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I was recently rereading your old series bible for "Roswell Conspiracies", and two of the names of the characters seemed familiar to me: Cedric Harris and Tri Chung. I pulled out my copy of "Clan-Building" and spotted them - yep, both were named as members of the Gargoyle Taskforce in #3. You really do take care never to waste anything.
That's true. Also, Cedric and Tri were my freshman roommates in college. I first tried to use their names in the Black Canary mini-series I wrote for DC, but which never got published. Cedric, I believe was the Chief of Staff to the mayor of Star City. Tri was the Mayor's husband.
There were a number of scenes in this issue that just made me say, "Oh...my god."
The first one was, of course, the revelation of the "New Mutates." This is shocking, because we've seen at least three of them (Tasha, Benny, and Thug) as humans. It becomes even more shocking because of the nature of their mutations. The original Mutates, despite having six working limbs and enough eel DNA to channel electricity, don't seem anywhere near as strange as these four. Perhaps that's because their main body ("anthropomorphic big cats" if you will) is still...I don't know. Beautiful? Acceptable? My point is, in comparison what happened to these four seems even more outlandish and strange. Tasha at least is a mammal (albeit not a pretty one), but Thug is now reptilian, and so is Erin I think (a turtle with hair it looks like). But Benny's the weirdest out of all of them. HE'S A FRICKEN' INSECT! How the hell did Sevarius manage that? You know, it's strange--out of all the things I willingly suspend my disbelief for, this one takes the cake. Are insects even considered vertebrates? Still, if Sevarius can isolate and manipulate the genetic code for hexopodial limbs, I guess it's not too much of a stretch for him to do this, too.
The next shocking thing would seem to be the kids' reactions to their predicament--they don't seem that phased. Benny actually seems somewhat proud of being a "roly-poly bug." Erin is more interested in arguing with her brother.
The final shocking thing about this scene to me is...those are GREG'S KIDS! Good god, man! What did they do to you? ;-)
Of course, all of these shocks pale in comparison to the suicide. It's a very powerful scene (despite, or maybe because, we don't see the noose or anything). The shocked reactions of the squad (minus the largely emotionless Matrix), and the reactions of Thug and the kids are well done. Poor Benny can't hug Thug, so he goes into the wood louse version of a fetal position. As if they weren't traumatized enough--homeless, then mutated, now witness to a suicide. I ask again: Greg, what the HELL did your kids do to you?!
Unfortunately, "Fridge Logic"--what you think about after the fact, usually while looking through your fridge for a snack--leaves me wondering how exactly she hung herself.
At any rate, those were the big ones for me. The rest of my impressions will be listed, more or less in the order they occurred.
Fang takes out the robot with a double blast of both gun and electricity. Nice. I liked the "Gigantor" reference.
I love Fang's expression in the 4th panel of page 3. I knew that Fang would get a cliff-hanger, but I never thought the (apparent) threat would be from Yama. Given later (earlier) events, that resonates all the better, though.
"5 Days Ago." Wow...that doesn't sound like a lot of time in the grand scheme of things, does it?
Fang's line about sending Robyn packing "in pieces small enough to pack" made me go "Yikes!"
I wonder if Robyn quite took in the irony of her life being saved by a gargoyle.
I was tickled to get a confirmation that a gargoyle's sense of smell is better (or at least more sensitive) than a human's. Yama knows Fang isn't a gargoyle just by the scent. "Fish," eh? I wonder if that's from Fang's genetic make-up, or his diet.
I was a bit surprised when Yama's attack seemed to knock out Fang. Of course, it didn't.
Matrix and Dingo are fun! I found Matrix's line about "taking matters into my own nanobots" a rather interesting twist on the old phrase.
I'm ashamed to admit that I had forgotten that Sevarius knew Robyn previously.
It never occurred to me that the client Sevarius spoke of might be someone we knew until others mentioned the possibility. Whether it is or not, this new client has certainly helped the good doctor out--right down to apparently providing a lab with holding cells in New York's sewer system (how many "Labyrinths" do they have down there?).
As others have mentioned, we now know what motivates Sevarius: science, money, and...DRAMA!!!!! That last part actually becomes important to the plot, what with Sevarius's device set to go off at exactly midnight and no way to speed it up (much to Fang's annoyance). Of course, mutating all the people in times square, while dramatic, also seems a little...stupid. I mean, cameras are rolling, police are there..is no one REALLY going to notice thousands of people spontaneously mutating? But screw logic, this is...DRAMA!!!!!
He even numbers the carrier virus after the new year number (1997).
And now the term "gargate" is cannon. Sevarius wonders what would happen to a human mutated with gargate DNA, and vice versa...and I'm wondering how many of us, like Matt, have paused to consider that, over the years.
The reactions are intriguing. Robyn is disgusted (maybe even afraid?). No matter how she interacts with Yama, the old prejudice still has it's hold. Yama, on the other hand, just calmly inquires into the identity of the "donor." That surprised me--when it's a normal animal, nobody inquires beyond species, but with a sentient questions of identity arise. We learn the name of the gargoyle (and with it, one of the uses the samples are maybe being put towards), but Sevarius never mentions the human.
Dingo (wearing Matrix) saves the day! Hands up everyone who saw that coming.
Oh that Sevarius.... As soon as they left him in the cell, with that smug look on his face, I knew he'd escape somehow. Tasha immediately jumps on the idea that now Sevarius HAS to cure them. Poor lady....
Spot the cameo in Times Square! Naturally, we have Brendan and Margot. Tri Chung, and I guess his little brother Terry, are there as well. And Karine's roster of garg-fans.
I understood that Fang's electric attack reset Dingo's memory back a couple of seconds on the first incident. As if Dingo didn't need another reason to be wary of joining with Matrix.
"Damn drama." No, I will not get tired of every minor profanity that shows up in these books! Of course, the suicide will kind of steal the thunder....
"Flamin Gallah." We just don't use that insult enough.
Poor Dingo, though. His partner made a logical decision (and a good impression of the New Year's Ball) that left him in free fall. And even though Hunter saves him, his momentum is enough to swing him face-first into a wall. By the handkerchief a few panels later, I guess he got at least a bloody nose.
Love the Eyrie Building in the back ground.
Go Yama! I wonder how Fang's attacks hold up against Taro's electric fans.
I enjoyed the dicotomy between Fang's first reaction to Tasha's death, and his immediate switch to a joke (in extremely poor taste). A defense mechanism, I guess. Not a good one, since it nearly gets him beheaded. Fang's enthusiastic support of Dingo's "He's not worth it" line is in character and extremely funny. Hunter's reaction intrigued me the most, though. Her expression when Yama tries to kill Fang, and then her calming Yama down by...whispering something in his ear.
Great, as if "What the #$^& did Titania whisper" wasn't enough, now we've got "What the #$^& did Hunter whisper." You better answer ONE of those SOON, Greg! ;-)
Now Dingo gets some confirmation that Hunter isn't the top dog, after all. I wonder if her boss's interest in Thug and the kids was altruistic or pragmatic.
"Guess who made the team!" Fang almost seems like a high schooler who just made running back. The rest of the team seems less than thrilled, especially Yama (who's furious).
Good one. And definitely making use of the medium.
My kids chose the animals they wanted to be mutated into. I was both surprised and somewhat proud of their interesting and pragmatic choices. I built the armor theme around their choices.
The lab that Sevarius is using is part of the old Cyberbiotics complex. (It isn't called a labyrinth for nothing.)
And of course people would notice.
Terry and Tri are first cousins.
The answer to what Hunter whispered is (I think) so obvious in the context of the issue, that I'm NEVER going to reveal it.
Hi Greg, this is something I meant to ask in my earlier comment, but I forgot to. For the comic, how much direction do you give to your artists in coming up with the designs for new canon characters?
I am specifically referring to the two new London Gargoyles at the end of #7. I know you had mentioned before that the London gargs would look like unicorns, lions, or griffins. Did you change your mind recently, or had it always been your plan to make them look like other heraldry animals, and you were just teasing us? Did David Hedgecock talk you out of it? Did the two of you decide together what animals they would resemble, or had you already decided? If you chose beforehand, did you give him specific details about their appearance, or relatively vague details and let him come up with them himself? I would be interested to know any information you can tell me about this. I find the process of creating a character's look to be very interesting.
Also, feel free to volunteer information about the development of the designs of other new characters which have appeared in the comic. Shari, the Tasmanian tiger villain in Bad Guys, Coyote's new look, etc. Whatever comes to mind.
Here's my description in the script of the two characters, minus a couple of personal details that I don't choose to reveal at this time:
[New Male Gargoyle] - Biologically age 19. [New Male Gargoyle] is a gargoyle of the London Clan. His head is modeled off a large stag (i.e. male deer) with fairly magnificent silver antlers. He should have feathered white wings. And deer-like hooves for feet, but his hands should look like normal gargoyle hands. He should be tall (and feel even taller thanks to the antlers) and slim in build. Not so slim that he looks fragile, but he's definitely not the bulky type. This is a new character, but for inspiration take a look at UNA at http://lynativerse.artchicks.org/Screencaps/GL_Una.htm.
[New Female Gargoyle] - Biologically age 19. [New Female Gargoyle] is another gargoyle of the London Clan, this one modeled off a wild boar or sow. She has a pig-snout and tusks. She is brown. Her wings are the more traditional bat-like wings we're familiar with. Normal gargoyle hands, more pig-like feet. She's medium-height, muscled and burly - nothing fragile about [New Female Gargoyle].
As you can see, the basic choices were mine, but I give Dave full credit for bringing them to life.
Here's my descriptions of the other characters you asked about (and some you didn't)...
COYOTE 5.0 - This is only SORT OF a new character. Basically, there have been four Coyote robots that preceded this one. They all have a lot in common thematically, but they're all different too. And lucky you get to design the new one! To see Coyotes 1-4, check out: http://gargoyles.dracandros.com/Coyote_%28robot%29 or the episodes "Leader of the Pack" (for Coyote 1.0) and "Upgrade" (for Coyote 2.0) both on the Season Two, Volume One DVD. (Coyotes 3.0 & 4.0 aren't out on DVD yet.) Note the basic color scheme and the coyote-head motif. And the fact that all the later robots have a circular VID-SCREEN that displays an image of a robotic head. The head appears to be half-Xanatos and half-robot-skull. This version of the robot will have the large Coyote Diamond inside its chest cavity… with lasers shooting into it. We may want a transparent cover for that, so we can see the Diamond even after the cavity is closed. Or not. In either case, Coyote 5.0 should be BIG.
SHARI - Arabic female, age 18. A pretty, goth-teen runaway type. She wears a lot of chains, necklaces, pendants, etc. around her neck. [Shari was also visually inspired by a real person, and I provided Dave with a photo as reference.]
DETECTIVE CEDRIC HARRIS - African-American male.
DETECTIVE TRI CHUNG - Chinese-Vietnamese male.
TERRY CHUNG - Asian-American boy, age 12. He's wearing a GOLIATH Halloween costume.
AMBASSADOR CHUNG - Terry's mother, age 42. She's a short Asian-American woman, wearing a white evening gown and carrying a white, feathered mask on a stick.
QUINCY HEMINGS - He appears to be about 60. African-American. Gray hair, trim build. He's dressed in a white tuxedo jacket with epaulets and gold buttons. White gloves, a red bow tie, black pants. He has for decades been the "Chief Steward" at the White House, a job loosely based on the job of Chief Usher. See http://www.whitehousehistory.org/06/subs/06_a07.html for info on Chief Ushers.
TASMANIAN TIGER - (Age 24.) The Tasmanian Tiger is a somewhat clichéd costumed super-villain. His garb is inspired by the extinct Tasmanian Tiger (a.k.a. the Thylacine), and he's flanked by two actual (cloned) THYLACINES (Benjamin & Natasha). (See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thylacine.) His costume is largely form fitting with black tiger stripes and a cowl with Tiger ears and clawed gauntlets. On his chest is a symbol with two interlocking letter Ts. (Similar to the interlocking Ds on Daredevil's costume: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Daredevil41.jpg.) The Tasmanian Tiger also carries a large blaster weapon.
BENJAMIN - A male Thylacine, one of Tasmanian Tiger's trained pets. To see how wide a thylacine's jaw can open, check out http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Tasmanian_tiger.gif.
NATASHA - A female Thylacine; the Tiger's other trained pet.
As you can see, sometimes I gave quite a bit of detail, sometime I pretty much left nearly the entire design to Dave or Karine or Nir's imagination. Usually, the artist does a design and sends it to me. We might do a bit of back and forth on it... but honestly, looking at the above list, with the exception of Quincy (who started out looking a bit too old and jowly for my tastes), I feel like the artists hit all of these characters on the first time out.