DC’s Version of Agatha Harkness Is Too Sick for the MCU


The Marvel Cinematic Universe has introduced the world to Agatha Harkness, a witch who can siphon the power from other witches, with plans for her own spin-off show in Agatha Harkness: Coven of Chaos. However, Fables – a self-contained series published by DC Comics – has its own version that would be much too disturbing for a Disney+ show. Frau Totenkinder is a kindly old witch who is known for handing out spells, helping the people of Fabletown, and performing the darkest of ritualistic magic.


Previously published by DC’s Vertigo Comics, Fables is a beloved comic series that just returned under the Black Label imprint. Largely self-contained (give or take a crossover with Batman), Fables tells the ‘real’ story of iconic fairytale characters like Pinocchio and Snow White. The Fables reside within Fabletown, a secret community in New York City that serves as a safe-haven from the cross-dimensional tyrant known as the Adversary. Among the residents there is Frau Totenkinder, also known as the Black Forest Witch. Born in the Paleolithic Era, she was the shaman of the prehistoric Fog Mountain tribe, until she was cast out because of her affair with the chief’s son. Over the millennia of her life, she interacted with many other familiar Fables, most famously Hansel and Gretel, and was responsible for cursing the Beast from Beauty and the Beast. After the world of fables was attacked by the Adversary, Totenkinder escaped with others like her to the mundane world and used her magic to help create and shield Fabletown from the outside world. However, her considerable power has always come at a horrific cost.

Related: Why 3 Fables Adaptations Have Failed (& Could It Happen?)

In the “Witch’s Tale” in Fables: 1001 Nights of Snowfall, written by series creator Bill Willingham and painted by Esao Andrews, it is revealed that after Frau Totenkinder was cast out of her tribe she sacrificed her own newborn child to gain considerable magic power. She also learned that by sacrificing one child a year she would be allowed to keep her power, and by sacrificing two she would be prevented from aging. This is ghastly, especially considering that the Black Forest Witch has been alive at least since 10,000 BCE. That would mean she has killed at least 24,000 children in her lifetime, including her own son. Even her name, “totenkinder” poorly translates in German as “dead children,” and whatever Marvel’s Agatha Harkness has done, it’s never been that bad.

The MCU Couldn’t Handle Fables’ Dark Witch

Harkness is one of Earth’s most powerful witches and has comitted a few evil acts of her own over the years, but she has also been a force for good in Marvel Comics. Like Totenkinder, she has occasionally worked as a mentor to some of the heroes of her world, such as Wanda Maximoff and Franklin Richards, but her motives have always been her own. Also like the Fabletown witch, Harkness helped build a magical community shielded from the outside world. It was a city of witches and was built after the 17th century witch trials of Salem. Though the Marvel witch is nowhere near as old as Frau Totenkinder, she has been alive for several centuries, sustaining her power and longevity through her magic – though thankfully without the sacrifice of children.

With Agatha Harkness soon to be returning to the MCU with her own television show, she is surely one of the most popularly known comic witches. However, when it comes to power, age, and body count she cannot hold a magical candle to DC’s Frau Totenkinder. Fables knows how to ramp up the cosmic horror of its characters, and with the newfound links between the series and the DC Universe as seen in Batman Vs. Bigby! A Wolf In Gotham, it’s possible that she may eventually return as DC’s way, way darker version of Agatha Harkness.

Next: Fables Reveals Major New Villain & Resurrection as Beloved Series Returns


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