Thanks to Jay Franco, I once again find myself feeding my Fables addiction; this time, it's Peter & Max, the first Fables novel by Bill Willingham.
For those of you who haven't read the Fables books (and you should, immediately), the series tracks the stories of various fabled characters - Snow White, Cinderella, the 3 Little Pigs, Pinnocchio, et al - and their flight from their homelands in face of an unknown invader. They set up a hidden community in New York City... and I can't really tell you any more than that without spoiling it.
Bill Willingham's genius for creating stories out of pre-existing plots and details rivals that of Gregory Maguire, author of Wicked, et al, and his latest installment in the Fables series does not disappoint in this regard. Peter and Max tells the story of the Pipers: Peter Piper (of pickled pepper fame), and Max (of the Pied Piper legends). Willingham's character development can be a bit uneven - perhaps he should have titled the book PETER and max - but this does not detract from the plot overall. Willingham's story moves steadily through modern and magical times, drawing together several fable strings into one cohesive story that is quite hard to put down.
Bottom line: A quick read, Peter and Max will entertain both the Fables fanatics and novice reader alike, and contains enough inked illustrations throughout to satisfy the graphic-novel-nerd in all of us. Especially enjoyable for the reader with a knowledge of fables and folk tales.