Fabuland was a LEGO theme produced from 1979 to 1989, aimed at children from three to seven. What made this theme unique was the fact that instead of the standard mini-figs, the sets came with Funny Animal characters. The construction manuals of the bigger sets were combined or complimented with stories featuring said animal characters thus explaining who's who, and what her or his role in Fabuland is. Additional story-books could be acquired seperately.
Another notable piece of merchandise was Edward and Friends, a British Claymation TV series involving the Fabuland characters, and with Edward Elephant as the main protagonist. Also, there was the small (only two episodes long) German Language Audio Drama series Geschichten aus Fabuland.
Nowadays Fabuland is rather obscure, although there are a handful of AFOLs out there in the internet who build Fabuland-MOCs (Adult Fans Of Lego who build their (My) Own Creations), set up fan-sites or even produce whole Fabuland-webcomics. Also, Fabuland is apparently still big in Japan. (Really! Look!)
Some helpful Fabuland links:
- The Unofficial Fabuland Homepage - The most well known fan-site.
- BrickZone.net - Hosts some truly beautiful Fabuland MOCs as well as the Fabuland webcomic Fabuland Housewives. Since this is obviously a Desperate Housewives spoof, expect this comic to be Darker and Edgier than the "canon" stories delivered with the sets. (More info here.)
- Fabuland.info - Very exhaustive site, mostly in German, but important things also in English and other languages. (Is supposed to eventually completely replace its sister-site Fabuland-Und-Mehr.de, after the transfer of all content has been completed.)
- The Fabuland Builders Guild at Eurobricks. And their flickr pool.
- A Youtube playlist about Fabuland, consisting of most episodes of Edward and Friends, one advertisement LP with the title music of Geschichten aus Fabuland, and one French fan film with a bloody twist at the end.
- The Brickipedia entry about Fabuland.
- An article about the lost episodes and dubs of Edward and Friends.
Some Fabuland tropes:
- Alliterative Name: The majority of characters has one.
- Animals Not to Scale: All characters are exactly the same size, regardless whether they are elephants or mice.
- Animal Stereotypes: Lionel Lion is the mayor, Wilfred Walrus a sea captain, the birds fly airplanes (!!), Freddy Fox at least tries to be cunning, Edward Elephant is very strong, and the fire- and policemen are all dogs.
- The Cameo: This Lego series is obscure nowadays, but it made a blink-and-you'll-miss-it cameo in The LEGO Movie.
- Furry Confusion: One set contains a bird cage complete with a small non-anthropomorphic bird. The sole Fabuland character in this set was a poodle rather than one of the bird characters — but still...
- Honorable Elephant: Edward and Friends depicts Edward Elephant as a heroic Nice Guy.
- Old-Fashioned Rowboat Date: Set # 3622, implying an Interspecies Romance between Hannah Hippopotamus and Lionel Lion.
- Petting Zoo People: All characters have a body shape no different from human Lego figures, except for their animal heads.
- Retraux: The designers probably aimed for a "picture book for children"-look. Many objects, especially the cars and airplanes, look almost retro.
- Small Taxonomy Pools: All characters are well-known species, such as elephants, lions, dogs, cats, foxes, rabbits, etc.
- Species Surname: At least in English and German this is the case.
- Warm-Hearted Walrus: Wilfred Walrus is a grizzled sea captain who gladly gives the other characters a boat ride.
- World of Funny Animals: Everyone is an anthropomorphic animal.