Monday, December 19, 2011

Article: Making Fairy Tales Realistic With Fables Creator Bill WIllingham

Fables Issue 1 Cover
"All of the folklore and fairy tale characters from the stories you know so well, Cinderella, Prince Charming, Snow White, the Big Bad Wolf...are still alive today, living in our world, after having been chased out of their own very magical worlds by the vast armies of a wicked conqueror known only to them as The Adversary," explains series author Bill Willingham of the initial premise. "Now, these refugees have banded together in an underground community in New York City."
 Since I've just posted on Bill Willingham's Fables  - the premise of which I've included above in the creator's own words - I thought it'd be interesting to look back on his approach to fairy tales and how he adds his own dose of realism (before Once or Grimm appeared).

This article is from in June this year to coincide with the release of the anthology Happily Ever After which Mr. Willingham wrote the introduction to, and has a lot to say on Mr. Willingham's thoughts about fairy tales and about writing based on them.

K: Why do you feel that fairy tales continue to be popular through the years?
  W: One, because they belong to everyone, and not just everyone in terms of group or national ownership, which is a silly notion, but every single individual who wants to do something with them, or simply read along, or watch along, as someone else does something new and wonderful with the material.
Two, because fairytales are powerful...
(you can continue reading HERE).
I like that Mr. Willigham has a self-imposed rule on how he uses tales too, to keep a solid grounding:

...The original tale of each character I use happened just the way the old tale states it. Then I work on what's happened since then, and how I can justify the changes I make in the character, in reasonable story terms. Now there is some wiggle room there, since many of these old stories have multiple versions, and so I can pick the version that works best for my plans, and still remain true to the governing rule.
 Check the images below for a quick summary of how the Fables story started (or at least where Bill Willingham starts writing his version of the characters).
 You can read the whole article on how Mr. Willingham writes reality into fairy tales, as well as a little more on the anthology HERE.


  1. Fables is one of the best comics I´ve ever read in my live! Go get an issue! :D

  2. I agree, fairy tales are very powerful. I think they have lasted throughout the centuries because they speak to a deeper consciousness. I love that Mr. Willingham makes the stories current while also respecting their past.