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Twitter reacts to Kirstie Allsopp’s claims ‘everyone’ can afford a home

Are YOU a young homeowner?


Kirstie Allsopp has sparked a heated debated after suggesting young people could afford to buy a house if they quit Netflix, gym memberships and coffee.

The TV presenter told a newspaper over the weekend youngsters would be able to afford their own place if they cut out the subscriptions.

She said they could move in with their parents for three years to save or find homes in cheaper areas up north if they are struggling.

Allsopp acknowledge it required ‘enormous sacrifices’ but said it ‘enraged’ her when people claimed they simply could not afford to buy.

Some social media users joked cutting back their expenditure – which came to around £30 per month – would do little to help them get on the housing ladder.

But others backed the Location Location Location star and told their stories of stopping excess spending.

Kirstie Allsopp in 2021

The Location, Location, Location star (pictured) was told online people were giving up the luxuries so they could afford to ‘live in a bin’

‘How I bought a house at NINETEEN’: Mother tells how she got on the property ladder

Vicki Brown, now 48, bought her first place when she was just 19

Vicki Brown, now 48, bought her first place when she was just 19

A mother of three has backed Kirstie Allsopp and revealed she got on the property ladder aged just 19.

Vicki Brown, now 48, who works in accounts after working in a bank for 14 years, bought her first place with her partner but they split and she took on the mortgage.

She said she was a single mother of three and saved up to start an investment property.

She told MailOnline: ‘I was 19 years old when I got my first mortgage with my partner.

‘We split up and I took over the property.

‘Despite being a single mum of three for many years I saved up and also purchased an investment property.

She said she was a single mother of three and saved up to start an investment property

She said she was a single mother of three and saved up to start an investment property

‘I’m 48 years old and will be mortgage free on my own property in just over a year.

‘It can be done by working hard and cutting back.’

Both the houses are in Leeds, with the first bought in 1992 for £35,000 and sold two years later for around the same.

She moved to a three-bedroom semi detached which cost £47,000 and is now worth around £140,000.

She said she bought her investment property – a three-bedroom – 10 years ago for £85,000 and it is now worth around £120,000.

She added she hopes to buy another investment property in the next couple of years.

One young couple said they cut back ‘unnecessary costs and didn’t frequently go on nights out’ which allowed them to buy a £300,000 house when they were 25.

The tech worker and his HR employee girlfriend told MailOnline: ‘I started my saving journey during my latter university years and started leveraging the Help To Buy ISA before transitioning to the Lifetime ISA scheme.

‘The LISA enables you to save £4k per tax year and gain a £1k Government bonus. I saved up £16,000 over 4 years and received a £4000 bonus. My partner did the same with her finances.

‘We had the opportunity to use the HTB scheme but decided we didn’t want to share equity with the government and pursued a 15 per cent deposit on a £300,000 house.

‘We still had holidays and meals out but we just scaled back unnecessary cost and didn’t frequently go on nights out.’

Vicki Brown said: ‘I was 19 years old when I got my first mortgage with my partner. We split up and I took over the property.

‘Despite being a single mum of three for many years I saved up and also purchased an investment property.

‘I’m 48 years old and will be mortgage free on my own property in just over a year. It can be done by working hard and cutting back.’

Meanwhile Hannah Neill said she was 22 when she bought her first place for £98,000 in County Antrim, Northern Ireland, in November.

Daniel Frost bought his first one in for £120,000 in Sheffield aged just 19.

He said: ‘I purchased my first house at 19 years old I saved up for my deposit by working full time since I was 16 all the way through my A levels and still kept up my mortgage throughout my degree.

‘It’s not difficult you just prioritise your bills and mortgage instead of going out clubbing every night like a lot students!

‘I still manage to have a life and go travelling too! Worked full time at uni whilst studying its not difficult just called time management!’

Jo Thelfall, 29, a PR manager from Manchester, saved £25,000 and has a Help To Buy ISA, which she planned to use to buy her first home.

She told the Telegraph: ‘I’m mindful that living costs are going up – and rent. A lot of people in my age bracket want to get out of renting if they can. I’m lucky to be in a stable job with a relatively good salary.’

Another woman said online: ‘She isn’t wrong. I know people who at 21/22 bought out of London, and travelled in then benefited from house prices increasing – think long term, not ease of access and comfort.’

Heidi Lindsay, now 20, from Malvern, Worcestershire, snapped up her first home with her boyfriend Sam Bradley in July, after saving since she was still at school for her first home.

She worked three jobs to raise £14,500 towards a deposit.

The finance assistant, who posts about her property buying journey on TikTok, and her partner, 29, snapped up the £217,000 home after putting off plans to buy earlier because of the pandemic.

While family gave the couple £5,000 to help with the £25,000 deposit, Heidi raised £14,500 by herself.

She said: ‘It is sometimes still hard to believe I have been able to buy a home so young.

‘It has been a long journey to get here with a lot of hard work involved along the way, but I am incredibly happy with what I have achieved with Sam.

‘It is down to our hard work and saving, and also the help of our families that we have been able to do this.’

Ms Lindsay had been working since the age of 15 and saving money in the hopes of one day being able to achieve this goal.

She said: ‘I started working as a waitress and then when I finished school, I started working for a small manufacturing company as a financial assistant.

‘By the time I was 17, I was working three jobs which would often have me working from 9:00am to 1:00am the following day.

‘I moved to a new job at the start of 2021, and which allowed me to earn more money and I passed my probation so I am able to begin my training to become a full time accountant.’

Another put: ‘Kirsty has a point. These are luxuries not necessities.’ One woman added: ‘Team Kirsty.

‘I also made lunch and took it to work, no fancy coffees, limited social life, old-ish mobile.

‘Now I have my own house plus own 2 others rented out. It’s not hard, just need to make some sacrifices.’

Paul Davies put: ‘Kirstie Allsopp is right, if you can’t afford to buy in that area go elsewhere. It’s up to you.’

One woman posted: ‘Kirstie is right. Sorry, but that’s the hard truth. You have to sacrifice frills for substance.’

Another said: ‘Kirstie Allsopp is right. There are moaners and there are ‘doers’, I’d rather focus on the doers rather than the moaners..’ 

Heidi Lindsay snapped up first home with boyfriend Sam Bradley before 20th birthday. The couple paid £217,000 for three bedroom home in Malvern, Worcestershire, with Heidi paying £14,500 of her own money towards the £25,000 deposit

Heidi Lindsay snapped up first home with boyfriend Sam Bradley before 20th birthday. The couple paid £217,000 for three bedroom home in Malvern, Worcestershire, with Heidi paying £14,500 of her own money towards the £25,000 deposit

Daniel Frost bought his first one in for £120,000 in Sheffield aged just 19

Daniel Frost bought his first one in for £120,000 in Sheffield aged just 19

Average house price is £24,500 higher than a year ago, Halifax says

The average UK house price hit a record high of £276,759 at the start of 2022 after increasing by around £24,500 over the past year, according to an index.

But with household budgets under pressure from surging living costs, it is likely the pace of house price growth will slow considerably over the next year, Halifax said.

However the pace of monthly growth slowed in January, with values edging up by 0.3%, compared with 1.1% monthly increases recorded in both November and December. House prices were up by 9.7% compared with a year earlier.

  • East Midlands, £226,221, 9.3%
  • Eastern England, £322,876, 9.7%
  • London, £530,832, 4.5%
  • North East, £159,008, 10.8%
  • North West, £213,200, 12.0%
  • Northern Ireland, £170,982, 10.2%
  • Scotland, £192,698, 8.9%
  • South East, £376,171, 9.2%
  • South West, £290,772, 11.9%
  • Wales, £205,253, 13.9%
  • West Midlands, £234,421, 9.6%
  • Yorkshire and the Humber, £190,966, 8.7%

But her comments were seized upon by some who hit out at her for buying her first house at 21 with her parents’ help.

Robert Knight said: ‘Thanks to #KirstieAllsopp, I’m going to cancel my Disney+ subscription and that means I’ll have enough money for a 1 bedroom flat near me by the year 3482.’

One woman called Grace posted a picture of her with a Wendy house and thanked Allsopp for her advice.

She wrote: ‘I’m not sure why you lot are moaning. I listened to Kirstie Allsopp’s advice and have managed to move into my first home.’

One man put: ‘Difficult times lie ahead, so I asked myself what would Kirstie Allsopp do? I’m no longer worried and neither should you be.

‘I made 3 simple changes: 1. Dismissed my butler. 2. Cancelled my weekly Fortnam & Mason hamper. 3. Rented out my villa.’

Another said: ‘Cancelled my Netflix Amazon and Costa subscriptions and off to buy a house thus morning.’

He added on Twitter: ‘Any recommendations for the best place to get one for £30 a month?’

A woman said: ‘Kirstie Allsopp was just a girl from the slums of Hampstead, the spawn of a Baron, but she had a dream…’

Another posted: ‘Young people could afford to get on the pre-apocalypse property ladder if they simply submit to never feeling joy until their inevitable death in the great water war of 2031, says Kirstie Allsopp.’

Piers Morgan said: ‘Every time Kirstie Allsopp trends, I check why and see she’s said another unbelievably stupid, ludicrously ill-informed and woefully privileged thing.

‘Then I wait for her to respond to the entirely justified outrage by throwing her toys out of the pram & quitting Twitter again.’

One man said: ‘Kirstie Allsop on new series of Location, Location, Location: ”You can’t afford to live in this box?

”’Well have you thought about downsizing to a bin, peasant?”’. 

Allsopp, who owns a house in North Devon, had given an interview to the Sunday Times which sparked the ridicule.

She said: ‘When I bought my first property, going abroad, the EasyJet, coffee, gym, Netflix lifestyle didn’t exist.

‘I used to walk to work with a sandwich. And on payday I’d go for a pizza, and to a movie, and buy a lipstick. Interest rates were 15 per cent, I was earning £11,500 a year.’

The presenter acknowledged that interest rates were much lower today but added there are ‘new drains on the finances’ of today’s young first-time buyers.

She said streaming services, foreign holidays and gym memberships were now standard parts of young people’s lives, which was not the case for her.

Ms Allsopp said she bought her first home at the age of 21 with family help when owning your own home was seen as ‘the be all and end all’.

She added: ‘I don’t want to belittle those people who can’t do it. But there are loads of people who can do it and don’t. It is hard.

‘We’ve fallen into the trap of saying it’s impossible for everybody… It’s about where you can buy, not if you can buy. There is an issue around the desire to make those sacrifices.’

Kirstie And Phil's Love It Or List It: Brilliant Builds.Phil Spencer and Kirstie Allsopp

Allsopp (right) presents property programmes Location, Location, Location and Love it or List It with Phil Spencer (left)

Allsopp went on the offensive this morning following the backlash, and challenged people to try to get her cancelled from her TV shows.

She wrote: ‘Anyhow who thinks I have spent the last 22 years pretending to understand the needs of British homebuyers must think me a very good actress indeed.

‘If you don’t like the shows don’t watch them. But I’m beyond caring what the press or social media think about me, life is too short.

‘If you don’t like me do tell @Channel4, though the best way to put an end to me is not to watch the shows.

‘We’re filming the Christmas Show on Friday, maybe by the time it comes out in December it will have 0 viewers. You’ve got 9 months to achieve that. Ready, steady go.’

‘For all those people who bizarrely bang on about my Dad (who is a lovely man but had nothing to do with my career btw) I had a Mum, she was a huge influence on me and she mattered.’

Her father is Charles Henry Allsopp, 6th Baron Hindlip, a British peer and former general manager of Christie’s New York.

Her mother was Lady Fiona Hindlip, an interior decorator, who died from breast cancer in 2014 aged 66.

Allsopp later added on Twitter: ‘Housing is the most serious issue in the UK today. It impacts everything education, health, relationships, pensions, fertility, the environment, productivity etc etc.’

She also got into a spat with actress Amanda Abbington, who posted: ‘I’ll just leave this here: In 2020, the average first-time buyer deposit in the UK was about £57,300.

‘And: Allsopp is the daughter of Charles Allsopp, 6th Baron Hindlip, a former chairman of Christie’s. Look. I’m not saying ANYTHING…’

Allsopp hit back: ‘Word to the wise, if you believe what you read in the Murdoch press you’re an idiot.

‘If you attack other women in the public eye you’re even more of an idiot. If you attack a 50 year old woman on the basis of who her Father is you’re a moron.’

In the interview, she recommended first time buyers consider moving north to cheaper areas.

She related it to a couple who found a two-bed maisonette in Newcastle for £160,000 after moving back in with their parents during lockdown.

She said: ‘It is difficult: if you were born down south, and have family down south, my life is down south, but if we want a family house we have to move.

‘If I had any roots further north and I was trying to buy [I’d do it].’

A first-time buyer who gives up a Starbucks latte every weekday, a Netflix subscription, gym membership and two return flights to Europe on EasyJet a year would save about £1,600 annually.

The average deposit for a first-time buyer is £59,000 according to Halifax, which means buyers would have to forgo these for 37 years.

EDEN CONFIDENTIAL: Sold! Kirstie Allsopp is all for some facial renovation

Some women in the public eye let themselves age naturally; others pay secret visits to cosmetic surgeons.

Kirstie Allsopp, by contrast, is disarmingly honest.

The wholesome television presenter, who turned 50 last summer, has revealed that she plans to have a facelift.

‘So far I’ve been very lucky, really: I made it to 50 and my face hasn’t collapsed,’ Allsopp tells Saga magazine. ‘But I reckon I’ve only got about another five years or so. I know it’s only a matter of time before I have to think about evasive action.’

Paraphrasing Dylan Thomas’s poem about death, she declares: ‘I will not go gently into the dark night; I will rage against the dying of the light and I will get a facelift.’

Allsopp mocks those famous figures who publicly claim to enjoy the ageing process.

‘I always marvel at those who say: ‘Getting older is brilliant. I’ve never felt better.’

The wholesome television presenter, who turned 50 last summer, has revealed that she plans to have a facelift

The wholesome television presenter, who turned 50 last summer, has revealed that she plans to have a facelift

‘Sorry, but getting older means more aches and pains; it means you have to work harder to keep your weight down; it means your hairdresser has to use more dye every time you go to see her.’ The Location, Location, Location co-host (below) has two children and two stepchildren with her property developer boyfriend Ben Andersen, 59. She’s the daughter of former Christie’s chairman, the 6th Lord Hindlip, and doesn’t mind being called posh.

‘Not at all,’ she says. ‘I am posh. What drives me potty is when people assume I’ve only managed to get where I am because my dad’s a baron.

‘Same as everybody else, I’ve had to work bloody hard — nothing to do with my dad.

‘Yes, I have famous friends, but I’ve also spent two decades talking to ordinary working-class and middle-class people in every county. I probably understand the people of this country far better than some MPs.’

Allsopp mocks those famous figures who publicly claim to enjoy the ageing process

Allsopp mocks those famous figures who publicly claim to enjoy the ageing process

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Time for a tiki hut? As shops discount summer stock, there’s a garden bar for every budget

Despite the washout weather, garden bars have been this summer’s hot home trend and it’s not too late to join the party.

Online searches for outdoor bars rose by a whopping 358 per cent in June, compared to January, according to Toolstation, while budget homeware shop The Range saw a massive 60 per cent rise in online shoppers checking out its al fresco drinking options this summer.

What’s more, being late to the garden bar party isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Retailers are discounting their summer stock. So before you buy directly from the manufacturer, shop around multiple stockists to find the best discount available.

So, if you fancy pulling a pint from your own backyard pub or shaking a cocktail in the shade of a tiki hut, there’s a garden bar to suit every space and budget.

Join the party: A tiki hut-style garden bar is perfect for friends-round-Friday or a family do

Join the party: A tiki hut-style garden bar is perfect for friends-round-Friday or a family do

Jenny Davis from Forest Garden, suppliers of garden timber goods, says before heading to the garden centre, consider the space you have available first.

‘Smaller areas might seem overwhelmed with the addition of a standalone bar, which is where a fold-down wall-bar comes in handy,’ she said. 

‘A wall-mounted fold-down bar means the smallest of gardens, even balconies, can become a party haven.’ Forest Garden’s fold-down bar costs £189.99 and comes with a fold-away serving table and shelves to store bottles and glasses. 

Online retailer A Place For Everything stocks a more compact wall‑mounted bar at £67.50.

For free-standing bars to fit a modest back garden for less than £400, specialists Dunster offers the Utopia Gable Gazebo Bar at £384.99, which is 2.22m wide and 1.20m deep. 

The Range sells a tiki-style bar in its Marbella collection for £239.99, complete with straw roof and two bar stools, which is half the size.

To build your bar atmosphere, it could be placed in front of a high wall or sturdy fence, giving you the option to put shelves up for your spirits and accessories.

 When the winter months draw in, replace the fridge with a lined box for blankets and cushions to keep you cosy, and install a fire pit or outdoor heater to stay warm while you entertain outdoors

Interior designer Siobhan Murphy recommends creating an eye-catching rainbow effect and to group together the colours of your spirits, mixers and glassware. 

She says: ‘Invite nature to your garden bar by installing hanging planters, or create a vertical garden backdrop using wooden pallets for an organic feel. 

Oversized potted plants can add a touch of luxury, and unique planters like repurposed teapots will amp up the quirkiness.’

If you’re looking for an enclosed bartending space, you’ll have to spend a bit more. But it does mean you can use your bar for storage in the winter by shutting up the serving hatches. 

Forest Garden’s Shiplap Pent Garden Bar at £729.99, or £1,039.99 with installation, is weatherproof and lockable so you can keep a fridge to store spirits in overnight.

When the winter months draw in, replace the fridge with a lined box for blankets and cushions to keep you cosy, and install a fire pit or outdoor heater, at a safe distance, to stay warm while you entertain outdoors.

Garden bars are designed with DIY-ers in mind. But if you’re not handy with a hammer, many companies offer an installation service costing £200 to £300 extra.

Cheers! Garden bars don't necessarily have to be put away for the winter, as some are covered and can be warmed up with a heater (at a safe distance) or blankets

Cheers! Garden bars don’t necessarily have to be put away for the winter, as some are covered and can be warmed up with a heater (at a safe distance) or blankets

When your bar arrives, it will be unpainted and without any of the accessories, lights or additional wall fittings shown in the adverts. You will, however, have a blank canvas on which to create your own unique bar vibe.

Siobhan suggests creating a backdrop feature with nature-inspired outdoor wallpaper, and creating an eclectic counter-top using patterned tile mosaics or faux marble vinyl.

If you’re looking for a pub experience in your back garden and you have a budget of close to £4,000, Dunster’s Severn Pub Shed Log Cabin could be right up your street, if you have the space that is. At 5m wide and 3m deep, it’s no small addition to your outside space.

Only the structure and bar are included in the £3,959.98 price — you’d have to buy your own pub sign, seating and beer pump. But there’s space to hang a TV, room for a heater and doors to shut out the chill.

Those who want to entertain their friends in the garden all-year-round could push the boat out with Cuckoo-land’s Ornate Garden Off Set Oval House Garden Pod for £18,995. 

It seats ten, has a built-in heater, Bluetooth soundbar and a sideboard, which can be used as a bar. Installation is included, but you’ll need a level, hard-standing base measuring at least 3.25m by 1.7m for it to be built on.

Although most garden bars are designed so that you don’t need planning permission, it’s always wise to check the height of the bar at its highest point against current regulations. Buildings over 2.5m high, at the tip of the eaves, may require planning permission.

Check with your local council if you are unsure.

Savings of the week… quirky lamps 

Light side: Graham and Green's Hetty Hare table lamp - reduced from £165 to £89.10 (

Light side: Graham and Green’s Hetty Hare table lamp – reduced from £165 to £89.10 (

The nights are drawing in. If this makes you feel a little melancholic, a quirky lamp that brings joy when you switch it on could be the answer.

Homeware companies seem to have recognised the allure of this type of lighting, and you can you find designs in every shape and hue at reduced prices.

If zingy colour raises your mood, Not On The High Street has an Anglepoise-style desk lamp in acid yellow, reduced from £75 to £52.50.

The retailer offers lamps in the shape of birds and bears. But the range also includes a white triceratops lamp which was £19.95 and is now £13.97 — for those who find dinosaurs cute rather than fearsome.

Graham and Green has a fun silver Hetty Hare table lamp with large floppy ears that has been reduced from £165 to £89.10.

Or enjoy a warm glow from the edgy Wayfair lustrous copper base and black shade Trystan lamp with 30 per cent off at £62.99.


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Assessing The Potential of The India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor (IMEC) Against China’s Belt And Road Initiative (BRI)

(THE VOICE OF EU) – In a recent address, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi hailed the newly unveiled India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor (IMEC) as a transformative force poised to shape global trade for centuries. While the IMEC undoubtedly presents a significant development, it’s vital to scrutinize its potential impact compared to China’s ambitious Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

The IMEC was jointly announced by US President Joe Biden and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at the G20 summit in Delhi. Designed to fortify transportation and communication networks between Europe and Asia via rail and shipping routes, the project not only holds regional promise but also reflects a strategic move by the US in its geopolitical interests, particularly concerning China.

However, the IMEC faces a formidable contender in the form of China’s BRI, which celebrated its tenth anniversary this year.

Despite facing some headwinds, including a slowdown in lending due to China’s economic deceleration and concerns raised by nations like Italy, Sri Lanka, and Zambia regarding debt sustainability, the BRI remains a monumental global undertaking.

With investments surpassing a staggering $1 trillion and over 150 partner countries, the BRI has transformed from a regional initiative to a near-global endeavor.

Comparatively, the IMEC may not immediately match the scale or ambition of the BRI. While the US, Japan, and the G7 nations have introduced similar initiatives like the Global Gateway and Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment, none have achieved the expansive reach or influence of the BRI.

The emergence of these projects over the past five years, however, demonstrates the BRI’s pivotal role as a catalyst for global economic growth.

Viewing the IMEC solely through the lens of opposition to the BRI may not provide a comprehensive understanding of its potential.

Instead, the IMEC contributes to a broader trend of transactional partnerships, where countries engage with multiple collaborators simultaneously, underscoring the complex and interconnected nature of global trade relations.

Yet, realizing the IMEC’s aspirations demands meticulous planning and execution. A comprehensive action plan is expected within the next 60 days, outlining key governmental agencies responsible for investments, allocated capital, and implementation timelines.

Establishing a streamlined customs and trade infrastructure is equally critical to facilitate seamless transit, a challenge highlighted by the Trans-Eurasian railway’s 30-country passage through Kazakhstan.

Navigating geopolitical complexities between partner countries, particularly the US, Israel, and Saudi Arabia, poses another potential hurdle.

Ensuring these nations maintain a unified strategic vision amid differing priorities and interests requires careful diplomatic coordination.

Furthermore, the IMEC will compete directly with the Suez Canal, a well-established and cost-effective maritime route.

While the IMEC may enhance relations with the UAE and Saudi Arabia, it could potentially strain ties with Egypt, prompting critical assessments of the project’s economic viability.

Beyond trade and economics, the IMEC ambitiously aims to incorporate diverse sectors, from electricity grids to cybersecurity.

This multi-dimensional approach aligns with discussions held in security forums like the Quad and, if realized, could significantly contribute to a safer, more sustainable global landscape.

As we contemplate the potential of the IMEC, it is with hope that the lofty ambitions outlined in New Delhi will culminate in a tangible and positive transformation for the world.

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Copyright Dispute: DC Comics And ‘Fables’ Author Clash over Ownership, Author Aims for Public Domain

A detail from a 'Fables' cartoon by Bill Willingham. Image courtesy of the publisher ECC.
A detail from a ‘Fables’ cartoon by Bill Willingham. Image courtesy of the publisher ECC.

This is a story full of fairy tales. In some ways, it even resembles one. And yet it also proves that, in the real world, things rarely end happily ever after. A few days ago, Bill Willingham, the father of the celebrated Fables comic book series, announced that he was sending his most cherished work to the public domain, that is, to everyone. That’s only fair, since that is also where he got the main characters of his stories, from Snow White to the Wolf, from Pinocchio to Prince Charming, who were then relocated to modern New York. In this tale, the hero has long-faced mistreatment at the hands of the villains, DC Comics, the owner of Vertigo, which publishes the work in the United States, and its executives.

“If I couldn’t prevent Fables from falling into bad hands, at least this is a way I can arrange that it also falls into many good hands,” Willingham wrote in an online post in which he decried the label’s repeated attempts to take over his creations and opposed them with this final extreme remedy. But the company responded that it considers itself to be the true owner of the series.

In a statement published by the specialized media IGN, the company threatened to take “necessary action” to defend its rights. Thus, the end of the dispute is uncertain. But it is unlikely that everyone will end up happily ever after.

In the meantime, in a new post, Willingham celebrated the massive support he received. In fact, for the moment, he has declined all interview requests — he did not respond to this newspaper’s request, nor did the publisher — arguing that he preferred to spend the next few days working on new artistic projects. Meanwhile, the dispute continues.

Fables is one of the most celebrated graphic novels of the last 20 years, and it has spawned spin-offs and a video game adaptation (The Wolf Among Us).

This situation also touches on a key issue, namely, the intellectual property rights of characters and works, especially in a sector where, for decades, dozens of cartoonists and screenwriters have accused comic book giants Marvel and DC of pressuring them to cede their ideas and accept commissioned contracts.

Willingham sums it up as a policy aimed to make creators sign “work for hire” agreements and crush them. All of this makes a gesture that was already intended to make a splash even more resonant.

A detail from a ‘Fables’ cartoon by Bill Willingham. Image provided by ECC
A detail from a ‘Fables’ cartoon by Bill Willingham. Image provided by ECC.

Indeed, the battle over intellectual property is as old as contemporary comics: the copyrights for Superman, Batman and The Fantastic Four all have unresolved disputes and complaints from Jerry Siegel, Bill Finger and Jack Kirby over the contemptuous treatment they suffered. And heavyweight Alan Moore has been lamenting for years that DC took away his ownership of famous works like Watchmen.

Along with prestige and principles, tens of millions of dollars are at stake, especially now that the film industry has become interested in comics.

“When you sign a contract with DC, your responsibilities to them are carved in stone, where their responsibilities to you are treated as “helpful suggestions that we’ll try to accommodate when we can, but we’re serious adults, doing serious business and we can’t always take the time to indulge the needs of these children who work for us” the Fables author wrote on his blog. Following the impact of his original message, Willingham posted two other texts. He maintains that he had thought about sending his work into the public domain when he passed away, but that “certain events” have changed his plans: among them, he lists the changes in management and attitude at the top of the publishing company; the multiple breaches of obligations such as consultations about covers, artists for new plots and adaptations; DC’s forgetfulness when it came to pay, which forced him to demand invoices of up to $30,000; the suspicious frequency with which the publisher attributed it to “slipping through the cracks” (to such an extent that the author insisted that they stop using that expression); and the time and chances he gave them to respect the pact, renegotiate it or even break it and consensually separate.

A detail from the cover of the first volume of Bill Willingham's comprehensive collection of 'Fables.'
A detail from the cover of the first volume of Bill Willingham’s comprehensive collection of ‘Fables’.

“Shortly after creating Fables, I entered into a publishing agreement with DC Comics. In that agreement, while I continued to own the property, DC would have exclusive rights to publish Fables comics, and then later that agreement was expanded to give DC exclusive rights to exploit the property in other ways, including movies and TV.

DC paid me a fair price for these rights (fair at the time), and as long as they behaved ethically and above-board, and conducted themselves as if this were a partnership, all was more or less well. But DC doesn’t seem to be capable of acting fairly and above-board.

In fact, they treated this agreement (as I suppose I should have known they would) as if they were the boss and I, their servant. In time that got worse, as they later reinterpreted our contracts to assume they owned Fables outright,” Willingham laments. Hence, he concluded that “you can’t reason with the unreasonable.”

Having ruled out a lawsuit as too expensive and time-consuming at 67 years of age, he found a more creative solution: if they prevented him from owning his works and benefiting from them as he was entitled to do, he would not let the publisher do so either. Or, at least, everyone could use the comics as they wished. But the label was quick to clarify in its statement to IGN: “The Fables comic books and graphic novels [are] published by DC, and are not in the public domain”.

For his part, Willingham promises to continue fighting for all the conditions of his still-in-force contract that he considers DC to have violated, as well as for the last installments of the series, the final script of which he delivered two years ago.

There will be additional chapters in this dispute, as well as in many other ones like it: in 2024, the historic first image of Mickey Mouse, the one that starred in the 1928 short Steamboat Willie, enters the public domain in the U.S. and other countries. Copyright in the U.S. lasts for 95 years, and math is an exact science.

Therefore, in a few years, King Kong, Superman and Popeye will meet the same fate. But The New York Times has wondered how the “notoriously litigious” Disney will react and how far it will go to fight in court. And who would dare to freely use all these works for fear of a million-dollar lawsuit? The same question surrounds DC and similar companies. Because in the real world, fairy tales are rare. Or they end up in court.

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