In the original Brothers Grimm he and his sister Gretel venture off into the woods and find a gingerbread house owned by an evil witch. Being fooled, they are trapped and used as slaves until the witch wants to eat them. Knowing this they kick the witch into an oven an burn her alive.
Lord Hansel, of Hansel and Gretel fame, holds the position of Head of the Imperial Inquisition and is one of the most feared men in the Empire. After their misadventure in the Homelands involving Frau Totenkinder, whom the children push into her own oven, Hansel and Gretel emerge from the forests to find their land overrun by the Adversary's forces. They flee, staying ahead of the invading armies and taking sanctuary in one church after another until they learn of the mundane world. Arriving there in the mid-17th Century, they made their way to the newly-established Fabletown, where they are shocked to discover Frau Totenkinder among the Fables already present. Hansel immediately demands her execution, only to be informed that, under the terms of the Fabletown Compact, Totenkinder had been granted amnesty for her actions in the Homelands. Disgusted, Hansel announces his intention to live among the mundane population, leaving his sister behind in Fabletown. Hansel moves to Europe, where he swiftly establishes a name for himself as a witch hunter, testifying in numerous trials and taking part enthusiastically in the executions. It reaches the point where his word is considered sufficient to convict a suspect of witchcraft. Hundreds of people are executed at his word. When the Salem witch trials break out in 1692, Hansel immediately returns to America to participate. Reports of his activities greatly concerned the Fabletown authorities, but as he remained within the letter of the Fabletown laws, no action can be taken against him.
Nearby for the first time in many years, Hansel visits Fabletown, asking to see his sister. He begs her to leave Fabletown, as it has only been her presence that stops him from assembling the forces required to obliterate the place. Gretel refuses, explaining to him that she has spent time studying with Frau Totenkinder in the intervening years and has gained a new appreciation for the magic arts, seeing them not as the devil's work, but as a useful tool. Horrified and enraged, Hansel strikes her viciously with a chair, snapping her neck instantly. As no witnesses are present, he tries to claim that it had been an accident, but he is not believed. Hansel is stricken from the Fabletown Compact and banished forever. He continues with his witch-finding activities, but as time passes and the witch-hunts cease, his fame becomes infamy and he vanishes from the mundane world.
Returning to the Homelands, Hansel is tasked with investigating and punishing any unauthorized use of sorcery. It is implied that his job is not to give alleged sorcerers fair trials but simply to stamp out illegal sorcery through terror. He is one of the attendees at the Imperial conference called after Bigby's destruction of the magic grove, although he is not apprised of the war plans outlined by the Snow Queen so that he could not reveal them were he to be subjected to interrogation. Geppetto designates him as the Empire's official envoy to Fabletown; however, his real mission in the mundane world is to recover Baba Yaga and the wooden soldiers and return them to the Homelands. He is initially given three years to accomplish this, as Geppetto is intent on a full-scale attack on the mundane world in 2009.
His initial discussions with Fabletown, however, meet with no success, as Prince Charming, having been informed by Frau Totenkinder that the Empire has no real interest in negotiation and was beginning to mobilize for an invasion, simply stalls Hansel at every opportunity, making demands that the envoy finds increasingly outrageous.
Hansel is next seen during the War and Pieces story-arc, where he and his men intercept Pinocchio in Santiago, Chile, as he returns to Fabletown from the Homelands. Pinocchio's escort, Cinderella, while initially also captured, is able to escape and rescue Pinocchio, slaying most of his captors. Uncertain whether Hansel is still officially an accredited envoy to Fabletown, Cinderella elects not to kill him and settles for shooting him in both knees.
In The Great Fables Crossover, Kevin Thorn summons Hansel and Sam, hoping they can inspire him in writing his masterpiece. After numerous disagreements, Sam eventually dumps Hansel out of his wheelchair and off a cliff. His current status hasn't been shown yet.