Sponsored By

Bill Willingham says WB never paid him for The Wolf Among Us

Willingham's choice to make Fables public domain was brought on by a desire to get back at DC Comics over money he feels he's owed after the hit Telltale games.

Justin Carter, Contributing Editor

September 15, 2023

2 Min Read
Bigby in the cover art for Telltale's The Wolf Among Us.

Comic book writer Bill Willingham has made his Fables series public domain, in part due to the situation surrounding Telltale Games' The Wolf Among Us. In his own words, he's chosen to "give it away to everyone."

On his Substack, the writer explained the move was incited by clashes with Warner Bros. subsidiary DC Comics (which published the comic via its Vertigo imprint) and the media agreement between the two parties. He noted that under the struck deal, DC could "change stories or characters in any way they wanted," and specifically cited the 2013 game as an example.

"[DC] had no obligation whatsoever to protect the integrity and value of the IP," said Willingham, "either from themselves, or from third parties (Telltale Games, for instance). [...] Nor did they owe me any money for licensing the Fables rights to third parties, since such a license wasn’t anticipated in our original publishing agreement."

Towards the end of his Substack, he was direct in saying he plans to get paid for that game, saying he "intends to get my 50% of the money they’ve owed me for years for the Telltale Game and other things."

The Wolf Among Us is a prequel to the Fables comic, and for many, was an introduction to the source material. In addition to receiving critical acclaim and an upcoming sequel from the new Telltale Games, the game was adapted into a comic book miniseries by Lillah Sturges and Dave Justus.

Fables can fall into "many good hands" now

Willingham added that DC didn't properly compensate him for licensing out Fables to Telltale. He alleged that he was offered a consulting fee as opposed to the originally promised back pay, which itself included an NDA saying he couldn't "[say] anything but nice things about Telltale or the license."

Though he can't publish new Fables stories outside of DC Comics' purview, making his series public domain is "[an arrangement] that it also falls into many good hands. Since I truly believe there are still more good people in the world than bad ones, I count it as a form of victory."

About the Author(s)

Justin Carter

Contributing Editor, GameDeveloper.com

A Kansas City, MO native, Justin Carter has written for numerous sites including IGN, Polygon, and SyFy Wire. In addition to Game Developer, his writing can be found at io9 over on Gizmodo. Don't ask him about how much gum he's had, because the answer will be more than he's willing to admit.

Daily news, dev blogs, and stories from Game Developer straight to your inbox

You May Also Like