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Clan-Building #3: Invitation Only

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Clan-Building Review

There's a pretty comprehensive review of Clan-Building here:

http://www.examiner.com/review/celebrate-twenty-years-of-gargoyles-with-slave-labor-graphics-clan-building

This guy really knows the series.


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Vaevictis Asmadi writes...

Catching up on my reviews/feedback to the comics... random thoughts as usual, and not very thorough.

Unfortunately, I can't afford to buy the Trade Paperback, since I'm unemployed and low on money. Maybe someday. But I intend to continue buying the individual issues. I sincerely hope that the comic continues long after #12! And I really hope #8 comes around soon.

I forgot to mention, I like that #7 visually confirms that Delilah turns to stone like an ordinary gargoyle.

Issues #3-5:
I read these a while ago, and watched the Radio Play online before reading #5. Lots of new revelations about the Illuminati in this set. Overall, I didn't find the Illuminati stuff in the series as interesting as this. They really are sinister and scary. Whatever they're doing, it won't be in the clan's best interest.

Art
The different art styles in the three issues makes it strange to read them in sequence. Being the critic that I am, I notice many flaws, but I don't think that the art in #3 and #4 these issues was bad overall. I'm just not as good at describing the parts I like.
David Hedgecock's art isn't as good in this issue as in the latest issues drawn by him, which I already mentioned in my reactions to #7. It appears he was still getting used to all the various characters. Some good character asides are worked into the frames -- like Margot's obnoxious expression as she walks out of the meeting, and Brooklyn facing Malibu while Al talks to Shari. I don't understand the frame in which Talon is covered in warts, though. That wasn't in Metamorphosis, though it could have happened off-screen. I prefer Dustin Evans' shading style to Will Terell, but Morgan, Matt, and Thailog are colored oddly. I dislike the lines stabbing out of the gargoyles' eyes when they glow. As I've already said, Hedgecock's art looks best in #7, and with Robby Bevard's colors.
I quite like Nir Paniry's art on the Mutates, I think they looked very good. I also generally like his art for gargoyles' faces, I think he does good facial expressions in general (except the first page which looks more cartoony). I think he does a great job on Hudson. Talon's face when he says "I'm not leaving Maggie!" is especially well done, and very expressive. But the lines on Angela's face look like eyebrows. And I don't like seeing the gargoyles with such huge muscles. The split frame of Goliath's and Thailog's faces looks good. I also like the effect of the frame with just Goliath, Elisa, Morgan, and Delilah standing alone, as if the party is not all around them. It conveys the emotion of the situation (for Elisa and Goliath, at least) more effectively than words or faces could. I also enjoy the frame where Broadway and Lexington go after the food.
Karine Charlebois' art is amazing, it looks just like the animated show! The art in #5 is excellent, both the lines and the colors. Morgan still does look paler and Malibu's hair greener than I remember, but otherwise this issue is spot on the models in most frames. Brentwood is even drawn with the extra spikes he has on his shoulders. I am also pleased that the blood was drawn (not avoided) but also was not gratuitous or excessive -- especially considering that Thailog was not trying to kill anyone.
My main problem with these three issues is the inconsistency with the Mutates and the Clones, who are off-model in various ways in #3 and #4. In #3 the Mutates have tails. In both #3 and #4 the Clones have white teeth and red mouths, and Thailog and Brentwood look black instead of blue and purple. (Actually, I was kind of hoping at first that the Clones' mouths and teeth had simply changed to the normal color over time, as I find their black teeth and green tongues rather nasty.)
The inconsistency with Broadway's costume was less avoidable, though dramatic. Angela's footwear also seems to change from #4 to #5, but that is hardly noticable. Maybe they changed clothes?
In any case, such things also happened in the animated series, they were just harder to notice in moving images. They'll probably be rarer once every issue is by the same art team (you are going to pick a permanent color artist eventually, right? Please make it Robby Bevard!)

#3
Ugh, Margot. She's just so hateable. I don't really know why, some other antagonists are more of a threat.

I think Hacker is lying to everyone he talks to here. The Illuminati manipulates and uses its lower members. Probably Hacker isn't totally in the loop either. They can't want to kill all gargoyles, because they already know where the Manhattan clan sleep. I think I know what they're up to with the Quarrymen, Taskforce, and Xanatos, but would guessing in print be an idea?

The conversation between Lex and Fox is funny, though less than last time. But I notice he takes her word for it.

I really like how Goliath and Elisa's relationship is handled. Too many fantasy stories have inter-species romances in which the characters don't act at all sensibly. They just jump into it as though cross-species mating is normal and they expect healthy children and total social acceptance. But Elisa has a realistic reaction. She may be a gargoyle-lover, but she isn't crazy. Goliath's behavior surprises me more, that he has no doubts at all. Is it because falling in love after losing the first mate is so rare that he doesn't question it? Because his life is already so different from how he grew up, that he just goes with it?

LIMITED is right.

And Demona takes the crystal. Nice to see that, to know what happened to it.

#4
Hudson! I like Hudson, he's one of my favorite characters.
If people didn't want to believe real bad that gargoyles are just animals, if the idea of sentient gargs wasn't so impossible for a person, I doubt they'd fall for the "I'm wearing a mask" trik. No way a garg's face looks like a rubber mask.

"Excuse me? Cyborg." Somehow this line is very funny to me. But how does his costume just happen to be identical to the one in Future Tense? Did Puck see the costume in a prophecy? It can't be a coincidence. Of course it is only a costume, but from an in-the-universe point of view, the perfectly identical appearance is pretty creepy.

Go Claw! He has some guts in him.

Roebling is hilarious. Clearly he is wasted. And Delilah is so naive! Who would ever say such things in public, to total strangers... wow. English she has learned, but not basic social niceties.

I wonder why Alex is growing so fast. Is it his magic training? And I can't fail to notice that this Ambassador Chung has a son named Terry... he's pretty young yet, though.

I was very worried about Maggie when I read this. Now having #7 I'm not worried anymore of course.
Clearly Derek has a lot of feeling for her.

I love the way Owen handles Thailog. He knows that if his head is blown off, he will be dead like any mortal. But he's deadpan calm as always.
And that line about endlessly repairing the castle had me laughing so hard!

#5
The bloody cover of #5 with the Disney logo on it is ironic/amusing/strange. I'm sure most people don't expect that from a Disney comic! But I was sure you weren't ready to kill Goliath yet, so I didn't worry.

I already watched the Radio Play but of course it is much better with visuals. Because I watched the Radio Play, I get to hear Brentwood's hilarious lines in my head. I gasped along with the audience at the end.

There are Mary and Finella. It has to be them. And using their old clothes as costumes.

Morgan sure takes that news very well. That's kind of him.

I was very surprised that Duval is only #2, and I'm eager to learn who #1 is. We will find out eventually, right?

I laughed so hard at the Super-Garg pose! Brooklyn looks hilarious there.

Never expected Angela to start dropping profanity.

The way the clan treat the clones is kind of sad. I understand that for the Manhattan clan, the clones are unsettling and perhaps frightening, and it is difficult to think of them as being their own separate selves, partly because until now they have mostly seemed fairly passive, serving Thailog or going to the Labyrinth because they were told to. Yet I can also see that the Manhattan clan are being very inconsiderate and dismissive, and I imagine it makes the clones feel pretty bad.

I wonder about what led them to choose the Labyrinth over Thailog. Angela phrases it in terms of good and evil, but I have the feeling the clones did not reject Thailog for that reason. They aren't really old enough to have a good grasp of "good" and "evil" yet, though of course that isn't to say they can't or won't learn about such things in time. I think it was more a matter of freedom and slavery to them, than a concrete conviction that Thailog has done immoral things. Probably also it was a matter of their personal liking for the Mutates, and for each other, versus Thailog. Whereas Brentwood likes Thailog as a person more than he likes the Mutates or his siblings, but I don't get the feeling that he has a clear sense that Thailog has been "evil," either. I could be wrong, but it seems they are too young to expect that of them yet. Nevertheless, Delilah knows when she herself has been wronged, whether or not she phrases it that way. I was certainly surprised by her and Breentwood's choices here.

The scene with Jeffery Robbins is very nice. But does Hudson really smell like concrete? The stuff is made of limestone I think. And how does Robbins know that gargoyles are strictly nocturnal? Seems like the Quarrymen are telling people about stone sleep...
But I'm glad to see Robbins and Dr. Sato become friends to the gargoyles here, even knowing what they are. It even looks like Brendan was the one who got the doctor.

Quincy and Xanatos interacting is amusing. Xanatos making wisecracks at the #2... he's rather full of himself. But amusing.

In the end Elisa and Goliath kiss. And he says something very wise about free will. Brooklyn becomes funny. And Sevarius gets in a rather grotesque line.

Greg responds...

Glad you liked the run. I was pretty proud of it. Hope 7-9 works as well for you.

Response recorded on March 20, 2008

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Todd Jensen writes...

You've mentioned that many of the Goliath Chronicles stories were based on stories that you'd planned to do for Season Three, but which the new production team drastically altered (so that "Runaways" was based on Brooklyn's Timedancer story, and "Ransom" on the multiple tricksters and Alex story). Was "Genesis Undone" (the story about Thailog and the Clones dying) similarly based on the Double Date story that we got to see at last in #3 - #5? Both involved Thailog, the Clones, and Sevarius - and both had Sevarius obtaining the DNA of Goliath's clan for his experiments.

Greg responds...

I honestly don't remember. Sorry.

Response recorded on January 30, 2008

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Todd Jensen writes...

In issue #3 of the "Gargoyles" comic book series, we first saw Illuminati members greeting each other with the words "Thirty-six." "Thirty-two." This got a lot of attention from the readers, of course, and led to many speculations over what the significance of those two numbers were. Then, in #5, we learned their significance: they were the ranks of the Illuminati members in question.

Have you ever regretted revealing the answer to that new mystery of the Gargoyles Universe so quickly, just two issues later? Or do you feel happy about the pacing with which you resolved that issue?

Greg responds...

I'm pretty happy with it.

Response recorded on November 15, 2007

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Shannon 'Shan' Muir writes...

Hi Greg,

Originally I promised I wasn't going to review 3 - 5 until I saw them as a group, and go figure when I finished this was RIGHT when the queue closed. So here it is, though with added time of reflection.

REVIEW OF GARGOYLES ISSUES 3 - 5
by Shannon Muir

As I've stated previously, I didn't want to comment on the comics until I could see the whole story in one piece, which to me feels like I'm reading a half hour episode adapted to three comics with one comic per act. I'm largely going to talk about the story as I think it unfair to review three different artists artwork indepth in one piece. However, broadly speaking I liked issue #5 the best artwise and issue #4 the least (mainly because I couldn't follow the fight scenes in that style which in turn impacted my ability to follow story, though the style itself was interesting).

Now, here's a breakdown of each story arc and my observations --

THE ILLUMINATI: It's nice to finally get a sense of the Illuminati structure as more than just this nebulous organization represented by just a couple people in the show. Castaway, Bluestone, Xanatos, and Thailog all at lowest run almost implies some sort of "race to the top". Both Quincy and Shari I find extremely interesting, and Thailog being a member was a turn I didn't expect. Also that Shari's symbol isn't the ring like all the men wear. (What jewelry does Thailog have I wonder, though I know you can't/won't answer). There's enough here I'm interested in what is going on in their infrastructure. Thailog's goals are, however, at this point a little bit predictable. What is more of interest is the consequences of the pursuit of said goals with Sevarius.

ELISA AND GOLIATH: I have to be honest, this was the arc that I liked the least. To me, the question of Elisa's family plans opened on the castle rampart is a "tentpole" question that should launch a much larger arc and not be thrown away in the equivalent of a half-hour episode. The fact Elisa flirted with Jason, and did take Morgan on the date, cannot be erased in one night no matter how life-threatening. Couples have conflicts but they also need to work through them, and issues of this magnitude take time. I hear rumors later issues will continue with this theme, but even what I've seen here seems just too fast. I know comics by nature need to be time compressed to some extent, but still.

I for one hope that though Elisa's re-recognized her feelings for Goliath in the heat of a pressure moment, the struggles don't end here. Those are some powerful words Elisa told Goliath back at the castle in Issue 3 about the life she wanted, and I truly feel some more examination of this is required instead of a simple daytime soap opera-esque "we'll find a way to work it out" and let it rest until it resolves itself. It has always been one of GARGOYLES' hallmarks to deal with tough issues head on and give them the treatment they deserve - whether it is single epsiodes with undertones of social issues like DEADLY FORCE or LIGHTHOUSE or the complicated psychcological examination of Demona and Macbeth of CITY OF STONE. That, to me, is what makes GARGOYLES... well, GARGOYLES.

As is, it feels like this was "rushed through" to take Elisa and Goliath to some sort of "next level" in their relationship in order to move along other plot elements. I strongly hope this isn't the case.

BROOKLYN, BROADWAY AND ANGELA: Poor Brooklyn just feels alientated by everyone. This was done in plausible contexts that made sense. I know what it is ultimately to lead to (in the most general of senses, as we've been told before), but the question is how long will things go until we get there? I hope they don't drag out but go at a natural pace. As to Broadway and Angela, I think they are handled very subtly in the background, their relationship is reconfirmed as a contrast longside Brooklyn's alienation.

LEXINGTON: Not too much to say here as Lexington is Lexington. However, what is key is his confrontation with his clone, it reveals a lot about his character as he confronts his "dark side" when the clone chooses Thailog over siding with Delilah.

THE CLONES, THE MUTATES, AND THE POWER OF FREE WILL: Maggie standing up and Delilah taking charge were both turns I applauded and worked well, Delilah's especially though I would have liked to have overseen her hearing the conversation where Goliath mentions her. Though, where did Thailog learn about Norma Rae? It took a minute to remember where she overheard Goliath's comment. This was my second favorite arc to Hudson and Robbins (see below). However, we still don't know what happened to Maggie or to Claw. We see Shari at the end of Issue 5 talking to Thailog, and supposedly she took Claw with her when she left the Labrinyth in Issue 4. Where is he? Did I miss something? (I hope so.)

HUDSON AND ROBBINS: The smallest subplot in the arc but it accomplishes volumes in just a few pages. It got a major revelation out of the way - that Robbins has suspected Hudson's identity for some time - but it didn't feel rushed or forced. It felt like every step was completely appropriate and the handshake at the end before Hudson left was the perfect cap. A total contrast to the Elisa and Goliath arc. Even Gilly and Bronx resting together was a nice touch.

BRENDAN AND MARGOT: Margot was predictable but funny, yet the interesting part here is getting a better sense of Brendan. Timing makes it clear he got Dr. Sato to help Goliath, but did he realize Goliath was what he was or does he think Goliath was just a man in a really good costume? Again, you can't answer that one but I'm letting you know the answer interests me.

DEMONA: I know she's a setup for later, but she seems out of place in these three issues if taken together as one story. Not much to say as there's not much of her around. I am left wondering if that page might have been able to be done some other way or at some other point to have better been utilized for this story.

CAMEOS AT THE PARTY: Fun if you remember the show enough. I recognized some and had to research others. I flat out did not recognize the Judge and guessed who he was simply because I had to think of what episode used a Judge. Seems too off model to me, even compensating for the costume.

OVERALL: Would I keep reading at this point? There's enough to keep me interested, but how Elisa and Goliath play out may be a real sticking point. We'll see.

ADDENDUM REGARDING ISSUE #6:I don't have Issue 6 yet (got stuck too late at work to go out the day it came out), and to be honest after hearing about the technical art gaffe I may just hold out for the trade in hope it gets corrected there and I can follow the story properly, especially since it is a stand-alone. I haven't decided. If I do get it and the queue doesn't close, I'll consider a review.

Greg responds...

Well, I don't agree with all your comments, but of course you're entitled to your opinions. A couple things I do take issue with:

I don't see Elisa as having flirted with Jason at all. She is trying to comfort him as a friend, and although I like to leave interpretations up to individual readers, I don't even see where that interpretation comes from. Frankly, I don't think she flirted with Morgan either.

I also don't have any idea why you think Shari took Claw with her.

Response recorded on October 16, 2007

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Radio Play on YouTube

Thanks to Patrick Toman, the Gathering 2007 Radio Play has been uploaded to YouTube. Because YouTube has a new rule that permits videos to be no more than 10 minutes long, Patrick had to split the 42 minutes of footage into five segments in order to also include titles and credits. Here are the links:

Part 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j63pDlPaKnQ
Part 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZRkv56AC-F4
Part 3: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s58H_Tdi09E
Part 4: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s6PUx6GsdFA
Part 5: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wkurc-TW99o


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Incisivis writes...

Hi. Longtime reader, first time poster. I love the work you've done.

A belated review of Gargoyles #3

Pause to reflect: This is the first new Gargoyles story in a decade. Nothing could live up to that amount of anticipation, but this is still a very good issue. As it must it's mostly an establishment of things to come, but what a series of hints they are.

Bringing another Halloween story into the Gargoyles universe is a lovely concept. Perhaps it's not as hard to tell the difference between costumes and living creatures as cartoons like to make it out to be, but the characters need to have their fun, especially hunted as they are right now. And plus, it's great fun for fans who just love the holiday.

Of course, the holiday also sets up the "Double Date" storyline, which has been planned for years, and it's wonderful how this is handled. Elisa's crushing change of heart might seem too abrupt, but this capricious indecision which, while not pretty, is realistic. At least the series is dealing with it than assuming such relationships are a given, sucking all the interesting potential out of cross-species relationships as a lot of popular fantasy and sci-fi seems to do.

More Illuminati material; watching Hacker play to the interests of three different characters was intriguing, and hopefully something really strong and cohesive is done with this. Not to mention that the Xanatoses are going to the White House.

Demona's first SLG comic appearance was a one-page one without dialogue, but it was the beginning of something, and there's too much going on already to justify paying attention to her...yet. By Demona retrieving the crystal, it looks like the Praying Gargoyle, which, when the TV series is taken on its own, seemed just like a random plot device, might get its behind-the-scenes backstory developed. Demona, too, though a well-crafted character, still feels like her story isn't done yet, that she's not "complete" and hopefully the comic will continue to build on her.

Brooklyn is just having a bad day, isn't he? His perpetual grumpy scowl as he watches the other females being "taken" before his eyes (though Goliath is obviously uncomfortable with Delilah) is darkly funny. His development into a more enlightened person, romantically speaking, will be interesting to see, if "Timedancer" is ever published.

Nothing new or different is going to be said about Hedgecock's art: the colouring makes it look a little better this time, but just a little. Characters change proportion quickly, can be asymmetrical, and off-model in other ways (Malibu's tusks, the Mutates with tails). There are some fun bits like Brooklyn staring at Malibu in the background while Al and the Labyrinth Girl talk, and a few good expressions, but trouble still continues.

The colouring, though as mentioned above, has improved, but there are problems. Brentwood's skin is black, the same as Thailog's, when it should be lighter. The gargoyles all have darkened interiors on their ears, and Goliath's wings are still entirely dark purple, instead of having lighter arms and ribs. Brooklyn and Broadway have light brown loincloths instead of blue ones, and Demona now sports blue wing membranes. Angela has blue lips, but these actualy look better, an extension of her skin colour rather than the faux-lipstic on most female cartoon characters.

"Send in the clones". Augh. The timing for that scene is a little weird, too. An entrance prompted by a bad pun?

As always Greg Guler's cover art looks much nicer than the interior, but like #1 the cover art is a generic character group shot that doesn't say much about the issue's contents, something that will thankfully change with issue #4. Angela's outfit in the book isn't changed as drastically as the one on the cover; can't say that's displeasing, when one wonders the point of Guler wanting to go back and change a character's outfit to the original skimpier design several years after the fact.

Overall it's a very good story, even if it's just an aperitif. The thrill is in thiking about where things are going to go from here.

Greg responds...

Invitation Only... that's all it promised to be...

Response recorded on June 13, 2007

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Greg Bishansky writes...

A bit of a critique on #3 right now.

You know I love seeing Demona (she's my favorite character), and I loved her one page appearance in #3. But, with #4 out, that scene kind of feels stuck in. I'm guessing she'll appear again in #5, and I can understand that big picture wise, you may have felt you needed that there to set up something later, like an adaption of "The Last" perhaps. But, as of right now, this particular story doesn't feel like it needed that scene.

Greg responds...

"Oh, reason not the need."

Response recorded on June 01, 2007

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Laura 'ad astra' Sack writes...

I read the new issue the day it came out, but it took me this long to read through the other posts about it... it was made somewhat harder to catch up since my home computer gave up the ghost (loveable hubby has been running an ~unupdated~ virus protection for 5 years), and my company blocks s8 for some unfathomable reason, (EBAY I get, IM I get, but s8? I can go to girl-wonder.org with no problem so it isn't a bulletin board thing, and it's not like I can say I have a 'work related' reason calling for access to the site).

Now that I've read and read I can say I am mucho happy. There had been some small concerns I had reading issues 1 and 2 that I assumed would go away with new material, and they did. I'm still not in love with the art, but it is consistent, emotive and reminiscent of the cartoon, and those things are actually more important. And the coloring is great. You know, actually, the art really is growing on me...

The writing was top notch- I'm back to imagining it with the voices running through my head. We got new characters and development on the old ones. The flashbacks were well constructed- besides not being boring to a longtime fan, they gave personality to the newish character telling it. Even Margot Yale is transitioning more and more from being the Yuppie punchline to being an important character, and her being on the taskforce may well be a highlight.

When I first saw the 36/32 greeting I thought it was an FBI thing, upon repeat I figured it was Illuminati related, and the idea that Matt has really progressed in the society leads to so many interesting ideas and conflicts.

I was surpised to see 'the talk' come so soon. It's only been 2 'episodes' since she happily kissed Goliath, and those two involved a date. But something about the art made it feel that enough time passed to make her think these things, and her conversations with Jason and Morgan really sold the idea that these concerns would be foremost in her mind. We got a good dose of Jason's nobility and self pity, and I really liked getting to know Morgan; how he innocently blurts out his surprise that she could have been silently dating a guy for two years and then tries as politely as possible to cover it.

Great art moment when the distance between Goliath and Elisa is both figurative and literal on top of the castle. Great "Wha?!" moment when Elisa talks about Goliath's options being limited and the next page showing Demona. Of course she meant, and he understood, Delilah, but it was a fun mess with your head moment. More fascinating is Delilah's response. It was subtle enough that it doesn't have to be the meat of this story, but it is definately going to come up. When she says "if that is you wish" you know she has a lot to learn about free will and self determination, probably even more than the other clones.

(Yeah. "Send in the clones!" Way hoaky. I would not have said that in their place...if only because I would have already said it too many times and have incured a promise of punishment from the other Labrythians if I were to ever do it again;)

I'll send a much shorter letter for the letter column, but it does bring about the question: why no e-mail address for the letter column?

Thanks and I'm waiting with bated breath for #4 and Bad Guys!

Greg responds...

I don't need an e-mail address for the letter column when I've got ASK GREG...

I'm glad the "mess with your head" moment worked for you. I try.

Response recorded on May 08, 2007

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Jarrod writes...

Hi again Greg! Just spent the last few days pouring into Comic #3. Trying to figure out the stuff thats there, building on what has happened, and into what may.

Things I loved:

1 - The Return of Hacker as Illuminati Agent.
2 - Alex's Gargy Costume! (so cute! I noticed his costume was red...does he like Brooklyn's coloring the best?)
3 - The permanent consequence of Jason's Paralysis.
4 - 32/36 (I haven't figured it out yet but I'm working on it)
5 - Castaway is smart! (no hammers)
6 - NEW CANNON!!!!
7 - Duval's Mysterious Phone call! (again, consequences)

I admit there isn't much I didn't like. I know I am probably one of the few fans that doesn't mind the differences in styles of the comic to the cartoon. I know some of us have gotten rather vehement over it. I look at it this way: It's a different medium, why not let it take it's own shape as an entity, just like the show? As long as the characters are true, the stories good, and you can hear the voices in your head (eep!), and the arts not stick figures, whats the problem? It's all good!

I am just thrilled to have some new cannon to disect after 11 years. And to be old enough to actually do it in depth!!!

Thanks again!

Lata Dayz

Jarrod

Greg responds...

Thank you. New canon and new CANNONS...

Response recorded on May 08, 2007


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