ABC's #OUAT @OnceABC: A Complete Ripoff of @Vertigo's #Fables

Today, I come offering an apology to Optimistic Chad. In his post, Why I Don’t Watch Storybook Shows On Network TV, Chad argued that NBC’s Grimm and ABC’s Once Upon A Time “borrowed” elements from Vertigo ComicsFABLES. I had not read FABLES, so I still argues (and I still do), that Grimm is a better show, because it dealt with racial identity and justice ideas (something progressive and race in the horror genre): see Why Grimm is Better than OUAT. Chad remains correct in his points, but Grimm has its own world and has more elements and tropes found in Joss Whedon‘s ANGEL (the Buffy the Vampire Slayer spin-off)– this has to do more with David Greenwalt, one of the producers of the show working on Angel as well: see my first post on GRIMM’s similarities with ANGEL.

I also want to offer Chad a huge gratitude of thanks, because for my Blerdieth Birthday, well over a month ago, the Optimist bought me the first 3 volumes of FABLES, and I am sooooo glad he did. It is one of the best comics I have ever read. There are so very few differences between FABLES and ONCE, I would almost say Once is a copyright violation if it wasn’t so wonderbread and tamed compared to FABLES.

Let’s start off with the frightening similarities. FABLES is a comic where the characters from our favorite fairytales have been exiled into this world. Those characters call themselves Fables, and regular humans are referred to as Mundies (those who live mundane lives). The correlation between living in exile (the margins), assimilation, and racial identity are fairly obvious. This became clear to me when one character ________________ joins the Confederate army during the Civil War in one of the first`volumes.

In FABLES, the political leader (officially) is old King Cole the Mayor of Fabletown, but he’s never around, so his deputy mayor, Snow White takes care of all of the Fables and their business. Now, she is not exactly an antagonist, but she certainly is not the most popular Fable in Fabletown. Her actions, including marginalizing Fables who do not look like Mundies to The Farm somewhere in upstate New York does not win her any friends. She’s tough, she has to make tough decisions, and she is surrounded by a number of cronies such as Bigby the Big Bad Wolf gone all reformed and nice, as well as Little Boy Blue) to do her bidding.

In ONCE, storybook characters have been placed in exile by a spell. The antagonist is the Evil Queen, Mayor Regina who is surrounded by cronies like Sidney, the Uncle Tom Man In the Mirror, the Mad Hatter, as well as the former sheriff, The Huntsman. Regina marginalizes other fairytale characters by placing them in a secret jail, persons such as Belle. The premise behind OUaT, having had whitewashed the central idea behind FABLES, is that everyone find true love. So much like Doctor Who, Supernatural (SPN), and other shows, the family is affirmed, and loneliness is viewed as some cold isolation. The disappointing thing about ONCE when it comes to race is that one of its key writers Jane Espenson has even lamented over the fact that not enough people of color are represented in the science fiction/fantasy genre, see Espenson’s introduction to Leigh Adams Wright’s essay “Asian Objects In Space” in Finding Serenity: Anti-heroes, Lost Shepherds, and Space Hookers in Joss Whedon’s Firefly.

The wardrobe choices for Regina and Ruby of Once are very similar to those from FABLES’ panels, of Snow White and Molly Greenbaum of Fables. Molly is only a Mundy though, and not a werewolf like Once’s Ruby, but the fashion choices are so much alike, down to the waitress uniform, there is no way one could deny that ONCE is at inspired by FABLES. There is nothing wrong with said inspiration, but they need to give credit where credit is due, to Bill Willingham and his team.

As for now, I’ll still watch ONCE, but it’s no longer gonna record on my DVR.

I’m hoping to read even more FABLES though.

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8 thoughts on “ABC's #OUAT @OnceABC: A Complete Ripoff of @Vertigo's #Fables

        1. RodtRDH Post author

          Okay one thing.

          Well, for me, this family as idol trend, as an “American-centered pacifist” as RadOx theologians would accuse me of, is part of the American dream/opiate, where our goal in life is to have upper upper middle class stability, a family, and subsequently, we end up forgetting about the poor. So yes, and this shows in pop culture. What are the Daleks and Cybermen made out of? the poor and homeless. #IJS

          Sorry for the late reply, Disqus and i didnt work out so well.

          Reply
  1. Ren

    Really? There are similarities because they are pulling from the same source, fairy tales. But they have enough differences between the two. First the Fables characters know exactly who they are and have live for a long time in our world while OUAT characters don’t know who they are with the exception of Regina, August, and Henry until the spell is broke. OUAT deals with two sides of a character, the original stronger version and our world version who are the very opposites. When the spell is broken they have memories of both and have to merge the two together into a new character. The Fables characters are not only really cliche versions from all the slutty woman, the one woman in charge is an uptight prick for no real reason, and just flat characters. Take a look at Prince Charming, how original to turn the beautiful charming man into a man whore who uses women to avoid actually working. Snow White isn’t really the one in charge but gets dumped on by Old King Cole but other than getting duped by Prince Charming, why is she such a uptight arrogant person. At least Regina in comparison lost the love of her life when her own mother ripped out his heart because Snow White couldn’t keep her mouth shut. Now if you want to compare Molly and Ruby against each other, go passed the outfit, yeah their similar most uniforms are. Molly was a Mundy that Prince Charming had sex with, used for money and considered less than himself from being from the world he was taking haven in. Molly had about the character depth of a puddle. Now Ruby, even with out Red, is a complex character. For example, when she was talking to the handsome August W. Booth about his travels around the world and his favorite places, it wasn’t to get into his pants. It made her realize that she wanted more in her life than to be a waitress and she leaves Granny’s little diner. She helps find evidence while working for Emma and finds her own strength without a man. When the curse ends and she is both Ruby and Red, she ends up being Prince Charming’s second in command while Snow and Emma are trapped in the fairy tale world. I know that your article came from a good place to defend the creator of Fables but you are so focused on the petty similarities between the two that you are overlooking the glaring differences between them. Everything from being free to travel the world to being trapped in a small town that you can’t leave otherwise you lose your memories, a savior figure, the multiple personalities that the characters have to deal with, the back stories, and the actual story telling style are big enough differences that your ‘frightening similarities’ look thin in comparison. I get that you really like Fables but don’t dismiss OUAT out of your love for it.

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