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.
- Fables: The Last Castle (One-shot)
- Jack of Fables 1-5
- Fables 36-47
- Prose Story from Fables Volume 1
- Fables: 1001 Nights of Snowfall (Graphic Novel)
- Fables 48-69
- Jack of Fables 6-21
- Fables 70-75
(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.
- 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
- Fables 86-93
- Fables 94-100
- Cinderella: Fables are Forever 1-6
- Werewolves of the Heartland (Original Graphic Novel)
- Fables 101-107
- Fairest 1-6
- Fables 108-113
- Fairest 7-13
- Fables 114-123
- The Fables Encyclopedia
- Fairest 14-20
- Fables 114-123 (Back-Up Stories)
- Fables 124-129
- Fairest in all the Land (Original Graphic Novel)
- Fables 130-140
- Jack of Fables 46-50
- Fairest 21-26
(Of Mice and Men)
- Fables 140-149
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)
- Fables: The Wolf Among Us/strong>
(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.)
- 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