Fables – 1001 Nights of Snowfall

Since I went to BICS last month and got a free sketch of Flycatcher by Mark Buckingham, I wanted to find out more about the character and comics he was from and see more of Buckinghams work, so a couple of weeks back I ended up buying the first two trade paperbacks of Fables by Bill Willingham and have to say I was not at all disappointed.

As the title suggests, the comics are about fables (or rather the characters therein) but it’s done in such an interesting and well written way that helps you recognise ‘familiar’ characters and accept them in a new and more grown-up light, in completely different and unusual (or should that be normal?) circumstances and the direction and pace of the storytelling is great. The current story run is centred on the ‘Fabletown’ community who now (and for the last few centuries) live in an area of New York (and also an up state farm for those who are too inhuman not to draw attention).

Whilst looking to buy the third collected instalment though, which was out of stock at the shop I was in, I decided to pick up 1001 Nights of Snowfall and again am really glad I did. It’s a prequel story (or collection of stories) set out of normal continuity that give a new take on the origins of the characters we know (or thought we did) set either before or after the fables remembered from our childhoods, and as well as tying this altogether in the guise of the original 1001 Nights storyline, and packaged in a hardback book that’s set out like, and captures the feel of, the best classic fable style storybooks I remember getting me interested in reading in the first place as a child.

If you like to read the odd comic/graphic novel (or even if you don’t) I recommend getting hold of a copy, just if you have kids don’t get it mixed up with their books by mistake.

Sea Otters Gambolling in the Wild, Wild Surf

I used to read a lot more often than I do now, and even though these days I seem to spread my spare time much more thinly there’s still nothing quite like sitting down and escaping the world for a while with a good book. That being said I think I might start to add reading recommendation’s here (I’m not sure why I never have before, must be the aforementioned neglecting my brain through lack or reading), for those of you who might share my tastes or opinions (or are willing to ‘take my word for it’ even if you don’t).

I’ve (literally) just finished reading ‘Sea Otters Gambolling in the Wild, Wild Surf by John Bennett’, which was recommended to me by my girlfriend (who rather handily works in a library and being the sweetheart she is brings me home anything she thinks I might find interesting), and now I can heartily recommended it to the rest of the reading world.

Sixteen-year-old Felix is bored and stressed. He’s stressed about his ‘A’ Level results, stressed about working for that mad old bag Mrs Pretzel, stressed about what the future holds. He’s also feeling mighty guilty about the possibly fatal combination of laxatives and scrabble tile (Z, ten points) he fed to Mrs P’s spaniel, Vespasian. But it’s not the stress or the guilt that initiates the bizarre quest that takes him half way around the world on a stolen debit card – it’s curiosity. Felix is very curious about a statue he finds in the permanent clearance sale at ‘The House of Crap’ – a statue depicting a fat man and a sea otter in sexual congress. “Sea Otters Gambolling in the Wild, Wild Surf” is the story of where Felix’s curiosity takes him, to Hong Kong, Tokyo, San Francisco; on a journey that challenges his preconceptions about the world, his plans for the future and his relationships with his family. Will he get home before his little sister discovers what he’s up to? What’ll happen to Vespasian? Will he get the passes he needs to get into University? Whatever!