A Station Eight Fan Web Site
What shows or properties did you work on before gargolyes?
Many, many. All the Disney stuff, primarily DuckTales and Darkwing Duck and Bonkers and Raw Toonage, but most of the rest in some capacity or another too.
Before that I was at DC Comics, where my main claim to fame (though not much fame) was Captain Atom.
You said that you were trying to develop a scarecrow character for the Gargoyles Universe so have you finished developing it? Does it resemble Marvel¡¯s Scarecrow character, which is a demon or does it resemble DC¡¯s Scarecrow?
I'm unfamiliar with Marvel's and I was consciously trying NOT to emulate DC's, a character I'm fond of and have used in a Captain Atom/Batman team-up story.
I have to date, not succeeded in coming up with a satisfactory Scarecrow character for the Gargoyles Universe. Which is a shame, because Gargoyles and scarecrows clearly have a lot in common.
1) What years were you working at DC Comics? Were you there around the time they did CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS? (I'm assuming yes, since you worked on its 'cousin' WHO'S WHO IN THE DC UNIVERSE.)
2) If (1) was yes, did you work on anything Crisis-related (excluding WHO'S WHO)?
3) What did you think of the Crisis, story-wise? (I liked it, of course. Then again, anything with cosmic stuff and grand epic battles is guaranteed to be a favorite with me.)
4) Which did you like better, the pre-Crisis multiverse or the post-Crisis single universe? (I like them both, but I miss the former.)
5) What did you think of the Crisis' effects on DC Comics as a whole? Do you think it did more good, more harm, or do you think it didn't really do either? (I think it was interesting, and created many excellent opportunities for revamps (Superman, Wonder Woman, and Captain Atom being among the best). However, the continuity blips- especially those afflicting poor Hawkman- were a major long-term failing.)
Sorry if these questions are a bit annoying or disinteresting to you, but I just realized that you were in the offices around the time (at least) that the post-Crisis cleanup was underway, and I was curious about your views on that period. Thanks!
1. I started freelancing for them in 1983. I joined the staff as an Editorial Assistant in 1985, toward the tail end of Crisis. I was promoted to Assistant Editor in 1986. And promoted again to Associate Editor in 1987. I quit my staff job in '87 but continued to freelance for them until late 90 or early 91 (overlapping with my Disney career for a year or two.)
2. No. I was a peon in those days. Unless you count xeroxing stuff. Of course, Crisis had ramifications that lasted for years, so you could say I later worked on things that were "Crisis related".
3. Some of the issues of Crisis are powerful great stuff. But the name Anti-Monitor never did much for me. And I have to say I miss the parallel universe stuff a bit. It wasn't so much Crisis as what came out of it that disappointed me. For me the results either went too far or not far enough. And there was so much well doing and redoing... It's all hindsight, and not like anyone at DC is asking me, but I'd do things differently.
4. Definitely the multiverse. I'd bring it back if I could. "Crisis on One Earth". I think it's what allows them to start over every twenty years or so, let the characters age normally. But then move on to a new Earth, where the old ones can still be reached, but we can see Superman, etc. young again. Let's us leave behind missteps without shattering continuity. Etc.
5. Well, I've kind of answered this already. But again, I don't want to blame Crisis. I think Crisis did ITS job. I just don't love all those revamps. (Except Captain Atom, of course.)
It's fun to revisit old stuff. That's why I'm here no need to apologize.
You said that you once had Death of the Endless in Captain Atom so was this the infamous issue where Death is seen as an equal to the Nekron and the Black Racer?
I'm not sure about "equal". That's subject to interpretation.
But Death, Nekron and the Black Racer all appeared in the same issue. And yes, I wrote it.
I love that it's called "infamous". I heard that Neil was pissed off about it. I feel NO GUILT. His own editor had the opportunity to comment on the script. Hell, she could have sent it to him for his comments. Had either she or he notified me with concerns, then of course I would have changed the script to address those concerns. But there was no comment until AFTER the thing was published. And then suddenly, I was "in trouble".
The one thing I do feel bad about is that Death was miscolored in the issue. But that was beyond my control. I never saw the color proofs.
Otherwise, I tried to be faithful, and even intentionally vague. Death never says what she is. Captain Atom guesses at her function and at her relationship to the other "death" figures (i.e. the Racer and Nekron). No one in the issue says that he guessed right. So even if what he said was completely off-base, there's still nothing in the issue that contradicts anything that was established about the Endless. At least not to my mind. One can always choose to believe that Captain Atom was simply wrong.
And if the problem is that she even appeared on the page with Nekron and the Racer, then I have no sympathy. Neil chose to set his characters in the DC Universe. He even absconded with Destiny. I have no problem with that. But it's a shared universe by definition. There were death concepts in it that pre-dated his.
Now, here's the thing. Neil and I have never met or spoken. I don't actually have any conflict with him, and I definitely don't want to generate one now. I'm a huge fan of Sandman. Heck, I don't know if he even remembers the issue at all. I don't know if he ever really had a problem with it. I just heard he did.
(So do I have a chip on my shoulder about it or what?)
Did you know that the Captain Atom you knew and wrote about has been retconned to a quantum clone of Nathaniel Adams?
Geez, that's original. How Swamp Thing.
No, I didn't know. Feel free to stop telling me things now, Mutai.
Did you have any part in the writing of Armageddon 2001 where Captain Atom was to become the evil dictator Monarch/Extant(that was later given to Hawk once someone leaked it)? If so did it influence your writing of Future Tense where Lexington was to become the dictator of New York?
PS You should see the new General Eiling who is now presently in the body of the Shaggy Man.
No. I had left Captain Atom a few issues before that mess began. My last issue was #50.
And I'd heard that they did that to Eiling. It's a travesty, frankly. I don't know who did it, but it's someone who had no respect for the character that Cary and I created.
With the different series you have done, like Starship Troopers, Max Steel, and MIB, have you ever thought of bringing Gargoyles in?...sneaking it I mean. As you did with the JLA comic. It might have worked especially in MIB, alien race of gargoyles ;)
I've snuck garg references into almost EVERYTHING I've done. It's kinda pathetic in a way. 3x3 Eyes. Buzz Lightyear. Team Atlantis, etc.
Who is Captain Atom?
Who is Captain Atom?!!!
Years from now, someone's gonna ask me, "Who is Goliath?" and then I'll really feel old.
Anyway, Captain Atom is a comic book super-hero. He was originally part of the Charlton Universe. But DC Comics purchased all the Charlton Characters in the Eighties and incorporated the character into the DC Universe. Cary Bates and I were the two writers assigned to the task. We wrote fifty issues of Captain Atom, and some of it is still some of the best stuff I've ever written. Back issues are hard to find, but cheap. Check it out.
Most recently -- well, a couple years ago -- DC asked me to do a Justice League flashback story featuring Captain Atom. So I did. But just for fun, I made it a Garg parody story as well. I think it came out pretty funny.
Hi, this DC comic edition (Justice League, Captain Atom, Gargoyles), which issue number and title was that?
I don't remember off the top of my head, and I'm not at my office. Ask me again another time. Or try the comment room. Some people there bought it and might remember.
Previously on 'ASK GREG' you mentioned that Scarecrows fascinated you, but that you'd never been able to crack a Scarecrow story yet. Have you done so since?
No. But I also haven't tried. Also, we're talking in the Gargoyles Universe, right? Cause I did a Scarecrow story in CAPTAIN ATOM (guest starring Batman) that I'm fairly proud of.
Just out of my own insane curiosity...If you could do one crossover, just one, with Gargs and something else, what would it be? Could be anything from a tv show to a movie to a comic. Disney, Warner Brothers, Universal, etc.
On a personal standpoint, I like the idea of X-Men/Gargoyles. They have pretty much the same goals and are treated the same. They want to protect the people who hate them because they are different and the characters are so very colorful in both sets.
X-Men/Gargoyles leaves me a bit cold.
Nothing immediately grabs me. It all feels kinda forced.
Batman in a vacuum maybe?
There aren't any easy fits that come to mind. Did you see the Gargoyles/Justice League Europe cross-over? It was palatable because it was played for laughs.
I was just reading through the Ask Greg archives and I found this mentioned, JUSTICE LEAGUE/CAPTAIN ATOM/GARGOYLES. What's the title and where can it be found?
You're a bit late, I think. It was some kind of Justice League Giant Size thing. (I'm not in my office and I can't remember exactly what it was called.) There was one Captain Atom-era JLE story in there which I wrote, that's basically a short little Garg parody and a treat for anyone who has fond memories of Cary and my days on Captain Atom. (Which as far as I know includes only me, Cary and Simon Del Monte.)
You might try asking in the comment room for more info. I'm sure someone must have picked it up.
Oh, and this is a little "general response" to "Max Steel", since my initial comments on the pilot episode also got lost in the crash.
I haven't fully made up my mind about it. On the one hand, the genre (secret agent-type adventure) isn't as much my personal piece of cake as the genre (urban fantasy with medieval connections) of "Gargoyles" was, so I haven't gotten as much into "Max Steel" so far. But I do think that it's quite well-written, with a good job on the conflicts that the hero has to face between his everyday life as Josh McGuire and his Max Steel role. My favorite part in it so far, however, has been the scenes involving the "mastermind villain" (Dredd, I believe his name was), who's got that same "calmly logical" quality that I found so appealing in Xanatos; I like how he responds to defeat in that very philosophical fashion. (In "Strangers", when discovering that L'Etrange's attempt to kidnap the German government for him failed, he just says with a shrug, "My fault, for entrusting such an important assignment to free-lancers", and in "Sphinxes", his commentary on the whole adventure at the Pyramids at the end definitely sounds Xanatosian, as he dwells on what they succeeded at and not what they failed at. I'm finding this element very appealing, not just because of its Xanatos-reminiscent style, but also because I rather like that kind of villain in general.
Yeah, Dread is very Xanatosian (or rather both of them are quite Eiling-esque). I was bothered by that for awhile. Like I wasn't being original. But the truth is I had plans for Dread that would have clearly set him apart from Xanatos. (Plans that I won't be executing now.) And at any rate, I agree with you. That's the kind of villain I like. One I can respect.
And it's Josh McGrath, by the way, not McGuire.
Out of curiosity, do you have any opinion on the works of former Animal Man and JLA scribe Grant Morrison? (While he did a good job with most of his stories, he was also responsible in JLA for killing General Wade Eiling and placing his mind in the body of the Shaggy Man.)
I'm not familiar with Grant's stuff.
However, if Grant took Eiling and put him in Shaggy Man then I pretty much hate him. How's that?
You mentioned your friend Tuppence Mcintyre (I hope that I got the spelling right) who's a Deputy District Attorney in Los Angeles. Is there any connection between that being her profession and your having made Margot Yale an Assistant District Attorney in "The Journey", or was that just a coincidence? (Not that I seriously think that you'd have made a friend of yours that much of an inspiration for Margot, mind :)
It's Macintyre. Mac, not Mc. And no, I didn't model Margot on Tup. For starters, when Michael Reaves first created Brendan & Margot, I didn't know just how important they were going to be down the road. "The Journey" wasn't even a glimmer in my eye back then. Margot's occupation became an issue only at that point. I tend to think that she would have been an A.D.A., even if I didn't know D.D.A. Macintyre.
On the other hand, I did model a character after Tup. Her name was Tuppence MacRae and she was Plastique's lawyer in one of my last issues of Captain Atom. The judge in that comic was modeled after Bruce Cranston, my boss at Disney at the time. This was back when I was still working simultaneously for Disney and DC. (Note: when I say modeled, I don't mean visually, since I didn't draw the pictures or supply photo reference. I just let the "models" guide me when I was writing the dialogue.)
Oh, and I was also interested in hearing that you're currently a co-writer of a story pitting Captain Atom against the gargoyles of Notre Dame (as Alex Wittenberg mentioned in the Station 8 Comment Room). How's it feel to be writing a story about gargoyles again (although different gargs, and presumably ones that are a lot closer to the traditional negative imagery held by most humans than Goliath and his clan were)?
I hope by now many of you have read that story. It was almost more of a Gargoyles story than a Captain Atom story. (And I was the sole writer, not a co-writer.)
It was a lot of fun to join up two of my professional passions. it was great to write Cap and Bette again. And I stuffed as many gargoyle in-jokes into the ten page story as could possibly fit.
My DC Comics editor finally sent me a few copies of that Justice League comic with the Captain Atom/Gargoyles story. I had forgotten just how many Gargoyle in-jokes I put in that story. There's much more there for a Gargoyle fan then for a Captain Atom fan. Though I think the scenes of Cap kissing Bette (and the mention of Las Vegas) would make a couple people (Simon Del Monte, Melissa Page, for example) a bit nostalgic. I think the story turned out pretty well. Anyway, I'm happy. My editor made a couple small changes. He removed the two references to the year the story took place (1991). And he changed the title. It was called something like: "An Exercise in Self-Indulgence". Now it's called "The Flashback of Notre Dame". Both are accurate, but his is much more clever.
Lately, I've been giving away a lot of ASK GREG tidbits for some reason. Not sure why. I'm just in the mood, I guess. But it suddenly occured to me to register this caveat.
There's canon and there's canon.
As far as I'm concerned the only true canon is the 66 episodes of the series running from "Awakening, Part One" through "The Journey". As many of you know, I don't like to consider the other twelve episodes of Goliath Chronicles to be canon, let alone whatever other stories got published by Marvel or Disney Adventures Digest or whatever.
But to be honest, even some of my ASK GREG answers cannot truly be considered canon. They're closer. But I won't be held to them in any absolute sense. Part of the wonder of producing the first two seasons of Gargoyles involved things discovered along the way. I won't etch things in stone (pun intended) just for the sake of making these ramblings and off-the-cuff answers sacrosanct. If I got the chance to produce the show (or one of its spin-offs) again, I'd ABSOLUTELY incorporate much of what's here. But I'd be a fool not to hold everything up to a microscope and decide with consideration what would and wouldn't be best for the new series.
Having said that, I've been giving some particular thought to G2158 recently, studying timelines for example. And I've changed a few things in my head. Nothing major. But certain things have changed that would in turn effect things in TimeDancer and present-day Gargoyles. Maybe even New Olympians and Pendragon. (So far nothing that would alter Bad Guys or Dark Ages.)
The good news is that none of these changes effect our three current contests. (Wouldn't that be an ASK GREG disaster?)
And all this thought has gotten me thinking about how I might handle a couple of thorny problems in any revival of the original series, specifically the time gap between 1996 and whenever the new show hit the air, and/or the existence of those 12 non-canon Chronicle episodes.
And frankly, I think the internet is the answer.
Goliath Chronicles exists. I can't change that. But I think I can ignore it. For example, if I wanted to do my version of the trial of Goliath -- the one where the question before the court is his very sentience -- couldn't I just do it?
New fans wouldn't know about the Chronicles trial and thus wouldn't be upset about it. Old fans could check here and find out why it was being ignored.
That only leaves a small percentage of people, who, for example, see the Chronicles episode on Toon Disney and wonder about it, but don't have the resources or whatever to find a site like this and learn the rationale. Would they be very put off? Is that too selfish an approach for me to take?
Likewise, the time gap. What if in the fist season, I did that Halloween story I've mentioned before. I wouldn't mention what year it was. For a new audience, they'd just assume that the story took place in say, October 2002. No harm done. But I could post here and tell people it took place in 1996. Then, by the end of the first season, I could have the series caught up to 2002, but still have gotten to do the stories that would have depended (continuity-wise) on proximity to the events in Hunter's Moon and The Journey.
What about that?
I'm very interested in all of your opinions on these notions. Please post them here.
Do you currently read any comic books?
Have you done any comic book work recently?
No. I gave them up cold turkey in 1996. I was already down to very few books. Bone. Cerebus. Maybe a couple of others. But it was getting too hard to find the books I liked. And many had been cancelled, discontinued or rendered unreadable.
As I'm sure you know by now, I did write a JUSTICE LEAGUE/CAPTAIN ATOM/GARGOYLES story that was just published. But that's it.
I'd love to write comics again, but no one's busting down my door, and I don't have the energy to initiate a hard sell of my own.
I'm back. And determined to pour through these questions. I can't believe I'm still backlogged until JULY!!!
But first, let me give you a quick update on what I've been up to recently.
Post-Production has been completed on my first arc of stories. They are all set on the jungle moon TESCA NEMEROSA. I think they turned out wonderfully. I'm still very proud of the writing, but I'm wildly impressed with the CGI. (And yes, there are a few small things that bother me, but...) Overall, I think it's a very powerful set of stories.
We've completed writing and recording all 13 episodes for the first season. Post-production should begin after the first of the year. The CGI series should premeire in February on the WB's Saturday Morning. And now that the heavy lifting is done, I'm all but unemployed, which means I should have plenty of time for ASK GREG.
A good friend of mine did the English dub for this Japanese Anime series. Thom Adcox does the voice for one of the leads, and I do a few incidental voices here and there. (Yes, the man who brought you "Nice Mask!" and "Father, the rockets aren't working!" is back behind the microphone. God help us all.) It's available on home video in stores starting mid-January.
JUSTICE LEAGUE GIANT
As many of you already know, I did a CAPTAIN ATOM/JLE/GARGOYLES parody team-up for this comic book. I wrote it a year ago and I still haven't seen the final result, but I'm told it turned out all right. And every copy you buy puts about a tenth of a penny into my pocket... Seriously, it wouldn't hurt if this issue sold out and was followed by a letter writing campaign asking DC to do an actual Gargoyles comic. Don't know if it would work, but it wouldn't hurt.
For those of you living in the L.A. Area, Kevin Hopps and I are teaching a twenty week course on writing for Television Animation through UCLA Extension's Writer's Program at Universal CityWalk starting this Spring and running through the Summer. Hope to see some of you there.
Now, back to your questions...
Reprinting (for posterity) what I just posted in the comment room:
Just a quick response/explanation to Alex (aka Simon).
I couldn't really do a full-on Captain Atom story. I was limited to 10 pages (and it takes a lot of time to write that short) and it was a JLA GIANT, so I was obligated to include the JLE from that era. Those were my marching orders.
So Dan Raspler (my editor) and I decided to do something fun. Something with Captain Atom elements, but something more in the tone of the JLE of that era -- admittedly, a sillier mag than the CAPTAIN ATOM book I used to write back then. But even in those days, when I put the JLE into Cap's book, I tried to split the difference on the tone, so that the transition wasn't too jarring.
I suggested making it a real exercise in self-indulgence by including a bit of a GARGOYLES parody. He went for it.
Now, in my first draft, I did open the story by showing the Funeral-At-Sea of Heinrich Megala. But my editor felt that it was too serious. That it clashed with the tone of the rest of the story. I didn't disagree. (I just didn't care.) But he didn't like it. So we went with what you saw.
Or so I assume. I haven't seen it yet. I called Dan yesterday, and he promised to send me a copy. Originally, Pat Broderick was supposed to do the pencilling -- a reunion of sorts. I don't know exactly what happened, but Pat didn't end up doing the story. So I can't even imagine what it looks like. And I don't know how much or how little I was edited. I hope it plays.
And I hope that clears things up.
By the way, I'm almost done with the writing and editing of Max Steel. I promise that after the first of the year, I'm going to try to MUSCLE through the backlog here at ASK GREG.
Sorry for the delays.