by Bill Willingham, Lan Medina (Illustrator), Steve Leialoha (Illustrator), Craig Hamilton (Illustrator)

When a savage creature known only as the Adversary conquered the fabled lands of legends and fairy tales, all of the infamous inhabitants of folklore were forced into exile. Disguised among the normal citizens of modern-day New York, these magical characters have created their own peaceful and secret society within an exclusive luxury apartment building called Fabletown.

But when Snow White’s party-girl sister, Rose Red, is apparently murdered, it is up to Fabletown’s sheriff, a reformed and pardoned Big Bad Wolf (Bigby Wolf), to determine if the killer is Bluebeard, Rose’s ex-lover and notorious wife killer, or Jack, her current live-in boyfriend and former beanstalk-climber.

Trade Paperback, 128 pages

Published January 1st 2010 by Vertigo

ISBN  1563899426 (ISBN13: 9781563899423)

Now this was a fantastic read. Fables opens up a world of all and any known beings in any fable, nursery rhyme, fairtyale – you name it. The ensemble of potential characters that this series can contain is endless. In Volume One: Legends in Exile: it’s a who-dunnit mystery. The sister of Snow White, Rose Red, has gone missing. There is too much blood in her apartment to make it possible that she survived, but where’s the body? Mr Wolf and Snow White take on the case together and start interrogating all the people Rose Red has been known to consort with.

Volume One contains the first 5 issues of Fables, and the whole complete story of Rose Red’s disappearance, ending perfectly. The combination of dialogue vs illustrations was balanced and the introductions to several other characters not overwhelming, leaving an opening for several more story lines to branch off.

Along with the mystery we get an introduction into the world, how the Fables came to be living among the Mundanes in our world and the desire to want to be able to go back to their homelands one day.

Interesting side characters that are introduced are Beauty and the Beast, Cinderella and Prince Charming, although we only get a peek into their lives – but the girls take on major kick ass roles. They play an equal role against the guys in this story and I loved finding a new and intriguing way to view Snow White and Cinderella.

My favorite character was Snow White, she has a powerful job working for the government, better off divorced and stronger for it, great apartment and can stand up to the more animal side of the guys. By far my least favorite character is her ex husband Prince Charming. He’s a cocky, selfish ass.

This is by far one of my favorites, I do not know what took me so long to look into this serialized story, no wonder it won an Eisner Award in 2003. I highly recommend it.

 

You can’t get any further down than the bottom of the world than Antarctica. Cold, desolate, nothing but ice and snow for miles and miles. Carrie Stetko is a U.S. Marshal, and she’s made The Ice her home. In its vastness, she has found a place where she can forget her troubled past and feel at peace…

Until someone commits a murder in her jurisdiction and that peace is shattered. The murderer is one of five men scattered across the continent, and he has more reason to hide than just the slaying. Several ice samples were taken from the area around the body, and the depth of the drilling signifies something particular was removed. Enter Lily Sharpe, who wants to know what was so important that another man’s life had to be taken for it. But are either of the women prepared for the secrets and betrayals at the core of the situation?

Paperback, 128 pages

Published April 15th 2001 by Oni Press

ISBN   0966712714 (ISBN13: 9780966712711)

I am going to openly state that I think you should see the movie. First Kate Beckinsale is pretty cool and she does a great job of playing this role.

The book is all done in black and white pages. It helps enhance the the feeling of the complete cold and desolate continent that Antarctica is.  The storyline is pretty intense, Carrie Stetko is a strong female character that gets put through a lot of scary shit as the story progresses and with the added danger of being one of the only females in a isolated place with some very dangerous activity happening, she really does hold her own.

At 128 pages it took me awhile to get through, there is a lot of activity happening and quite a bit of detail and dialogue as well as the illustrations to carry the story along.  The storyline is one of the most dense and intense that I have come across in a Graphic Novel.

 

Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter: The Laughing Corpse, Volume 1: Animator (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter: The Laughing Corpse #1) by Laurell K. Hamilton, Ron Lim (Illustrator)

Anita Blake is back in the second volume of Marvel’s comic adaptation of Laurell K. Hamilton’s bestselling series of novels. What would you do for a million dollars? Would you resurrect a two-and-one-half-century old corpse? Harold Gaynor poses just that question to Animator and part-time vampire hunter, Anita Blake… Plus, some crime scenes are even too horrible for a vampire slayer, and the worse they are, the more questions they raise.

Anita Blake: The Laughing Corpse – Book One #1-5  Hardcover, Graphic Novel, 120 pages Published May 13th 2009 by Marvel Comics (first published January 1st 2008)

ISBN  0785136320 (ISBN13: 9780785136323)

 

In one of her more intense and gory stories, The Laughing Corpse, Anita Blake is offered millions of dollars to raise a very old zombie from the dead. She (being her stubborn self) turns down the job. By in doing so, she puts into motion several different events that eventually lead to a tough choice; give in and accept the job, or lose her life. The longer the person is dead, the more blood it takes to awaken them. As the person in question here is 283 years dead, she must sacrifice a human to be able to raise the zombie. This she refuses to do. Although she has killed humans before, it has always been in self defense. She sticks to her decision and is rather adamant and threatening when pushed.

After refusing the job, she begins to have unwelcome visitors at her house. Not only that, but as she is on retainer with the local police department, she’s pulled into an unusual murder that has taken place not far from town. There is a creature killing innocent people and a 3 year old has gone missing.

This series of books (The Laughing Corpse, Animator, Executioner, Necromancer) is more gory and intense than others in the series. Anita is pushed to her limits with no sign of a vacation in sight. With a full time job raising zombies for clients through Animator’s Inc, and her investigative work finding the creatures killing innocent people for the police, she rarely sleeps or eats. We don’t seen her in any type of type of normal relationship. It’s all business with her.

After turning down another offer from the Vodun priestess, Anita gets in deeper than ever and she starts sleeping with a gun by her side. Anita seems to have so much on her plate already, then the new master of the city (Vampire master, that is!) Jean-Claude, enters. Anita and Jean-Claude have a history together. He has marked her twice already and is planning on making her his human slave. They have a deep connection from the previous bites and Anita is bitter and incredibly anxious to disconnect their newly made mind bond. She tries to escape him and his games but no matter how hard she tries, he will not let her.

The graphic novels maintain a good balance between dialogue and illustrations and the story keeps up an intense pace.

Awards

davitt-award  aurealis-award   logo-curtin-university

Peacemaker - Aurealis Award
Best Science Fiction Novel 2014

Curtin University Distinguished Alumni Award 2014

Transformation Space - Aurealis Award
 Best Science Fiction Novel 2010

Sharp Shooter - Davitt Award
Best Crime Novel 2009 (Sisters in Crime Australia) 

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