ABC promises to bring “Fables” to life

If you’re a comic book fan, you know that your most trusted advisers are the employees of your comic store. After all, these people know who you really are. You can tell the nature of a woman by the comics she reads. (If she reads Strangers in Paradise, marry her.)

So, when a clerk from my comic store put the first Fables trade in my hands, I bought it without question. I was not disappointed.

Here’s the concept: Characters from familiar fairy tales have been forced out of their mythical homelands by “The Adversary” and now live in Fabletown, an undercover community within a luxury apartment in New York City. Those who look human do their best to blend in with the rest of society undetected. The others live at “The Farm” in upstate New York.

The Fables, as they call themselves, live in peace until someone murders Rose Red, Snow White’s wild and wanton sister.

Fabletown’s sheriff, the now-reformed Big Bad Wolf (who has the power to look human), investigates to determine whether the killer is Bluebeard, the infamous wife-killer and Rose’s ex, or Jack, former magic bean trader and Rose’s live-in lover. The homicide case forms the first Fables story arc.

A few years ago, NBC optioned Fables to make into a series, but the network didn’t develop the show past a pilot script. Last week, however, ABC announced plans to move forward with the pilot. Stu Zicherman and Raven Metzner, who wrote Elektra and the underrated (IMO) Six Degrees, will write the pilot script. David Semel, who has worked on Buffy, Angel, Heroes, House and others, will direct. The team won’t talk details, but have confirmed that Snow White and Big B. Wolf are central to the story.

On the one hand, I’m thrilled with this news. Fables is a well-conceived comic book and, if the series stays true to the book, it could be unlike anything else on television. The comic is funny and ironic, but it’s a compelling mystery as well. Pushing Daisies is the closest show I can think of, but Fables has a much harder edge than Daisies.

The edge is, in fact, why I’m not sure the show will work. The characters are not saints. Prince Charming, for example, is divorced from Snow White and now sleeps with every woman he can charm. Snow White herself still is subject to rumors of “dalliances” with the dwarves. Goldilocks is a bitter revolutionary who’s having an affair with Boo Bear of the Three Bears. And you won’t see any singing sparrows and dancing squirrels when the two women get together.

The Fables are foul-mouthed, sexually liberated and often violent. I’m not sure network TV can do the series justice.

Regardless of how the series turns out, however, Fables TV will bring attention to the Fables comics. And more people reading Fables will make the world a better place.

Are you a Fables fan? Do you think this TV fairy tale will have a happy ending?