The Complete Fables Reading Order and All Spin-Offs

Fables has marked the last decade of Vertigo as being their real long-term success.  With all the spin-offs and crossovers, all maintaining an incredible level of quality and readership, has been consistent, even when Vertigo has gone up then down.  As we head up to the coming end of both Fables and Fairest, it might be worthwhile to try to get a reading order together for those who want to read it all.  The series is really designed so that you could probably pick one of the primary series, possibly even the spin-off miniseries and graphic novels, could be read on their own, but there will be spoilers in place in many series.  Since it is such a large series at this point, it may be good to see exactly what the order is.  This complete Fables reading order has been partially put together off of personal reading, and from some reference guides such as The Reading World and The Centre Cannot Hold.

It should be noted, and it is noted over at the Reading World, that there is not always a hard and fast issue by issue reading order, but instead certain issues of one book that should be read by the time you get to another book.  I will try my best to compile it hear issue by issue.

  • Fables 1-35

This includes the 1-half of 6 TPBs.  You can easily just finish the 6th trade if you are reading them in trade.  This includes the storylines Legends in Exile, Animal Farm, Storybook, March of the Wooden Soldiers, The Mean Seasons, Homeland.

(Jack of Hearts)

  • Fables 36-47

(Arabian Nights (and Days))


(Wolves, Sons of Empire, The Good Prince)

  • Jack of Fables 6-21

(Jack of Hearts, The Bad Prince and Americana)

  • Fables 70-75

(War and Pieces)

(Turning Pages and The Big Book of War)

  • Fables 76-82

(Fables: The Wolf Among Us Vol. 1-2)

    • Fables: A Wolf Among Us #1-12

Fables: A Wolf Among Us actually takes place before the first issue of the regular Fables run, but it wouldn’t make sense to read it there. This seems like the first point where you would know enough to understand everything that happens and know all the characters you should, but there is no reason you should have to read it here since the events to not integrate here at all. Read it at your pleasure since it is not even going to be fully released until later this year.

(The Dark Ages)

    • Fables 83-85
    • Jack of Fables 33-35
    • The Literals 1-3

(Above three sets of issues collected in Fables TPB 13: The Great Fables Crossover)

  • Jack of Fables 36-45

(The New Adventures of Jack and Jack, The Fulminate Blade)

  • Fables 86-93

(Witches)

  • Fables 94-100

(Rose Red)


(Super Team)

  • Fairest 1-6

(Wide Awake)

  • Fables 108-113


(nherit the Wind)

  • Fairest 7-13

(Hidden Kingdom)

  • Fables 114-123

(Cubs in Toyland)

  • The Fables Encyclopedia
  • Fairest 14-20

(The Return of the Maharaja)

    • Fables 114-123 (Back-Up Stories)
    • Fables 124-129

(Snow White)

  • Fairest in all the Land (Original Graphic Novel)
  • Fables 130-140

(Camelot)

  • Jack of Fables 46-50

(The End)

  • Fairest 21-26

(Of Mice and Men)

  • Fables 140-149

(Farewell)

Items that Can be Read Out of Continuity

(This is not in the directly Fables reading order, though it still happens in continuity.  Read sometime after Fables Crossover)

Issues #1-14

(Technically a prequel, though it is best to read after you get to know the characters well.  Best to read after Jack of Fables has began.)

One of the one-page Fables stories handed out by Bill Willingham at SDCC.

One of the one-page Fables stories handed out by Bill Willingham at SDCC.

  • Fables One-Page Stories

(These one pagers are handed out at San Diego Comic Con and the first couple were just for fun, but later ones indicated what was to come after issue 100.  So if you are ever lucky enough to come across these, and you want to read them in a reading order, just place them several issues before 100.)

(The end of the Fables story, try to read these issues of Fairest and Fables somewhat simultaneously.  As of this writing, the last issues of this run has just been released.)

The Fables Covers collection is obviously not something that needs to be read in any sequence, but is a wonderfully designed volume and all the covers included look even better than when they were in issues.

What Else Do I Need to Know?

So there are a lot of complicated notes on this.  First, Fables: A Wolf Among Us is not on the list.  That miniseries just started coming out about a week ago as of this writing, though the videogame has been out for quite some time.  This is technically a prequel, but it should actually be read somewhere after Fables 45 or so, though there is no hard and fast rule about this.  Feel free to just pick this up even if you are early in the Fables story.  Likewise, 1001 Nights is also a prequel, but I placed it where it makes sense to look back at that story, and closer to the Arabian Nights storyline, for which it is important to have read in preparation.  With Jack of Fables, you can be a little bit looser than what is listed if you would like, but it is important to read the first six volumes before you get to Fables vol. 13, because that is the crossover.  The first three volumes all take place during the Good Prince volume of Fables, through I placed the first volume of Jack of Fables right after Jack’s banishment to add some continuity for the beginning of Jack of Fables.  The second volume of Fairest also has a story that is a prequel to the first volume of Fables, but again it makes a lot more sense to read it later after you know the Fables characters very well.

As of this writing, both Fables and Fairest have a couple of issues left before their ending.  It may seem that after they are over their final reading order could change, but we will have to see.

Actually compiling this was kind of an exhausting process, and, in a sense, not altogether necessary.  The different series do have spoilers for each other, but not too extensively.  If you broadly stick to the above you can always know what is going on and won’t have your surprises ruined.  As Fables comes to a close, we can start to get a little depressed as one of the real milestones in modern Vertigo books is finally in the rear view mirror.

Start Reading Fables Now: Fables: Legends in Exile, Vol. 1

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There are 9 comments

  1. Jason

    Thanks so much for this. I am brand new to the whole Fables universe, after having played The Wolf Among Us recently, and this is exactly what I was looking for. The only thing that seems to be missing from this list is the other prose story “Pinnochio’s Army”, which, from what I can tell from the Wikipedia page, should be read sometime after Fables #100.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. patoche

    Hi,
    Have you read the end of the series yet with issue 150 (TPB 22)?
    Is it change your reading order? I’m just after Cinderella – from fabletown with love
    Thanks 🙂

    Like

  3. Jason

    You seem to be missing Fables Vol. 21: Happily Ever After… I’m assuming it comes right before Farewell. At least that’s where I’ve just put it, lol

    I’m actually just reorganizing all my Fables trades and this has been a huge help! Thank you so much for taking the time to do this!

    Like

  4. Justin

    Does the rest of “The Wolf Among Us” series just continue after the end of the series? You have Chapters 1-12 early on, then no where else. Or should I just continue to read it all after Fables 76-82?

    Like

    1. vertigology

      So we put them there because it seemed like at this point you would have a good sense of all the characters, but it actually takes place before the main series starts. It just happened to be releasing at the end of the regular series. So honestly you can read it anywhere you really want, but I would wait until about issue #82. The series is not out completely yet, there should be a couple more issues before the miniseries is finished.

      Like

  5. Michael

    Complete Fables Reading order using Deluxe Editions:
    Fables Deluxe Editions 1-5
    Jack of Fables Vol.1 (The Nearly Great Escape)
    Jack of Fables Vol.2 (Jack of Hearts)
    Fables Deluxe Editions 6-8
    Jack of Fables Vol.3 (The Bad Prince)
    Jack of Fables Vol.4 (Americana)
    Fables Deluxe Edition 9
    Jack of Fables Vol.5 (Turning Pages)
    Jack of Fables Vol.6 (The Big Book of War)
    Cinderella Vol.1 (From Fable Town with Love)
    Fables Deluxe Edition 10
    Jack of Fables Vol.7 (The New Adventures of Jack and Jack)
    Jack of Fables Vol.8 (The Fulminate Blade)
    Fables Deluxe Edition 11
    Cinderella Vol.2 (Fables are Forever)
    Fables Vol.16 (Super Team)
    Fairest Vol.1 (Wide Awake)
    Fables Vol.17 (Inherit the Wind)
    Fairest Vol.2 (The Hidden Kingdom)
    Fables Vol.18 (Cubs in Toyland)
    Fables Encyclopedia
    Fables Vol.19 (Snow White)
    Fairest Vol.3 (The Return of the Maharaja)
    Fables Vol.20 (Camelot)
    Fairest (In All the Land)
    Jack of Fables Vol.9 (The End)
    Fairest Vol.4 (Of Men and Mice)
    Fables Vol.21 (Happily Ever After)
    Fables Vol.22 (Farewell)
    Fairest Vol.5 (The Clamour for Glamour)
    Fables: The Wolf among Us (Vol.1)
    Unwritten Vol.9 (The Unwritten Fables) “Fables Crossover”
    Fables Covers: The Art of James Jean (New Edition)
    Coming Soon:
    Fables Deluxe Edition 12 “May 2016”
    Fables: The Wolf among Us (Vol.2) “June 2016”

    Like

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