Although, Jack Horner is (like most of the Fables cast) derived from stories, legends, myths and fables...unlike most of the other Fables, he comes from many. Since many protagonists tend to have the name Jack (Jack Frost, Jack Be Nimble, Jack and Jill, Jack and the Beanstalk, etc) might it only be logical that they are all one in the same? I mean, who are we as Mundys to question it? So this Jack of Tales, this comic book interpretation first appeared in Bill Willingham's now numerous award-winning title, Fables. In fact he appeared in the first issue, and what's more, he was the first character to appear within that first issue. Ironic then that he got booted out of the title a few years later.
For you see, Jack didn't mesh well with the other cast members of Fables, he was ambitious, but unfortunately that usually got him into trouble. So, after stealing some money from Fabletown he went to Hollywood to make it big but the authorities of Fabletown found out and Beast came to collect. He claims he was being merciful (letting Jack live) but the bottom line was, Jack was banned from Fabletown. He has appeared in the Fables title a time here and there since but not yet in Fabletown. Instead, he took up his own title, Jack of Fables, continuing from where his "final appearance" in Fables left off. His series has a whole different feel then Fables and it has even given Jack a sidekick, Gary. As of now, Jack of Fables still appears to be going strong, though up until now the main villains of the series were the Literals and thanks to the Great Fables Crossover they are now gone so what that holds in store for Jack of Fables can only be guessed at. But with a character this great you can only hope his tale continues for much, much longer.
Jack Horner, in addition to his role in the nursery rhyme of the same name, is also the Jack of most other storys with a charecter named Jack. Including Jack of the Beanstalk and Jack and Jill fame. Also known as Jack Be Nimble, Jack Frost, Jack O'Lantern, Jack the Giant Killer as well as being most of the other mythological Jacks, to the extent that he's occasionally referred to as Jack of the Tales, Jack is a rather benign and not always terribly competent schemer always looking for quick ways to make a buck. The only Jacks that he isn't is Jack Sprat, the deceased husband of Mrs. Sprat, and Jack Ketch, Fabletown's executioner.
Jack arguably has the distinction of being busier than any other Fable, with his assorted escapades, including the famous beanstalk incident and his time as a giant-killer of considerable renown. For a while he gained the Snow Queen's powers, guiling the still naive Snow Queen into turning him into Jack Frost, the Harbinger of Winter. He would later regret this as he was so cold that no woman would lay with him. Due to breaking his promises to Lumi and his unfaithfulness he turned the Snow Queen into a cold and cruel woman. He also left their son in her care, as he refused to believe the child was his.
Somehow, in a still undisclosed way, Jack lost his new powers, retaining his swashbuckling attitude and his resilience. But what happened to Jack when the Adversary first began his assault on the Homelands or how he even got to the mundy world is unknown.
During his time in Fabletown, Jack was generally known as a schemer, albeit not a terribly competent one. He briefly fought with the Confederate States of America army during the American Civil War, feeling that he might be able to profit from such an adventure. He started up an online business, at about the time when the market for such things fell apart. One of his default schemes appears to involve the selling of the remaining magic beans, from the batch used to grow the famous beanstalk. However, as Jack's tendencies are well-known in Fabletown, he's never succeeded, which is fortunate as he doesn't actually possess the beans any longer; they're among the magical items held by Fabletown. Bigby Wolf, Fabletown's then-sheriff, has always been distrustful of Jack, never believing anything he says (even when he's telling the truth) and making it a point to hold Jack under suspicion whenever anything goes wrong, even going so far as to arrest him immediately on false charges.
For about four years towards the end of his time in Fabletown, Jack was romantically involved with Rose Red. They were known for their raucous parties and general irresponsibility. When Rose was apparently murdered, Jack was quickly picked up as a possible suspect, although it was eventually revealed that the two had conspired to fake her death in order to get her out of an engagement to Bluebeard that the two had set up for financial gain. Once the plot was discovered, in a chain of events that briefly included Jack becoming a prince, and everything had been sorted out, Rose dumped Jack and moved up to the Farm, where she refused to see him, telling him that one of the main reasons that she hooked up with him in the first place was that he irritated her then-estranged sister Snow White. With the thawing of her relationship with her sister and her new responsibilities as administrator at the Farm, she no longer had any time for him.
With the election of Prince Charming to the position of Mayor, Jack came to the conclusion that Fabletown was finished. Stealing the contents of one of the late Bluebeard's treasure rooms, an amount of money in the region of two and a half billion dollars, he left Fabletown in the company of a Lilliputian named Jill who had assisted him with the theft. (The Jill of the nursery rhyme Jack and Jill was revealed in Fables #59 as being a different fable who had also relocated to Fabletown.)
Jack, with Jill in tow, headed for Hollywood, where he used his wealth to set up a new studio called Nimble Pictures, taking the alias of John Trick. His principal aim was to shoot a trilogy of films about himself, which he felt would increase his popularity among the mundanes, making him more powerful. He stayed in Hollywood for around five years, until Jill, fed up with his treatment of her, managed to call Fabletown and ask them for help. Fabletown engineered a takeover of Nimble Pictures, with Jack's right-hand man, Moss Waterhouse, as the new head of the studio. Beast came to Hollywood where he explained to Jack that the Fabletown authorities wanted Jack's head. Beast, however, disliked bloodshed and told Jack to leave, taking just a small amount of money with him, and that he never wanted to see Jack again. Jack, with no options remaining to him, agreed.
The Golden Boughs Retirement Community
Jack began to hitchhike, with no particular destination in mind. He was picked up by a van which, he quickly learned when they put a gun to his head, had been looking for him specifically. Despite attempting to escape en route, Jack ended up in the Golden Boughs Retirement Community, effectively a high-security prison populated entirely by Fables. In fairly short order, he slept with Goldilocks, briefly saw Alice, was severely beaten by Paul Bunyan and met the head of the Community, a man named Mr. Revise. Revise informed Jack that his goal was to rid the world of magic, an aim that he'd nearly achieved before the Fables arrived hundreds of years earlier and that Jack, with his movie trilogy, had also disrupted. Jack immediately swore to escape from the place, asking the other Fables there who was with him. During his stay he also developed friendship with two of the inmates Gary the Pathetic Fallacy and Old Sam who had forgotten he was once Sambo. With assistance from the Tooth Fairy and the fairies of A Midsummer Night's Dream, he and dozens of other Fables escaped The Golden Boughs. He also learned that Goldilocks was a spy for Mr. Revise, though his logic was convoluted (he reasoned that all of Revise's assistants wear glasses). Once again he is hitchhiking across the country, with no particular destination in mind.
Arriving in Las Vegas, he uses the Pathetic Fallacy and his fame as John Trick to rebuild his wealth again, marrying a rich heiress and "talking" the casino equipment into letting him win. Unfortunately, his new bride's family had a very powerful enemy. One who performs rituals and appears to feast on some lucky winners brains, she dons a royal queens attire with Clubs as her main accessories. Some say she may be Lady Luck, which Jakc would later discover through her Belgian allies. Jack is now widowed after a bomb killed his father in law, his new bride, and fried Jack himself. Now recovered from his injuries, all of his departed wife's fortune, is now his own, making Jack a very rich man once again. After a confrontation with Lady Luck however, Jack does eventually stop Lady Luck by getting Gary to call Robin, one of the Page Sisters. After deceiving her during one of her rituals, she's apprehending by them.
But he doesn't get to keep his money either, when one of Lady Luck's men are found dead, killed by his deceased wife's lawyer. Mainly because if its thought Jack did something immoral the money goes to him. Hoping to frame Jack, and take the money, he called the police, but with Gary's help he escapes again and is seen once again hitchhiking.
The Bad Prince
After the events in Las Vegas, Jack and Gary are captured again by Priscilla Page who already captured Wicked John. After a fight between Jack and John starts in the van, it crashes off the road into the Grand Canyon. After recovering from the crash, Jack, Gary and Priscilla are sitting near a campfire, when a mysterious man appears. He plunges the sword Excalibur through Jack's chest and dies shortly thereafter. Once John appears with the Gertrude (Priscilla's assistant), Gary explains that Jack is actually a copy of John and Jack, delighted with the news, pulls Excalibur out of his chest and impales John with it. Raven shows up after that and the party decides to move out of the canyon while leaving John behind (as the sword would draw too much attention to his Fable nature). During the trip out of the canyon, Jack tells Raven he and Priscilla had sex. This leaves her shocked and tries denying several times. Jack, Raven and Gary soon ditch Priscilla and Gertrude and end up in a motel near the interstate in New Mexico.
In the motel, Jack does the impossible, and puts Humpty Dumpty (who had died during the Golden Bough breakout) back together again. Jack explains he brought the Humpty Dumpty parts with him, as Humpty promised to lead Jack to a hidden treasure. The treasure lies in Americana, so the foursome breach the magical border by jumping on the Great Train and bump into Hillary and Paul Bunyan.
Once in Americana, they find out that the man Hillary thought to be her father, the "Bookburner", isn't and that he holds a grudge against Revise for stealing her mother away from him. He sends Natty Bumppo and Slue-Foot Sue after them until they finally shake them off and end up on the spot where Humpty's hidden treasure lies. During which he and Hillary have a quick moment of passion, to which he brags in front of her that he slept with Robin and Priscilla as well; much to her anger. While she, Raven, and Humpty try to get rid of him and Gary, they eventually escape. And find Raven waiting, though mostly because his animal spirit threatened him. There he reveals he has all the gold in a suitcase; leaving Hillary and Humpty with rocks and are captured by the Bookburner and he begins his march against the Golden Boughs.
Jack is seen briefly during the Turning Pages story, as it is revealed that he was telling the truth about sleeping with Robin and Priscilla though their reasons were different than in his version. During the Books of War story, Jack seizes control for the battle at Golden Boughs against the Bookburner, however despite his best efforts, they seemed to be losing the battle. Until Jack through pure luck, actually creates a good plan and escapes the Bookburner. But at a cost of Golden Boughs, is blown up by the volcano spirits. Jack would also get startling news that he was the illegitimate son of Prince Charming and Prose Page; the Page Sister's mother; thus meaning he committed incest with his half-sisters.