Saturday, March 06, 2010

Catching Up With Bill Willingham

The title makes it sound like I know the guy and we're going to have an intimate conversation in this blog post, but no. I'm referring to the fact that I'm very close to having read all of the issues of Fables that have been published so far, and I'm going to have to start (gasp!) waiting for new collections to be published.

Given the nature of public libraries and comics, this makes it equally likely that I'll have to start buying collections, since I have no idea how long I'll have to wait to get my hands on collections when they come out. It's nice, though, that I caught up just as the major story arc that took up the first 10 volumes that came out is finishing up just as I catch up. Is it possible that I'll become a serial comic reader? Perish the thought; I'm far too cheap.

I was discussing Fables with some friends the other night, though, and I wanted to give some advice to anyone who's thought of giving it a try: the first two volumes don't do the series justice, by any means. Volume 1, Legends in Exile, has one of the most let-down endings I could have imagined for it. I was really enjoying it, and then there was an ending that was very nearly as lame as "and it was all a dream." (Though for the record, it wasn't all a dream. It was just that lame.) I gave the second volume a shot, and it was even more intense. But the ending, though better, was proportionally just as bad. (Vol. 1: story = 7, ending = 2; Vol. 2: story = 9, ending = 4; it's like an SAT question.) This one wasn't actually bad, it was just sort of nothing. "And then the adventure was over and everything went back to normal."

But volume 3 is where the ongoing story sort of picks up, and the backstory that has been hinted at and filled in gradually steps to the forefront. The stakes get high, the stories get meaningful, the resolutions get satisfying. And it all builds to volume 10, War and Pieces, which is about having a solid plan and executing it with skill. So satisfying, I'm almost afraid to move into volume 11.

By the way, I'm sorry about the long silence here. The past few weeks have been very busy on the home front, and not very busy on the literary one. I've been reading the same book (Children of God) for well over a month now, because I keep being afraid something upsetting will happen and putting it down. I often read only two or three pages a day, which can fail to add up.

But I'm kicking back into gear; expect more library exploits and literary outings in the next few days.

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