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Gathering 2008 Journal - Day Two
Saturday, June 28, 2008
Woke up around 9ish, but lazed around until around 10. Surfed the Web for another hour before finally getting on my way. I headed up to the ninth floor to look for Dracandros and Ed, as well as to take a look around the other con rooms. Talked a bit with Greg B., looked at the dealer's room (a lot of T-shirts but not much else that appealed) and the con suite (honestly, not nearly casual enough for my tastes). After running into Dracandros and Ed, we took a walk through the art festival outside the hotel - some neat stuff on display, but a lot of it was too expensive (not to mention the difficulties involved in shipping it home). Did snag some tasty funnel cake, although the heavy dose of sugar (on top of a sugary breakfast) gave me a bit of a headache later.
I returned in time for the Combat and Weapons panel. Flanker, the fellow running this panel (a veteran of the Canadian Army who served in Afghanistan), wanted to use the conference room's TV screen, but it turned out the hotel charged for the cords to hook it to his laptop. So, he passed it around the audience instead. A fellow by the name of Phil was in the audience - when it was revealed he was with the U.S. Navy, Flanker encouraged some well-deserved applause. (We also learned a bit later Phil had served in Iraq.) Topics covered included:
- The difference between small and long arms, between other guns and carbines, between machine and submachine guns, and how some guns blur the lines between those distinctions.
- An explanation of how bullets work (interestingly, cops can use deadlier hollow-point ammunition, but soldiers can't).
- The mechanics of guns, including how automatic weapons work and how sniper rifles do, in fact, make noise.
- The tongue-in-cheek Rules of Gunfighting (i.e. #1 - Don't get in a gun fight).
- The problems with energy and electromagnetic weapons - primarily, that the high energy demands require heavy and immobile (or at least, impractical-to-move) power generation machinery.
- That under duress, people default to their training level - which, for many, is basically zero. This is why repetitive training is so useful.
- Non-lethal ammunition, such as rubber ball and beanbag rounds for shotguns.
- Weapon modification, such as sawed-off barrels (which spread the shot) and sawed-off stocks (more concealable, but more awkward to use).
- Which gun is the best gun (it's whichever is best for a given purpose and situation, and whichever caliber the gun's user is most comfortable with).
- Good gun research sites (Wikipedia isn't bad, and is particularly useful when you want to know what a character from a given organization in a given nation might use; word.guns.ru is also a very good and detailed resource).
- Experimental weapons such as flechette and gauss.
- The "bullpup" design, with the ammo and loading mechanism in the back of the gun (many weapons in Gargoyles resemble this design).
- The best ways to aim well (handguns are less accurate than rifles, and dual-wield anything is highly inaccurate).
- The best position for a holster (use your strong side, i.e. the same as your gun hand; a holster on the opposite side requires more motion to draw and use, although they are admittedly easier to conceal and more comfortable).
One fellow, who I will leave unidentified, asked an awful lot of the questions, making a not-so-favorable impression on the audience (he'd be regarded even more poorly following his behavior at other events).
I returned to my room to transcribe my panel notes, then went back to look at the silent auction items, placing a bid on a Steel Clan action figure. I also talked to Greg B. and looked at the art gallery. Returning to my room again (I was disinclined to hang out in the con suite), I killed some time before the Radio Play by reading the first two stories in the Items of Enchantment anthology.
The Radio Play was entertaining - an adaptation of Gargoyles issues 7-9 in chronological order. Greg Weisman was concerned that it came off poorly, but actually I thought it seemed to work rather well (excepting a rather unwieldly chunk of Shari monologuing). Apparently a rather substantial storm struck outside during it - the noise threatened to drown out some of the dialogue, and parts of the art festival suffered during it. Of course, I can't discuss any spoilers at this time...
Dinner was at Al's Italian Beef with Dracandros and Ed. Although I'd heard good things about the place, I found it good but not very exceptional. We followed dinner with a trip to Comix Revolution, which was an adequate store; picked up a few things. On the way back, we passed by a rather large group being led somewhere - dinner, I'm assuming - by Greg W. I told Dracandros and Ed I'd bring MUGEN down to their room to play, which I did after skimming my comic purchases. However, when I got there, I received no response to my knocking. Since there was also a "Do not disturb" sign on the door, I presumed they were either absent or busy, and left. (Turned out they simply hadn't heard me over the TV. Ah well.)
Trying to kill time before the Blue Mug, I took a trip to the ninth, and found everything closed up. Returning to my room, I read my newly acquired Invincible trade paperback, chatted with Jack, updated my convention notes, and surfed the Web. (Repeated opinion: A con suite open at this time would have been much appreciated.)
Finally, I headed to the Blue Mug. Greg was there first; Keith, then Thom, arrived later (they wanted to be a bit more tipsy before arriving). (Josh Silver also arrived with Keith.) Some notable revelations included:
- Greg has no idea of the what or where of Marvel's Gargoyles #12.
- "The Price" took the idea of a stone gargoyle replacing a sleeping gargoyle from a Disney Adventures strip.
- Greg said the Stone of Destiny wouldn't agree that it's a magical item.
- The Eyrie Building is so tall because Xanatos is looking for all sorts of immortality.
- Keith thinks Goliath simply isn't the sort to drink alcohol.
- Greg thinks gargoyles are less susceptible to the sort of chemical imbalances that lead to psychological disorders in humans, but that psychologically damaging traumas affect them the same way.
- In response to a question about Shari and Thailog's relationship: Keith opined that if he was in a hot tub playing chess with a willing woman by his side... more than his chess piece would be moving.
- Keith was asked about the famous fight scene between him and Roddy Piper in They Live - he confirmed that it was not a real beating, as rumored. He traced the origin of the rumor to an accidental real punch to Piper's face immediately following his reassuring Entertainment Tonight interviewers that the fight scenes were safe. (Keith also liked the South Park parody of the fight.)
- Greg said that if Gargoyles was parodied on Robot Chicken, he'd appreciate the recognition even if he didn't like the actual content of the parody.
- Broadway and Angela have not yet had sex at this point in the comic.
- Greg (jokingly?) sees The Spectacular Spider-Man as a show about sexual repression.
- Keith considers Goliath a fairly straightforward sort who wouldn't have any sexual festishes. Greg concurred.
- Writing the Stone of Destiny arc in the Gargoyles comic has been liberating for Greg - it helped free him from a TV mindset. He thinks Bad Guys has benefitted from this mindset-shift.
- Greg considers bushido (as seen in "Bushido") an example of gargoyles influencing human culture.
- Gargoyles are not attuned to human reproductive cycles.
- Greg has issues with how television has removed every "base" except for first and home in terms of sex. (In his younger years, he and some friends also calculated there were many more than four "bases" - he figured about 22.)
- We will see a bonding ceremony for Goliath and Elisa.
- Keith opined that although humans and gargoyles may be bound in some ways by their biology, they can learn new behavior - and that in some ways, Demona's behavior is becoming more humanlike.
- Gargoyles never really had a need to develop independent science and technology - by the time humans began to out-tech them, survival became a higher priority. However, Greg opined that gargoyles like Lexington and Amp may start to create their own innovations based on human technology. He also reminded of the Lexington-Xanatos Corporation.
- Greg doesn't see why gargoyles would develop issues with homosexuality. He also doesn't think there would be pressure for homosexual gargoyles to take a mate in low-population clans - if the situation was that desperate, a single additional egg would hardly matter anyway.
- The new Wyvern Clan will be a clan of gargoyles intentionally going back to the traditional gargoyle ways as a rejection of increasing cultural assimilation.
- The entire Manhattan Clan believed they were a species going extinct prior to the Avalon world tour. The revelation that they weren't the last was especially major for Hudson.
- Gargoyles did not have a hand in creating humans or the Children of Oberon.
- The idea that more humanoid gargoyles could have an evolutionary advantage was proposed - that is, looking more human might make humans slightly more reluctant to hate them. Greg seemed to think it was interesting, but he also pointed out it could work in reverse, so he didn't really agree with the premise.
- The fact that gargoyle beasts were more frightening to humans coud be a reason why there are fewer of them.
- Some gargoyles may have ruled over some humans at some point.
- Greg liked the analogy that learning mortal magic is like learning quantum physics - sure, anyone can learn it, but it'll be much harder or easier for certain people.
- Immigrant assimilation might be one of the metaphors in Gargoyles.
- There was no Demona-Macbeth romance in evidence in "City of Stone" IV.
- Greg doesn't know if female gargoyles are capable of laying unfertilized eggs.
- The first Magus was the first to combine the Eye of Odin, Grimorum Arcanorum and Phoenix Gate.
- Greg chose Manhattan for Gargoyles, rather than another city like Los Angeles (not a good gargoyle town, in Greg's opinion), because it provided the best contrast between modern and ancient. It also worked well, as an island as a protectorate was something Goliath could get his head around at that early stage. (Goliath is only now starting to widen his perspective even further.)
- Greg considers Demona one of his deeper creations, and thinks that Xanatos has defined a trope all his own.
- The original Gargoyles pitch used four different artists. Goliath's original design included jewelery, and Lex originally had four arms.
- Wolf's more wolfish transformation in "Upgrade" didn't get repeated because it spawned too many animation errors.
- Greg likes the idea of Thailog having a Xanatos-esque goatee, but he's reluctant to use it because it could weaken his stance against using fan original ideas, which could in turn be used against him at some point.
- Greg had about four or five more stories for the Avalon world tour, but it was cut short due to several factors, including frustration by one member of the crew (he said who, but I forget), the problem of not having the Trio appear for so long, and that mixing the arc with reruns was making it seem awfully over-long. Three of the "lost" stories included the Himalayas story (ultimately recycled in Gargoyles #6), a Korea story, and a China story.
- Greg comnmented that Goliath seems to be less of a fulcrum in the comic series than he was in the original animated series.
- The Avalon arc didn't sit so well with Thom, simply because Lexington wasn't in it and he wasn't getting paid! (Which caused some financial issues.)
- Greg was a bit put out that the toilets on the ninth floor made a sound like the Green Goblin's pumpkin bombs when they flushed.
- Greg said Bruce Wayne was more of an inspiration for David Xanatos than Tony Stark, and that Lex Luthor wasn't at all (because Greg's Luthor is the Silver Age mad scientist, not the modern businessman).
- In Iron Man, Greg took issue with Tony Stark's choosing Burger King for his cheeseburger after returning from Afghanistan. He also thought Stane's motives were kinda weak. He also opined that Marvel should have held back the release of The Incredible Hulk until later in the year, as now there'll be a big gap until the next Marvel Studios movie.
One thing that was interesting to me is how often Keith David had his own opinions on how Goliath and gargoyles worked, sometimes in mild conflict with Greg Weisman's POV. One wonders how often an actor playing a role puts such levels of thought into the world of their characters.
After the Blue Mug, it was pretty much straight to bed for me.
Blue Mug's are always fun and eclectic -- even when they're not all that blue.