Most creative take on a cliched creature?

Timebender

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What's the most creative twist on a very common fantasy creature (troll, dwarf, giant, goblin, fairy, mermaid, etc.) that you've ever seen?

I would say that the Artemis Fowl series and the Spiderwick Chronicles both have the most original takes on the fair folk that I've ever seen. The Spiderwick chronicles made all the fairies and goblins seem like real, physical animals, mostly due to Tony Diterlizzi's illustration's. I thought the Artemis Fowl books had very ingenious takes on how the creatures worked, especially dwarves.
 

Dave

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The TV sitcom Zapped has a fantasy universe, where magic is a real force, but one closely controlled by a police state. In the town of Munty, the police enforcers of the state are "fairies", who are the opposite of the traditional image of the fairy - they are big, burly, thuggish men.
 

pyan

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Sir Terry Pratchett's Elves, especially in Lords and Ladies.

“… people didn't seem to be able to remember what it was like with the elves around. Life was certainly more interesting then, but usually because it was shorter. And it was more colourful, if you liked the colour of blood.”
 

alexvss

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The comic Wolf Moon, by Cullen Bunn and Jeremy Haun, published by Vertigo, has the best modern take on werewolves. The curse goes randomly from person to person; the cursed just live as a werewolf for one full moon. The story is about a hunter who's after the curse, so he pretty much just travels through America, visiting towns where brutal murders recently took place.

Regargind vampires, the manga/anime Hellsing has the best take: nazi vampires remained hidden for fiftty years after WW2, protestant and catholic orders hunts them. The manga Happiness has a cult of people that want to be vampires. @Foxbat you might want to check them out.

Another Vertigo comic book, Fables, is all about classic fairy tale characters who diguise themselves in our world.

There's a book by dutch author Thomas Olde Heuvelt, called HEX, that has a very interesting take on witches. A town has a witch who just never dies, so they've sewn her eyes and mouth, and follow her steps with an app (Hex).

These are the ones that I remember right now, but I think that manga and underground comic writers are the most creative writers out there.
 
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Guttersnipe

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In Splash, mermaids have legs when not in water and speak a dolphin-like language. In the Hulu series Siren, they're actually quite dangerous.

In the game Skyrim, dwarves are a lost race who were human-sized, and were named as such only because giants "dwarf" them.
 

BAYLOR

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Deans Koontz's 5 book Frankenstein series . In this series the Monster named Ducaleon is a immortal hero who has being doing battle with his Creator Dr Victor Frankenstein( also an Immortal ) who plots to take don mankind and replace with beings of his creation.
 

Timebender

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Deans Koontz's 5 book Frankenstein series . In this series the Monster named Ducaleon is a immortal hero who has being doing battle with his Creator Dr Victor Frankenstein( also an Immortal ) who plots to take don mankind and replace with beings of his creation.
Cool! I always like seeing Dr. Frankenstein as a villain, because he was so awful in the original novel, lol.
 

Ghuarran

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Deans Koontz's 5 book Frankenstein series . In this series the Monster named Ducaleon is a immortal hero who has being doing battle with his Creator Dr Victor Frankenstein( also an Immortal ) who plots to take don mankind and replace with beings of his creation.
I really enjoyed the first book of that series- Deucalion was an interesting character. I enjoyed his otherness- that he was physically similar in some ways to humans, but was very far removed in many others. I felt he was an interesting take on the aloof-eternal-being-concept. I also am a sucker for powerful, morose characters with dark pasts, so that helped!
 

Ghuarran

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I enjoyed George R. R. Martin's use of dragons- the idea that the mighty behemoths of old were inbred and hunted into irrelevance was interesting. It wasn't so much a retelling or a new take, but it set the stage well for Daenerys ascension.

I also enjoyed the take on angels in 'Scar Night', by Alan Campbell. The book as a whole is marvelous, and I very much enjoyed it.
 

BAYLOR

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I really enjoyed the first book of that series- Deucalion was an interesting character. I enjoyed his otherness- that he was physically similar in some ways to humans, but was very far removed in many others. I felt he was an interesting take on the aloof-eternal-being-concept. I also am a sucker for powerful, morose characters with dark pasts, so that helped!
Its a terrific series . Deucalion is really cool and Victor Frankenstein is a very scary man . :)
 

Guttersnipe

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Vampires and Lycans (lycanthropes) in the Underworld film series. The reactions of vampires to light and werewolves to silver are treated somewhat scientific. Vampires can be defeated by ultraviolet explosives rather than direct sunlight, and werewolves are "allergic" to silver.
 

.matthew.

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I'm fond of the dragons in the Temeraire series, equal parts adorably sweet and battle happy :)
 
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