Gary the Pathetic Fallacy (Jack of Fables ally) (DC Comics) smiling in a blue suit

Gary the Pathetic Fallacy

Power Level:
Game system: DC Heroes Role-Playing Game


Gary is a Literal, a spin-off concept from the successful Fables comic books by Bill Willingham. The Literals are characters who embody literary notions, like the Fables embody folk tales archetypes.

Gary is closely associated with Jack, an important Fable. Jack of the Tales is nothing without his trusty sidekick Gary (yeah, I can hear Jack’s protests already)!


  • Real Name: N/A.
  • Other Aliases: Maybe Kevin.
  • Marital Status: Single.
  • Known Relatives: Kevin Thorn (son), Writer’s Block (son), Mr. Revise (grandson), Bookburner (grandson), Prose Page (granddaughter-in-law), Hillary Page (great granddaughter), Priscilla Page (great granddaughter), Robin Page (great granddaughter), Jack of Fables (great grandson-in-law), Jack Frost II (great-great grandson-in-law), Sammy Jr. (great-great grandson).
  • Group Affiliation: Jack of the Tales’ sidekick.
  • Base Of Operations: Mobile.
  • Height: 5’0” Weight: 130 lbs. Age: Very old.
  • Eyes: Brown Hair: Red


Powers & Abilities

One wouldn’t think so looking at his minuscule size, but Gary is very, very powerful… when he remembers to be.

As Gary’s name as a Literal, the Pathetic Fallacy, suggests, he can attribute and conduct human emotions to all aspects of nature, thus temporarily animating any and all objects as he desires.

Such objects are fully anthropomorphized like in animated cartoons complete with eyes and mouth, and while they may not talk aloud (although Gary may hear them talk in his mind) Gary can verbally instruct them in what they should be doing, and they will then proceed to carry out his commands.

There is actually no real limit to the size of objects to be animated, and thus he carries great power with this odd ability.

Gary has made it clear that only Mundy objects will talk with him. However, he still regularly and consistently used his abilities in the Fableland of Americana – perhaps Americana is not part of the traditional Fable lands – the use of his animating ability in-game use can be limited under specific circumstances according to the GM.

Being one of the Literals he is fully adept at literary and narrative analysis. The problem is that he won’t remember any of it most of the time, or what he himself really personifies.


Furthermore, Gary has a hidden, but very powerful verbal command in that the can persuade most Mundies, Literals (such as Mr. Revise) and Fables (such as Jack of the Tales and Wicked John) into practically anything if he really wants to.

He can also use this ability to communicate with objects animated by a foreign hand (such as animated guard statues), and despite it going against their programming they will intently listen to his wishes.

He very rarely uses this ability as it most of the time is not appropriate to the story at hand, instead appearing meek, slow, forgetful and naive (in DC Heroes terms his Charisma is best termed a Minor Marginal ability).

Physically he is but a weak little man and while easy to knock out he is, supposedly, very hard to kill permanently. And if destroyed completely he will likely be reborn immediately in another dimension beginning life anew with no memory of his old life.


The Pathetic Fallacy is one of the Literals and many, many millennia old. He is also very powerful, but he remembers very little of his long life as his mind had been destroyed by Mr. Revise and his memory hole. Everybody seems to know him or of him, although he rarely knows anyone. The following are bit a few highlights of his amazing adventures!

Gary the Pathetic Fallacy (Jack of Fables ally) (DC Comics) animating a giant army

The Pathetic Fallacy spent many a year as a minor staff worker at the Golden Boughs retirement home for Fables managed by Mr. Revise, his grandson. Prior to losing his memory he somehow fathered two sons, Kevin Thorn (father of Mr. Revise) and Writer’s Block.

He is thus also the grandfather of the Bookburner and great-grandfather to the Page sisters (Hillary, Priscilla and Robin). He sometimes appears to be aware of his family connections, but most of the time not.

When Jack of the Tales was brought into captivity at the retirement home the Pathetic Fallacy soon befriended him and took the new name of Gary for himself. When there was a prison break Gary followed Jack into freedom and adventure as his informal sidekick.

The duo ended up in Las Vegas where Gary entered a romantic relationship with a mannequin named Noelle, animated by his own power, but whom he couldn’t understand anyway. Jack married Holly Wagner, though Holly and her father Maurice were soon killed in an exploding car, as arranged by criminal rivals.

The rivals were led by Lady Luck who then Jack and Gary confronted, ran a ruse against and got her apprehended at the Golden Boughs.

Gary the Pathetic Fallacy (Jack of Fables ally) (DC Comics) singing

The duo then left for the Grand Canyon, and Noelle was left alive as a real, living human being in Las Vegas. Priscilla Page, Mr. Revise’s daughter, had tracked them down and in the struggle than ensued all of them got stuck down in the canyon.

There they met Merlin who stuck the sword of Excalibur into Jack’s chest (!), seemingly permanently, with Gary reasoning that it was an effect of Jack being at the centre of stories. Down there they soon ran into Wicked John, and Gary soon revealed, in an unusual lucid sense, that Jack of the Tales was, in fact, a copy of Wicked John.

Jack then reasoned that the sword actually belonged in Wicked John, (impossibly!) pulled it out and stuck it into John instead. Wicked John’s old friend Raven, the Native American Fable, soon showed up too, and he helped them all out of the canyon except for Wicked John – Raven had earlier been instructed by his spirit guide to befriend the copy, and had thus in error befriended Wicked John.

Raven, realizing his mistake at the words of Gary, now switched over to join the entourage of Jack instead. They left the badly damaged Priscilla in civilization and then Gary, Jack and Raven moved on.

The three crossed dimensions over to the land of Americana in search for a treasure the map to which they had seen tattooed on the “Cannon from Colchester”, another escaped Fable.

They fought and encountered a pursuing Hillary Page, the Bookburner (Mr. Revise’s brother) and his cohorts Natty Bumppo and Slue-Foot-Sue, but found the treasure and escaped. The Bookburner soon arranged a massive attack on the Golden Boughs, and Jack showed up just in time to lead the Fables and Mr. Revise’s folks against the invaders as the world’s first six-star general.

After a hard day of warfare Gary had enough and fought back using animated mountains, houses and so on until a sniper got him. This feat had saved them enough time to evacuate everyone out from Golden Boughs and then, at Jack’s recommendation, release three captive apocalyptic mountain spirits from within the mountai.

These spirits — Wy‘east, Loowit and Klickitat — destroyed everything by raising a volcano before disappearing, leaving the Bookburner with nothing.

Gary the Pathetic Fallacy (Jack of Fables ally) (DC Comics) animating slot machines

When Gary’s son, Kevin Thorn, went insane and intent on destroying creation, the Fables gathered and fought a war against him and other Literals.

During this time Gary joined the Fable known as Bigby Wolf for a while as a sidekick. Then Bigby was turned into a little girl by Kevin Thorn and he hated being called cute by Gary.

After Jack of the Tales’ son Jack Frost II turned up Kevin Thorn was defeated and the Literals were banished into another dimension, as provided by the Literal Deus ex Machina.

With unusual clarity Gary refused to join them, knowing that another Patheric Fallacy would be created among his brothers should one be needed, but this cost him all of his powers. Rejoining Jack they continued their travels.

However, greedily keeping the treasure they had found earlier, refusing to spend a penny of it, Jack of the Tales slowly turned into a dragon. Gary, loyal to a fault, hid Jack in a cave along the gold. Gary regularly fetched Jack cows to eat and even entered a romantic relationship with a woman to get more cows to Jack.

Eventually, Jack Frost II, now a great adventurer, turned up to kill the dragon, never realizing that it was his own father. In a major battle involving most of the Fables in the series most of them were killed. In a final defensive action Gary protected Jack with the Excalibur that Wicked John had brought to the fray.

When the Excalibur crossed blades with the Fulminate Blade of Jack Frost II both swords were destroyed, and Jack Frost II proceeded to shoot down Gary, which seemingly ended him as he was now powerless.

The above stories may sound weird and unstructured, but there was actually a logical consistency to it all which is difficult to convey in this writing. The Jack of Fables books are strongly recommended excellent reading!

While Gary has not been seen since he was very likely reborn in another universe to a new existence, possibly fully restored with all memories and abilities intact, something positive that Gary hadn’t experienced in a very, very long time.


The Pathetic Fallacy is a small, frail-looking man with a brownish beard and moustache and long uncut hair, which is sometimes kept in a ponytail. He is also balding and usually wears very cheap clothing such as a track jacket, tennis shoes etc. Kind at heart he has a smile to offer most folks.


Gary is impressionable, warm-hearted and timid and really a nice guy. He is also loyal like a little puppy and always tries to do everything legally, even though he is very easily fooled into thinking otherwise. Evil, naughtiness, criminal acts etc. do upset him.

He is utterly naive and sex talks make him squirmy and hyperventilating. Gary believes that having sex (=special grownup time) is automatically followed by marriage and how he himself has managed to sire children is a mystery.

Most of his emotions are clearly visible in his face, and people are often taken back by the ferocity of his personality when he has had enough and gets truly upset. When he shouts in anger even the clouds (now with eyes and mouth) tremble!

Gary’s major drawbacks are his memory and weak intellect. Most of the time he doesn’t remember anything at all about his life, his origin or his purpose, but his memory sometimes returns exactly when it’s needed the most (as if it were a literature genre concept). In other words, he has semi-lucid states at times but is otherwise pretty much an imbecile.

He likes show tunes and has a good singing voice. He often talks to inanimate objects around him which thus become animate. Gary believes that the objects that he animates are as human as he himself is, and thus won’t abuse them in any way.

In fact, he once had a girlfriend that actually was an animated mannequin, and whose emotions he couldn’t quite understand!

Gary really doesn’t like to hurt others except perhaps when he has had enough. He is actually afraid of guns and if ever forced to use one himself he will just point with it and shout ratatata-ratatata! Loyal to a fault he is always there for his friends like Jack.

When lucid he will have quite a commanding presence even with such strong personages as Mr. Revise.


(Arranging some fire) “Now listen closely, Mr. Andrew Stick and Mr. Edward Stick. I’m going to ask you to rub yourself together real fast. At first it’s going to feel good – nice and warm. Then it’s not going to feel very good at all, since… y‘know, you’ll be on fire. But I promise to send you back to sleep during that part. Honest.”

“We all need to be loved, Jack. Every one of us.”

“I’ve been alive since the beginning of time, Jack… you can’t expect me to keep track of every little detail.”

“Jack, Wicked John is right ! You’re a big, stinky liar ! Because everyone lies about sex ! And you always take things further than everyone else. And Wicked John, quit making a Federal case of everything Jack says ! Jack is always going to be Jack ! Get used to it ! Honestly, you guys ! Sometimes you make me so mad I could poop my pantaloons ! I really could ! You keep sniping and bickering with each other and interrupting me, and what happens ? An expository interlude that shouldn’t have taken more than two pages is now going to have to be continued into the next issue ! Don’t you worry at all about losing readers who might quit in frustration from the lack of swift story progression ? Yes ! Yes ! Don’t you see ? It’s all about stories !… I don’t know. I mean, I know because I’m saying it and miss Priscilla says I know what I’m talking about when I talk about stories and such. But I don’t know what I know, or how I seem to know it right now. I don’t normally know anything, except how to talk to my special friends that no one else can talk to. I’m not used to real people — even fictional real people. Does that make any sense ?”

DCU History

In the DC Universe the Literals are an off-shot of the Endless ones.

Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG

Tell me more about the game stats

Gary the Pathetic Fallacy

Dex: 03 Str: 01 Bod: 04 Motivation: Thrill of Adventure
Int: 04 Wil: 02 Min: 03 Occupation: Sidekick, Literal
Inf: 03 Aur: 02 Spi: 03 Resources: 00
Init: 010 HP: 045

Animate Objects: 25, Awareness: 02, Invulnerability: 12, Mind Probe: 06, Reality Check: 04, Regeneration: 02, Shrinking: 01

Bonuses and Limitations:

  • Animated Objects will only stay active as long as Gary remains conscious.
  • Animated Objects can be made permanently alive if Gary pays a fee of 25 HPS to do so (+1).
  • Animate Objects cannot be used on objects in and from the Fable lands (-1).
  • Invulnerability is a theoretical power that he should have given the general toughness of the Literals, although it has never been demonstrated in his case.
  • Mind Probe is Uncontrollable (-1) and just allows him to access random information from people around him in a fashion which may be relevant to the progression of the story.
  • Reality Check is uncontrollable (-1) and only allows him at times to glance the complete reality of their situation as comic book characters in a temporary, uncharacteristic sense of lucidity.
  • Shrinking is Always On (-1) and Already Calculated into stats.

Artist (Singer): 03, Charisma (Persuasion): 09, Weaponry (Swords): 03, Vehicles (Land): 02

Bonuses and Limitations:

  • Gary very rarely uses his Charisma (Persuasion) Skill – only when he is highly agitated or under extreme duress, but when used uses it to great effect to influence even the most powerful of personages. It is a Minor Marginal Power (-1).
  • Charisma (Persuasion) is also useable with animated objects and other inhuman creatures and creations under the control of others (+1).

Immortal, Scholar (Literary genres and narrative analysis), possibly also Life Support (No Need to Eat or Drink).

Jack of Fables (High), Mr. Revise (Low).

Innocent, SPR (memory lapses).

By Dr. Peter S Piispanen.

Source of Character: Jack of Fables-series, DC Vertigo.

Writeup completed on the 17th of November, 2014.