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Which misconceptions about Captain Atom and his supporting cast annoy you the most?
1. The conflation of Captain Atom with either (a) Doctor Manhattan or (b) Wildfire of the LSH. Cap is neither an empty shell full of energy as Wildfire is, nor does he have the godlike transformation/transmutation powers of Manhattan.
2. The idea that you can blow Cap up and his destruction releases the equivalent of an atom bomb. He's tapped into the quantum flow, but if he had built up enough power from the flow to be able to generate that kind of explosion, the excess energy would have instantly transported him into the future.
3. Anyone who divorces the Captain's story from the love of his children. That's his raison d'Ãªtre. Period. That's not to say he can't participate in an adventure that has nothing to do with his kids. A League mission or what not. But if the story is about him, then everything with him is about his kids. He is a dad first. A super-hero and/or a soldier second/third.
4. Anyone who forgets that Cap is a man out of his time. It's not quite as big a deal as the kid thing. He has adapted. But it's important to remember that the 1960s was not that long ago to him.
5. General Wade Eiling is often mischaracterized from my point of view. This is a man with an agenda, but he's still (in his mind) a patriot. He's got a temper, but he's pragmatic not irrational. He'd never, for example, voluntarily place his brain inside the Shaggy Man. That's just silly to me. He's basically a proto-Xanatos. Wade's not as charming as David. But he's that smart and always armed with contingencies.
6. There are probably a lot of other things, too, if I thought about it too much. But the BIG ONE is...
7. The pronunciation of "Eiling." It's EE-ling, like an electric eel. All those people who pronounce it EYE-ling are just objectively wrong.
I was swimming through the S8 archives and noticed a Gargoyles question that's been asked before but never really had a chance to be answered (at least online).
From 2001: http://www.s8.org/gargoyles/askgreg/search.php?qid=2177
From 2013: http://www.s8.org/gargoyles/askgreg/search.php?qid=19262
Naturally, I'm curious myself now (and curious that I've never really wondered about it before tonight). So how many seasons and/or episodes was The Pack on the air?
Just to be thorough, I double checked the ol' This Day in Gargoyles' Universe History rambles from 2007-2008 and the posts relative to the on-air Pack program only refer to the day the television at the castle began airing episodes of The Pack on all stations all day and night long (http://www.s8.org/gargoyles/askgreg/search.php?rid=644), the day of the live-performance engagement (http://www.s8.org/gargoyles/askgreg/search.php?rid=645), and the aftermath of Wolf & Fox's arrest, leading to the show's cancellation (http://www.s8.org/gargoyles/askgreg/search.php?rid=647) . . . all in the span of four days from November 3rd to November 6th, 1994.
Finally, I've been reading Cary Bates's and your work on The Fall and Rise of Captain Atom and I just finished World of Warcraft: Traveler! I thorougly enjoyed both and I (like so many others) cannot wait for Young Justice season three :D
Thanks for the kind words!
The Pack had at least one season and had begun (at least) its second when the $#!^ hit the fan. I don't have Gargoyles materials here at my WB office, and I just can't remember if they had more than one full season. But I don't think so.
Greetings, Greg! I suppose that probably expected someone from the old days of Captain Atom fandom to pop up upon the arrival of The Rise and Fall of CA. Really enjoyed the first issue.
Anyway, someone pointed out that Gen. Eiling bears a starling resemblance to Keith David. Would I be correct in guessing this was on purpose? Was it your idea? Or did Will Conrad surprise you and Cary?
Also, the final page, and its use of a newspaper from Kansas City, evoked a scene in the Dark Tower books. That is not on purpose, right?
All the best, Greg! Looking forward to seeing what you did with Nate.
Despite my personal friendship with Keith, it was actually Cary who casually suggested that Will model Eiling on Mr. David. Will did surprise us a little by taking that suggestion and running with it. Keith is tickled by it, by the way.
I'm not familar with the Dark Tower books. So it didn't come from me. But I only co-plotted The Fall and Rise of Captain Atom (not Rise and Fall, btw). Cary wrote it. Still, I'm not sure if that reference is really there, or if it was necessitated by the previously established location of the Continuum.
Simple question what are you currently working on as it is hard to follow sometimes and if you can talk or more specifically write about it what will you be working on that you know? Ohh and where can we watch it , or if read it when is it coming out or where can we find it I know you were writing a comic for Marvel I could never find it in several comic book stores.
Right now, I am working on two things. The third season of YOUNG JUSTICE and the second novel in the WORLD OF WARCRAFT: TRAVELER series.
We don't yet know where Season Three of YJ will air, but you can view Seasons One and Two on Netflix, on iTunes or on DVD or BluRay.
The second WARCRAFT book should come out in bookstores (including online bookstores) next November.
Prior to that, I was working on the second and third seasons of SHIMMER AND SHINE. Season Two is currently airing on Nick Jr.
I also wrote the first book in the WORLD OF WARCRAFT: TRAVELER series, which is currently available at bookstores (and online bookstores).
There's also my two novels RAIN OF THE GHOSTS and SPIRITS OF ASH AND FOAM, both of which are currently available at bookstores and online bookstores.
Then there's the AudioPlay version of RAIN OF THE GHOSTS, which is currently available for download at Gumroad.com/RainoftheGhosts.
I recently co-plotted a CAPTAIN ATOM miniseries with Cary Bates, illustrated by Will Conrad. It will be available this January, 2017 from anyplace that sells comic books, including the DC Comics App, Comixology and iTunes.
Last year, I wrote the twelve issue STAR WARS KANAN series for Lucasfilm and Marvel. Those are available either as single issues, as two trades (STAR WARS KANAN: THE LAST PADAWAN and STAR WARS KANAN: FIRST BLOOD) or as an omnibus, again at Bookstores, online Bookstores, comic book stores and from the Marvel Comics App, Comixology or iTunes.
Finally, I also wrote the six issue STARBRAND AND NIGHTMASK for Marvel Comics, available as single issues or as one trade (STARBRAND AND NIGHTMASK: ETERNITY'S CHILDREN [Attend University]), which AGAIN is available at bookstores, online bookstores, comic book stores, the Marvel Comics App, Comixology or iTunes.
Whew! I think that's it! Thanks for asking!
ALL of your past and present projects have been renewed, and you have been asked to help them all. Which one would you prioritize, and why?
Well, as many regular readers of this site know, I'm not big on hypotheticals. Reality is so much more complicated, but I'll give it a shot:
GARGOYLES first, always. We're trying to get another comic book version now. Tweet the hashtag #WeLiveAgain!
YOUNG JUSTICE, second. Season Three is real. It's here. I'm working on it.
I'm also working on the second book in the WORLD OF WARCRAFT: TRAVELER series, THE SPIRAL PATH, and recently completed co-plotting work on THE FALL AND RISE OF CAPTAIN ATOM, w/my old Captain Atom partner Cary Bates.
The third book in the RAIN OF THE GHOSTS series, MASQUE OF BONES, which I still plan to get back to as soon as I possibly can.
Everything else falls into the category of it's just too hypothetical to differentiate. But I'm very fond of THE SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN, W.I.T.C.H., ROUGHNECKS: THE STARSHIP TROOPER CHRONICLES, STARBRAND & NIGHTMASK, anything with the STAR WARS REBELS characters [especially STAR WARS KANAN], 3X3 EYES, DISNEY'S VILLAINS and many others.
And I'm sure Edmund Tsabard would love to finish Last Tengu in Paris.
In regards to strength, how does Icon compare to the other league heavy hitters, such as Superman, Captain Marvel, Cpt Atom & Green Lantern?
Green Lantern's not particularly strong. Not physically. As for Captain Marvel, it depends whether we're talking season one or season two.
I'm not too interested in ranking generally, so I won't be held to this, but I guess I'd rank it Superman, Icon, Captain Atom. The latter's strength is augmented by energy from the quantum field reinforced by his alien metal exo-shell. The energy is virtually unlimited, but there's only so much augmentation his muscles - even with his exo-shell - can manage.
But they're all very strong. And often, strength is situational. No one's interested in how much they can bench press in a gym under controlled conditions. (Or at any rate, I'M not interested in that.) So in one situation, I could see Superman being stronger; in another, Icon, etc.
No question, just something I observed.
The very first time I asked a question here, one of mine was about the change from Nathaniel Adam to Adams. You explained in always felt more natural to you, even in the 80s.
Did you know that, during the Silver Age, Captain Allen Adam was frequently, erroneously, identified as Allen Adams? In early appearances in Space Adventures, he would often be called Adams instead. See this one:
Like I said, no question, but vindication, perhaps?
I did know... as I read all that stuff in the eighties when Cary Bates and I did Captain Atom. The Adam/Atom pun was always more annoying than fun for me. And at least Adams felt like a real surname. So real, that letterers of the day naturally made the mistake.
Does Batman keep trophies inside the Batcave?
Which series we talking about? I've done at least five with Batman in it.
Hey Greg a timeline question or threerather.
1. You have detailed timelines for Young Justice and Gargoyls, do you do this for everything you do even when you havent built the universe from scratch like in your Captain Atom comics or WITCH?
2. When did you start this trait?
3. You have time and time again noted that YJ has no "canon year" and that 2010 worked for Year Zero as a math thing. So does that mean season two being in 2016 by that reckoning was a coincidence?
1. Not everything, no. I have a Captain Atom timeline from way back, but I'm sure it has no relevance to current DC continuity anymore. I don't think I ever did a WITCH timeline in the strictest sense, but I did make an effort to keep track of the backstories, etc.
2. In elementary school.
3. Heh heh heh.
Youve said before that Captian Atom has metal alloy skin, not a shell. So is he as anatomically correct as a Ken doll or something?
And shouldnt he be wearing some pants? If all the silver is his skin, it lloks like all he is wearing are boots, gloves, and a symbol on his chest, which leave NOTHING to the imagionation...exept what happened to his genitalia.
Can he even have any more kids if he wanted to?
The metal covers his private parts and his toes by subconscious choice. The not-a-shell statement was in response to being asked if he was a Wildfire-style energy being beneath a metal shell. He's not. He's a fully organic human being beneath an alien metal coating.
John Wells, as many of you may have noticed on the credit lists I've posted for Young Justice, has provided invaluable research on the DC Universe for those of us working on the YOUNG JUSTICE comic and television series.
He's written a book: American Comic Book Chronicles: 1960-1964, and he's recently been interviewed by KC Carlson about the book, his secret origins and the work he's done in and for the industry. (Coincidentally, KC was - once upon a time - my associate editor on CAPTAIN ATOM.)
Anyway, here are links to the three-part interview:
Check 'em out! And congratulations, John!
It says on you wiki page that you came up with the plot for an episode of Batman: The Brave and the Bold, Powerless!, but didn't actually write the script itself. My question is how your version of the story would have differed from what we received, though I'm guessing Captain Atom wasn't an arrogant git to people without superpowers.
My story idea was based on an issue of Captain Atom that I wrote (with Cary Bates) back in the late 80s, where Cap lost his powers and went to Batman for some... career advice. Or that was the jumping off point, anyway. I did have Major Force in the premise I pitched.
In YJ did you based Wade Eiling on disgraced US Marine Lieutenant Colonel "Oliver North"?
No. We based him on Wade Eiling from the Captain Atom comic book that Cary Bates and I wrote in the 80s and early 90s. And Eiling was loosely modeled on Captain Kirk.
It appears my last post was deleted in light of your new no-long-lists policy (I have to say I agree, though this time around, my list was only three questions.) So, I resubmit one question, and come up with two new ones (all sort of Captain Atom-y related). I hope it gets through.
1. In the whole JLA/I/E/Extreme Justice era of the 90s, Captain Atom did not get along with Wonder Woman. Green Arrow and Hawkman were never big friends, and Batman seems to detest anything that glows green. Are there any "fights" or rivalries in the League in YJ, or are they all big super friends?
2. Seeing as how the Vietnam War is now over 40 years ago, and not 20 as it was when you and Cary wrote the Captain Atom comics, how does it influence characters? Rako was made a kid (and around 50 now?), but how old are Rois and Eiling? They both have to be well over sixty, or even seventy.
3. Which Captain Atom-derived character is your favorite, Major Force or Bombshell?
1. Without going into details, they all get along professionally, but some are better friends than others.
2. Yep. It's an issue that I've largely avoided dealing with so far. But eventually. The main shift that through me so far, was how old I had to make Peggy Adams Eiling.
3. I'm not that familiar with Bombshell, and I co-created Major Force, so... take a guess.
Mr. Weisman, forgive me if this has been previously established, but, where was Nathaniel Adams born?
I haven't thought about it.
I was wondering your opinion on the New 52. Not the execution, I have a hunch you don't have the time to read much of any of it, but the idea of it.
Although I have found a few books I really like, in general I object to heaving aside continuity and trying to rejam the history back into a too short time frame while wiping out character development. The idea of accessibility is a red herring because if they were capable of sticking to self contain arc inviting to new readers they wouldn't need a reboot to do so. Then again, I came into comics after Crisis on Infinite Earths and am conditioned into thinking it was necessary.
As you noted, I have NOT had the time to read the New 52, so I will not comment on that specifically. Whether or not it works creatively depends more than anything else on execution. Since I haven't seen the execution, I can't respond to how it works creatively. But I KNOW that commercially it's been a HUGE hit. I like to believe that it wouldn't have done quite so well, if it wasn't executed well too.
But generally, on the idea of reboots, I do have a handful of thoughts:
1. I don't want to be a hypocrite. When we started Spectacular Spider-Man and again on Young Justice, we were effectively doing a continuity reboot. I feel when adapting something to a new media, that's essential, but it doesn't change the fact that (a) we did it and (b) I was relieved to be able to do it. Relieved to be able to jettison elements that I felt didn't work or were redundant or confusing, etc. Our goal, particularly on Spider-Man, was to come up with something Classic, Cohesive, Coherent, Contemporary and Iconic. So how can I object if the comics themselves want to do this?
2. In the end, whether or not either SpecSpidey or YJ was/is successful depends on our execution of our ideas, additions and cullings. I like to think both shows are successful, but that's a judgement each individual viewer would have to make for him or herself.
3. I was working on staff at DC Comics during the publication of the original Crisis on Infinite Earths. In fact, during my very first editorial meeting, I raised the question as to why we weren't starting ALL our books over (with the numerical exceptions of Detective and Action Comics) with issue #1. I remember very clearly a collective groan rising up from the conference room table. (They had dealt with this question for months before my arrival.) On the one hand, they wanted Crisis to be a real sea-change, a true reboot (before we knew that term). On the other hand, if you truly reboot Batman, then Robin doesn't exist yet. No Robin, no other sidekicks either. So no Teen Titans. And at the time, the New Teen Titans was the company's best selling book.
4. So the end result was that some things got rebooted and some did not.
5. This was complicated by the fact that certain creators came late to the party, and certain characters got reboots too long AFTER Crisis.
6. And so, as a READER, I couldn't help feeling that - rather than simplifying the continuity - Crisis made it more complicated. This will happen in general, naturally, as time passes and more and more comics are produced by a variety of creators and editors, but Crisis seemed to exacerbate the problem for me personally.
7. In part this was because, I really liked the DC Multiverse. I agree that it was abused to the point of confusion. (And I think it was nuts that Earth TWO had the forties heroes and Earth ONE had the sixties heroes. Just the odd backwards numbering itself created additional unnecessary confusion.) But if limits had been placed on the number of parallel earth stories and crossovers, I think it could have been fine.
8. ESPECIALLY, if they had created a new Earth-THREE, starting over with heroes of the eighties, with Superman and Batman (being new to the hero thing but) remaining relatively constant. But with a new Green Lantern (for example) as different from Hal Jordan as Jordan was from Alan Scott.
9. But that didn't happen. And in fact, though I've read very few comics since 1996, my understanding is that reboots have hit over and over at both DC and Marvel. That negates reader trust in the worth and weight of the stories they're reading. It's more insidious than obvious. And you risk alienating old readers, even as you may or may not attract new ones. You'll always get a short term gain off of a reboot, because everyone wants to check it out. But long term...
10. And going back to my first point - which is that most everything depends on execution - I personally didn't love the execution of some of the post-Crisis rebooting. Some people may have loved it. And that's totally legit. But some of the rethinking on certain individual characters didn't work too well for me.
11. Though personally I think the Bates-Weisman-Broderick reboot on Captain Atom from his Charlton incarnation was brilliant. ;)
12. So, personally, my feeling on reboots in general is that you either do them or you don't. You've got to be thorough and ruthless about it, or don't bother, because otherwise - long term - you're creating more problems than you're solving.
13. And still and all, ultimately, it all depends on execution.
Two questions about the comic #10 - a lovely twist on the old series, by the way:
* Captain Atom can revert to a human form. Since "Nathaniel Adams" has been dead for 43 years, does he use another alias (Cameron Scott?).
* Cap is technically 71, but had (through some NO COMMENT event) in 1968. Does he age, or is "Cameron Scott" 28 for the rest of his life?
* The issue mentions "to be continued" at the end, but the solicits for the upcoming issues (#11-#13) make no reference to this storyline. Will this be dealt with in the comics after #14 or in the TV series? I can understand if this is NO COMMENT territory, just curious.
1. Candidly, yes. Though nothing is canon until or unless it's established in the show or the comic.
2. Captain Atom is chronologically 70 in the year that the series is set. Whether or not he ages, is as yet unclear. He hasn't been back long enough to be sure.
3. We will eventually come back to this storyline in the comics...
How old is Captain Atom? and what kind of powers does he have in this show?
Captain Atom is 70 years old (though he doesn't look a day over 28).
Cap is connected to the quantum field via his silver skin, which allows him to access clean (NOT RADIOACTIVE) energy and fire off bolts of energy. That same energy can also be used to power his flight and even to enhance his strength. His skin also makes him largely invulnerable. And he can even survive in deep space without a pressure suit of any kind, as long as he has oxygen. (He still needs to breathe.)
Cap can also ABSORB energy and redirect it back to the quantum field. But there's a limit as to how much energy he can absorb and how quickly. If he takes in too much energy at once, the excess will be used as fuel for a one-way trip into the future. The more he absorbs the further into the future he'll jump.
Long time reader, first time asker. It's been a great week. I don't know which had me more thrilled, issue 9 or Humanity.
1) Probably asked before by now, but I couldn't find it in unanswered: Can you "translate" Zatanna's spells? I only got the second one, which appears to be "Time to try out a new look". Does Zatara speak backwards too?
2) I noticed the gender swap on Red Inferno and Red Torpedo in Homefront, though I gave it no second thought. However, now with the reveal of the "human" identities in Humanity, was the swap deliberate so you could use the golden age hero James Lockhart/Red Torpedo?
3) In issue #9, you used the name "Nathaniel Adams" as opposed to "Nathaniel Adam". I noticed you used the name before in the Batman: The Brave and the Bold episode "Powerless!"; the "Adams" version was, IIRC, introduced in Justice League Unlimited. Did DC ask you to use this name, or do you prefer it over "Adam"?
1. ASKED AND ANSWERED.
2. ASKED AND ANSWERED, but yes. Except, I'm not the one who did the gender swap. When I wrote the original Red Tornado mini-series, Inferno was female and Torpedo was male because Torpedo has ALWAYS been male. Of course, they didn't publish my version. So whomever wrote the version they DID publish is the one who did the gender swap. I just went back to the original.
3. I actually do prefer "Adams" over "Adam". I'm sure in this great big world, there's someone out there with the last name "Adam," but even back in the 80s when I first started writing Captain Atom with Cary Bates, I always thought that the last name "Adam" felt artificial. "Adams" always felt more natural to me.
Hello Mr. Weisman. Congratulations to you and the rest of the YJ crew on Home Front. I had a few questions I had hoped you'd be willing to answer.
1. In some versions, I know that Barbara Gordon has been presented as Jim Gordon's niece, whom he raised as his daughter. In other versions, she's his daughter biologically as well (In still others, she's Alfred's daughter, but it's best not to dwell there). Granted, she's Jim Gordon's daughter in every way that really counts in either version, but, for the record, could you clarify which is the case on Earth-16?
2. How would you characterize Dick and Barbara's interactions in general? Casual friendship? Surrogate siblings, to an extent?
3. Did Dick Grayson immediately debut as Robin, or did Batman make him undergo some sort of training program or evaluation before he'd take Dick with him?
4. I like Robin's gauntlet computer. Does Batman have something similar?
5. How old is Guardian?
6. How old is Alfred Pennyworth?
7. How old is Captain Atom (chronologically and biologically, if they're different)?
8. My apologies if this is asking too much, but can you confirm that the Earth-16 Captain Atom is not a sentient energy field in a containment suit? Bruce Timm and company seem unusually fond of presenting him as such, having done so in both JLU and the Superman/Batman: Public Enemies DTV. Don't get me wrong, I love every DC cartoon that's been produced (with the exception of Batman Beyond), but I've never understood why they did this. I mean, you've got a sentiest energy field that, since the word atom appears in his name, must, by Hollywood "logic," be just waiting to explode. What do we do? We send him into battle against people who are powerful enough to puncture that suit, and then act surprised when a city-sized area is suddenly in imminent danger. Sorry, I guess I've veered from my question somewhat (upon reflection, it's entirely possible that you didn't know about the whole sentient energy field thing).
Thank you for your time, Sir, and for everything else you do for the fans. Few writers make themselves available to the fandom as much as you do, and the vast majority of us greatly appreciate it, even if it sometimes probably feels like we're taking it for granted.
1. She's his daughter.
2. Best friends... with potential.
3. I guess you'd have to define "immediately", but the short answer is both.
4. He has access to the technology.
7. He's seventy chronologically. About twenty-eight biologically.
8. Yes, I can confirm that he is NOT "a sentient energy field in a containment suit."
I have been reading the Captain Atom series and have to say great job for both you and Cary. I absolutely love it. The character is amazing when it comes to Captain Atom's powers and how he handles situations. I do have a few questions though:
1. Why hasn't the series been picked back up?
2. Did you help create the superhero himself? If so, what exactly?
3. Why has Captain Atom been featured in crossovers even though his comic has been cancelled?
4. Do you think Captain Atom would become more known if his series came back?
1. Ask DC. I've offered to do it.
2. Create him? No. Captain Atom was originally a Charlton character that DC purchased along with Blue Beetle, Peacemaker, Nightshade, Peter Cannon, Sarge Steel and the Question. But Cary, myself and artist Pat Broderick redeveloped the character for the DC Universe under the supervision of editor Denny O'Neil.
3. You'd have to ask DC.
4. Well... yeah, of course.
You can watch for a bit more Captain Atom in the new Young Justice companion comic, starting in issue #9.
If you saw it how did you feel about Captain Atom and Eiling's portrayals on JLU?
I saw one episode with Captain Atom. His powers seemed slightly different from when I wrote the comic, but every series has to adapt. I haven't seen Eiling. At least, I don't think so.
Hey greg,first of all, you're awesome, i remember when i was only 5 and i would re enact your gargoyles haha good times.
If you were to compare Young Justice and your other works, would young justice be in the top 5?
How many views are you having on Young justice ?
Wow, did you just make me feel old...
Yes, YJ would be in my top five, along with Gargoyles (of course) and in no particular order, Spectacular Spider-Man, W.I.T.C.H. and Captain Atom.
What comic universe would you say you're more knowledgeable about: DC or Marvel?
I'm pretty equal on both companies.
Fairly knowledgeable (all things considered) on pre-1970s stuff.
More knowledgeable on the 70s.
Extremely knowledgeable on the 80s.
Less knowledgeable on the early and mid 90s.
Almost completely ignorant of the mid 90s through 2006.
Somewhat knowledgeable but with huge gaps on 2006 through the present...
Of course, I worked at DC as a freelancer from 1983-1991, and on staff from 1985-1987, so I have more INSIDE knowledge of that company, but during that period I was reading ALL the Marvel books too, so if we're talking CONTINUITY and CHARACTERS, I know both companies pretty darn well. I certainly grew up reading both. And when I was a little kid, I didn't even get that there were different companies that made comics. I'd see Green Lantern team up with Superman in one book. And Spider-Man team up with the Fantastic Four in another. And I didn't know that next month I might not see Captain America team with Batman. It took me a while to get the whole competing companies idea.
Had a fun convention. We had 100 copies of Clan-Building Volume Two on sale, and they went like hotcakes. David Hedgecock and I did multiple signings.
Also did a signing at the Ape booth for Mecha-Nation with Vic Cook.
And Vic, Sean "Cheeks" Galloway, Josh "Spider-Man" Keaton, Robert "Vulture" Englund, Kelly "Sha Shan" Hu and myself had a successful Spidey panel on Sunday.
Saw friends. Ate meals. Bought a Captain Atom action figure.
Just a comment on an archetype that seems to be a theme in your shows. I can't help but notice that the series you produce are populated by tricksters.
Puck is an obvious and classic example, the original trickster. Also, "Gargoyles" has Raven, Anansi, and Coyote who were also literal tricksters.
Beyond that, one of the lead villains, Xanatos, was a trickster... he even said so himself. That's an interesting choice of archetypes for the primary antagonist.
Thailog, while you've cited the bastard archetype often enough, outside of that, he seems like a trickster as well. Which makes sense since he was programmed by one. Granted, he's a more malevolent trickster than Xanatos, but he still displays those characteristics.
Meanwhile, over in in "Spectacular," you have Spider-Man as, perhaps, the most benevolent trickster you have yet to write. Fitting, he is the hero after all, and the people he acts like a trickster towards usually have it coming.
And, of course, you have a more sinister trickster in Green Goblin, hie arch-nemesis.
I know from personal experience how difficult tricksters can be to write, as I've often had to jump through hoops to do it right,
I haven't seen WITCH so I have no idea if this archetype shows up there or not. But it seems to me like the trickster archetype is a favorite of yours to write, and you do it so well.
So, does it just come naturally? Is Greg Weisman a trickster himself, or do you ever find yourself jumping through hoops as I sometimes do to create schemes worthy of the trickster you're writing?
There's some definite hoop-jumping going on. Personally, I'm more of a bastard than a trickster. But I do enjoy both archetypes, so I do the work to make them worthy.
You'll notice, however, that each of the tricksters you named, with the exception of Xanatos, were based on existing sources, which helps. As for Xanatos, he was a variation on General Eiling (from Captain Atom), who was more of a bastard. And Eiling, in turn, was loosely based on Captain Kirk, or rather a dark mirror of Kirk (and, no, that's not a reference to the "Mirror, Mirror," as the Mirror Kirk in that episode couldn't fool anyone).
Thailog is more in the classic bastard mode than the trickster mode -- at least in my mind -- though I'll admit there's definite overlap between the two archetypes.
I saw Watchmen recently (awesome, by the way), and I just had to ask...
Was David Xanatos in any way inspired by or modeled on Adrian Veidt?
Not particularly, though of course I had read Watchmen -- in fact, I worked at DC Comics when it came out (and provided Rorshach's thumbprints) -- so it's possible that Veidt had a subconscious influence. But Xanatos has WAY less in common with Ozymandias, then he does with General Wade Eiling from Captain Atom.
While this isn't Gargoyles related, I did have a question about one of your other works. Today when I was researching the episode of "The Batman" titled "Artifacts", I was surprised to find out that you were the story writer. I checked some more and found that you actually worked on 7 episodes of "The Batman"; The Big Chill, The Rubber Face of Comedy Part 1, The Clayface of Tragedy Part 2, Meltdown, Strange Minds, The Everywhere Man, and Artifacts.
Coincidently, I've noticed that the episodes you worked on happy to be the higher ranking episodes for me in this show. Besides that, my question to you is how deeply interested / have you been in the Batman world? Did you read it a lot when you were a kid? Are you a big fan of Batman? Were these seven episodes just offered to you, or did you strive to get them?
I'm mostly curious, and look forward to your response.
I'm a huge Batman fan. As you may know, I also worked at DC Comics for years. And one of my personal favorite Captain Atom issues which I wrote for them, was a Batman-Captain Atom crossover.
I pursued writing work on The Batman, AND I was offered said work... first by story editor Duane Capizzi (for the first five episodes you list) and then by story editor Michael Jelenic (for the last two). All seven scripts were close collaborations.
I liked the show, and they seemed to like my work on it. Glad you liked it too.
I have been picking up issues of Captain Atom recently. Nice writing from you and Cary. Just had two questions.
1. I do plan to pick up any available issues as I get the money to afford them. That said, are there any stories you'd recommend? So far for reference I have #1-32, 42-47 and Annual #1.
2. I read in your Captain Atom section that one of the stories you wrote for Captain Atom featured an appearance by Batman and Scarecrow. Which issue(s) did they appear in?
1. Well, I kinda like them all, so I'd recommend you pick up 33-41 and 48-50. As with Gargoyles, you get more out of the stories by reading them in order.
2. I'm afraid it's been so long that I can't remember. And I don't have the info here at the office. Sorry.
But know that I'm thrilled that Captain Atom's getting some attention. I'm very proud of Cary & my run on the book.
Just picked up #5 from my LCS today, loved it!
The Clones Vs the Clan was pretty cool.. that sneaky Thailog got his share of genetic samples again. He's really a great character.
Also, the end bit with Brooklyn was funny... if I didn't know about the canon in training stuff I would be feeling extra sorry for the guy.
The Illuminati ranking system is pretty cool... And man.. what a surprise member! You really have to give it to those Gathering people for loyalty and keeping those tidbits under wraps.
Speaking of comics.. have you seen what they are doing to Captain Atom.. err Monarch in Countdown? If everything with him is resolved and he somehow returns to his status quo, would you consider pitching a Captain Atom mini or one-shot?
The era of DC Comics when you wrote for them is probably my favorite.. a lot of great stories being told in the individual books, without all the crossover stuff they try to force on people today.
I've made it very clear to the folks at DC that I would love to do Captain Atom again. Ball's in there court.
Knew I was forgeting something. I figured I'd comment on the JLE/Captain Atom/Gargoyle Crossover.
I enjoyed all of the stories in JLA Showcase #1, but just the same, your story alone was worth the cover price. I'm just sorry I haven't stumbled onto it sooner.
Everything from Behemoth and clans Awakening, to the introductions is hilarious. My favorite line though:
Metamorpho- I thought he said they were an endangered species?
Captain Atom sure had his priorities straight alright. Anyway, I hope my commenting was ok.
Just a few questions considering others take on the issue.
1. Did you get any complaints for those who might not have appreciated the humorous nature of the parody?
2. Did Beth, Erin and Ben read it?
2a. If yes, what were their comments.
3. Have you considered doing a ramble on the story?
1. Nope. There was an earlier draft without the Flash, and my editor asked me to do a rewrite so that the JLE membership didn't come off as quite so feeble.
2. I don't think so.
3. I haven't. But maybe I will someday.
My favorite word in the entire story is "Thomeheb."
This probably isn't the right forum for this, but I don't know how else to contact you!
I was wanting to speak to you about the possibility of having you as a guest of honor at CONvergence, a Science Fiction convention I help to run. It's held the first full weekend in July each year in Minnesota, with an attendance of just under 2000 people. If you'd be willing to discuss the possibility, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By the way, I'm also a penciller for DC Comics and was the artist on your Exercise in Self-Indulgence story with Captain Atom and some familiar looking beasties.
I hope to hear from you soon.
Thanks for your time,
You did great work on that Captain Atom/JLE/Gargoyles parody story in JLA SHOWCASE back in February of 2000. Thank you. I think the story turned out great. Self-indulgent as planned and as noted, but pretty darn funny to Gargoyles' fans.
Of course, I'm not sure if your offer still stands to attend the con, as two years have past.
You've mentioned here on "Ask Greg" that you used to read Sandman. Has that influenced your Gargoyles stories? Have you ever worked with Neil Gaiman? If you haven't read "American Gods" yet, go for it!
I've never worked with Neil Gaiman, though I once used Death in an issue of Captain Atom. An appearance that I've been told he hates, though I think it was misinterpreted, since I made a tremendous effort to be careful and respectful.
For example, Captain Atom asks Death who she is relative to the Black Racer. She asks him (in essence) to guess. He guesses. I heard (third hand) that Neil really disliked Cap's interpretation, but that's why I didn't put it in Death's mouth. It's only Captain Atom's guess. If it's wrong, no harm done. Or so I thought.
It certainly was okay with Karen Berger, Neil's editor on Sandman, who was shown the appearance before it was published. In my defense, I had permission, and we were all working in a shared universe. I would have been happy to have talked with Neil about the appearance in advance. But all I got from Karen and Denny O'Neil (my editor) was a go-ahead, so I figured it was all right. I certainly didn't write it to piss him off.
But after he protested, I know that I was forbidden from using Death again later.
Was I influenced by Neil? I don't think so, but I think we both share influences, obviously. Shakespearean and mythological influences for example. There's one way that I know Gaiman's work effected Gargoyles. When I was interpreting the Weird Sisters for the series, my first thought was to do the traditional Maid, Mother and Crone moon goddess. But because Neil was using that in his books, I went with the Triplet version that you saw.
I haven't read much of Neil's work beyond the comics he was doing in the 90s. But I liked that stuff -- a lot. I somehow doubt the feeling is mutual.
Since we're discussing comic books, what other comics have you written besides Captain Atom and that JLA/JLE/JLI issue?
Was it DC that ordered you to reinovate Captain Atom?
Was Dr. Manhattan suppose to be Captain Atom? Why didn't DC allow the Charlton characters to appear in Watchman?
Let me handle your questions in reverse order.
When Alan Moore first suggested Watchmen, he was indeed planning to use the Charlton Characters. My memory is hazy, but I think it broke down as follows...
Dr. Manhattan = Captain Atom
Rorshach = The Question
Night Owl = Blue Beetle
Comedian = Peacemaker
Ozymandias = Peter Cannon?
Silk Spectre? = Nightshade?
Dick Giordano, who was executive editor at the time, was fond of the Charlton characters (having worked at Charlton way back when) and didn't want Alan to decimate the line-up that he had worked to get DC to acquire. He suggested that Alan create new heroes for the story, and I think everything turned out for the best.
Meanwhile, DC was reinventing all those old Charlton characters, and the job to revamp Captain Atom fell to Cary Bates and Pat Broderick. Cary brought me in to help.
As for other comics I worked on, well, there were many entries in Who's Who. Many letter columns for Tales of the Teen Titans, JLA and others. An issue of DC Challenge that I ghosted (the only time I've ever ghosted). Some Secret Origins stuff. And a bunch of stories that never got published. My one and only consistent comics writing gig was Captain Atom.
This may seem like a dumb question considering I don't read comics, but where did the alien metal that bonded with Captain Atom and Major Force come from? Did it belong to one of the races of the DC universe?
The alien metal was the skin and substance of Silver Shield, one of the so-called "Quantum Fish" aliens that exist as part and parcel of the quantum field. The metal is composed of pure quintessence, which was bonded to Cap (and later to Major Force) by atomic power.
Silver Shield was a Quantum Fish stranded on the material plane.
Or so I recall without looking it up. It's been awhile.
Greg, I've always been a fan of your work. I luv the Gargoyles series, but even more I luv'd when you did Captain Atom. Unfortunately, I haven't seen much of the character since we last saw him in Kingdon Come II. Have you heard of anything up coming involving Cap and if so, are you going to play any part in it? Plus, do you miss doing Cap at all? Thanks.
Aside from a single flashback story (involving Captain Atom and the JLE, meeting gargoyles in Paris) I haven't done any work for DC Comics since 1991.
I do miss working on Cap. Next to Gargoyles, it's the series I miss the most. But I long ago stopped following the character. The stuff they did immediately following my departure was as out of character for Cap and his supporting cast as Goliath Chronicles was for Gargoyles. More, maybe. (Simon Del Monte, are you out there to confirm?)
I have more than once expressed an interest to DC to coming back to either the character specifically or the DC Universe to play. But so far there hasn't been much interest. And I'm definitely not privvy to their plans.
But I'm glad you liked the stuff.
There's no memo, outline or script for this one on my computer, so we'll head right into my ramble on...
"AVALON, PART ONE"
DIRECTOR: Dennis Woodyard.
WRITER: Lydia Marano.
STORY EDITOR: Brynne Chandler Reaves.
...is all over the place. So much was coming together in this three-parter. The Weird Sisters, the eggs, the Archmage, Tom, Princess Katharine, the Magus, Macbeth, Demona. This was our most ambitious story yet. Which given episodes like "The Mirror" or "Vows" and multi-parters like "Awakening" and "City of Stone" was saying something.
Of course "Avalon" was never designed to be the cohesive single story movie that "City of Stone" was. It was designed as a tryptych. Part one would bring our heroes up to date. Part two would bring our villains up to date. Part three would pit them against each other.
"Avalon I" also represented the first episode in our fourth tier. The three-parter was what we called a 'tentpole'. We knew we couldn't air it until all the Tier 3 episodes had aired. And we knew we couldn't air any other Tier 4 episodes until this three-parter had aired. Despite the fact that "The Price" aired out of order, generally our Tentpole/Tier system worked very well. Out of 66 episodes that I worked on only two: "The Price" and "Kingdom" aired out of order, hopefully with minimal damage to the continuity.
The title was one of mine. But initially I wasn't sure that we were going to call the island Avalon. Now, it's mind-boggling to me, but I actually had my assistant Monique Beatty (who's now a producer in her own right) research Brigadoon to find out if that name was created only for the musical, or if it was something pulled from legends. I was thinking of Avalon, but looking for something from a Scotish tradition as opposed to British. Fortunately, Brigadoon was created for the musical. So we were 'stuck' with Avalon. Which made including King Arthur a natural.
Many series don't reveal that an episode is going to be a multi-parter until you get to the 'To Be Continued' line at the closer. "Avalon, Part One" could have just been titled "Avalon". The conventional wisdom is that people are reluctant to commit the time to a multi-parter in advance. That it is better to hook them on the story before revealing that they HAVE to come back to see the end. I always felt that was cheating. What is your reaction to seeing "Part One" attached to a title?
Another cool shot of our gargs waking up. Always nice to reiterate that at the start of our bigger stories.
Bronx gets left behind. Of course, this often happens. It was one of the things that the World Tour would set about correcting in a BIG way. But we made his getting left behind a bit more obvious here. Usually, he just doesn't go. This time they won't take him and he's sad. We were laying pipe.
My 5-year-old son Benny asked where Hudson and the Trio were going. I had to think about it. "On Patrol, I guess."
Then the GUARDIAN shows up. I love his cool, Goliath-inspired armor. My 7-year-old daughter Erin immediately demanded to know who he was. I wouldn't tell her. (I'm so mean.) Did any of you guess?
Of course he immediately encounters BRENDAN & MARGOT. (What would one of our multi-parters be without him?)
Then comes the three gang-bangers from "AWAKENING, PART THREE". As usual, Keith David does the voice for one of them -- making it distinctive from both Goliath and MORGAN, who's about to come in and speak. The problem is we got a touch confused. In Awakening, Keith voices the bald white guy. Here he does the same voice, but it's assigned to the black guy. Hard to say which is wrong, except by virtue of which came first. It annoys me though.
Morgan's fun in this. I really like him. No one but Simon DelMonte will get this, and I don't know if he even reads these rambles, but Morgan kind of reminds me of Jeff Goslin, a character that Cary Bates and I created in Captain Atom.
Anyway, I like how Morgan talks Guardian down. And I like how the sword is much heavier than he thought it was going to be. His cop buddies tease him, but he maintains his sense of wonder and goodness when talking about the Guardian to Elisa.
That's kind of a cool scene. First off he describes Guardian's armor: "Real armor. King Arthur stuff." Anyone think this was a clue to what was coming in the next episode? Even with the Avalon title? Then he tells her the guy's looking for Gargoyles. Elisa of course discourages her fellow officers from taking Garg reports seriously. Everyone who's seen one must be a nut-case. These guys should form 'a club'. Then she finds out that this Guardian was asking for Goliath by name. BOOM.
Site of our last encounter with Demona and Macbeth. Another clue.
Once Elisa got a look at the Guardian's armor, she must have thought -- yeah, there's a Goliath connection here all right.
Goliath shows with Bronx, who gets to come along and come along and come along for once. Bronx always seemed underutilized to us. We knew we couldn't bring the whole clan along. (Too many characters and no poignancy.) But Bronx was an easy addition. Of course, Bronx is also useful as a kind of living personality test. If Bronx likes you, it's a damn good sign. Bronx likes Tom. Does he remember him? What scents do you figure the Guardian carried back from Avalon. Anyway, Bronx engenders immediate trust in the Guardian for Goliath.
I love this scene. Guardian gives everyone so little time to catch up. He talks about the Archmage, reveals that he's Tom and talks about 'the eggs' being in danger. *That was a fun idea. Keep you guys thinking in terms of eggs for twenty minutes and reveal that it's just a pet name for the Avalon Clan.*
Benny asked: "What kind of Eggs?"
Erin: "Gargoyle Eggs."
Benny: "I didn't know Gargoyles hatch out of eggs." [Well, keep in mind it's been a year since he saw the first thirty episodes. And he's too young to remember the first time he saw the ones we're watching now.]
Then there's the skiff. Elisa: "Where'd that boat come from? ... To where? The other side of the lake? ... Wait for me!"
This all sounds fishy to her. Nothing makes sense. I wanted to get a clear shot in there of the pond in Central Park so that you could see objectively that it doesn't go anywhere. But I never quite managed that. I wanted you guys to be confused. Or at any rate to have a million questions. But like Elisa, no matter how suspicious, I figured you'd want to go along for the ride.
Mary, Katharine, the Magus and young Tom are all reintroduced. It's very clear that the first three have all learned their lesson from Awakening. They've all really become better people. Tom, of course, didn't need to learn that lesson. But he does learn to be a hero. He officially becomes the Guardian. It begins, I believe, as just a nice gesture on the part of the Princess. Later, of course, it'll become the truth. Then there's the long journey. I like the montage there. Hardship. We never had the time to show enough of the hardship of tenth century life.
Our gang heads into Edinburgh. Constantine's followers are all over the place. They all seem to look like Disney storyboard artists for some reason. ;)
There's some stellar voice work in this ep. Morgan Shepard as King Kenneth II. Sheena Easton making her Garg Premiere as Finella. Ian Buchanan as Constantine. (I've already mentioned Keith's versatility.)
But as usual, real props must be handed out to Jeff Bennnett and Kath Soucie.
Jeff plays Brooklyn, the Magus and Maol Chalvim. (No Bruno or Owen or Vinnie in this ep, I'm afraid.)
Kath plays Katharine, Mary and all three Weird Sisters.
Benny saw Finella and said: "That's one of the witches."
A year ago, Tom was his favorite character. Now Tom barely registered. And he really is fascinated with the Weird Sisters. Anyway, I corrected him, but I was glad that they were appearing later.
Ian Buchanan, once of General Hospital, is playing a cad here. We have to very quickly set up a lot of politics, sexual and otherwise. This story was as historical as we could make it based on the available research, the fact that we had to fit in a few fictional characters and eggs, and screen time compression.
Believe it or not, we also had another character originally that we cut early on because it was just getting too damn complicated. Katharine and Maol Chalvim's cousin: the future King Kenneth III. The father of Bodhe. Yep. That Bodhe. The father of Gruoch.
Kenneth III winds up being made High King of Scotland after Constantine is killed. To get a sense of their relationship, at least as I see it, you might want to check out "Once upon a time there were three brothers..."
(Or to give you a hint, ten years after the events depicted here, King Kenneth III would be murdered by Maol Chalvim's operatives during a civil war. Maol Chalvim was also known as Malcolm Forranach, the Destroyer. We used the Maol Chalvim version of his name so as not to confuse him with Katharine's father Prince Malcolm. Just as in City of Stone we emphasized Malcolm Canmore's Canmore name for the same reason.)
Anyway, Maol Chalvim seems intense but right on the money here. He's even kind of heroic when he and the Magus bring Tom back to Katharine's apartment, and he begs Katharine to go. Kind of heroic. He still leaves her. We were trying very hard to balance out his minor role here with his future roll as the grandfather of and major influence on Duncan. (Of course, he's also Macbeth's grandfather, as well.)
After Katharine tells Maol to go, there's a weird cut of him just standing there smiling. We needed some kind of transition before he took off running, and I guess that was the best we could do. But it's still awkward as hell.
But I'm getting ahead of myself.
We establish early on that Katharine doesn't think much of Constantine. You wouldn't know it from Awakening, but obvioulsy she's learned to be a decent judge of character.
Kenneth isn't quite so sharp. Everyone can see that he's a fool for Finella. And he doesn't recognize Constantine's threat (despite the fact that Constantine's father was a bitter enemy and) despite the fact that his son flat out tells him to beware. My thinking was that the crown had kept bouncing back and forth between different branches of the royal family. Kenneth had hoped that by taking Constantine in, instead of banishing him, he'd be able to be a positive influence on the boy. A nice idea perhaps, but maybe Kenneth was too innattentive to pull it off. And Maol probably was too covetous to really be a brother to young Con.
Anyway, Constantine tricks Finella and kills the king. We hear Finella sobbing, just to prove that she was neither in on it nor that she would approve of it. (Though one wonders what her reaction would have been down the road if Constantine hadn't spurned her in favor of Katharine. Would she have adjusted to the crime? Or did Constantine become an unredeemable villain in her eyes immediately? I hate to say it, but I tend to think it's the former. Actually, I don't hate to say it. She's more interesting to write that way.)
Erin asked: "He killed King Arthur? Why?"
That's a tough question. So first I had to explain that it was King Kenneth, not King Arthur. Then my wife Beth helped out by explaining that Constantine wanted to be king.
We come back from the act and we see that Constantine was ready for the takeover. The Banners are immediately changed in a scene clearly inspired by the Ian McKellan (spelling?) movie version of Shakespeare's Richard III. (A version I heartily recommend, by the way.)
We also continue to set up the Magus' own tragedy. He loves Katharine. Has loved her since before Awakening. That feeling is shown to deepen here when she is once again in danger. And when Constantine tries to coerce her into marrying him. (The astute Mary and Tom have to hold him back.) Here, we sense that maybe Katharine might some day return that love. That's what I wanted you all to think anyway. Did you?
Constantine takes his crown. Originally we wanted to stage this with the Stone of Destiny as we did with Macbeth. But again, I think we just had too many sets.
Michaelmas. I just like that word.
Constantine is fairly astute himself: "You have 36 very good reasons to obey." We kept reiterating the number of eggs for what was coming later.
The Magus disguises broken pots as eggs and vice-versa. But it always seemed to me that the kitchen staff at Edinburgh sure broke a lot of pots. I mean a LOT!
I like the lines: "Taking the wee bairns for a walk?" and "I don't think I like Gargoyle eggs." Very menacing.
Princess K burns her wedding dress. She feels she cannot leave because C will follow her to "the ends of the Earth." So the Magus responds: "Then I will take you beyond them." Again. Very romantic moment between them.
Finella joins the troop. The WOMAN SCORNED. She's really fun now. Dangerous. I always laugh when Constantine drinks the brew and collapses so abruptly.
Erin: "The Weird Sisters". My kids are just fascinated with this trio. I wonder if they still will be by the end of this three-parter or if like many fans, they will be disappointed?
They get turned into owls. But the Magus worries about giving up the source of his power. K doesn't care about that.
And Finella and Mary agree to take the book. I love these two. I think they'd make a totally kick-ass team. I doubt it would be commercial enough, but I'd love to do a spin-off show just with these two women. At any rate, there was the plan to include them as recurring characters in TimeDancer.
Tom has to leave his mother and his childhood behind. Now his role as the Guardian is a way for Katharine to make him accept the loss. It is the start of their relationship, though neither knows it. I watch this now, and I can't help thinking of the Anakin & Padma relationship and where that's destined to go.
Back to the present. We see the impressive shores of Avalon. Very cool painting.
Bronx reacts. Guardian: "He's found the eggs..." And the music swells and two gargs and a garg beast appear on the cliff.
Now is that a cliff-hanger or what? What was your reaction?
Erin and Benny wanted "to see ther rest!" I told them they'd have to wait a week and we got a lot of protesting. Just what I was hoping for.
Anyway, that's my ramble. Where's yours?
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.