Peter and Max by Bill Willingham

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Peter and Max by Bill Willingham

Willingham, Bill. Peter and Max. Vertigo, 2009. ISBN 978-1401215736 400 pp. $22.99

***

Ordinarily, I love fractured fairy tales, and this inventive retelling of the Pied Piper of Hamelin set in an established fairy tale world on the edge of our own is intriguing in concept but fell flat in execution for me. The tale provides the backstory of the Piper family, juxtaposed with a modern day sibling rivalry.

First, a disclaimer: I haven’t read Fables, so my first impression was, what a silly, obvious name. It didn’t feel terribly inventive (Cinderella owns a shoe shop? really?). I DID like the clever allusions to other folk tales. Chapter epithets like in which Peter puts his wife “in a pumpkin” tickled my fancy. The writing was nothing notable and I disliked the art work, although the cover was engaging. Why wasn’t this simply a graphic novel?

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