Thursday, June 28, 2007

The Books with the Pretty Pictures

I can't believe that I forgot to mention one minor highlight of my time at ALA. The one time I really, really wished that I had my camera on the exhibit floor was when I saw Matthew Lesko. And yes, he was wearing the question mark suit. It was kinda awesome. Times like that make me wish I had a camera phone, but for my birthday, I'm holding out for a hammock and a new messenger bag, because mine's lived a good life but is falling apart...

Me: I want a hammock for my birthday
Him: A hammock? All you're going to do is lie in the backyard all day with a cold drink, reading
Me: Exactly...
All laugh

Anyway, back on the topic of books? I'm over at Geek Buffet today talking about dumbing down the classics for kiddies.

And because what sparked the post was a graphic novel of Beowulf I thought I'd talk about some more graphic novels.

I've been really, really looking forward to the new volume in the Fables series, Fables Vol. 9: Sons of Empire, as regular readers are well aware. I got in on Wednesday night, and read it right away. I was not disappointed.

If nothing else, it's pretty long-- it might be the longest volume in the series and is definitely longer than the last few installments. The Adversary is trying to recover from Bigby's attack on the sacred grove. They have terrible plans to destroy Fabletown and the mundane world where it's found. Several of the small, tangent, one-off stories from the past are being worked into the main plot. For instance, Rodney (from "The Ballad of Rodney and June" from Fables Vol. 7: Arabian Nights (and Days), is now being worked into the main plot. Several of the back stories from Fables: 1001 Nights of Snowfall are now becoming important...

There are also several little short side stories-- not full plots, but a few pages here and there about residents of Fabletown we haven't quite met yet, and, it looks like another human might be gumming up the works. I'll be honest, the bulk of this book is short little asides, not the main plot. But it sets up a lot of tension for what's to come. This is the calm before the storm, but the storm clouds are there and the wind is whipping up...

There are a few Christmas stories (which pretty much meld into one long story arc). We find out why Santa lives at the North Pole and how he manages to hit everyone's house on Christmas Eve... and I have a feeling the Christmas stories are going to become very important later on-- something big is brewing.

At the end, we get a short little section where the writers answer some reader's questions...

My only complaint is that the last half of the Christmas stories and the reader's questions is drawn by a different artist than normal. It was a little jarring because it wasn't a reinterpretation of the characters like in Fables: 1001 Nights of Snowfall but everyone, especially Snow White and Bigby, just looked a little... off. A minor quibble though.

Fables continues to deliver high quality and smart stories. If anything, the series continually gets better-- now onto the agonizing wait for the next one.

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