Tanger was created in Vertigo Rave in 1994, in a special 6-page story by writer John Ney Rieber and artist Gary Amaro. He made his first appearance in the main Books of Magic in issue 14.
Major Story Arcs
Tanger (with glasses) and his companion Crimple (no glasses) are Narls—twig-like creatures created by Tim Hunter when he was a boy. He would imagine things, and they would come to life, although he thought they were just in his imagination. Before Tim created them, they inhabited other shapes and other places, created by other Openers. For instance, Tanger has been a djinni, a pooka, a simurgh, and a flounder.
Tanger and Crimple live in a tree in a vacant lot along with various other creations of Hunter’s, such as the Wobbly. The Narls enjoy doing things like trying to make wings out of leaves. They are heavier than they look.
Tanger used to hide Tim’s glasses when he didn’t want to wear them. Other Narls did similar things. There are many of them that live in the tree, but Tanger and Crimple are the ones that become the most prominent allies of Tim as a teen. Tanger is the more wise of the two.
The Wobbly, on its own for so long, has changed and is much more dangerous than it was when he was a child. It now tears apart the other creations if it thinks they are no longer wanted. One day, the teenage Tim comes back to the lot and rediscovers the colony of Narls. The Wobbly threatens to cut off Tanger’s head when it thinks Tim no longer needs him. Tim convinces the Wobbly to throw Tanger back into the tree instead.
Tim comes back again. He wants the Wobbly to take away the wrecked car that his mother died in, which his father has kept on their lawn. In doing so he releases Wobbly from the confines of the lot.
Tim later brings Molly to the lot to meet Tanger and Crimple. She is the first person to talk to them other than him. They have a fun, innocent time making play wings for the Narls. With the Wobbly gone, the lot is more carefree.
Molly has to go to the bathroom, so she goes off into a thicket. The Narls are concerned because even with the Wobbly gone, there could be other dangers.
The usually-anxious Crimple runs after her to help her, leaving the tree and then the meadow for the first time. In normal circumstances, they could die by doing so. Tim and Tanger follow.
Molly and Crimple find a strange dollhouse, and are captured by some pink tyrannosaurs. They are brought to hell.
Tim and Tanger find them using a magic coin. They go back to Tim’s house, and grab some gear for a trip to Hell. They also get Happy, Tim’s golem.
Molly and Crimple are forced to sit at an absurd tea party with the tyrannosaurs. Then Vuall, a “governess,” comes in. They plan to shape Molly so that she can fit into the ideals of the older Sir Timothy Hunter and his puppet-master demon, Barbatos.
Tim and Tanger go to Hell. Tanger starts to turn sick and green, being away from his tree, but when Tim puts him on Happy, who is made of clay, Tanger starts to turn brown again and grows a mass of new roots.
Vuall forces Molly to read stories meant to change her personality. When she refuses, Vuall cuts off Crimple’s branches with shears.
Tim is separated from Tanger and Happy when they go through separate revolving doors.
Molly and Crimple eventually get their chance. Molly throws a book at Vuall’s head and Crimple bravely grabs the chains that run through her ears. They have her at their mercy and try to figure out what to do next. Tim finds them and they kiss. Their love transforms the Hell around them, and makes Crimple’s twigs start to grow leaves and then his own natural wings.
When their backs are turned, Vuall tries to get revenge by stabbing Crimple with a knitting needle, but Molly stomps her.
Happy and Tanger break through a wall and find Barbatos giving a speech to an assembly of demons. They are captured, and Barbatos tries to force them to eat Happy Crisps, his specially-designed hellish snack food, but they won’t. Tanger gives a speech convincing the demons that humans are mostly good and won’t want the Happy Crisps.
The other demons run away as they hear that love is coming. The angel Araquel shows up to get revenge on Barbatos, but Tanger convinces him that it would turn him into a demon too.
Crimple, Molly, and Tim arrive at the auditorium. Crimple shows off his wings, talks about how brave he was. They kiss.
They eventually return to the real world.
Much later, Tanger, Crimple, and Tim’s other creations live in a space created by Awn the Blink, under Molly’s house. She returns to find them there and is happy to see them. However, she is sad to hear that Tim feels like he has outgrown his creations, and so they are now hiding from him. He destroyed the Lighthearted Brigade of toy soldiers earlier when they got in the way of a fight with her brothers.
Tanger and Crimple now acts as leaders of the creations, along with Awn. When Tim’s Other shows up, and they think he’s the real Tim, they eavesdrop and worry she’s in danger. They kiss and find Happy, who wards away the Other. Molly tells the creations they can all stay with her as long as they like, and she won’t forget about them.
In the alternate world where Mr. Currie is from (which was also created by the child Tim Hunter), Tanger and Crimple are seen living happily together with several Narl children before Tim’s Other destroys that world.
In one alternate reality created by Tim, Tanger and Crimple live very similar lives to the ones in the real world. They come upon Tim, who is hurt, and tells them about the Other, a Tim from another reality who wants to kill the local Tim and absorb his magic. Tanger and Crimple are very protective, and take care of his wounds. When a different Tim and Molly show up, they assume he is the Other, but it turns out the wounded Tim was really the Other and pretending to be the local one. The Other kills them all.