For the folks in fairy tales--Fables, they call themselves--reality is about as pragmatic and mundane for them as it is for us. Forced to flee their fairy tale homes and find refuge in an enchanted portion of New York City’s Upper West Side, the Fables remind us that we know of only a tiny period in their lives; in our world they must learn to coexist in very human ways, without magic or magical objects that would draw attention to themselves. Yanked out of context of course it’s easy to imagine all sorts of wonderful, magical settings that make romantic adventures out of very real, scary episodes. Despite still writing in “happily ever after” endings, Willingham’s come a long way to revolutionize what’s been handed down to us for so long and in the same form.
Peter & Max is about the Piper family (a band of traveling minstrels), two brothers (Peter and Max), and the innocent Peep family who gets caught in the middle of fraternal jealousy and revenge. Like all such things, a combination of skewed perspective and hurt feelings tips the scales of envy towards violence. What begins as an ominous and mysterious set of flashbacks and present-day events, the story gradually finds promise in its most haunting thread: who is the true Pied Piper? Peter or Max? Peter is a sweet boy, always managing to do what’s right and do it well; Max is his older, but less talented, brother who snaps at the slightest attempt to undermine his authority and right as the eldest Piper child. It’s almost impossible to imagine the sweet-tempered Peter luring unsuspecting children out of their beds and away from their homes, but too predictable to assume the blame lays somewhere outside, somewhere obvious.
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