Fables: 1001 Nights of Snowfall by Bill Willingham, et al.

Fables: 1001 Nights of Snowfall
Bill Willingham, et al.

I'm a big fan of Fables judging from the fact that I actually read what volume I can find, which somehow translates to my reading the series out of order at times. Yeah, tsk tsk tsk. But this anthology is special indeed. It's not exactly part of any of the ongoing Fable arc but more of a backstory (uh, backstories) that give us a glimpse of the lives of our favorite Fables before they all sought refuge in Fabletown.

And what better way to start the storytelling than to have Snow White sent as an ambassador to the Arabian Fables? All stories therefore follow the route we all know as Scheherazade's plight with the Sultan when Snow White realized that she had to keep her wits with her in order to relay her mission not to mention keep herself alive in the process.

Ten stories in all, eleven if you include the backbone, A Most Troublesome Woman illustrated by Charles Vess, which basically covers Snow White's arrival at the palace and her eventual discussions with the Sultan that goes on until the end of the book. Ten stories? Yes, ten. Some give light to what we know of our favorite Fables. Others are new tales of Fables even I barely know (or I'm not sure if they even appeared in any of the Fable volumes just yet).

The Fencing Lessons is the real story of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves in relation to the series, obviously. Remember in the first volume where Snow White was easily angered at the mere mention of the dwarves? Here we meet a very much in love newlyweds - Snow White and Prince Charming - so the question remains, what happened? Well this one sheds some light into the topic and somehow started the breakdown of the marriage. Lavishly painted by John Bolton and well told in fact. Though I think Snow White here pretty much resembled Chinese actress Shu Qi on a handful of angles. Seriously.

The Christmas Pies is a short and sharp story on how the Reynard the Fox outwitted the goblins and helped a bunch of animals escape the homelands.

A Frog's-Eye View is the heartbreaking tale of Prince Ambrose, the frog prince. We are familiar with him as the janitor of Fabletown yet we have no idea of his story altogether. Oh goodness, probably the saddest part of the anthology altogether and ably illustrated by the much-loved James Jean.

The Runt is Bigby's story, of how he came to be the Big Bad Wolf we used to hate in the tales. Again we encounter Mr. North as Bigby's father.

A Mother's Love is a very short tale of loss and enchantment.

Diaspora Part 1 bring us the sisters Snow White and Rose Red around the time they were fleeing the soldier's of the Adversary. Along the way they encountered the Gingerbread House where uh, they find the witch in the oven. Yes, that's Frau Totenkinder. This is where the story break into The Witch's Tale, in which the powerful witch detailed her betrayal and eventual accumulation of power through the practice of her craft. Then Diaspora 2 concludes with the sisters taking the witch with them and ended with a wolf. Oooh and uh that part we all know from the short story included in Fables: Legends in Exile.

What You Wish For is basically a short story telling people to be careful. Hahaha!

Lastly, Fair Division as illustrated by Jill Thompson, is Old King Cole's tale of sacrifice during the time of his and other Fables' escape from the homelands.


The stories are all so engaging I didn't want it to end. In fact I reread it just now. I've probably reread it twice since I finished it a month or ago. Well, considering that I can't find a copy of Wolves and I'm itching to ramble about Sons of Empire already I only have this to reread. So yes, I jumped over Wolves. Hahaha.

And I can't seem to choose a favorite from among the stories though I love Diaspora (with The Witch's Tale included) since we see the difference between Snow White and Rose Red more clearly and the sibling dynamics is so real. Plus, I always have a soft spot in me for Frau Totenkinder. And now I know why this witch is helping Fabletown. I adore the drawings done by Tara McPherson. It's whimsical, colorful and so cartoony and somehow brings us back to the times when we were kids and fighting with siblings and such. Or maybe that's just me. Then the shift to Esao Andrew's take on The Witch's Tale is simply unnerving.

Oh poor Ambrose! Now I understand him more! And King Cole as well! And like it or not, even Prince Charming.

Can I stop now before I ramble myself into oblivion?

Oh and people new to Fables can actually pick this up ahead of any of the available volumes as it is a prequel. I can imagine those reading this one first and then pursuing the series altogether. The nuances of characters will make more sense or there's a deeper understanding to them once you've read this one. I mean deeper than your previous knowledge of them through the different volumes obviously.

I'll stop now.

Get this, read this and enjoy!

Fables: 1001 Nights of Snowfall won the Eisner Award for Best Anthology in 2007.