Thursday, June 3, 2010

Fables: 1001 Nights of Snowfall

1001 Nights of Snowfall is not actually a collection of the continuing Fables comic. It's a companion piece to the series. It can be read without any prior knowledge of the series, or by the fully initiated. I think actually having read the series adds some more depth and meaning to the stories within.

The first story: A Most Troublesome Woman, is drawn by Charles Vess and Michael Wm Kaluta. Vess is quite well known as a comic book artist and his style is clearly evident in this story. It sets up the collection. Snow White is sent to the Arabian NIghts Fables in their homeland as an envoy. Their Sultan marries her and prepares to behead her the following morning as he does with all his wives. Snow White makes a deal with him. If she can entertain him with a story, will he postpone her execution? He agrees and for the next 1001 nights the former fairytale princess bargains her stories for her life, at the end of the 1001 nights the Sultan has so enjoyed her stories and so releases her. It's rather like Snow White plays Scheherazade. The stories in the book are a selection of some of what she told the Sultan, concentrating mainly on those that involve the Fables readers of the series were already familiar with.

The Fencing Lesson, illustrated in a quasi medieval style by John Bolton, told the story of Snow's early days with Prince Charming. It showed a darker side of the fairytale and it's heroine, it also shed some light on why most Fables don't mention the 7 dwarves, especially to Snow.

The Christmas Pies, was drawn by Fables regular artist Mark Buckingham, and was a Reynard story, it told of how the clever fox fooled the Adversary's forces and led many of his fellow animal Fables to safety in our world.

A Frog's-Eye View, with regular series cover artist James Jean at the artistic helm, was the story of Ambrose the Frog Prince. Drawn in gloomy sepia tones, it was a heart breaking tale of why Flycatcher was so damaged for as long as he was.

The Runt, majestically drawn by Mark Wheatley, was Bigby Wolf's backstory. It explained about his brothers, his strained relationship with his father, and why he became the villain that he was in the Homelands.

Diaspora, illustrated by Tara McPherson in an almost abstract, cartoony style, was how Snow White and her sister Rose Red fled the Adversary's forces in a magical forest and found shelter in a seemingly abandoned cottage.

Contained within Diaspora was The Witches Tale, vividly drawn by Esao Andrews. This was Frau Totenkinders backstory. How and why she became a wicked witch, THE wicked witch when you come to think about it.

What You Wish For, a two pager with Brian Bolland's lavish artwork, was the story of the mermaid Mersey Dotes.

Fair Division, with Jill Thompson's sumptuous art, is the story of King Cole, and gives readers an insight as to why this little known, barely remembered nursery rhyme Fable was held in such high esteem by the other Fables and elected to the office of Mayor for so long.

1001 Nights of Snowfall is a concept book and a beautifully presented and drawn one. It's available in either a softcover or hardcover edition. I'd heartily recommend adding it to your Fables collection. What do you mean you haven't started one yet? Do so immediately! You'll thank me for it, I promise.

1 comment:

  1. I like the little bit at the end, where the woman that was supposed to have married the Sultan before Snow White arrived turns out to be Schehezerade (sp?). That made me laugh.

    My favourtie story would have been the backstory of Frau Totenkinder, everything that I suspected about her was confirmed.

    The artwork was mostly excellent, as per usual. Definately a worthy addition to the collection!

    Annonymouse on the couch