalities of the characters in Bill Willingham’s Fables series, such as Snow White and Prince Charming, exaggerated versions of people or closer to our own reality?

2. In what way did the Fables fairy tale characters surprise you?

3. For fun, which character so far is your favorite and why?

I hope you have as much fun reading this series installment as I did. Happy reading!

Ghost World

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Ghost World

Well this was an interesting adventure into a new genre. The only other graphic novel I’ve read was the Persepolis series in college, which are fantastic. They tell the story of a girl growing up in Iran during and after the Islamic revolution.

Ghost World is also a coming of age tale but with a decidedly ’90s American teen angst bent. Maybe I’m not the right age group for this graphic novel because it wasn’t my favorite. I did enjoy parts of it but it was hard to get into and relate to the two female protagonists. A majority of the beginning is just the two friends saying how much they hate everyone around them while simultaneously hanging around some very interesting/disturbing characters. And yes this does set the scene for growth later on in the novel but it also makes it harder, at least for me, to relate to them.

In the beginning, Enid and Rebecca are inseparable best friends from childhood who have no real plans for the future so they basically wallow in their lives and make up stories about those around them so that they themselves seem more interesting. It wasn’t until about 2/3rds of the way through the graphic novel that the plot became a bit more meaningful, at least for me. Enid decides that she wants to go to college which creates a rift between the friends because Rebecca still has no idea what her future plans are. Ultimately, they grow apart because of this rift and, at least at the end of this novel, are unable to quite put their friendship back together.

This was the most real part of the book and a difficult part of growing up. As everyone leaves high school, each friend is going a different direction and the things that used to hold you close together now tear you apart. The theme of impermanence in the world and in our lives was the best part of this graphic novel for me.

Has anyone read this graphic novel or have suggestions for some great graphic novels they’ve read? Please comment below!

Rating: 3/5

Stay tuned for the next installment of Book Battle 2015. Happy reading?

Bringing Back the ’90s

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Bringing Back the ’90s

This category was a tough one for me to find. The graphic novel genre is a lot bigger than I thought it was, which made it difficult for me to narrow down a novel that really interested me. At first I really wanted to read Fables by Neil Gaiman, because he’s amazing, but I could only find the second volume. For me, I always want to read the books in order whether or not they need to be that way. The ultimate decision ended up being what my local library had, which was Ghost World by Daniel Clowes. I remember when I was a kid people talking about this graphic novel and the movie with Thora Birch. But other than that I don’t really know anything about it.

From the back it sounds like this graphic novel is going to pack a lot of punch. It’s a coming of age story about two teenage girls who are facing the uncertain future of adulthood. Flipping through the book it definitely looks ’90s-tastic, which brings me back. I’m excited to see what this exploration of the graphic novel has in store. Happy reading!