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Greetings, Greg, hope you're doing fine. On The Spectacular Spider-Man, as I have been doing a rewatch recently, I have but one question, related to the choices in design: what inspired essentially the looks of the main characters? Of course, the comics, but what iterations were more important, for example, when deciding how Spidey's suit would look?
It's really more of a question for Sean "Cheeks" Galloway (our character designer) and Vic Cook (my producing partner). I wanted something that looked essentially iconic, but contemporary. But of course in Cheeks' style. I had less concern over locking into some specific comic book issue's take on a character. But of course, our overall guiding lights were the work of Steve Ditko and John Romita, Sr.
As for Spidey's suit, the main challenge is to lock into something that is animatable but still iconic. You have too many weblines on his suit, and those lines tend to get messy when he's moving. Too few, and it just doesn't look like Spidey anymore. I wanted a lean Ditkoesque Spider-Man, not the over-muscled version that I'd seen in many other animated shows. Etc. Lots of factors, really. Hasbro and Marvel weighed in, as well on him.
Is Henchy an original character, based on someone from the comics, or both?
Have you ever thought of doing a motion comic where the actors read the whole comic?
1. He's more-or-less original. He's based on a model created for the Green Arrow Showcase short and a specific voice that I love, which actor Steve Blum has used for me in multiple series: Raythor (W.I.T.C.H.), Blackie Gaxton (The Spectacular Spider-Man), Zeb (Star Wars Rebels).
2. Yes. I'd love to do that. But there's no budget for it, generally. The YJ Wiki did a few using volunteer labor and volunteer voice actors. Here's one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=42QKFkSy4DU
Oh, and what the heck, here's another: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8N3Z2b-UlTE
Hello, I was a big fan of your work on Spectacular Spider-Man.
1. Have you read some of the new Spider heroes like Miles Morales, Cindy Moon, Anya Corazon, etc. What is your opinion of them, and woulf you have used them if given the chance?
2. Who is your favorite girl to be paired with Peter Parker, or if you can't decide on one, who are your favorite romantic interests of Peter?
1. I've read quite a bit of Miles, a little of Silk. Not so much Anya. I like them all as characters with potential. Given enough episodes and seasons, we might have gotten to them eventually.
2. You saw them on the show.
Not sure if you will answer me, but I have always being curious about something from Spectacular Spider-Man.
How old was Black Cat in the cartoon?
Hi Greg! I'm such a big fan of you and the spectacular team's take on Spider-Man. I grew up with Spectacular, (and young justice!) and it came back as a big inspiration in my life as an artist and writer after insomniacs fantastic games and rereading the classic comics from when I was a kid. You have created my favorite versions of these characters by modernizing them and giving them that classic feel in ways that blow my mind. Im a pretty classic spidey fan (i love lee/ditko/romita) despite being in my teens and I value cohesion like your take did. I have a question however from an aspiring writer to a professional;
If I think that a version long passed (yours) was the best version of something, what can I do to personally find a way to make my own take, despite having a similar mindset? Should I be afraid to be similar?
I would really value your opinion and again, thanks for your fantastic and inspiring work. Really hoping to see more of your stuff!
Well, first off, thanks.
Secondly, as a professional, I really wouldn't spend much time (even much idle brain time) adapting something that you don't own, unless you're (a) being paid to do it or (b) you have a reasonable hope of being paid to do it. And even for (b), I wouldn't recommend doing very much work until someone said, "Yes! I love where you're going with this. Let me pay you to go further." Instead, I'd recommend coming up with your own original thing. Blow us away with that. And then maybe will want to trust you to adapt something that is theirs, e.g. Marvel with Spider-Man.
But finally, to get to your question, I guess I wouldn't sweat it too much. If I adapt Lee/Ditko or Lee/Romita comics, I'm still borrowing from what came before. And I'm not stopping there, nor am I shy about "stealing" from any of the source material from any era. Because, that's NOT stealing. It's adapting. I'm sure my adaptation had many similarities with others that came both before or after Spectacular. Of course it did. We're all going back to the same source material. So how could it not?
Hello, Greg. Before I ask my question, I'd like to pay my respects to how Spectacular Spider-Man turned out. I watched it when I was in school and after watching it as an adult, I can say that it was really spectacular.
However, one thing that saddened me as a kid and broke my heart as an adult was how unfairly Peter treated Liz Allan. It was sad, but what saddened me more was that we unfortunately never found out how these events would have affected Liz further, because I think this is a very interesting character whose development and changes I enjoyed watching, and I don't remember anyone having thought that deeply about this character.
My question is this: did you have plans to develop this character in other seasons and how do you yourself feel about Liz?
I'd love to hear your answer.
I think Liz is a fascinating character and a pretty damned decent human being. We did have plans for her going forward.
Hey Greg I was wondering in Spectacular Spider Man why was Eddie Brock when he bonded with the Symbiote so much stronger than Peter was when he was using it?
He fed her more hate.
In your "big round of question-answering" earlier this year, someone asked you about why there was never a Christmas episode of "Gargoyles", and you mentioned that it was never a big enough priority, though there'd been some ideas for it.
This reminded me that Halloween was the only holiday to feature in "Gargoyles" (unless you count New Year's Eve in the "Bad Guys" spin-off) - it got in twice, in fact, once in "Eye of the Beholder" and once in "Clan-Building", and from there, a thought I'd had about "Gargoyles", "The Spectacular Spider-Man", and "Young Justice".
Now, though I think that both "The Spectacular Spider-Man" and "Young Justice" were both well done, they never grabbed me as much as "Gargoyles" did. (I suspect that this comes from my having grown up on medieval legends and history far more than on DC and Marvel super-heroes, so that "Gargoyles" war far more a "first language" for me than the other two series were.) But one feature of "The Spectacular Spider-Man" and "Young Justice" that didn't appear in "Gargoyles", a feature that really delighted me, was that sense of the year's cycle, traveling through various holidays, in particular (I recall that "The Spectacular Spider-Man" incorporated Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's , and Valentine's Day, and the first two seasons of "Young Justice" - I haven't gotten around to seeing Season Three, so can't comment on it - covered the year's cycle - if a different year's cycle from New Year's to Independence Day than from Independence Day to New Year's, thanks to the time skip). Of course, I think it makes sense that those series would focus more on that cycle, since their leads were human (with a few alien leads in "Young Justice", of course, but who were interested in Earth customs), while the gargoyles would have less interest in human holidays (apart from Halloween,for obvious reasons).
More musings than an actual question, but it was an observation that I wanted to share with you.
I think you're right. But I also think it had a lot to do with an evolution in my sensibilities. Keeping track of time for me started to become a priority for me later in my work.
1. Do you think Xanatos will ever form a club with Lex Luthor and Norman Osborn? I can't imagine he would find Bruce Wayne and Tony Stark fun for long :)
2. Regarding their wealth do you think Xanatos and Luthor are billionaires and Osborn was a multi millionaire in terms of wealth?
1. I think we touched on this in one or two of the RadioPlays. You can check 'em out on YouTube. There are links in the Gargoyles Wiki.
2. I haven't done the math.
This is hard.
It's been a bit of a stressful weekend, as my father went into the hospital with chest pains. A stint that had been replaced last year had failed and was replaced again Saturday morning during an angioplasty. I've been concerned, worried. But the procedure seemed to go well, and he was set to go home today. We seemed to have dodged a bullet.
But there was a second gun.
I slept in today. I woke up to two pieces of news:
1. My dad was good. Solid. My sister picked him up at the hospital and took him straight to breakfast. (My mother was annoyed at not being included - but that's a whole other story.) He's home now. I've talked to him. He sounded cheerful. All good.
2. Ed Asner had passed away.
I spent most of the day doing laundry and other mundane tasks. Life goes on, right? It has to. But it's been difficult getting my head around the whole thing. I've gotten many calls and texts today, offering condolences as if I were part of the Asner family. Folks seem to know how close I felt to Ed. But I don't want to exaggerate. Ed was my friend. I hope he knew I was his, as well. But I haven't talked to him in at least a couple of years. (You can partially blame that on the pandemic, I suppose. There are a lot of people I've lost touch with. If anything, this is a reminder to GET in touch. And I'm going to make an effort to do that.) In any case, there are many, many people who knew Ed better than I did, who were closer to Ed than I was.
Nevertheless, at the risk of turning this post into my own self-aggrandizement, I am going to spend a few paragraphs here on the subject of the Ed Asner that I knew and loved.
I was a fan of Ed's long before I met him. Like many, many people, he first entered my awareness playing Lou Grant on The Mary Tyler Moore Show. (Later, I got a kick out of picking him out of reruns, where he usually played the heavy in such series as The Wild Wild West and others.) But as Lou, Ed was simply brilliant. One of the truly classic scenes in all of television is the scene in the TMTMS pilot, where Lou interviews Mary for a job. Do yourself a favor and view it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zj286uBKCu0
That scene had a major effect on me, even seeing it as a kid.
Now, having just rewatched it, the genius of the writing and the two performances still knocks me out. But there was something else about Lou and Mary. Watching their interactions was a bit like watching my parents. The connection in my mind between Lou and my dad was especially strong.
Ed and my father were two Ashkenazi Jews from the midwest. My dad was from Chicago; Ed, from Kansas City. They were gruff AND loving. They even had mannerisms in common. There was much more, I'm sure, that they DIDN'T have in common. But something connected the two men in my mind. And, meanwhile, my admiration for Asner as a performer knew no bounds. When I saw him in the Lou Grant series, in Rich Man, Poor Man, in Roots, that admiration only increased. When I learned of his activism - and the price he paid for it - that admiration shot through the roof.
Years later, when we had begun pre-production on GARGOYLES, I thought of Ed Asner - or of Lou Grant, at least - as the inspiration for Hudson. In fact, when we held auditions for the role, I wrote at the bottom of the character description that "Hudson hates spunk." This was, of course, a variation on Lou's classic line from the above job interview scene. Now, to be clear, I never imagined we'd get Ed to play the role. I figured he was way too big a star for us to land. But low and behold, a few days later, Ed came in to audition for the part. Later, he told me that when he read the character description, he was initially thrilled. The "Hudson hates spunk" line made him feel like he was a lock to land the role. Then a couple minutes later, he thought that if he didn't land the role it would really be awful. But of course, he immediately understood the character and nailed his audition... only for Jamie Thomason and I to throw him a curveball, asking him to do it again in a Scottish accent. He nailed that, too.
Working with Ed was a joy. He was fun and funny and so supportive. In addition to playing Hudson (and Burbank and Jack Danforth/Dane) on Gargoyles, I also cast him as recurring characters on Max Steel (Chuck Marshak), 3x3 Eyes (Grandpa Ayanokoji), W.I.T.C.H. (Napoleon the talking cat), Young Justice (Kent Nelson) and Rain of the Ghosts (Joe Charone). When casting Peter Parker's late Uncle Ben in The Spectacular Spider-Man, Ed was the only person I ever considered. He always brought so much to each and every role.
And more than that he was a great friend to me. After the first season of Max Steel, when I couldn't find a job for over a year and thought I might have to give up on my writing career, Ed was there, offering me support. We had lunch at Musso & Frank's. He looked at pictures of my kids out of my wallet and told me to laminate them. He introduced me to his son, Matt Asner, a producer. He didn't allow me to wallow in self-pity or to badmouth guys who I believed had done me wrong. He just reassured me that I had ability and would find my way through. He was, in essence, my work dad.
So today, as you might imagine, has been complicated. My dad is home and healthy. And Ed is gone. I'm grateful and sorrowful. And struggling. But life goes on. It has to, right?
Finally, I'm going to quote Hudson from Gargoyles. In "The Price," an episode that spotlighted the character, Ed as Hudson told Xanatos: "A friendly word of advice: True immortality isn't about living forever, man. It's about what you do with the time you have. When all your scheming's done, what will be your legacy, Xanatos?"
I think we all know that Ed Asner did amazing things with the time he had. And though we'll miss him dearly, his legacy is clear and shining.