Fables, Legends In Exile (Volume 1)

Author: Bill Willinghamfables
Illustrator: Lan Medina
Publisher: DC Comics
Date: 2003
Genre: Graphic Novel, Fantasy, Mystery
ISBN: 9781401237554
Price: 12.99
Number of Pages: 125
Available Formats: Hardcover, paperback

Rating Scale: 5Q, 4P

Links to Author’s Website and Interviews



Links to Reviews



Reader’s Annotation

A room is covered in blood, a woman is missing and the big, bad wolf is on the case.


Fables is a series of graphic novels that is set around Fabletown, a town in New York which fairytale characters have made their home after getting kicked out of their own world. It is a mixture of both fantasy and mystery genres. The story begins with a man named Jack, who goes to Sheriff Bigby, who happens to be the big, bad wolf from fairytales. Jack informs Bigby that something has happened to his girlfriend, Rose, who happens to be the sister of Snow White. He finds Rose’s apartment covered in blood, with a message on the wall saying “No more happily ever after.” There is no body, but the sheer amount of blood suggests that Rose has been murdered. Bigby accepts the case and, with the help of Snow White, tries to uncover the truth of what happened.

Critical Evaluation

I thoroughly enjoyed this graphic novel. I liked the art, the characters and the story. The mix between fairytales and noir storytelling Bigby makes for a fascinating protagonist. It’s interesting to see him deal with being the sheriff but also having a dark past that people like to throw in his face all of the time. Snow White is also an interesting character, and the two have good chemistry together as friends that could possibly become something more. There’s also a whole host of interesting side characters that come up. If you know fairy tales, getting to see these characters adds humor and provides more context for the the world. I also thought the class struggle that was presented in the book was really interesting. You can see that some of the lesser fairytale creatures resent the more wealthy characters. Overall, I was really surprised at how good this was. It’s definitely made me interested in reading the rest of the series.

Significance of Book

This is a graphic novel series that has earned a lot of rave reviews and awards. It’s take on fairy tale character is fascinating and the characters are richly drawn and fascinating. The hardboiled mystery aspect meshes perfectly with the fantasy genre.


Beautiful Darkness by Fabian Vehlmann

The Sandman by Neil Gaiman

Awards and Lists

As of 2012, Fables has won fourteen Eisner Awards.

Best New Series in 2003

Best Serialized Story in 2003, 2005 and 2006 (“Legends In Exile”, “March of the Wooden Soldiers” and “Homelands”)

Best Anthology in 2007 (Fables: 1001 Nights of Snowfall)

Best Short Story in 2007 (“A Frog’s Eye View,” by Bill Willingham and James Jean, in Fables: 1001 Nights of Snowfall)

Best Penciller/Inker or Penciller/Inker Team in 2007 (Mark Buckingham and Steve Leialoha)

Best Painter/Multimedia Artist (Interior) in 2007 (Jill Thompson)

Best Cover Artist in 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2009 (James Jean)

While Fables only advertises winning fourteen Eisner Awards on their covers, the following Eisner awards have also been won by members of their staff for their work on Fables:

Best Writer in 2009 (Bill Willingham)

Best Lettering in 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2011 (Todd Klein)

Fables: War and Pieces was nominated for the first Hugo Award for Best Graphic Story.[24]Fables: The Dark Ages, Fables: Witches and Fables: Rose Red were also nominated.

Prominent review site IGN has called it “the best comic book currently being produced”[25]

Taken From Wikipedia

Discussion Ideas

  • Discuss the characters’ connection to the fairy tales. How are they similar? Different?
  • Discuss the graphic novel in terms of a classic hard boiled mystery.
  • Discuss the Wolf’s relationship with Snow White.

Justification of Selection

I was on the lookout for a graphic novel and this series immediately caught my eye. I like the idea of a modern twist on the classic fairytale stories mixed in with the mystery genre. There have been a lot of fairytale twists but I’ve never seen anything quite like this before.


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