Jack of Fables Vol. 1: The (Nearly) Great Escape by Bill Willingham
Jack of Fables Vol. 1: The (Nearly) Great Escape by Bill Willingham with art by Tony Akins

Genre: Fantasy (Graphic Novel)
Series: #1 in the Jack of Fables series
Publisher: Vertigo Comics
Publication Date: 2007
Pages: 127
Source: Library

The Short Version:
Jack has been exiled from the Fables community for breaking their laws but his plan to take the cash and run hits a speed bump.

Why I Read It:
I love the Fables series and while I’ve heard that this short spinoff series isn’t as good I need to read it because it’s part of the whole.

The Book:
This volume 1 is a compilation of issues 1-5 of the comic series.

From the publisher:

Think you know the greatest Fable of them all? You don’t know Jack! After earning a fortune in Hollywood by cashing in on his own legend, little Jack Horner – a.k.a. Jack B. Nimble, a.k.a. Jack the Giant Killer – is now the most famous Fable alive. Sure, he’s been stripped of his wealth and banished from Fabletown forever as a result, but Jack has always been a wanderer at heart, and the open road is like a home to him. So it’s a real shame when he’s plucked off the pavement and unceremoniously tossed into a gulag filled with other renegade Fables. Within the walls of the Golden Boughs Retirement Home, however, Jack finds allies as well as enemies – and once he learns the ultimate goals of his jailer, Mr. Revise, breaking out becomes more than just a point of pride. Of course, over all the centuries that Revise has run his prison, no one has ever escaped from it. But hey, he’s the Jack of the Tales! How hard could it be?

My Thoughts:
I’ve heard from folks I know who have read much more of the Fables series than I have that the Jack of Fables spinoff series is not as good as the original. I’m going to read them anyway because the stories do come back together down the road in The Great Fables Crossover and I want to know what’s going on when I get to that point.

I’ll admit that Jack was not one of my favorite characters from what I’ve read of the Fables series (the first 8 volumes). I was not sorry to see him disappear from the primary story lines.

This spinoff series is interesting enough at least so far with this first volume but nothing in it really makes me like Jack any better. Yes he’s funny and witty but he’s really just kind of a jerk. I’ll be curious to find out if he (or my opinion of him) changes as the series progresses.

I do enjoy the humor and wit in the conversations between characters in this one. I also enjoyed the reappearance of Goldilocks (last seen as a gun-toting revolutionary). I also enjoyed the introduction of new characters not previously seen in the main Fables books. The idea of forgotten or lesser known fictional characters being locked up in the ‘retirement home’ until the mundane world forgets about them was interesting. As always with the Fables books, in the busy scenes it’s fun to study the images to see who I can pick out.

The artwork in this series is done by a different team than the main Fables books and while the characters and feel of the scenes is different it’s also similar enough to not be a jarring change.

It’s hard to be enthusiastic about a series focused on a jerk of a main character but I thought this one was OK and added some interesting elements to Willingham’s Fables world and I’m curious to see where it all leads.

3.5 stars Rating 3.5/5