Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Genre Character of the week: Bigby Wolf

Using an already established character in a story can be very tricky - many of my embarrassing journeys into fan fiction as a teen came from the fact that I could not match the stuff I wanted the character to do with the already established things the character had done. I can still recall people explaining to me that R2 would never have acted the way I made him in my 1987 story (The Day R2-D2 stole the Statue of Liberty) - but I digress. This week's genre character is Bigby Wolf (pictured left) from the comic series Fables.

One of the most amazing things about Bill Willingham's series Fables is that the entire cast is made up of already established characters. From Snow White to the Frog Prince, and Cinderella to Old King Cole - all of the main characters already exist in literature and even a six-year-old* could see if they were being mistreated. In my mind the best character from fairy tales he uses though is Bigby Wolf, also known as the Big Bad Wolf.

Bigby is indeed the same wolf who antagonized the three little pigs as well as Little Red Riding Hood. In the beginning of the series Fables however, he is the sheriff of Fabletown. The concept behind the series is pretty neat - chased through the various realms of fantasy in which each character lived by a villain known only as The Adversary, a small group of these characters (known as fables) escape into our world and live in a small community in New York. Their mayor is Old King Cole, their deputy mayor is Snow White and the job keeping these escaped creatures in line falls to Bigby Wolf.

Here is what I like most about Bigby - he's a straight forward guy/wolf. Yes he did do some horrible things in those Fairy tales, but these days he's doing his best to help his people out. I love the fact that the author has found a way to make the villain in two classic fairy tales into a good guy (he ate a grandmother, remember?), and the fact that you really start to care for him throughout the series is pretty amazing.

If you haven't read Fables yet, give it a try - I like it so much I could probably do a favourite Fables Character of the week for the rest of 2010.

*Never, Under any circumstances should you let a six-year-old read Bill WIllingham's Fables

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