Jack of Fables versus Sun Tzu

I'm a great fan of Bill Willingham's Fables comics and its numerous spinoffs (nutshell description: all fictional characters, legends, and fables are actually alive, always have been, and are living in secret exile in New York, having been chased out of Fableland by "The Adversary," a rapacious conqueror).

One of the most fun of these is the Jack books, which feature a set of parallel adventures of Jack -- as in "Spratt" and "and the Beanstalk" and many other tales. Jack is handsome, womanizing, preternaturally lucky and cheerfully amoral doofus of a fable who is forever incurring the wrath of the Fable establishment by violating their rules by, say, pursuing a career as a Hollywood executive (he fits right in in Tinseltown, naturally).

In Jack of Fables Vol. 6: The Big Book of War , Jack finds himself heading the Fable/Librarian army against the vicious Bookburner, who would destroy all of fabledom for his own reasons. Jack takes this command with the help of his sidekick and pal The Pathetic Fallacy (AKA "Gary"), an immortal "Literal" who changes the world to suit his moods.

Jack is a terrible commander, but a very funny one, and he doesn't distinguish himself much as a general, but he does an admirable job of evincing yuks from the reader; and Willingham uses the story to make some really thought-provoking points about the dark and primal nature of stories and the danger and blood that lurks in their hearts.

The Big Book of War would probably stand alone reasonably well, but if you just read this volume, you're really missing out. The whole Fables canon deserves your attention (and will reward it handsomely). It is both gripping and thought-provoking; philosophically substantial and sparklingly funny. Jack of Fables Vol. 6: The Big Book of War