In the third volume of Bill Willingham’s excellent series Fables, the writer presents readers with four stories instead of one. The last two graphic novel collects have each covered on arc, a murder mystery and a threat of war. Storybook Love presents three stories that spin entirely around love – lustful and temporary and troubled – and one that fits into the category with a little shoving.
The first offering is about Jack, the one who climbed the Beanstalk and seems forever determined to get himself into trouble. Set during the troubled years of the Civil War and shortly thereafter, “Bag O’ Bones” is a wonderfully American tale of Death being bested – and of the morbid yet hilarious consequences of the grim specter being taken off the playing field. Especially at a time of war. This was never an actual fairy tale, but it should have been. Willingham just has that wonderful touch of making the things he does seem real.
“A Two-Part Caper” is a caper story that involves Sleeping Beauty. It seems that every time she pricks her finger in the mortal world, everybody around her goes to sleep and thorn bushes start growing everywhere. That has become a problem because the Fables have to keep a low profile and away from the prying eyes of the mortals. However, just letting readers know that these obstacles remain in the way of the Fables is awesome when you start thinking about all the problems some of the characters in storybook legend had.
Things spin out of control in this story when a human reporters confronts Bigby Wolf, the Fables’ one-man police unit, and tells him he’s about to go public with a story about the Fables. Apparently he’s noticed that the Fables live several hundred years. Of course, being human, the man is convinced they’re all vampires. Although that isn’t the truth, Bigby knows that he can’t allow the man to start a stampede of attention.