open/close all folders
- Fay Gunn from the Batman comics
- Provost from Runaways
- The Phantom once encountered such a man leading crew of pickpockets in Africa in the "Black Fagin" storyline.
- The Shadow King from Marvel Comics was this before he made the mistake of challenging Professor Xavier.
- Gambit was once part of a group of street urchins actually known as Fagin's Mob, which was run by the offspring of an illicit relationship between a member of the Thieves Guild and a member of the Assassin's Guild.
- Red Sonja: As a teenaged thief, Sonja worked for one named Jubal.
- Fagin The Jew is a sympathetic retelling of Fagin's story from Fagin's point of view by Will Eisner.
- In The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen features a brief appearance of the original Artful Dodger, who by the time the story takes place has grown up and taken over Fagin's role.
- In Superior Spider-Man, Spiderman is horrified to discover that The Vulture has become this kind of criminal. He nearly kills him over it.
- Byron Wylie, the founder of Midway Orphanage in the 1990 Batman Superman: World's Finest miniseries ran it as an Orphanage of Fear which trained oprhans as criminals. Long after Wylie was arrested, and apparently died, one of these orphans grew up to become part of the orphanage staff, still under Wylie's control.
- Black Moon Chronicles: As a young elf boy Pilou was bought from a slave merchant by a criminal mastermind who trained children to be pick-pockets for him and ultimately full-time thieves if they were successful. This was just one part of his organization, as most of the criminals working for him were adults.
- Putty Nose, who steers young Tom and Matt into a life of crime in The Public Enemy, is actually referred to as a Fagin in the movie. He's the exploiter type, and after he betrays Tom and Matt, Tom takes revenge.
- Maman of Slumdog Millionaire initially seems to be the nice version who takes in children to sing for money on the streets. That is, until we learn that he blinds them to make them look more sympathetic and thus make him more money.
- Dick Tracy (1990): "Steve The Tramp" has "Kid" steal for him. Dick Tracy tracks Kid back to Steve's shack and beats Steve up, freeing Kid.
- The City of Lost Children: This is the octopus' side job.
- Bart (played by Bob Hoskins) from Danny the Dog (a.k.a. Unleashed) is a revolting horror of a "man" who raised a Chinese boy to manhood (played by Jet Li) as an attack dog to help him kill and extort money in Glasgow, London.
- The Shredder from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990) essentially ran the Foot Clan this way. The Foot Clan was made up of teenage orphans and runaways who were trained in the art of ninjitsu and instigated a massive New York crime wave.
- Robin Williams' character in August Rush. He gets the runaway kids work as street performers and keeps the money.
- Charlie Chaplin in The Kid is of the Papa Wolf variety. He uses his adopted son to drum up his business as a glass salesman by having him run around town breaking windows.
- Yondu, from Guardians of the Galaxy, leads a band of Space Pirates known as the Ravagers, and abducts the young Peter Quill from Earth - first to eat him, but then to raise him as one of his own. In a lighter take on this trope than most, it's revealed he was hired to bring Peter to his alien father, and decided to spare the kid the experience of being raised by "a jackass".
- Played With in The Handmaiden with Sook-Hee's aunt, as she genuinely cares for the girl and shows her real affection... but in the same time comes from a family of thieves and makes sure the girl is trained all the possible skills useful in the trade.
- The original is Fagin of Oliver Twist.
- In The Lies of Locke Lamora, Locke encounters both versions as a child. The first criminal who took him in, the Thiefmaker, was more of the evil version, but he ends up selling Locke to Father Chains, who is very clearly inspired by the positive takes on Fagin.
- In the Heralds of Valdemar novel Take a Thief, Skif falls in with a group of young thieves led by an adult man (Bazie), who is unfortunately crippled; he gives them food, shelter and lessons (both educational and in how to be a good thief) in exchange for helping him out with his daily life and stealing for him.
- In Closer to Home, a man named Gripper has a group of boys that steal for him. However, he's mean and abusive to them, so when Mags rescues them and recruits them to be messenger boys (and keep an ear out for any useful information), they're quite willing to do so.
- The Thief Lord centers around, well, the Thief Lord and his gang of orphans and runaways. Subverted in that the Thief Lord turns out to be a kid himself, and not actually an orphan/runaway, but a rich kid stealing petty items from his dad's house.
- Referenced in the Temps short story "Sortilege and Serendipity" by Brian Stableford when the hapless hero, whose job is testing Talented kids, is mistaken for the super criminal known as the Taxman, and finds himself spinning a yarn about being a Fagin-figure using his work to recruit powered youngsters into his gang. He briefly wonders why he's never actually done this, before remembering that all the kids he works with are mouthy pains-in-the-neck with useless powers.
- Subverted in one Batman short story: Batman thinks the Penguin is kidnapping kids from troubled backgrounds to lead them into a life of crime. He's actually giving them a decent education and a pleasant childhood so they can grow up to be outstanding members of society ... who owe him a huge favor.
- Sergeant Rumpkin in Beyond the Western Sea falls somewhere between the two versions. It's ambiguous how much he cares for the boys independent of the money they bring him; however, the worst thing we see him do is chide Toggs and made vague threats about Fred, who betrays the gang.
- Aristedes from Jim Butcher's The Dresden Files novel Ghost Story. Harry even points it out and is surprised to find that one of the boys, Fitz, has actually read Oliver Twist.
- In The Paradise Snare, Garris Shrike runs this kind of organization. One of his kids is Han Solo.
- Alex Rider novel Russian Rolutte has Yassn run into one of these, who even named himself after the Trope Namer.
- The Doctrine of Labyrinths has Keepers, people who train children under their care to steal, and worse. Margot is the more sympathetic type; most thief-keepers, including Kolkhis and the unnamed one who raised Felix, are considerably nastier.
- Carroty Kate in Julie Hearn's novel Ivy, who takes in the titular character and trains her to work as a 'skinner', luring other children into secluded areas and stripping them of their clothing, which is later sold.
- Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell: Black Joan is mentioned to have run a gang of child pickpockets in Yorkshire. One of them was her son, who grew up to be John Childermass.
- Terrance Dicks wrote a childrens series called The Baker Street Irregulars about a group of school children who solve crimes. In "The Case of the Crooked Kids", they encounter a literal "school for criminals".
Live Action TV
- In Leverage Parker's mentor is one. He took Parker in and made her steal for him as well as trained her as his 'legacy'-the best thief in the world. He also displays some of the Papa Wolf tendencies, calling Parker 'kiddo' and referring to himself as Parker's father. However, the last one is deconstructed: he never took the young Parker home to his white picket fence family, fearing she won't fit in, because even the younger Parker was a sort of Emotionless Girl.
- One episode of Robin Hood features Bertha, a seemingly kind and motherly woman who takes in homeless children - until it's revealed she is using them in her scheme to win money from rigged boxing matches. She also sells the kids into slavery at the end of her tours.
- In Neverland, Syfy's miniseries reimagining / Origin Story for Peter Pan, Hook started out as one of these in London's East End, with Peter and the future Lost Boys being the children in question.
- Carmichael in the Ripper Street episode "In My Protection".
- Pete Joris in the Flashpoint episode "Run to Me" has teenagers doing short cons and bank robberies for him.
- Clare Novak, daughter of Castiel's vessel on Supernatural falls in with one of these named Randy. He and some guys threatening him all wind up getting kicked pretty hard by Dean.
- A Rare Female Example in the person of the inmate Vee from Orange Is the New Black who used to pick up unwanted children from streets and use them in her drug dealing business. As another inmate put it perfectly:
Poussey: You're like a pedophile without the sex.
- Colony: Solomon, one of the Santa Monica warlords, recruits street children to be thieves for him (and doesn't take "no" for an answer).
- The adventure path "Curse of the Crimson Throne", this is the occupation of Starter Villain Gaedren Lamm, and the PCs can be former wards of his. Even crueler than most examples, Gaedren regularly feeds members of his "Little Lambs" to his pet alligator when they disappoint him. The book notes that it is very likely that this same alligator will end up being Gaedren's doom as he attempts to flee the player characters.
- In the city of Absalom this role is filled by Doctor Bensi Skule, a famous alchemist who never leaves his lab, and employs a vast gang of street urchins, collectively known as Skule's Army, to gather information for him, which he then barters for cash. He's implied to be a fairly benevolent example, which is fairly surprising given that he is also an eight-foot tall male troll (hence why he never leaves the lab).
- An article in Pyramid magazine giving worked examples for GURPS Social Engineering: Back to School includes Mistress Blake's Establishment as one of the sample schools. Sarah Brake was a Regency burglar who now trains three to six apprentices and expects them to earn their keep by demonstrating their skills. The article notes that Oliver Twist hasn't been written yet, so calling her a "fagin" would be anachronistic, and instead uses the word "kidsman". She cares enough about her charges to count as a Patron, but has Minimal Involvement because she can't be seen to be connected.
- Vampire: The Masquerade features an entire clan-specific subculture known by this very name. Born from the sewer-dwelling Nosferatu Clan, the Fagins are distinguished by their practice of forming gangs of impoverished mortals and transforming them into ghouls, essentially enslaving them through addiction to vampire blood. Having emerged in the Victorian Era, the Fagins earned their title for the practice of ghouling street kids; however, in the Modern Nights, Fagins will use just about anyone desperate enough - drug addicts, the homeless, prostitutes, and of course, the classic option.
- However, Mexico By Night features a different sort of Fagin altogether in the form of Szechenyi Jolan, the Mother of Horrors. A Tzimisce elder, she's in the habit of "collecting" children suffering from serious birth defects and adopting them into her coven. Thanks to her judicious use of the Blood Bond, these kids were in love with Jolan even before she used Vicissitude to correct their deformities; by now, they'll do literally anything for her. The strongest and healthiest of these kids serve their Mother's interests throughout the city, gradually maturing into ghoul bodyguards for their immortal mistress; the luckiest of all are Embraced. The unlucky kids end up as test subjects in Jolan's attempts to create a master race of Vicissitude-capable humans - or building material for a Vozhd. Oh, and for added creepiness, Jolan likes to accessorize the youngest of her children at parties, toting around limbless conjoined infants and breastfeeding them vampire blood.
- Fallout 2 has a merchant in the Den who sells the stuff children steal for him. You could kill the kids to recover anything they pickpocket from you, but that gets bounty hunters gunning for your head. Everyone else in the game will hate you on sight.
- Final Fantasy IX features the Tantalus gang, led by a boisterous, bearded Petting Zoo Person named Baku. It's stated outright that he adopted the hero after finding him abandoned near the docks as a child, raised him and taught him to steal and perform on the stage; and it's implied that the rest of the gang may have been similarly recruited. Baku will knock you cross-eyed if you betray him...but eidolons help anyone who tries to hurt his gang.
- The Sewer King from Batman: The Animated Series episode "The Underdwellers" is the evil version. Evil enough that Batman briefly considers killing him.
- In the Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers episode "Adventures in Squirrelsitting", Fat Cat considers raising the two squirrel girls as his own heirs before deciding it'd be too much trouble and ordering them tossed into the canning machine.
- There was an episode of Futurama in which Bender played this role when he bought an orphanage. In typical fashion, he ends up loving the orphans much to his chagrin.
- The version of Fagin in the Disney film Oliver & Company does this with animals.
- Ferrell in Sonic Underground, the guardian of Manic when the Sonic triplets were split up. He was Roboticized in the pilot.
- Tookit from ThunderCats (2011), a raccoon-like thief with kleptovoyance, the ability to always know the right thing to steal. He hires kids to steal for him, and at one point gets the Thunderkittens involved in his schemes.
- Sanzu the pangolin in the Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness episode "Po Picks a Pocket" is the mean version, who convinces the kids who works for him that living in a cave and eating gruel is still better treatment than they'd get elsewhere.
- Boo Boom! The Long Way Home: Episode 11 features a husband and wife couple of smugglers, who force orphans to help them with their business. Boo-Boom is also drafted into their group, despite attempts from Viola (who, at the time, was also working for them after abandoning the others) to prevent this, but in the end both villains are arrested and all orphans freed from their clutches.
- Fagin was partly based on Isaac "Ikey" Solomon, who was at least rumored to be a "kidsman" (apparently, that's the "technical" term for this type of criminal), although he was mostly a very successful fence. He had also made a pretty impressive escape from Newgate Prison and British authorities. His father Henry was also this-he taught his son the trade of fencing stolen goods.