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Clan-Building #4: Masque

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Chameleongirl writes...

Greg, I finally get the comment at the same time the que is open! (Big thanks to Kyt for sending them on to me).

This isn't so much a review as a squee-dump, hope you don't mind :)

I'm loving the new material, it's wonderful to finally have some new canon, to (maybe?) know what you have planned for the Clan & Co.

The cover to #4 is fabulous, I hope that Greg continues to do them. I'm also looking forward to seeing how the guest artists do on the interiors.

Greg responds...

Glad you like the stuff. Greg G. will continue to do the covers for the forseeable future, both on Gargoyles and on Gargoyles: Bad Guys.

Response recorded on June 12, 2007

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Chicken Taco writes...

Does Morgan find it odd Elisa's been invited to a party at the Xanatos'?

Being that they're convicted fellons and all and Elisa's just a 'normal cop' as far as Morgan knows, wouldn't he find something a miss? I mean, no matter how much faith he has in Elisa has to have enough cop sense to know Xanatos wouldn't invite his arresting officer to a party with New York's highest crust without them having some unseen link... Or is Morgan just so excited to be "getting his shot" he'd have went anywhere without question?

Greg responds...

Good question. I'm thinking that at first, he's too happy to get the date to think about where they're going too much. Later...

Response recorded on June 08, 2007

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Mostly Harmless writes...

In regards to issue #4, could you have gotten away with the last page if it was for television? If so how?

Greg responds...

Probably not. CERTAINLY not today. Back then... maybe. Back then a lot had to do with HOW you presented something.

Response recorded on June 08, 2007

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Alex Garg writes...

My review of issue the fourth, SPOILERS a plenty.

There's an emerging axiom in politics during presidential cycles: The candidate whose visage sells as a Halloween mask more than the other's wins the election. Well, maybe "axiom" is too strong a word for the trend, but if the same trendy-coincidental thing applies to the gargoyles, then the people of New York, despite their fears, appear to really like the gargoyles.

And Broadway is winning the "election" by my count of the socialites' costume choices.

Yet I suppose that when Sarah Browne was presented with the choice of having her children dress up as gargoyles or convicted felons, the decision was easy for her; although I wonder if that glance she gave the patrolling Quarrymen was one of continued concern about the gargoyles or concern about what she's gotten herself into.

I'm glad to see Terry introduced as a child in order to leave plenty of room for character development - in the hopes of the license's longevity, of course - but I was most excited by the (re)introduction of Robbins, even if it did make me sad that Paul Winfield is no longer with us. Robbins' appearance, however brief, does make me wonder though just how much he knows about Hudson. I view Robbins as a perceptive fellow, and so I wonder if, perhaps, tonight is a tipping point in Robbins' understanding of who Hudson really is.

To party Wyvern and the sudden boom in the gargoyle population: Again, it would appear that deep down at least New York's ruling elite are pretty warm to gargoyles - or at least the concept of them - Judge Roebling not least among that crowd. I also find myself sympathizing with the anonymous partygoers who spotted the waitress in the center of the bottom panel on page five.

I mean, seriously.

Of course, it's not at all lost on me the humor in Margot digging the gargoyles. She may hate that everybody has dressed up as gargoyles, but she's not taken aback enough to engage in passive conversation with at least one of them, despite having "seen them up close" as the monsters they really are. I wonder how much emphasis she places on the reliability of eyewitness testimony in her trials.

The gargoyles' costumes are appropriate to their characters, although Lex's in particular gave me the greatest reason to smile. Angela as Dorothy makes plenty of sense - her Kansas is long gone - although I'm curious as to when she got a chance to see the "Wizard of Oz." But of all the costumes sported by both gargoyles and humans I like Morgan's the best, and he seems comfortable enough - even in the awkwardness that ensues, and boy is there awkwardness.

And again, awkwardness settles heavy over Brooklyn. Granted, it's still the same night as the last issue, but for someone who is obviously pained by the closeness of Angela and Broadway it seems logical that he would stay far away from them, not lurk nearby, much less near them *and* Delilah. Frankly, though, I think Angela's response to his lurking is inappropriate, and then her reaction to Elisa's escorting Morgan to the party is just downright hypocritical. Sure, she's okay if her relationship with Broadway is hitting an obvious sore spot with Brooklyn, whose choice of mates (at present) is even slimmer than Goliath's, but it's not cool for Elisa to show up with a new suitor. If not hypocritical, it shows that Angela crosses that thin line separating naïve and just plain dense towards the latter camp.

Jumping over the Labyrinth at the moment to go to the White House: Greg, is that how you see the parties of D.C.'s elite going down? I understand the value of juxtapositioning as a literary device, don't get me wrong, and I'm not saying the Clinton White House was "Animal House" gone political, but it's hard to get people to show up to parties around here in large numbers if there *isn't* an open bar, especially the ruling elite.

All I'm saying. That and I was amused by Fox holding a replica of her tattoo as a "mask" in order to fit in with the party's subdued nature.

I was also unsurprised to find out that Xanatos' high-level Illuminati contact in the White House was a "lowly" servant. The personal staffers of powerful people tend to have the best access to said powerful people, so it doesn't surprise me in the least that the Illuminati would choose to put one of its higher-echelon members in such a capacity to remain connected to the administration.

To the Labyrinth, and combat! Clearly Talon's clone reprogramming initiative has not gone as planned, nor has Maggie seen much cause to step up her combat training, to her painful detriment. And if Thailog didn't let out a maniacal laugh upon learning about Goliath's date with Delilah, I would have been immensely disappointed. Immensely.

I'm still ambivalent about New Girl. Granted, I want to know why she's decided to take it upon herself to at least make the effort, however futile by issue's end, to warn Goliath about Thailog's impending attack, but at the same time I just have a hard time seeing what new role she can play in the gargoyles' universe that isn't in some way already cast.

I'll keep my faith in you on that front.

Elisa appears to be having a particularly, and really peculiarly, difficult time coming to grips with her emotions about how her relationship with Goliath has unfolded - or hasn't as the case may be. What's disturbing about that is how level-headed she's typically been in times of crisis, and so to see her unravel about something that was *her* decision is bothersome.

Thailog's timing and attack are brutal - and, again, I would expect no less from him. Owen also handles the situation well within his boundaries, even if Goliath doesn't ultimately fare too well. Although by that last panel I have to admit that I wasn't thinking about how much pain Goliath was in as much as I was wondering about what Delilah's going to think of the whole affair once she arrives on scene.

On the whole, I liked this issue a lot. We're finally making some mileage on new canon, and we're getting to see some more-than-interesting developments on both the story level and the character level. But I have to admit that I'm not too hot on the artist combination in this one. I like it well enough, don't get me wrong, it's just a matter of personal preference - I'm not big on thick outlines, I'm more of a thin line/detail kind of person. The coloring works, but the thick penciling/ink work seems to rob some of that away.

Oh well.

One real gripe, though, is on quality control. Wrong name in the credits? Missing title and logo? I appreciate your coming forward with the errors in a ramble block here on Ask Greg, and having been in an editing gig myself for a while I can appreciate that "it" happens, but these strike me as some very easy-to-catch problems. It's not much of a trade-off for the fans if regular updates are coming at the cost of quality.

I'm certainly looking forward to the next issue, however, and I'm still very much enjoying the series' return. Thank you and your team for all your work!

And to offer my own mea culpa: I confused Al as one of Fang's cronies from "Kingdom," hence my "minor villain" comment in my last review, which you caught and I didn't. Sorry.

Greg responds...

No apology necessary. And believe me, I'm VERY upset about the lack of quality control on the last issue.

Response recorded on June 06, 2007

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Phoenician writes...

Hey, Greg!

It's that time again for another Comic Review (I'm still in shock of having new Gargoyles stories. I still think I don't really know how good we have it!)

So okay, here it is. My #4 review:

First off, I LOVED this issue. Better yet, I really enjoyed the experience of being Masque! As I mentioned earlier, when I went to grab my copy of Masque, the Comic clerk smiled and said, "Oh! You're a fan of that series, are you? Be happy you got a copy now -- I doubt I'll have any at the end of the day."

To which I could only reply: "Really? THAT'S GREAT!" He replied, "Oh yes, that's a very popular title for us."

So four issues into Clan Building, and my comic shop's pretty confidant about it. As I wrote earlier in the CR: "Oh happy day." Though it DOES make me feel sorry for those who've had problems trying to get ANY of the comics (like VA's idiotic comic dudes). Shame they can't come to my Comic Shop in Phoenix . . . .

The first thing I noticed (besides the lighter cover, and if its a minor cost issue, I'll live.) was the darker inside cover. The previous issues had some yellow text and the main GARGOYLES title had that usual Gold-ish glow to it. Not in Masque: It's all in gray-scale. But I don't mind: The story is in full swing like the sun has finally set and we're well into night now.

Which couldn't be any more true. Within the first eight pages the Brownes are trick-or-treating at Robbin's House, Hudson is dishing OUT the candy at Robbin's House, the Xanatos Masque is in full swing, and Thailog's having a ball in the Labyrinth. Good lord.

It was great to see Jeffrey Robbins again. He reminds me alot like my own grandfather (who fought in Korea and is paralyzed . . . though not from the war.) Besides the physical and historical similarities, my grandpa has the same fire-in-the-belly that gives him the will to work and learn ("I learned Braille when I was nearly (50?) and I'll learn a whole NEW way of reading at 80 if I have to!"). So yes, great to him relaxing by the fire and obviously aware of Hudson's "lie of omission."

I'm a geek about the Eyrie Building since I first saw City of Stone (seeing them crash into that little park behind the glass was SO cool), so I love Xanatos hosting a party right there. But I do wonder -- Has he the chance to host other parties since "Awakening?" I kinda doubt it . . . what with prison and the constant destruction of the Castle (more on this later).

I LOVE Margot Yale and Brendan Quarters (Yay! Last name!) I remember asking about Brendan when reading "Invitation Only" so I was glad to be treated with him here. Man . . . how does he put UP with that woman??

Anyways, all the costumes were great (and I can only imagine which Disney Princess Elisa will become NEXT Halloween :P ), though Lex's DID scare me just a tad. (I wonder if Owen helped with the costume making . . . .)

It was also great to see Judge Roebling, and I honestly was surprised to see him, after having nothing more than a guest spot in "VOWS" (yeah, no one gets just a "guest spot" in Gargoyles!). He does seem more comfortable with the gargoyles, which I was happy to see.

I absolutely love the writing because while the comic still isn't the same as the TV show, some parts just ring absolutely perfect -- which bring back the stellar voice cast. Best Examples: When Morgan asks Elisa if he even IS getting his shot, when Xanatos finishes Ambassador Chung's sentence, when Talon shouts he's not leaving Maggie, Thailog's maniacal laugh, and of course: Owen's monologue to Goliath and Thailog.

I always geek out about Owen, and I've been doing so whenever I see him simply APPEAR in the past issues, but here, I can REALLY be proud of him, where he's able to take Thailog's weapons AND critize how he has to take care of repairing the castle time and time again (I think the ONLY other time this was addressed was when Xanatos called Owen to bring up the cleaning crew in AWAKENING: PART II . . . or was it III? I've lost count. :P ).

But yes, Owen's stern manner in front of creatures that would send shivers down the spine of nearly ANYONE (Thailog of course, but even Goliath's rage is impressive -- hey, it did make Dracon prematurely white haired!) always earns my praise. So yes, LOVED Owen in this issue.

Other randomn thoughts:
- Alex's costume is STILL so adorable I wish I had one as a baby. I actually told my mother this! Her reply, "Well, you DID have some cute costumes." But a gargoyle? "Well, no . . . how was I supposed to know?!"

- Sarah's children as Jackel and Hyena -- that made me laugh.

- The Chung family seems to grow. It's quite clear that Ambassador Chung and Terry are related, but I'm still wary on adding Tri (from the Gargoyles Taskforce) into the tree as well . . . maybe an older brother??

- Ambassador Chung doesn't LOOK like a gargoyle, but she does look older than what I would have imagined, at least if Terry is so young, thus why I think Tri's maybe an older brother to Terry.

- Thailog's hovering/gliding down on Goliath was some nice art, IMO. Very menacing and commanding!

- I got a kick out of Fox's eye mask . . . someone said it looked redundant. I think it was more coy on Fox's part.

- 36/2: The mystery continues! Maybe a ranking system??

- New Girl is intriguing me, and I wish I got to see her face when someone tells her "Just go to the tallest tower in the world!"

- Finally, Goliath is having a REAL rough night. Getting dumped pratically twice by Elisa and being stabbed by your "son." Oy.

Finally, after finishing the comic the first time through, I looked at the cover again, and I finally realized, "Hey that WASN'T Demona . . . it was Delilah the whole time!" So I'm slow at times . . . at least I finally got it (should have realized earlier -- Demona doesn't have a glass-shard shaped earing like Delilah's)

So yep, I'm done. Thanks again for writing a great comic, for allowing us to comment on the comic, AND for commenting on out comments! What a cycle it must be . . . .

ON TO BASH!!!

Greg responds...

When a comic store guys says: "I doubt I'll have any at the end of the day," I can't help wanting to ask: "Then why don't you order more copies...?"

Response recorded on June 05, 2007

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JJ Gregarius writes...

Thoughts on issue #3:
The general trends in the comments about this issue seemed right. Like others, I am wondering about what will happen with Demona and Thailog, what mysteries the Illuminati hold, the future of Goliath and Elisa, etc. etc..

Here are my thoughts, in particular

* Sometimes David Hedgecock's drawing looks good; at other times it is hard for me to read facial expressions. Characters seem to have a default "bored" expression.

* Unfortunately, as you must know well, words have different meanings for different people. I gather that for you, "(male) mate" and "husband" refer to different cultural expectations? Could you clarify this?

I sense it depends on what a "husband" is: I assume, then, you mean "husband" in the typical American sense, as opposed to its generalization to other cultures: "a male participant in a somewhat formalized sexually based relation between/amongst intelligent beings, possibly including polygamy."

* When Elisa talks about marriage, I can't help hearing the song "Our House" rolling through my mind.

* "Send in the clones"; so Talon and Maggie seem to be of one mind on this one...

* I see Brooklyn is still not comfortable with his clone.

* Interesting little pickle you've set up amongst Goliath, Brooklyn, and Delilah. Goliath and Brooklyn do not seem interested in Delilah except out of biological imperative (and only half-heartedly at that), and Delilah is merely doing what she is programmed to do; in a sense, you could argue the same thing about Brooklyn and Delilah.

* Considering Goliath and Brooklyn's plight: assuming clans are not always balanced sexually, what did unmatched gargoyles typically do?

* "An entertainment at the castle": nice phraseology. Very Goliath.

Final thought: Throughout the end of the show (ignoring Goliath Chronicles) and the beginning of this comic book series, almost all of the plot concerning Brooklyn deals with finding a mate. However, it could be projection on my part, but I sense a general dismay at life emanating from him. I know he's frustrated at the humans' response to him: are there other things bothering him as well?

Greg responds...

Mate/Husband - You're asking me about how I define it or about how Goliath makes the distinction? Cuz, I'm trying to write in character here. I think Goliath was viewing their relationship in Gargoyle terms, and it just became clear to him that Elisa was viewing it in human terms. That was the distinction, he was trying to make.

Some unmatched gargoyles were fine with it. Others were very lonely, I suppose.

As for Brooklyn... I'll leave that to your interpretations.

Response recorded on June 04, 2007

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Antiyonder writes...

Got issue 4 today. Picked up an additional copy for a friend in my neighborhood (He's up for recieving more issues). I also got him #1 and 3 (They're out of issue 2 at the comic store, I'll work at getting a copy for him).

- Looks like you were going for a reversal of Jackal and Hyena. That being Susan being the calmer/mature one. Or she'd probably thinks she's more mature.

- The other reviews mention Sarah's nervous reaction to the Quarrymen, makes me wonder if members are required to be well acquainted with each other.

- While we did see Margot in #1-2, it's just not a party without her or Brendan. Have to say that's another improvement with the comics over TGC. We get to see supporting characters like Morgan and Brendan more often.

- I wonder if Owen got to see Lex's Halloween costume.

Between the art for #3 and 4 they both seem to do well in resemblance to the show. Nir did pretty well as a guest artist for this issue. Looking forward to seeing how Karine and Gordon do for issues 5-6.

Great job on the story. Looking forward to issue 5.

Greg responds...

Thanks... can't wait for you guys to see it!

Response recorded on June 04, 2007

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Harvester of Eyes writes...

Issue #4, "Masque": Ramble/Review

Overall, this issue was very fun. For some reason, a lot of the panels felt more confining than they did in previous issues, but if Paniry is a storyboard artist, that might be where that comes from. I think he is better with facial expressions, though.

I like Billy and Susan's costumes. So their mom is a Quarryman and she lets her kids dress up as convicted felons. I'm surprised stores were still stocking Pack costumes, unless she made them herself or saved them from another holiday. Still, I got the sense that it was either that or gargoyles, and ironically, she went with what she probably imagined was the lesser of two evils. Unless I'm reading too much into it.

I liked the way Thailog's guns work. Would stand to reason that he'd probably have a few items stored for a rainy day in case things didn't go as planned in "The Reckoning." And he had some great dialogue. The attitude remains. And he did something quite surprising at the end. Wow.

Owen also had some good dialogue. Liked the game of poker he was playing with Thailog. Xanatos's security force also seems to have grown in size. And I get the feeling that Delilah's line close to the end of the third issue might be some foreshadowing as to what choice she'll make in #5. But I've been wrong before. For some reason, I had thought that Elisa already knew about Delilah. Nice little moment between them, hopefully they'll get more interesting (the moments, I mean).

And we cut away from Xanatos just when things were getting interesting. Hopefully, he'll have a bigger part in future issues. Not that I'm complaining about this one. As I said, Thailog's attitude rocks.

And the Labyrinth Girl's going on an adventure. I too have to wonder when she'll be getting a name. Unless there's a dramatic setup revolving around that.

Here's hoping Issue #5 comes out on time.

Greg responds...

Elisa did know about Delilah. She just hadn't met her yet.

Response recorded on June 04, 2007

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KingCobra_582 writes...

What a time for comic books. Especially when they're adaptations of unaired seasons. In this case, Buffy Season 8 (picked up Buffy #3 and Gargs #4 today) and (the real) Gargoyles Season 3. But since this is a Gargoyles site and not a Buffy one, I'll leave a review on Gargs #4, and maybe I'll discuss Buffy later. Maybe at the con or something.

Anyway.

**WARNING. SPOILERS.**

It was a fun issue. The artwork seemed (to me, anyway) to be a little more cartoon-ish. It was a little hard for me to tell just what was going on in some panels. At least, not right away. Though on the other hand, it was a different kind of artwork, and who doesn't appreciate variety? So the art did not bother me. In fact, I somewhat enjoyed it.

And nice props on 'Cyborg Lex' too. Made me flash back to Future Tense, which is/was one of my favorite episodes. I wonder if it creeped Goliath out any? Though I have to admit I (at first glance) thought Lex WAS going as the Tin Man, to collaborate with Broadway and Angela's Wizard Of Oz costumes. But now that I think about it, Lex conveinently (albeit unknowingly) dressing up as the Evil Lex of Goliath's worst nightmare made more sense. You obviously did that to mess with the fans, Greg, and I applaud you for it. Bravo for the WTF moment you drew out of me. :D

And of course we can't leave Margot Yale. Berating poor Brendan. Plus, I guess that, despite all their encounters in the past, she can't even recognize a Gargoyle in costume, going so far as to praise Lex for it. It's either short-term memory issues or her inability to believe that the 'monsters' are anything but or both.

Thailog in the Labyrinth was a treat. Just as bad-assed as ever. That's what makes him one of my favorite characters. He's Goliath's evil side. I guess he never changes and never will. Shooting at Maggie and being able to manipulate his 'property' into helping him attack Goliath at the end. Claw, another of my beloved characters, came into play a bit here as well. I dunno what I expected to happen next after #3's climax, but it definitely wasn't that. Claw is so cool. Too bad he can't overpower Thailog.

And when Thailog STABS Goliath at the end! Holy. Crap...!

More Elisa and Goliath angst, too. Ho hum.

More Illuminati greeting too. Now if only I knew what the numbers represented. I'm guessing rank, but you're the only one who really knows. And knowing you, you're not saying.

What's Xanatos' mission at the White House anyway?

Oh, and it took me a little bit to remember who Judge Roebling was. Is he going to slowly and over time develop more?

Nice little Brooklyn/Angela moment too. Even if she's mated and she only wants to see his costume, it's nice that Brooklyn finally gets SOME kind of positive time with a female. It's not the romantic kind that he wants, but it's better then him being used, rejected, or attacked.

Hopefully the events of Timedancer will come soon, but that's my own personal anticipation, and there's no rush.

**END SPOILERS**

Another great issue, Greg. Cool story, decent animation, Thailog at his best, and some great moments of irony ('Future Tense' Lex) all chalk up to another great installment. I'm definitely psyched for #5.

Oh, and I'm definitely bringing all my comics (Buffy in the chance you might want to read it, and Gargoyles for autographing.) to the con next month.

See you then.

Cobra out.

Greg responds...

I've been collecting the new Buffy too.

Response recorded on June 01, 2007

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Jason Aiken writes...

Hey Greg,

Just got done reading Gargoyles #4...it was a great balance between drama and all out action.

I liked the scenes with Thailog the best... he's got to be my favorite "villain" in the series, as he thinks he's doing the right thing, but he's just got it all wrong.

It also seems like the Illuminati plot is thickening... this time Xanatos said "thirty-six" and the waiter said "two", not "thirty-two"... I'm looking forward to seeing what this all means.

Also, I was wondering why the comic now has a floppier paper cover and still costs the same. The first three had solid stock covers which I assumed is why it was 3.50 instead of the normal 2.99 price that most comics are..

Keep up the great work, it's great to see the Gargs storyline moving forward.

Greg responds...

I don't know that Thailog thinks he's doing the RIGHT thing. I think he thinks he's doing the THAILOG thing. In which case, he pretty much has it all RIGHT.

As for the price, the answer's mostly fairly obvious. Smaller print runs mean costs are spread over fewer issues. Two ways to deal with cost are to raise price or lower costs. SLG apparently chose to do both. For SLG, Gargoyles has two unusual-for-them HIGH costs. One is the color interiors (most of SLG's books are black and white) and the other -- and most significant cost -- is the very expensive Disney license. Most SLG books are not licensed. The double whammy of those two factors makes Gargoyles one of SLG's three MOST expensive books to produce. When sales were over 10K, they could afford the paper quality and lower price. When sales fall below 7K, not so much.

Response recorded on June 01, 2007


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