I think both works are fairy tales in their own right. Both “Into the Woods” and “Fables” use the method of combining numerous well known fairy tales and using these characters to assist and develop the plot of a totally new story. “Into the Woods” is fairly plausible when compared to the usual fairy tale, but “Fables” may be a little more extreme and strange.
Unlike the traditional fairy tales that we have read, these stories are almost satires of the tales. They do aim to entertain the audience, but in different ways. These works probably more closely resemble what the original oral fairy tales would have been like, the tales that were told for the salon audience as opposed to children. “Fables” is definitely aimed at a more mature, adult audience with its language and sexual jokes and comics. I think it’s funny that the fairy tale characters have all been exiled, and thus they have to hide from humans and conceal their true identities in one of the busiest cities in the country. On the other hand, “Into the Woods” seems to be more child-friendly, even if the plot gets a little complicated as a result of all the stories being woven together and intertwined. In terms of an unidentified setting, “Fables” tells the reader at the very beginning of the book that it is set in New York City. From what I can remember, “Into the Woods” does not explicitly state its setting, but we are obviously in the woods or forest. "Into the Woods" includes tales about magical spells, talking animal helpers, evil stepmothers, and witches.
“Into the Woods” keeps the stories of “Cinderella”, “Little Red Riding Hood”, “Jack and the Beanstalk”, and “Rapunzel”. “Fables” keeps elements of “Beauty and the Beast”, “Jack and the Beanstalk”, “Snow White and Rose Red”, “Bluebeard”. Then, it also contains characters from stories like “Little Boy Blue”, “The Three Little Pigs”, and the song “Molly Malone”, so “Fables” makes other references to popular culture of the time. “Fables” is written in a modern style that is easy to read and follow. “Into the Woods” does not have an overtly modern tone, but it’ focus seemed to be more on the songs and musical aspect of the story. "Fables" could be considered a fairy tale simply because it includes so many traditional fairy tale characters. However, the actual tale seems to be more of a modern action or mystery story than a fairy tale. Ultimately, “Into the Woods” seems to maintain more aspects of the traditional fairy tale than “Fables”, but both are entertaining to their respective audiences in a unique way.