The Wolf Among Us Rights

Fables & The Wolf Among Us Rights Released to Public Domain by Creator

UPDATE: DC has issued a statement regarding the ownership of Fables.

The rights to the popular comic series Fables and its spin-offs — including The Wolf Among Us — have been released to the public domain by creator Bill Willingham.

On These Foolish Games — Willingham’s Substack — the Fables creator revealed that the series and all its related spin-offs and characters are now officially in the public domain

“As of now, 15 September 2023, the comic book property called Fables, including all related Fables spin-offs and characters, is now in the public domain,” reads Willingham’s post. “What was once wholly owned by Bill Willingham is now owned by everyone, for all time. It’s done, and as most experts will tell you, once done it cannot be undone. Take-backs are neither contemplated nor possible.”

Why did Bill Willingham release Fables and The Wolf Among Us’ rights to the public domain?

The creator explains in the post that the reason for this decision comes down to difficulties he’s had with DC. Willingham explained that when first signed his creator-owned publishing contract with DC, the people there were “honest men and women of integrity” that were fair and handled disagreements and issues properly and professionally.

He then states that those people have “left or been fired” over the years and been “replaced by a revolving door of strangers, of no measurable integrity, who now choose to interpret every facet of our contract in ways that only benefit DC Comics and its owner companies.” After stating that he cannot afford to sue DC, he has instead, as the sole owner of the intellectual property, put Fables in the public domain.

Throughout the post, Willingham notes that he’s had many issues with DC over royalties, agreement violations, and ownership concerns, leading him to warn the company months in advance of his decision without giving away any details. Not only that, but his personal views on copyright law and trademarks have changed, so he’d prefer Fables to be public domain now that 20 years have passed. He ends the post by stating he loved creating Fables and that now than fans can make their own versions and interpretations of the story, he looks forward to seeing what is done with it.

Fables first began being published in 2002 and would be published by Vertigo and, later, DC Black Label. The series follows characters from different stories and fairy tales who secretly live in New York City’s Fabletown after losing their Homelands to The Adversary.