Bill Willingham, creator of the Fables comic book series that served as the basis for Telltale Games’ The Wolf Among Us, has made the franchise available to the public – DC in turn has said it alone owns the rights and is set to resolve the dispute through the courts.
DC had been publishing Willingham’s comics since 2002, and their contract stipulated that the rights to the works would remain with the author. However, the executives with whom the Fables creator negotiated for more than 20 years are now gone, and he has not been able to reach an agreement with the new ones.
On his Substack page, Willingham writes that now “every aspect of the contract is interpreted only to benefit DC Comics and the owning companies,” and also complains about problems with royalty payments. According to the artist, the ownership of Fables was recently wanted to be taken away from him, and since he has no money to settle the dispute through the court – he decided to make his work public domainThe creator of The Wolf Among Us universe made it public domain to “mess” with DC.
“You have the right to make your Fables movies and cartoons, publish your Fables books, produce your Fables toys, and do whatever you want with it because it’s your property,” he writes.
DC in turn disagrees with Willingham and its interpretation of the contract and copyright law.
“The Fables comic books and graphic novels published by DC, as well as the storylines, characters and elements therein, are owned by DC and are protected by U.S. and worldwide copyright laws under applicable law and are not in the public domain,” the company said in a statement.
DC notes that it retains its rights and is set to take legal action if necessary.
It’s unclear if the technology will affect Telltale’s The Wolf Among Us 2, which is scheduled for release in 2024. The game was supposed to be released this year, but the developer delayed its launch through the transition from Unreal Engine 4 to 5, which entailed changes to the team and development process.