05 August 2013

Thoughts: Jack of Fables Volumes 6 to 9 by Bill Willingham

The Big Book of War by Bill WillinghamAs many of you know, I've been working my way through Bill Willingham's wonderful graphic novel Fables series. A while back, I had reached the point in the main story line at which I had to veer off and read the Jack of Fables subseries. I reviewed the first five Jack books separately, but got stalled in my reading because Jack's story just doesn't interest me as much as the core books.

I miss the main Fables stories, so this weekend I decided to quit dragging my feet and finish up with good ole Jack. Now I can't wait to get back to Fabletown and all my favorite Fables characters.

If you don't know who Jack of Fables is, he's also known as Jack Horner, Jack the Giant Killer, and Jack B. Nimble. He's a troublemaker who believes he's the greatest Fable of them all. He's constantly scheming and always selfish, and he thinks he's God's gift to Fable women.

The New Adventures of Jack and Jack by Bill WillinghamHere are the highlights of the final four books starring Jack:

  • The Big Book of War (Jack of Fables 6): Jack learns who his real father is, with some surprising repercussions. We also discover that the original fairy tales were different from the stories we humans have told for centuries and learn why Mr. Revise hid the ancient books, rewriting the stories for human consumption.
  • The New Adventures of Jack and Jack (Jack of Fables 7): Jack Frost, Jack's son, enters the story. He is an innocent who decides to become a hero for hire. Meanwhile, Jack of Fables has angered one of the artists and is now a fat, ugly guy who eventually turns into a dragon.
  • The Fulminate Blade (Jack of Fables 8): Jack Frost discovers his powers and becomes a true hero, even though he's not always the brightest bulb in the lamp.
  • The End (Jack of Fables 9): Jack Frost is hired to kill a dragon; yes, that dragon is none other than his father, Jack of Fables. Meanwhile, the Page sisters are attempting to find all the original fairy tale books, and many ex-pat Fable creatures have decided to move back to Fabletown to rejoin their colleagues. All roads lead to the dragon's den, where chaos ensues.
The Fulminate Blade by Bill WillinghamAlthough Jack of Fables becomes a tiresome character, Bill Willingham's witty dialogue, detailed drawings, and trademark humor are found throughout all these novels. In addition, they each contain interludes with Babe the Blue Ox, who has been shrunk to miniature size. He spends most of his days dreaming up his ultimate fantasy life.

I don't think I'm alone in my opinion that the Jack books are not Willingham at his finest. I much prefer to read about Fabletown, situated in a magical part of New York City, and the upstate New York Fable Farm, where the creatures who can't pass unnoticed in the human world live.

Regardless, I'm not sorry to have gotten to know Jack, and I suspect we'll see him again. I'm also looking forward to reading the much more successful Cinderella spin-off and the Fairest subseries. There are also a couple of stand-alone graphic novels that tie into the greater Fables world.

The End by Bill Willingham According to my friend Kelly, I was supposed to stop at Jack of Fables 6 to read the The Great Fables Crossover book, but I forgot, so I'll get to that one next. For a great post about how all the Fables books are interrelated, check out Kelly's "So You Want to Read Fables...?" over at her blog The Written World. She provides an easy-to-follow reading order guide plus a brief history of the series and subseries.

Published by DC Comics / Vertigo
Vol 6: 2009 (ISBN-13: 9781401225001)

Vol. 7: 2010 (ISBN-13: 9781401227128)
Vol. 8: 2011 (ISBN-13: 9781401229825)
Vol. 9: 2011 (ISBN-13: 9781401231552)
Copyright © cbl for Beth Fish Reads, all rights reserved (see review policy)

7 comments:

rhapsodyinbooks 8/5/13, 7:12 AM  

These do look good - maybe I should try the Cinderella series.

Harvee @ Book Dilettante 8/5/13, 8:00 AM  

Graphic books are on my list to explore. This series sounds good.

Daryl 8/5/13, 10:01 AM  

i love how much you love these books ... if i could commit to another series, i know it would be this one ... as always thank you!

Tif Sweeney 8/5/13, 11:00 AM  

As I mentioned on FB, I don't think Jack of the Fables is quite as strong, but I still enjoy them! I am totally checking out that reading guide you mentioned from The Written World. I didn't know that there were more spinoffs!!

Heather 8/5/13, 12:58 PM  

I didn't find Jack of Fables to be quite as strong either, but my husband LOVED them. Maybe there's just something I'm not getting? lol Either way, I love the Fables universe; just can't get enough.

Debbie 8/6/13, 12:38 AM  

I have not read any of these, but now I am intrigued. Why was Jack the star of so many nursery rhymes? What made him so special?
I just might have to check out some of these graphic novels.

Julie P. 8/8/13, 1:58 PM  

They are intriguing....

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