Monday, January 4, 2010

Missing Person Report: Snow White

And thus it begins...

After a strong hint, my sister picked up the first three Fables (from Vertigo) TPBs for me for Christmas. I devoured all three on my plane ride (actually, largely on the tarmac) back to Boston. Yesterday, I ran down the street to one of my local comic shops and picked up volumes 4-6. I could have ordered them, or waited for my birthday... but I felt instant gratification was necessary.

This may seem a little late in the commentary, seeing as I'm only about seven or eight years behind in this series. I'm usually a strict Marvel reader, so DC/Vertigo books aren't something I will often pick up. However, this series has been on the edge of my radar for awhile. I am a little sad I'm only getting to it now. It's fantastic. It's all of the world's fables, fairy tale characters and legends living in secret exile in New York... and these stories are most definitely not for kids.

A brief note about my habits regarding works of fiction: When looking at something new, I tend to zero in on a favorite character very quickly. Then, that character becomes central to my interest in the series as a whole pretty much for the duration. In the case of Fables, I decided that I liked Snow White. The perfect princess as an ice-cold divorced bureaucrat was interesting, to say the least.

After and afternoon and evening of Aion, I picked up volume 4 around 2:30 AM. Fables does make for a pretty quick read, so I moved right on to volume 5 as soon as I was finished. Then, I opened up volume 6. I looked over the cast of characters page that opened every volume and said to myself, "Hey, where's Snow White?" Up until this point, she was one of the lead characters of the series. Now, she was nowhere to be found. I flipped through the book, didn't see her, so I decided I could try going to bed instead of reading more.

Curiously enough, a favorite blog of mine ("Comics Should be Good" @ ComicBookResources) brought this very point up today in their listing of their top 10 female characters of the decade. The writer opted to list Frau Totenkinder (Hansel and Gretel's witch) instead of Snow White. Why? After Snow White becomes a mother (and eventually wife), her importance to the series drops drastically. She goes from the defacto authority in Fabletown to the retired mother of preternatural septuplets up on the Farm... meanwhile, the story moves on without her. I could go on about what happened, why, and what it means for the series, but CSBG covered it very well. I just found this to be a rather disappointing road bump in my enjoyment of an otherwise brilliant comic book series. I will slog my way through TPB #6. I know Snow White comes back in later volumes. I do want to read those. However, I also know she disappears again...

We'll see how this goes. I hope this book continues to hold my interest... because it is genuinely excellent.