i think bill willingham is a funny name. don't you? conversely, the fables series is not funny. but it is fabulous. the fables series is willingham's dark reimagining of our classic fairy tale characters who now exist as a misplaced people as the homeland has been taken over by the evil adversary. the fables (as they are collectively referred to as) must now make their way in the modern world, but have established a separate governing body that oversees their action.
the first book in the series, "legends in exile", was done in a sort of hardboiled detective style, with bigby wolf cast in the role of detective. "animal farm", plays heavily on george orwell's novel, but has the less human fables, who must all live away from the city on a specially protected farm, rise up against their human overseers.
i think this is one of the best modern day takes on fairy tales out there, and there are a lot of books out there for anyone interested (notably pamela dean, terri wilding, and donna jo napoli's work), but these tend to be geared more towards girls. the graphic novel format of the fables series, along with its darker, edgier tone, makes it a more likely read for boys as well.