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Abby writes...

I enjoyed your ramble on "Possession." This episode holds a special place for me as one of the very first I saw. In your "pre-ramble" you mention the complexity of this one - imagine the confusion to someone unfamiliar with the characters! But this complexity is part of what drew me to the series and why I still enjoy it so much. I still catch new things when I watch this episode.

I did, however, immediately notice the "Bewitched" reference as well as the parallels to the Star Trek body-switching episode (which helped me better understand what was going on, especially on repeat viewings). I'd wondered if the inspiration for the switching triangle came from Trek; thanks for the clarification! (Incidentally, that Trek episode was called "Return to Tomorrow." I much prefer "Possession" - it's a much better description of the action, and made me think of that old line "possession is nine-tenths of the law" when the characters were tempted to keep their new bodies).

I also prefer the "Gargoyles" resolution to the dilemma of where to put the newly-transferred personalities. In Trek they go off into oblivion, having decided our species isn't ready for them yet. But "Possession" offers the prospect of future stories with these characters.

I enjoyed seeing Alex's winged plushie and the expressions on Broadway's and Angela's faces when Othello and Desdemona leave them mid-embrace.

Other one liners I like are from Michael Dorn (Puck-as-Coldstone): "I trust you have no more questions" and "Wouldn't you like to know."

Thanks for the ramble.

Greg responds...

We were heavily inspired by that particular Star Trek episode, but I do hope that we made it our own, so to speak. Organic to our series. And not slavish to the inspiration.

Response recorded on February 08, 2007

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Tom C writes...

What inspired you to write Gargoyles.

Greg responds...

Gargoyles did. The fact that I need to earn a living. Gummi Bears. Hill Street Blues. Shakespeare. Star Trek. Super-heroes. Check the Influence section for more.

Response recorded on January 26, 2007

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JJ Gregarius writes...

When you rambled about "The Gathering, Part I", you mentioned a scene that reminded you of the famous "Tears" scene from Blade Runner.

This reminded me of Bonkers, of all things. In particular, I thought of an episode entitled "Do Toons Dream of Animated Sheep?" or something to that effect, obviously a play on Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, the novel Blade Runner was loosely based upon,

My question is: Was someone thinking of Blade Runner during the creation and/or production of Bonkers? I realize that any link between Bonkers and Blade Runner would be tenuous at best.

However, if I recall correctly, many humans in Bonkers felt uncomfortable actually being around 'toons. Maybe the tenuous link I mentioned is the notion that humans would be afraid of powerful non-humans; in Bonkers' case, toons that can survive terrible explosions and the like. Also, from some of the Piquel episodes, it seems that humans created toons (remembr Piquel's daughter and the magic pencil?). Then, could there also be a "Frankenstein" angle in here, which could add meat to the aforementioned tenuous link?

Still, no-one was "retiring" toons, unless you count Who Framed Roger Rabbit? as part of the Bonkers universe, and think about Judge Doom....

Greg responds...

I'm quite sure that no one would have named a Bonker's episode "Do Toons Dream of Animated Sheep?" and NOT be aware of both the movie Blade Runner and the Dick story it was based on.

Response recorded on January 16, 2007

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Axem Gold writes...

First of all, I apologize for posting the question about Crisis On Infinite Earths. I missed that one while browsing the archives, anyway I have a few comments:

1. I'll be getting the JLA Showcase. The issue with the Captain Atom/JLE/Gargoyles. For anyone else reading who has a question about the issue, its: JLA Showcase #1 (February 2000) 80 Page.

2. I'm sure this would be on topic since like question 1 it is about comic book heroes. You considered the Original Pack to be a cross between Power Rangers/Professional Wrestling, and Macbeth to be an Anti-Batman. Now could Xanatos be considered an Anti-Iron Man?

Both Xanatos and Tony Stark are both wealthy, as well as having facial hair and wear a suit of tech armor.

What do you think?

Greg responds...

It's possible. But it wasn't what was in the forefront of my brain at the time... among other things, I didn't have the armor idea when we created the character.

But I've been a big Tony Stark/Iron Man fan since childhood, so maybe he was an influence.

Although one could easily and objectively demonstrate that Captain Hook was an influence too, so keep in mind that many things contribute to the whole.

Response recorded on January 09, 2007

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Legend84 (Newphoenix84) writes...

I was wondering the character Xanatos has very similar lives with Tony Stark was there any influences on creating Xanatos with Ironman? Thanks in advance.

Greg responds...

Well, obviously, I've been familiar with Tony Stark most of my life, so I can't positively say that there was no influence. But the similarities are all pretty superficial. Rich guy. Lots of property. I suppose the gargoyle armor might be considered reminiscent of Stark. But honestly, I think Bruce Wayne was a bit more of an influence, in that we were trying to create the nega-Bruce. (And Bruce may have been an influence on Tony when you think about it.)

Response recorded on December 18, 2006

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Todd Jensen writes...

This is more a comment than a question, but I found myself remembering something. You mentioned having worked on the development of the original version of "Bonkers", the one where he was teamed up with Miranda Wright. One of the episodes from that version of "Bonkers", I recall (my memories are a little over ten years old, and a bit rusty), had Bonkers and Miranda after a band of gangsters who were after a long-gone gangster's treasure, the clue to which was on "page 23" (I think that it was 23, though I could be wrong) of a book, but they didn't know which book. So they were stealing Page 23 from every book that they could find - and when they found the correct page, it led to what was at first sight a poetry book - and in the same episode, Bonkers had taken up poetry (even composing a poem that was a take-off on Lord Byron's "She walks in beauty like the night") and viewed the poetry book as real treasure.

It struck me that, although it might have been only a coincidence, the episode feels almost like a foreshadowing of both "A Lighthouse in the Sea of Time" (both episodes had a strong pro-literacy message and the beauties of the written word proving to be the "real treasure") and "The Silver Falcon" (the antagonists searching for the treasure of a long-gone gangster). I just thought that I'd bring it up here.

Greg responds...

I'd forgotten about that Bonkers episode. I should say that after the (Miranda version of the) series was developed, I wasn't all that involved with the day-to-day of the script writing, with a few notable exceptions (the Gloomy the Clown Banana Cream Pie bit, of course). And of course, once the new (Piquel) version of the series was developed, I had nothing to do with the show.

As I've stated before, the Miranda version of Bonkers was a definite influence on Gargoyles. Though I can't say that this particular episode was. But maybe...

Response recorded on November 07, 2006

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Lenny Ernquist writes...

In some of the episodes of Gargoyles I noticed how similar the storylines are to Star Trek. Did Star Trek influence some of your plot devices for Gargoyles?

Greg responds...

Only one that I can think of, which was "Possession". The bit where three "ghosts" take over three of our leads and one wants to keep the bodies was partially inspired by a Star Trek episode, as I've always acknowledged.

I can't think of any others. What did you have in mind?

Response recorded on November 01, 2006

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Zel writes...

Can you give us fans a short little bibliography of all the mythology used in Gargoyles? Any other good reccomended reads? I dig your storytelling style, and I'm hoping that you write a novel sometime soon

Greg responds...

I'd check the "Influences" section of the ASK GREG archives.

I've recommended a number of books there. But there's too large a list for me to compile a "short little bibliography".

I'd love to write a novel someday. So we're both hoping...

Response recorded on October 25, 2005

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Drew Lung writes...

Hey, it's me again.

You said that you tried to get all the myths into 'Gargoyles, but you neglected J.R.R. Tolkien's works. Why? This is probably the dumbest question you've ever been asked on this site, but I must know.

Greg responds...

Let's start by admitting up front that this isn't even close to the dumbest question I've ever been asked on this site.

But... I said I'd try to get everything in the PUBLIC DOMAIN in eventually. Tolkien's work is not in the public domain. On occasion, we may make a sly reference, be influenced by or pay homage to non-public domain work. But I try to avoid flat-out rip-offs of stuff that isn't free for me to take.

Response recorded on October 24, 2005

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Edi writes...

Hello, Greg. This is a question I wanted to ask: Have your kids, Erin and Benny, played inspiration in you in any of your cartoons, including Gargoyles and Max Steel?

Greg responds...

Sometimes.

For example, Alex Xanatos' first word, "doggie", was inspired by the fact that for a period of time Erin ONLY said the word "doggie" and she said it non-stop.

Response recorded on September 27, 2005

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Anonymous writes...

What where gargoyles for and why they where put on churches ?

Greg responds...

I'm tempted to just tell you to do your own research.

Historically, gargoyles were rainspouts, but the whisp of legend that I always heard was that gargoyles and grotesques were put on churches and castles, etc. to ward off evil-spirits.

We extrapolated on that idea -- or at least on the thinking that might have fed that idea -- to develop our series.

Response recorded on May 24, 2005

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iamsingleandsexy writes...

What gave you the idea for Gargoyles?

Greg responds...

Gargoyles and grotesques.

Response recorded on May 24, 2005

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Lawrence Matheson writes...

who invented robotic body armour? was it MacBeth?Renard?Xanitos? or someone else?

Greg responds...

I think it was Robert Heinlein.

Response recorded on May 19, 2005

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Sahyinepu writes...

I have been watching Gargoyles for some years, and was personally very pleased with how you portrayed the character of Yinepu/Anubis. I was curious why He in particular made the show, while other Names of Netjer did not? Did you plan later to include other Names as well? Also, how difficult did you find it to include religious elements of varying faiths without stepping on toes, in particular of still very much thriving faiths, like Judaism?

Greg responds...

I'm afraid I'm not familiar with the "Names of Netjer".

In all cases, whether the religion/faith/mythology was extant like Judaism or archaeic, like Wotenism, we tried to treat the characters and situations with respect and as much accuracy as was possible in the context of a fantasy series. That's the best we could do, and generally, it seemed to work.

Response recorded on May 17, 2005

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Gothic Cowboy writes...

Domo Arigato, Weisman-sama. Concerning an earlier question by another petitioner regarding the Lost Race and how they stack up to Lovecraft's Old Ones, in brief, the Old Ones are beings (often aquatic or semi-aquatic) who ruled the Earth prior to the rise of man, but whose society was brought low through rampant use of Black Magic (of a sort). A few survivors still exist, slumbering in great voids. The important thing to remember about them is that they aren't good or evil. They are so far beyond humanity that any attempt to understand them results in madness. They are usually barely aware of the little humans and unconcerned with us, but they radiate waves of psychic madness, causing insanity. I highly recommend his stuff, by the way. It actually disturbed me.

Greg responds...

I've heard great things about Lovecraft. What you describe pretty much covers my understanding of the stuff -- mostly gleaned from reading Howard and others who were influenced by Lovecraft. And by reading ABOUT Lovecraft. I have of course no excuse for not having read him myself, other than horror isn't my particular cup of tea. Maybe someday.

For the record, the so-called "Lost Race" of the Gargoyles Universe has nothing whatsoever to do with Lovecraftian concepts.

Response recorded on May 13, 2005

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Anonymous writes...

Is Nokkar the Sentinel your version of the Green Lantern in the Gargoyles Universe just as Cuchullain and Coyote were your ideas of Thor and Ultron?

Greg responds...

Cuchullain wasn't inspired by Thor. In fact if anything, I was disappointed that the character kept overlapping into Thor-territory.

Ultron was AN inspiration for Coyote... in the sense that we kept bringing the robot back and numbering each new incarnation, but I think that's where the inspiration ended. They don't have much else in common.

Nokkar has no connection to Green Lantern in any significant way that I can see, even now that you bring it up.

In any case, this notion of "versions" (implying that all we were trying to do was to duplicate existing characters) is somewhat offensive. I'm not sure if that was your intent, and I don't want to over-react. But I thought you should know.

Response recorded on April 29, 2005

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Punchinello writes...

<<Gargoyles as well can type on keyboards and relay thought. Lexington with very little experience in terms of years and could only practice at night, was able to punch a keyboard judging by the "clicking" sound of the keyboard at nearly 129 words per minute, without looking and locate Coldstone in MacBeth's mansion. Quite impressive really.>>

Breathtaking.

<<Yet his thoughts were in English.>>

No. They were not. Look. Mental concepts (especially highly abstract concepts) do not emerge from language. It works the other way around. Concepts are formed internally. We can use language to describe them but we don't need to. That's the important distinction.
Consider the acquisition of tool use. A tool you have never used before. Lets consider something like a construction crane. You see it's controls. By experimentation you might begin to discern the function of each control. But none of this is the product of some mental narrative. Pretend you've never seen a crane before. Maybe you're an aboriginal who has never seen western devices. Better yet, pretend you're Lexington. You're a gargoyle transplanted from 10th century Scotland into contemporary America. Lexington has never seen a lever. He's never seen a gas pedal or a start button. If you sit him in a crane and point to controls and tell him what each one _is called_ what do you think it would mean to him? Nothing. Simply calling something a gas pedal gives it no context. You have not imparted anything about it's function. Lexington has no concept that these structures in front of him have functional relationships with the larger device. However, if he experiments, he can begin to observe that if he pushes the lever forward, the crane rotates clockwise. If he pulls it backwards, the crane rotates counterclockwise. He can make associations now, and he can begin to detect patterns. He can anticipate that if moving a control in one direction corresponds to one function, then moving it in the other corresponds to the opposite function. This process of observation, association and anticipation is an example of conceptual thinking. In order to understand the crane, he would have needed to think about it in concepts. Not in English.

The corollary to the computer should be clear. Lexington simply could not have considered the novelty of the computer in words. He would have no words to describe it's properties, it's function or it's nature. If you were transplanted 1000 years into the future and someone handed you a solid metal sphere and told you to use it to write words, how would you contemplate the thing they handed you? It's surface is smooth. No obvious control mechanisms. No obvious surface features of any kind. So how the devil do you write with it? Speculating about it's functionality is a highly conceptual and visual process. If handwriting and typing are both lost arts in 1000 years, then you don't even have words to describe this thing's function.

Think about how Lexington would actually interpret a computer. You have a conceptual understanding of what a keyboard is, but Lexington doesn't. He's never seen a typewriter. He's never even seen a printing press. Do you suppose that when Lexington ponders this device, his thinking takes the form of mentally spoken instructions? Instructions to do what? To type? He has no concept of typing. He would be as mystified by this thing as you would be by the sphere.

However, if he can observe the device in use, and if he can experiment with it, then just as with the crane, he can begin to infer the functional relationships of the keys. He can form a mental picture of how this device works. At that point, he's certainly free to attribute words to the concepts if he want's to communicate them to someone else, but he doesn't need to. His ability to think about the device is not contingent upon his ability to describe those thoughts linguistically.

Proponents of the idea that thought is a purely linguistic process cling to this fantasy that thought is a perpetual little personal narration providing us with instructions. As though a little person were sitting on our shoulder whispering to us. Even if this ridiculous picture of the thought process were verifiable, consider that it would be useless as a medium for thought. Instructions mean nothing without concepts. Even simple concepts.

What about Bronx...

The point of my original thesis on sentience was that it is frequently treated in an uncritical and mentally lazy way. It enters popular culture, not as anything analytical, but as an imagined distinction between those we have to respect and those we don't have to treat with any kind of consideration.

So, is the mental world of Bronx (or Cagney) diminished by their not being able to articulate it? It should be evident that the notion their thought hinges upon language is ridiculous. Can we say they are sentient? Can we say they have the ability to observe, make inferences and anticipate? Can we say they are aware?

Of course. It's not just a matter of our having significant evidence for the ability of non-humans to have this type of mental experience. It's profoundly unreasonable to maintain that they are not aware and intelligent when we consider the emergence of intelligence in pre-history. It's often supposed that these mental abilities just suddenly appeared in homo sapiens, as if by magic, once we passed a certain threshold in our evolution. Nothing compels this feature to emerge, according to popular mythology. It just shows up unannounced. And it renders homo sapiens capable of language and tool use in a single second of evolutionary history.

Now, evolutionary psychologists have realized for a long time, that this picture of the development of intelligence was as silly as they come. Highly ordered structures like awareness and intellect don't just appear all at once. They emerge over time from more primitive systems. Intelligence evolved under the pressures that all species face in nature.

Awareness and thought did not emerge from nature as a means to get us into college or to allow us to write resumes. They emerged as a means to avoid large predators and distinguish things we can eat from things that can eat us. Living beings need to be able to distinguish between these two things in order to survive. The ability to contemplate concepts of things in our environment is just the natural product of species adapting to interact beneficially with it. All of our mental abilities are inherited from our earliest ancestors and were developed as an instrument for them to survive. The development of these faculties simply could never have delayed emerging until after we developed language.

If you consider it, you will discover that abstract concepts frequently defy linguistic expression, because our ability to think abstractly developed independently of language. You can't really describe a sophisticated mathematical concept or a work of music in words. They can only be contemplated conceptually. In fact very common things defy linguistic expression. Try this experiment.

Describe the color red.

The reason we cant is because the linguistic structure to describe it does not exist. It didn't emerge because it does not serve to benefit our species survival in any way. Yet you can picture red mentally. Or any number of colors. Doubtlessly, a variety of hues, which you might not even have a name for, exist in your mind. They exist as concepts. Mental pictures. And their inability to be defined linguistically does not diminish them. You can picture red. You can apply it to various forms. You can anticipate what would happen if you mixed it with another color. But you don't need language to do that. The imaginative process, the conceptual process, has nothing to do with language.

<<Eskimos have something like seven words that really just mean "snow". Yet an Eskimo thinks like an Eskimo and can judge the minor differences in the type of snow they see and to them one kind of snow is not "a" snow but a "d" snow and ect.. >>

This anecdote about Eskimo's having such a plurality of words for snow is often referred to in arguments for the dependence of thought on language. I don't know why. It does not appear to lend anything to this position. I guess the idea is that the way Eskimo's think about snow is supposed to be structurally different from the way english speakers think of snow. If they do, then it's not evident that it follows from their having more words for snow. In fact, I'm pretty sure there are at least a dozen words for snow in the english language. Flurry, Slush, Hardpack, Frost, Powder, IceLens, etc. And if we include all the descriptive lexemes that we count when we talk about the Eskimo words for snow, then there are probably dozens more in english.

This really is not an indicator that thought is contingent upon language. I can provide an analogous example though, which begins to demonstrate that thought takes place in the absence of language. Colors end up being a good example again, because they are such a large part of our visual world.

In Swedish, there are probably as many words to describe various colors as there are in English. Possibly more. I know they have a special word for light gray. Linguistic relativists would take the position that the Swedish or English must be thinking about colors in a way that is fundamentally denied to people of other cultures, who do not have all these words for colors.

There are many, such cultures. For instance, the Tiv language of New Guinea, where there are only two words for colors, equivalent to light and dark. A Swedish scientific study done years ago sought to test the theory that thought must be absent where language to describe something is also absent. However, when tested, it became apparent that Tiv speakers were able to recognize as many colors (and with the same facility) as Swedish speakers. This is certainly an indicator that thought exists without the benefit of language.

<<Luckily for us I suppose that as humans we all relatively think alike even with our differing way of thinking.>>

I find some arguments for deep structure very persuasive Vanity, but you treat the concept in a way which is very far removed from those arguments.

<<This allows for learning multiple languages each human no matter his language that language has the ability to "learn" or adapt to the use of another language and that is quite a remarkable thing. Almost too remarkable to be chance. >>

Has this become a prescription for theology now?

Greg responds...

Punchinello, I agree with everything you're saying... and yet....

Language, once created, does not then exist in a vacuum. Language itself INFLUENCES thought, influences one's thinking about even the most abstract of concepts -- including Red.

Learning a birth language must wire the brain a certain way. At least out of habit. Not hard-wired of course, but non-survival laziness dictates that a birth language must influence thought. That the learning of a new language (in any depth) must also influence thought.

That introducing new words to a human being may in fact on occasion introduce new concepts not discovered.

In 1984, Orwell posited that the destruction or dissolution of words underlying concepts like "Freedom", etc. would result in a population with less awareness of the concepts themselves. Of course even in that novel, he didn't posit that this was enough to completely WIPE OUT the concept of Freedom. Thus individuals like Smith are intentionally awakened by Ingsoc out of their stupor in order to push them down various roads to "Freedom" while under constant observation. These roads are then cut off -- along with the road-takers -- in order to prevent Freedom from, well, ringing.

Yes, concepts exist independent of language. But language, once created, takes on a life of its own (says the writer -- so take it with a grain of salt). Language has, as I'm sure you'd agree, a power of its own.

I'm not at all sure, but that may be where Vanity was heading.

Response recorded on April 05, 2005

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Todd Jensen writes...

I was just looking through the archives again, and noticed a question about what Goliath's favorite books were. You mentioned that "Great Expectations" was one that came to mind.

This actually amused me a little, for there was one aspect of the book that reminded me a lot of "Gargoyles", in the way that Dickens connected the two convicts whom Pip has to help hide at the beginning of the book with the Miss Havisham and Estella part of the story (warning to those who haven't read the book: spoilers follow): it later on turns out that Magwitch (one of those two convicts) was Estella's father and that the other convict (whose name I forget) was the man who left her standing at the altar. That element of interconnectedness definitely struck me as something straight out of "Gargoyles" in terms of the way that everything turned out to be linked to everything else eventually.

I don't know if you had that in mind when you mentioned the book in your answer, but it did make me see its inclusion as appropriate.

Greg responds...

I think of the Gargoyles Universe (and genre fiction in general) as being very Dickensian. Certainly nothing is more Dickensian than Darth Vader being Luke's father, and Leia being Luke's sister (a revelation that still disappoints me).

That connectivity that you mention is a cornerstone of most cohesive Universes. And the Gargoyles Universe in particular.

Another influential book along those lines, is HOWARD'S END by E.M. Forster.

"Only connect.."

Response recorded on March 29, 2005

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Rising Moon Starsword Warrior Daiginga writes...

About Nokkar was he by any chance inspired by the Green Lantern Corp which had members stationed all over the galaxy like the N'kai Sentinels?

Greg responds...

Well, God knows I've read a lot of Green Lantern comics and even worked on a few at DC. So I can't deny the possibility that the GL Corps was an unconscious influence.

But, no, we did not model the N'kai on the Lanterns. The N'Kai are not interstellar policemen, they are soldiers in an army at war. Nokkar was inspired by largely apocryphal stories of Japanese soldiers on deserted tropical islands cut off from communication who continued to fight World War II long after 1945.

Response recorded on July 27, 2004

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Christina (CelebornEstel@aol.com) writes...

I've been a fan of Gargoyles for a while and I was wondering what a few characters were based on. The mythology is put into the sotry so well and fits like a puzzle. Anyway, I was wondering who the Weird Sisters and Megus. The mythology of the story is beautiful and the plot is extraordinary. So, That's my question- What were Megus and The Weird Sisters based on?

Greg responds...

The Weird Sisters were based primarily on the Weird Sisters, from William Shakespeare's play MACBETH. They were also influenced by various triple/lunar goddesses from various mythologies, in particular the Graces, The Furies, the Fates/Norns.

The Magus is more of an "original" creation. He begins, I think, as fairly standard D&D wizard material. But I like to believe that he transcends the stereotype.

Response recorded on June 28, 2004

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scott writes...

was the castle the gargoyles protected based on a real castle? if so what is its name? if not where can i find a good picture of it?

Greg responds...

I'm not exactly sure where you can find a picture, but Wyvern was VERY LOOSELY based on Tintagel in Cornwall.

Response recorded on June 21, 2004

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Todd Jensen writes...

My ramble on "Avalon Part Two".

I really liked this episode (and never had any confusion with the time loop, since I've done similar things in my own fiction, conceived years before "Gargoyles" ever came out; indeed, a certain time loop that I've planned in the book that I'm currently writing - although I can't say anything more about it than that - fits beautifully the part where the Archmages say to each other "You're sure you know what to do?" "Of course. I've watched you do it.")

The introduction of Angela and Gabriel's names (alongside the whole "gargoyles being given names" process that you referred to) illustrates nicely just how Princess Katharine and the Magus's attitudes towards gargoyles have changed since "Awakening Part One". Now, they're naming gargoyles after angels rather than villainous giants. (Although, regarding Boudicca's name, as we agreed earlier, they couldn't have been too familiar with the original Boudicca's career when they named the gargoyle beast.)

I picked up easily enough on Angela's parentage (especially because of that article that I mentioned in the "Double Jeopardy" ramble); I never even suspected that Gabriel might be Othello and Desdemona's biological offspring until I discovered Gargoyles fandom on the Internet, though.

I definitely guessed from the start who the Sleeping King was (of course, from the moment that Avalon got into the story, I was hoping that Arthur would show up - and was mentally jumping up and down in excitement when Elisa actually asked about him at the end of Part Two). It's interesting to note that, judging from the Archmage's response, even by the late 10th century in the Gargoyles Universe, Arthur had faded into the mists of legend (of course, the same thing must have been true of him in the real world, judging from what I've read about early mentions of him in medieval writings predating Geoffrey of Monmouth).

About the Weird Sisters: I was more bothered over the Grace vs. Vengeance conflict than the Fate vs. Vengeance one, for my part. I was having a very difficult time reconciling their desire for blood and vengeance with all their talk in "City of Stone" about every life being precious and vengeance being wrong. (It actually made them seem worse than the Archmage, in fact; he, at least, was introduced in the series as a villain from the start, while the Sisters started off appearing to be benevolent. Truth to tell, my response to their behavior in "Avalon" was probably not too different from how Lexington felt in "The Thrill of the Hunt" when he discovered that the Pack weren't quite so heroic as they'd seemed to be).

I agree with you on David Warner's voice; it's great. Definitely justified bringing the Archmage back. (I'm actually reminded of an episode of "Batman Beyond" that I once saw. In it, Bruce Wayne had a reunion with Talia, only to discover that she'd been "taken over" by Reis el-Ghul following his final defeat by Batman (off-stage, some years previous), who'd somehow transferred his consciousness into her body. During the latter part of the episode - after the truth was revealed - Talia spoke in Reis's voice, done by David Warner as per "Batman: TAS". Although I knew that that was scientifically impossible - a mere mind-transplant couldn't have altered her voice - I didn't protest because David Warner did such a great job that he simply had to be in that episode. Leaving him out of the voice actor roster for the story would have been unthinkable.)

And I agree with you that, despite all his power, the Archmage ultimately comes across as not all that bright. (My favorite part is where he has to admit that, although he's spent all that time seeking to unite all three magical objects into one big Triad of Power, he hasn't even decided what he's going to do with it. And he even has to be nudged by his future self into picking the obvious goal for a cliched villain: Taking Over the World.) I LOL when you mentioned that the real reason why the two Archmages can't work together for long was because of their utter arrogance.

The scene where he becomes the "enhanced Archmage", as I call him, was very effective - and the bit where he eats the Grimorum definitely jolted me. It'd been around from the very start of the series, and so it shook me up a bit to see it go. (I know that the book's real end is in Part Three, but for me, the bit where the Archmage eats it is where it exits the series). And I also really liked the "caption countdown". It gave a feel of approaching ominousness and tension.

I'm eagerly awaiting your Part Three ramble now.

Greg responds...

Re: Boudicca. I dunno. A Celtic heroine and martyr? I'd guess they knew that.

Response recorded on March 24, 2004

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Anonymous writes...

Have you read "Anubis Gates"?

Greg responds...

Nope.

Response recorded on February 05, 2004

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Todd Jensen writes...

My ramble on "Upgrade".

I'll confess, for a start, that "Upgrade" isn't one of my favorite episodes, due mostly to the fact that it seemed much more like a half-hour "slugfest" than is generally the case with "Gargoyles" (although, given that we're dealing with the Pack here, I suppose it's inevitable - they're not the most subtle antagonists out there, after all). But it had some parts of it that I rather liked.

The transformations of Jackal, Hyena, and Wolf definitely freaked me out. In fact, the first time that I saw this episode, I tried to believe, for a while, that Jackal and Hyena were simply wearing fancy mechanical armor, but the evidence against that was too strong; I had to face the facts, in the end, and realized that they'd become cyborgs. And that definitely chilled me. (In Wolf's case, I didn't even have the option of finding an alternative explanation; it was too obvious that he'd been mutated.) Those three had permanently changed, on the physical level, from what they'd been in "The Thrill of the Hunt". They were no longer fully human. In fact, to me, the real significance of their alterations in "Upgrade" wasn't what you'd pointed out (they need to be upgraded so that it won't be too easy for the gargoyles to take them down - though I did see that there) but rather the way that the three of them were growing less human, their physical transformation being almost an outward sign of their increasing degeneracy.

By contrast, I liked Dingo's refusal to become physically upgraded, and horror at what his teammates had done to themselves. In fact, that was definitely when I began to like Dingo, as opposed to seeing him as just another member of the Pack (as he'd been to me up until then). (It certainly echoed my response to their transformations, which, I suspect, was how most of the audience was similarly responding). I wasn't surprised, therefore, when he was no longer with the Pack in "Grief" afterwards, or when he was shown seeking to "go straight" in "Walkabout". This was definitely the point where we see the "break with Eastcheap" (I chose that particular phrase inspired by your idea of Dingo's real name being Harry Monmouth, and the parallel is definitely there - though I might add that I don't see any of his former Pack-mates being a Falstaff-figure - more on the level of Falstaff's associates like Bardolph or Pistol, perhaps, but not scaling the heights of comic genius of Sir John himself - not that they were meant to.)

We also see the definite introduction (though it'd been hinted at in "Leader of the Pack") of Hyena's interest in Coyote, which has to count as the most bizarre relationship in "Gargoyles"; even Jackal gets nauseated by it, and this is a guy whose idea of a good time is redesigning Goliath's features in his stone sleep.

One side-note: re Hyena's wondering aloud whether gargoyles taste like chicken. I've sometimes wondered why the phrase is "tastes like chicken" as opposed to "tastes like beef" or "tastes like pork", or "tastes like turkey". Just one of life's little mysteries, I suppose.

On the gargoyles' side, we get to see Brooklyn becoming the new second in command. I will admit that I honestly hadn't wondered about that issue until the episode came out. (I've occasionally wondered if Goliath didn't pick one before this episode had anything to do with it having last been filled by Demona, but that's probably a bit of a stretch.) I did think that Brooklyn fitted the role well, and liked the bit at the end where he admits that he's not in that big a hurry to take Goliath's place. And where Goliath offers the role to Hudson, but Hudson declines it.

I still get a kick out of Fox's little public service announcement: "Don't 'Pack' it in. Take the train." Pretty clever of her.

I don't find Officer Morgan's remark that troublesome; in fact, I found it quite amusing.

Incidentally, Xanatos's remark at the end about having found a true equal in Fox reminds me of your analysis of Theseus, where you saw him as having found his equal in the Amazon Queen Hippolyta/Antiope. It makes me wonder whether you'd included a little of your perception of Theseus and Hippolyta in Xanatos and Fox (whether consciously or otherwise). Come to think of it, there's even a slight connection between the two couples, via "A Midsummer Night's Dream".

Greg responds...

Taking your points in reverse order:

One of the great ironies of the series is that the one character who truly builds a healthy relationship (prior to Broadway & Angela in "The Journey") is Xanatos. The BAD GUY.

Heavily influenced by "The Warrior's Husband" and "The Bull from the Sea", I do see Theseus and Antiope as being true equals and the correct match.

But I'm not sure that's influencing X & Fox so much as that ANY great man would WANT a great woman, not a trophy or showpiece or weak link. Xanatos would no more settle for a weak wife than he'd want Owen to throw a judo practice.

By the same token, Goliath loves and respects Elisa and Broadway loves and respects Angela. They are equals.

Maybe it's just the way I think the world should work.

"Tastes like chicken" has entered the vernacular, I think. I first heard it in reference to Rattlesnake meat, and at the time that may have been someone's sincere way to describe what the serpent tastes like.

But since then, I've heard the phrase applied to almost any exotic carnivorous matter. I've never heard beef, pork or turkey used the same way.

The degeneracy of Wolf, Hyena and Jackal was definitely part of our intent.

Response recorded on January 30, 2004

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Todd Jensen writes...

Yay! A new episode ramble! Thanks, Greg!

Here are some of my own thoughts about "Double Jeopardy".

The opening one is a rather odd little memory. In the summer of 1995, I spotted an article on "Gargoyles" in a sci-fi magazine (whose name I can no longer remember) discussing what would be done in Season Two; among other things, it included a mention that Goliath's daughter would be introduced into the series. I was quite curious about that, and wondered what she'd be like and how it would be done. And then, when "Double Jeopardy" first aired, and Thailog was treated as Goliath's son in it, I wondered if the article had erred and gotten the gender of Goliath's offspring wrong. (Of course, I know now that it was Angela that the article meant, not Thailog, so that there was no mistake there except on my part.)

In light of the opening flashback, Xanatos must have already started building a whole new set of Steel Clan robots even while he was still in prison, before "The Edge" (especially given that I spotted a whole bunch of those robots in storage, alongside the one that was activated to attack Goliath).

I also liked Owen's "Is this a plan that you've neglected to mention?" line. He really sounded hurt there.

I was interested to notice Renard on Xanatos's suspects list for Thailog's kidnapping, alongside Demona and Macbeth. While I can easily imagine Demona or Macbeth being willing to engage in such a maneuver against Xanatos, I doubt, in light of his rigid code of integrity, that Renard would have done the same (although there is "Golem" to consider, coming up later in the season). Maybe Xanatos believed that the temptation of kidnapping his new gargoyle would have been too much for even his father-in-law to resist.

Sevarius's hamming it up with Xanatos ("Yes! You robbed me of my creation!") was one of the funniest moments in "Gargoyles" for me; certainly the funniest in the episode. (Don't quit your day job, Anton.) And I agree with you about the Dr. Antinori business, by the way. (Also on the subject of Sevarius's overacting, I couldn't help but think that some of his narration in the "clone files" that Lex and Broadway discovered felt almost like a parody of that in a nature documentary, such as the "time for it to leave the nest" line, though I don't know if it was intended that way.)

You no doubt recall how I'd earlier pointed out the similarities between Thailog and Edmund (which I first began to notice after you mentioned Edmund being your favorite Shakespeare character); it occurred to me recently that Thailog also does have a certain similarity to Mordred, especially in many modern-day versions of the Arthurian legend, such as T. H. White. He's Goliath's "illegitimate son", just as Mordred was Arthur's, and his training by his other two fathers, Xanatos and Sevarius, does have (if you're out looking for the parallels) a certain echo of how Mordred, in White's "The Once and Future King", similarly gets trained by his mother Morgause. And the dynamics between Goliath and Thailog, with Goliath initially rejecting his son but then learning that he was wrong to do so, and now reaching out to him - but too late - do remind me of how in White, Arthur similarly initially moves against his son (trying to drown him at birth), but then understands that he was wrong to do so, also makes the attempt to reach out to him, but is coldly rejected by Mordred when he does so. (Come to think of it, Thailog also clearly lusts after both of Goliath's loves, Demona and Elisa, even to the point of combining them in Delilah, just as Mordred lusts after his stepmother Guinevere and attempts to wed her after he usurps his father's throne.)

I've mentioned before the element that I believe makes Thailog an especially great antagonist (the incongruous pairing of Goliath's physical appearance and voice with a thoroughly Xanatosian amorality - though I think that Thailog comes across as more malevolent than Xanatos does, which is also a good touch), so I won't go into that again. It's a bit of a pity that he only turned up twice more in the original series after that ("Sanctuary" and "The Reckoning"), although I suppose that if you'd gotten to do more episodes past "The Journey" that we'd have gotten a lot more of the guy.

The ending definitely surprised me; I was expecting Xanatos to reveal that he'd seen to it that he didn't lose the ransom money after all, but instead we got the revelation that Thailog had escaped with it and is out there, happily scheming away, to Xanatos's own alarm. (As I mentioned before, it's particularly of interest to note that this is the last time in the series that Xanatos attempts to make his own gargoyles - and after the way that Thailog backfired on him, who can blame him?)

It's great to have the rambles going again, and I'm looking forward to the ones to come.

Greg responds...

I'm afraid we haven't made that much Ramble progress recently, though I know we got past Avalon and into (at least) the beginning of the World Tour.

I think, like your Edmund comparison, your comparison of Thailog to Mordred is very apt. Perhaps moreso. Another bastard, basically. I'm not sure how conscious I was of any of these individuals influences, but I'm fascinated with the archetype of "The Bastard" in literature. Both the quote/unquote good guys (like Theseus, Arthur, Dunois, etc.) and the quote/unquote bad guys (like Edmund and Mordred, etc.) Thailog with his three fathers was clearly designed to be our bastard. And what a great bastard he is.

I've certainly read White's ONCE AND FUTURE KING at least a couple times. And I've lost count how many times I've seen CAMELOT.

Response recorded on January 22, 2004

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Sean writes...

In the episode Golem why did you use a Rabbi to summon the Golem?
Most of the episodes have some mythology behind them. I've heard about golems before, but I've never heard of any myths associating Jewish people with the use of magic. I'm certain that it goes against their religion.

P.S. I looked to see if this question was asked, but I didn't find it in the achieves. If I've missed it could you email me at the_nameless@2d.com
If you post my question, please remove the "P.S." text.

Greg responds...

The Golem of Prague is specifically a Jewish legend, and Rabbi Loew, the Rabbi in the Flashback sequence, is a character of both history and legend -- and he is the traditional summoner of the Golem. I'm fairly certain any cursory search on the word Golem would reveal this.

Like most major religions, Judaism houses a multitude of interpretations, beliefs and practices. I'm Jewish, but I'm sure there are Jews out there who wouldn't agree that I was.

So you're "certainty" is a bit presumptuous.

Response recorded on January 21, 2004

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Alfred Manifesto writes...

Yo
Long time watcher, first time question asker, I happen to be doing a research paper for colege concerning the literary references within Gargoyles (shakespeare and mythology). I was wondering what comments you might have concerning the way which you used these works. For example, your re-telling of McBeth in city of stone parts 1-4 is very different from the play. This makes sense because the play is an altered versain of the actual historical story to make it more entertaining as well as aceptable to the king of england. As i intend on focusing a majority of my paper to Mcbeth I was wondering how you went about combining history, shakespeare, and your own storyline. If you could make any general comments or speak about mythology in any way would be greatly apriciated. I ask not only because it would help my paper, but also it would be a personal thrill to even get a responce. I've known about this site for a while, but this is the first time i've had a decent question. Lastly, I know its quite possible this has been answered before, but i have not yet read all of the entries in the archives, you are creator and producer of one of my favorite cartoons of all time, how does one find themself in that possition of creater and producer? thanx for your time

Greg responds...

Well, unless your paper wasn't due until 2004, I guess I'm too late to help you there.

Macbeth (with an "a" and a lower case "b") the play was indeed a major influence on our version of Macbeth, but we chose to follow the less-told tale that was the true (or truer) history. But we kept the Weird Sisters in it, and even a few lines of Shakespeare where possible. Plus of course we added the gargoyle race, weaving Demona in and out of Macbeth's story. Or rather, we weaved Macbeth's story into the tapestry that is the Gargoyles' Universe.

As to my background, I'd suggest checking the FAQ and coming back here if you have more specific questions that the FAQ didn't answer.

Response recorded on January 21, 2004

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Todd Jensen writes...

A couple of "King Arthur-in-the-comics" related questions:

1. You mentioned that you've read "Camelot 3000" (and were even working at DC Comics at the time that it came out). In your opinion, did it have any influence on your vision of Arthur's return in the Gargoyles Universe. (Well, there were obviously some strong differences, such as Arthur returning in the present day in "Gargoyles" rather than the year 3000, and finding Excalibur before he finds Merlin where in "Camelot 3000", it was the other way around).

2. Have you ever read "Prince Valiant" (the most famous Arthurian comic)? If so, what did you think of it?

Greg responds...

1. My ideas on Arthur were fairly well-formed by the time I read Camelot 3000, a limited series by Mike W. Barr and Brian Bolland. For example, in my mind Arthur was in Avalon, not on British soil. And frankly, the notion of Arthur coming back is part of the legend, not something that Mike came up with. I also have no plans to use reincarnation to bring back dead knights, etc. So I don't think it was a major influence.

Having said that, I thoroughly enjoyed Camelot 3000. Thoroughly.

2. Prince Valiant was never in the L.A. Times, at least not in my memory. When I was in High School, it appeared in the now-defunct L.A. Herald Examiner, a paper we didn't get at home, on Sundays only. So on Monday mornings, I would occasionally take a look at it. Basically, I'm passingly familiar with it, but I don't know much about it.

Response recorded on January 14, 2004

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Zarok writes...

Here is a question that's being rolling around in my head for a while now. Considering your 'all things are true' policy have you given any thought to how you would approach the 'life after death' aspects of the mythologies you've introduced? I mean did slain Viking warriors really join Odin in Valhalla or mummified Pharaohs join Anubis beyond the western horizon? How would this work in relation to Oberons non-interference edict? I'm not asking you to give me the Gargoyles version of every afterlife myth in existence or even to set out anything in stone, I just want your perspective on the subject that I've been pondering.

Greg responds...

My gut reaction, based on Dante as much as anything, is that people go where their souls truly want to go. Since it's voluntary, though not necessarily consciously so, there's no conflict with Oberon's edict.

Response recorded on January 08, 2004

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Random stuff...

Random ramblings before I go on vacation...

*I am DYING to see "LORD OF THE RINGS: Return of the King". I can't believe how much I want to see this movie. It has been ages since my geeky self has been this desperate. I literally can't remember the last time I so NEEDED to see a movie.

*I bought both extended DVDs for the first two films. (The first one, a year ago of course.) Honestly, what I really can't wait for is the Extended version of Return of the King, but since that's a year off, I'll settle for seeing the "short" version on the big screen. All I can say is that I hope to hell that there's a movie theater on Marco Island, and if so it damn well better be playing ROTK. (And that's right. I'm cussing! Oh, don't look so shocked.)

*I'd like to see a music video featuring Demona to Dido's
"White Flag".

*I'd like to see a music video from Goliath's POV -- but featuring Elisa -- of "Amazing". (I think that's the title. I'm not sure who the artist or band is.)

*I've seen an interview with Peter Jackson saying that originally -- a long time ago -- he wanted to make "The Hobbit" but found that the rights were a mess. He wanted to make "The Hobbit" to demonstrate that he could do "Lord of the Rings". But discovered that the rights to the latter were free and clear, so switched his ambitions to the LOTR, which he wanted to make as TWO films, as he felt he couldn't do justice to the story in one film. Thank God, he got to make three. And, yes, I'm desperately hoping that after "King Kong" (which I'll trust him on, since he's earned that trust, but if ever a movie did NOT require remaking...) he'll do "The Hobbit" as a prequel with the Ians and JR-D and Serkis.

*I can personally vouch for the rights to Hobbit being a mess. When I was a development exec at Disney -- and again, later, at DreamWorks -- we looked into acquiring the rights to do a new animated Hobbit Movie. The rights were hopelessly mired. I understand it isn't quite as bad now. But at the time, a huge number of people/groups had a claim (some more legitimate than others) to the thing. After looking into the situation, my boss wouldn't touch the thing with a ten foot pole.

*I'd really love to do a WWII Blackhawk movie someday.

*Last week, I saw a short film based on William Faulkner's short story, "Two Soldiers". This is my all time favorite short story EVER. I highly recommend it. HIGHLY. And the movie was pretty darn good too. The kid was amazing.

*Saw Clancy Brown again today at a recording session. He kicked ass, as usual. I'd love to tell you what he played, but I honestly don't know if it's confidential or not, and I don't want to get in trouble. Hopefully, I can talk about it soon. I'm not sure he remembered me though, which was a little depressing.

*Saw George Segal walking down the street in Beverly Hills. He didn't seem to remember me either. Of course, we've never met.

*Saw Diane Lane and Christopher Lambert tonight at my daughter's school "Winter Program". They're kid goes to the same school. I've never met them either, but I'd love to ask them what it was like working with Sir Laurence Olivier ("A Little Romance") and Sir Ralph Richardson ("Greystoke"). I wonder if it would bug them that the movies I'm MOST interested in are more or less the first one's each of them ever made.

*I realize I'm intentionally name-dropping. And I also realize it's kind of obnoxious. But, hey, I live in L.A. and I work in the biz, sort of. So I might as well go all out. I also met Steve Harris ("The Practice") and Ming Na ("e.r.") at the Recording session today. And I saw Rino Romano (Johnny Rico from "Roughnecks: Starship Troopers"). Rino, at least, remembered me, thank god.

*The funny thing about LOTR and my passion for the movies is that I'm not a massive Tolkien fan. I read the Hobbit and the Trilogy when I was in my early teens. And I liked them all right. But I wasn't rabid about it. And I could never get through the Silmarillion, though I tried at least three times. I reread the Hobbit to my kids about two years ago. And again, I liked it. But I TOTALLY LOVE THESE MOVIES. Totally obssessed!

*I ate way too much candy at the recording session today.

*It's been a long time since I really rambled on this site. It's been fun. Have a great holiday, guys.

Seeya soon,

Greg


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Art Carney (1918 - 2003)

Growing up and living most of one's life in Southern California makes having a number of so-called "Brushes with Greatness" inevitable.

Sunday, I saw Tony Shaloub in Larchmont Village, but since I had recently seen him at Los Angeles International Airport AND spoken with him at Logan International Airport, I refrained from accosting him again, lest he think I was stalking him or something.

And just yesterday, I rode up an elevator with Florence Henderson, who looks great, by the way.

So the fact that I once met Art Carney is, in and of itself, not particularly remarkable. But his passing seems an appropriate time to relate this story.

In the mid-seventies, I was in Junior High. I read a LOT. I had somewhat eclectic, and geek-leaning tastes, but most of what I read were mystery novels, especially mystery novels that were part of on-going series. One such series was Harry Kemelman's Rabbi David Small mysteries. (This is a series that I highly recommend. The more recent books aren't quite as strong, but the original seven are terrific.) Each book's title began with the day of the week. And the first mystery was called, "Friday the Rabbi Slept Late."

One day, I came home from school and found that my street was, as they say, "bustling with activity". An army of humans and trailers and equipment had descended on Queen Florence Lane. In the seventies, in the San Fernando Valley, this was still something of a rarity. But in any event, I was fascinated. They were filming a movie in and around the house directly across the street from ours.

Soon, I discovered that the movie was a telefilm called, "Lanigan's Rabbi". It was an adaptation of "Friday the Rabbi Slept Late." I'm not sure how I managed this, other than persistance and the chutzpah that comes with not knowing anything at all, but I kept telling people that I had read the book that the movie was based on. At some point someone grabbed me and introduced me to the director. I have no idea if he was humoring me or truly interested, but he asked me a number of questions about the original novel, claiming that he -- and that in fact NO ONE on the set -- had actually read the thing. There were, I was told, certain things in the script that weren't tracking for him. So I answered his questions and told him how the mystery played out in the book. He took it all in and seemed grateful for the insight.

In any case, he then did something fairly astounding. He let me hang out. That's it. But I was allowed to watch filming. I was allowed to get food from the catering truck. I was allowed to sit with the actors and talk with them. Now, this couldn't have gone on for very long. It's not like I was employed by the movie company or anything. I didn't follow the shoot to its next location. But they spent at least three or four days in the cul-de-sac where I lived. They gave me a copy of the shooting script, which I then had autographed by the movie's two leads.

One of those leads was Stuart Margolin, who's probably most famous for playing "Angel" on THE ROCKFORD FILES. "Lanigan's Rabbi" wound up spinning off into an on-going series, and for some reason Margolin didn't end up playing Rabbi Small in the series. But he was terrific in the movie. And he was an extremely nice guy, who didn't seem to mind chatting with a thirteen-year-old, who was hanging around the set.

But the part of Police Chief Lanigan was played by Art Carney. Now Art Carney is a certified genius. Emmy winner. Oscar winner. Of course his performance as "Ed Norton" in THE HONEYMOONERS is nothing short of brilliant. His on-screen teaming with Jackie Gleason, a match-made in sitcom heaven. Among other things, Ed Norton was the clear inspiration for any number of cartoon characters, ESPECIALLY "Barney Rubble". People often forget, however, what a wonderful dramatic actor Carney was. How he brought a touch of humanity to every role he played. Rod Serling knew this. Art is unforgettable as a drunken department store Santa in "The Night of the Meek" episode of THE TWILIGHT ZONE. A part that Serling wrote especially for Carney. He is also truly wonderful in a number of movies: "Harry & Tonto" and "The Late Show", among others.

I knew almost none of this at the time. I didn't even know Ed Norton. In New York, the Honeymooners has probably NEVER been off the air, but Los Angeles was and is an I LOVE LUCY town. It would be nearly a decade before I would move to New York and learn to appreciate Ralph and Ed and Alice and Trixie.

What I knew at the time, all I knew at the time, was that this was a big time star -- in the middle of shooting a movie -- who spent time with me. Time by the catering truck. Time on the set. He explained how things worked. He explained why things were done the way they were done. He was just so damn nice -- nice enough that as ignorant as I was -- I didn't take it for granted. It impressed me even then.

A few days later, they were gone. Stuart, Art, all of them. The movie finished shooting in my neighborhood and moved on. Some time later, the movie went on the air. We didn't have a VCR back in those days, so I don't have a copy. I followed along on my shooting script and took note of all the little changes in it. It seemed to me (though I might have been seriously kidding myself) that the final version of the film leaned a bit closer to the original novel than the shooting script in my hand. I was certainly kidding myself when I took credit for that somewhat dubious conclusion. And without a doubt the coolest moment was watching Rabbi Small and Chief Lanigan (Stuart and Art, as I called them) walking down the hill of my street and turning a corner and suddenly being at the Rabbi's Temple. There was no temple around the corner from Queen Florence Lane, but the transition was so seamless, it seemed miraculous. A true bit of movie magic before I understood movie magic. Before I was even vaguely jaded.

I just now spent a half hour looking for that shooting script. I couldn't find it. I hope it turns up eventually. I'm sure I wouldn't have thrown it out, but there's a good chance it was in one of my boxes that was in my parents' basement, part of my past which was destroyed by a flood caused by the Northridge Earthquake. I hope not. I haven't thought about any of this in years, but now it's something I'd like to revisit in more detail.

I wrote about Bob Hope a couple of months ago, when he passed, and I suppose this is a very similar kind of tribute. Others will, I'm sure, write more important, more personal and more informed things about Art Carney in the next few days. But I wanted to add my bit.

Not just for the incredibly talented performer, a loss we should all feel, though not too intensely as he has achieved a meta-Xanatosian immortality through the many great performances we will always have to rewatch time and again. And not for the friend and/or family member, because he was none of these things to me, and I was none of these things to him.

But oddly, I wanted to write a tribute to the stranger. To the nice man, who was patient with a dopey know-it-all kid. He was warm and funny and made me feel welcome.

And for that I am truly grateful. Thanks, Chief.


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J.M. Darrocsan writes...

Mr. Weisman, just a brief question, was the name Boudicca taken from the Queen of Iceni?

Greg responds...

Yep.

Response recorded on November 04, 2003

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JAXS writes...

Have you ever seen those posters that read "Everything I Need to Know in Life I Learned from (fill in the blank)?" Well, that saying goes true for Gargoyles. All throughout highshcool, I have been learning about things that I already am familar with from the show, such as the Aboriginal Dream Team, Mythology, and such and Shakespeare, Religious beliefs. King Arthur etc. I think it's incredible how the show evolved such a complex web-work for all these stories to be connected. I'm talking about how Oberon ruled Avalon, and all his children stretched from the Native American Trickers, Raven and Coyote, to the Banshee, the Mythological Proteus, and such. It was an ingenious idea. I wanted to know who came up with the original concept.Was this sub-story line composed from the begining, or did it just happen as the show continued? Was there a seperate research comittee who created this? How thought-out was it to have all these inccorporate into one big picture? Thanks

Greg responds...

Not to toot my own horn (or at least not to toot it anymore than I usually do), but the intent to create this tapestry was mine -- and pretty much from the very beginning, though I had no idea whether the opportunity would continue to present itself.

In terms of actually creating the tapestry, I had MUCH help. The obvious culprits include our story editors Michael Reaves, Brynne Chandler Reaves, Gary Sperling and Cary Bates. Many writers obviously contributed as well, especially Lydia Marano.

We had a couple of contributing researchers: Monique Beatty and Tuppence Macintyre.

And lots of other people threw in ideas as well, especially my partner Frank Paur and our co-producer/directors Dennis Woodyard and Bob Kline.

Some of the tapestry was serendipitous. Much was planned WAY in advance. Often both luck and planning came into play.

Mostly, we just wanted to tell good stories and this simply helped.

Response recorded on September 23, 2003

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F7 Addict writes...

I know I'm asking a touchy question here, so please be patient. I'm an aspiring writer working on a fantasy novel(s). I would like to include gargoyles (I must point out the deliberate lack of capital letter, meaning creature, not series) in my book(s). I'm exercising extreme caution on this for two reasons. 1) I don't cherish the notion of staring down the double barrel shot gun held by Disney's law dept. 2) I can only guess how ticked I'd get if someone ripped one of my characters. I know gargoyles have been used in other places. (ex: Final Fantasy has used gargoyles in most of their early games) Here are the questions.

1. What sources did you use for research? (They are the hardest buggers to research. 75% of my search came up with statues and buildings. The other 25% was Disney's Gargoyles)

2. Is there anything that is completely off limits? ie. Any one trait(s) that sets your Gargoyles apart from the other gargoyles?

3. Any storytelling tips you'd like to impart on the hopeful?

I thank you for your time and patience. And hats off for the greatest epic cartoon created on this side of the Pacific.

PS to Lord Sloth, My last (insert unsuccessful here) attempt at a novel took a year and a half.

Greg responds...

1. Largely NONE. We did much photo ref. for the artists ("statues and buildings"), but otherwise we made it up, extrapolating from the conventional legend of scary monsters that were placed on buildings to ward off evil spirits.

2. Any one trait? There are a lot, actually. I hesitate to write anything for fear that it gives tacit approval for you to use anything I don't write. The obvious of course is them bursting out of stone and coming to life as flesh and blood creatures at night. Turning back to stone during the day. That was all us.

I understand that you are trying to be conscientious, but I honestly think you're going about this the wrong way. The very question you're asking suggests you've got your thinking cap on backwards. If your only source for some Gargoylean quality is the show, you need to assume that the show created that quality. Not try and find out what's safe in the show for you to use.

3. Well, since this question was originally posted in December of '01, you've probably written your story already. So good luck.

Response recorded on May 30, 2003

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Zelandonii writes...

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!

Greg responds...

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.

Response recorded on May 27, 2003

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Matt Maybray writes...

Mr. Weisman,

I'm something of a paranormal buff and was curious as to whether some of the following weirdness (or some version of it) took place in the Gargoyles Universe:

1) 1966-67 The Mothman visitations- Point Pleasant, WV
2) 1947 The alleged UFO crash- Roswell, NM
3) 1943 The Philadelphia Experiment
4) 1990's El Chupacabras sightings- Puerto Rico

Thanks!

Greg responds...

1. Don't know much about this. I'd have to do research before I decided in what manner it would be included.

2. Probably.

3. Potentially.

4. Probably. (Just in Puerto Rico?)

Response recorded on April 11, 2003

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Peter Mason writes...

received from 205.213.142.103 on Monday, September 3, 2001 11:32:32 PM
Anonymous writes...
3.Why is there a gargoyle in Avalon named Azrael? I mean it's the name of the Muslim angel of death hardly Christian.

Greg responds...

3. You try naming thirty-six kids in one sitting.

recorded on 10-17-01

But in christian mythology there are like hundreds of angels surely Catharine, Magus and Tom could have remembered thirty-six angels out of the hundred?

Greg responds...

I'm tempted to follow a question based on a smart-ass response with another smart-ass response, but I'll demur.

I'm NOT an expert on angels. I named all the ones I could think of, and that included Azrael. There would be research done before I actually named them on air, but I'm not necessarily backing off the Azrael name. The Magus may have made that choice for reasons of his own.

And you tell me that there are hundreds of angels in "christian mythology". Hundreds that have been named? Really? Can you name 36 for me? I'd appreciate it. And please, do not count Saints and or other virtuous humans.

Response recorded on April 10, 2003

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Galvatron writes...

Since Jean Valjean exists are there any other literary figures from the 1700s- 1800s that actually existed in the gargoyles universe?

Greg responds...

Undoubtedly.

Response recorded on April 10, 2003

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Todd Jensen writes...

This covers much the same ground as one of my posts in the Comment Room on the night of October 25, but I thought that I'd post it here as well, to give you all the better an opportunity of reading it.

I was quite intrigued with your remark that you'd decided long ago that Jean Valjean existed in the Gargoyles Universe. The reason for that was that, up until now, whenever "Gargoyles" made use of "pre-existing" fictional characters, it was almost always people from literature, at latest, in the early modern period (as in Shakespeare's characters). The Gargoyles Universe is certainly rich in characters from myth and legend, and early literature such as Shakespeare's plays. But so far as I could tell, nobody in literature post-dating Shakespeare's time period found their way directly into the Gargoyles Universe. Some may be alluded to (such as Sherlock Holmes in "The Hound of Ulster"), or have "Gargoyles Universe" analogies (such as the Frankenstein monster with Coldstone), but none had yet shown sides of being actual characters who were real instead of fictional in that universe. (Well, maybe Dracula, whom you had mentioned intending to include in time, but since Bram Stoker based him on the historical Vlad the Impaler, he's not entirely a product of the 19th century).

So it definitely raised my eyebrows when you mentioned that decision on your part about Jean Valjean. I don't know if you'd actually reached the point of planning to have him appear somewhere in the series (a lot of it, I imagine, would depend on whether "Les Miserables" is in the public domain or not as yet), but it certainly surprised me.

Greg responds...

I'm just assuming that Les Miserables is in the public domain. Obviously, I'd have to check that before going forward with any plans.

I don't have a specific story in mind for ol' Jean, but I do have a pretty clear handle on how I'd interpret the character.

And it shouldn't surprise you too much. As I've stated before, given enough time and episodes, the plan has always been to include -- one way or another -- everything. (At least everything that's in the public domain.)

Response recorded on April 09, 2003

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dan writes...

In the episode "Long Way Till Morning" the cave that goliath, demona, and hudson were in when there were going to attack the archmage, the one with the carvings that demona saw. Did you actually think this idea up or did you take it from some cave that had similiar wierd drawings that you heard of or maybe have visited?

Greg responds...

I don't know. I mean the influences exist, but there was no one specific cave that I personally had in mind, though many people worked on the episode.

Response recorded on August 16, 2002

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Gipdac writes...

I read a Japanese legend about the Tengu - winged, gnomelike creatures, that studied martial arts.
Was this one of the legends that inspired the Ishimura Clan?

Greg responds...

Yes.

Response recorded on August 12, 2002

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Gipdac writes...

I think I just found the myth/legend (or at least one of the myth/legends) that inspired the Pukhan clan. http://www.csun.edu/~hcedu004/goblin.html
It's a little long to post here.
But am I even close to being right about the legend?
Thanks

Greg responds...

Well, there's no way I can confirm or deny this. Because the Korean clan was Frank Paur's idea (including the love of justice). I can't answer what did or didn't inspire him specifically.

Having read the linked fable, the goblins in it don't seem particularly gargoylean to me. But if one extrapolates the origins of the fable. And think in more Gargoylean terms, I'm sure we could find common ground.

Response recorded on August 12, 2002

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Chapter XXXVIII: "Heritage"

Time to ramble...

This chapter was written by Adam Gilad. Story Edited by Gary Sperling, and directed by Frank Paur.

FAME

As I watch each episode with my family, I've got my journal open in front of me to take notes for these rambles. During the opening credits, my five-year-old son Benny said: "I like Gargoyles." I was very pleased, of course. Then he said, "Can you write down that?" So I did. And so I have.

SHE'S GOTTA HAVE IT

Back on the skiff, and Elisa still hasn't QUITE gotten the idea. She still anticipates being back in Manhattan. Like visiting Scotland was an anamoly, but now surely Avalon will send them home. (What did you all think at the time?)

And boy, that girl likes her hot dogs. Make her one with everything, you know?

A.K.A. CECIL

Our Sea Monster attacks. It's a cool design, based on research that we did. (It happens to look a lot like a pre-historic whale I saw last night on a Discovery Channel special: "Walking with Pre-Historic Beasts".)

I wish we could have found a less generic name for the creature than "Sea Monster". Thunderbird is a cool name -- particularly since I have fond memories of the L.A. T-Birds from Roller Derby telecasts of my youth -- but our research never turned up another name for the Sea Monster.

Keep in mind that though we did research, we also had time constraints. We couldn't keep researching a topic indefinitely. Eventually, we'd have to use what we had and run with it in order for the story and script to be delivered on time.

But I know Gary and Adam did quite a bit of backgrounding for this story. The Sea Monster, Thunderbird, Raven and Grandmother all came from Haida stories -- though we conflated quite a bit, I think. We did always try to be as true as possible to the history and legends we were riffing on.

HEY, WEREN'T THERE FOUR OF YOU?

As the battle with the Sea Monster came to a close, my seven-year-old daughter Erin said: "What about Elisa? Where's Elisa?"

Five seconds later, Goliath surfaces and says pretty much the same thing, before fearing her drowned by shouting "ELISAAAAA!!" (Shades of things to come -- in Hunter's Moon III.)

TOTEM POLES

Speaking of research, the origin of the whole episode was the fact that Totem Poles caught my eye as being a particularly gargoylesque deal. Then we did some preliminary research and found that they weren't carved in anything that seemed to resemble a gargoyle tradition. They were 'carved to honor animal ancestors'. So rather than stretch (or abuse) the truth, we decided to let the characters (and audience) be lured off course by the poles, just as we had been.

Fake GARGOYLES, right here in North America.

In many ways, I think it could be argued that what takes place in this episode is handled or covered in other episodes to come. We have another episode with a 'sea monster'... a more famous sea monster in a certain loch... coming up rapidly in "Monsters". Also in that ep, one of our cast is lost and feared drowned after an early attack by that monster. And much of Nick/Natsilane's dilemma is also re-covered with a more-important recurring character (Peter Maza) in our other Native American-themed episode: "Cloud Fathers". We even do more with a volcano in "Ill Met by Moonlight". On some level I suppose I regret the duplication of efforts. I don't think we usually did this sort of thing.

But I don't regret the episode. I had plans for Raven. Plans for Queen Florence Island. Plans for Nick/Natsilane. I still think the ep has some cool stuff in it. And I think we NEEDED to cover Totem Poles. It was a natural.

HAR with a V. VAR with a D.

I went to a high school in North Hollywood, CA named "Harvard High School". Named after the University. (Some people have incorrectly stated I went to Harvard for college. But I went to Stanford for Undergrad and U.S.C. to get my Masters.)

I don't remember who's idea it was to have Nick be a graduate of Harvard. Might have been mine. Harvard of course is useful as a symbol.

I like Nick/Natsilane. He's got some nice attitude here and a nice shift. Maybe not the most impressive of our so-called "International Heroes". But very likable.

I give a lot of credit to the voice actor for bringing him to life. Gregg Rainwater was brought in by our Voice Director Jamie Thomason. Gregg was terrific. We used him again in Cloud Fathers, but I've used him many times since Gargoyles. I've even written parts with Gregg in mind. He was Jake Nez in Max Steel. And I cast him as Jake MacDonald in 3x3 Eyes. He always brings incredible humanity to a part, I think. Heroic, but real.

THAT'S NOT A CROW

It's a raven. Our second Trickster makes his first appearance. Of the four (Puck, Raven, Anansi and Coyote), Raven was the guy we gave the most evil bent to.

I like all the shape-shifting he does. (Though when he flees at the end, I wanted him to flee in his bird form, not his Raven-Goyle form.) I also like how he lies by using pieces of the Truth.

Raven-Goyle: "There is an evil sorceress named Grandmother. She summoned the monster that you fought."

When he said that, did you believe him?

Of course, Grandmother does have magic power and she did, in a way, summon the Sea Monster.

IT COULD BE WORSE. I ONCE LIVED ON 28TH STREET.

While doing our research, we encountered names of Islands off the Canadian coast like Queen Charlotte Island. So I named the fictional island we'd be using "Queen Florence Island."

Growing up in Woodland Hills, California, I lived on Queen Florence Lane, a street off Queen Victoria Road. Victoria and Florence were the daughters of Michael Curtiz, the director of such films as CASABLANCA. Curtiz, at one time, owned all the property in that area, so he named the two streets after his daughters.

OR so I once was told... by a ghost named Humphrey who tried to convince me that he was Humphrey Bogart, though you could tell by looking at him that he wasn't.

WHO EXACTLY IS THE SICK ONE HERE?

Elisa is so strong so much of the time, that it's kinda sexy to see her vulnerable and feverish.

Notice that Grandmother doesn't use Fairy magic to heal Elisa. She uses Haida medicine. Thus the rule of non-interference is bent not broken.

I like when Nick comes back in and the Fever's broken. And he says just don't tell me you cured her with tree bark.

When she says, "...and roots." His expression is priceless.

SEEING RED

I like the lighting in the Volcano scene.

Goliath is so glad to learn that other clans have survived, that he doesn't notice -- in fact defends -- the inconsistencies in Raven's story.

Angela, on the other hand is suspicious. This was done, in part, to further develop her character. She's naive about certain things. Having been raised by humans, she's not inclined to judge them harshly or fear their prejudices. But she's not stupid. Something doesn't smell right and she notices.

For once, Bronx though does not. I chalk this up to the high quantity of magic being tossed around on this dying island. Grandmother is not what she seems. Neither is Raven. Bronx is confused.

Anyway, Goliath speaks to Gargoyles protecting to explain away why "Raven's Clan" can both hate humans and protect them. You get the sense that he understands all too well. Like despite everything, there's a part of him -- a prejudiced part -- that hasn't forgiven the human race for what happened at Wyvern. (Also keep in mind, he was just at Wyvern again, rehashing all those old memories.)

Of course, once Goliath learns that Raven was pulling something, he's furious at the trickster. Playing on his hopes AND his prejudices, Raven has risked G's wrath.

At the end of this scene, the three silent gargs vanish magically.

Erin said: "What happened? What just happened?"
Benny said: "How did they just vanish?"

They know I know the answer. But I resist telling them. It's a touch cruel. What did you guys think?

YOU CAN TAKE THE GIRL OUT OF THE CITY...

Elisa is such a New Yorker. Everything is compared to that. "This sure isn't Central Park."

Anyway, Raven, then a bear, then Bronx and finally Angela and Goliath find Elisa. I love Goliath and Elisa's hug. It's so unselfconscious. They were so worried about each other that they forgot the usual distance that they maintain.

SUSPICIOUS MINDS

So who did you trust? When the gargs disappeared, that had to indicate that something was up with the Raven-goyle.

So when Goliath tells Elisa that Grandmother is a sorceress, particularly given that Grandmother saved Elisa's life, we all tend to think that G's been duped. Then we spot Grandmother turning into Thunderbird. What did you all think then?

Benny noticed "her ears" and suspected her even before she turned into T-Bird.

THAT'S GOTTA HOIT

A cool moment in the battle against T-Bird is when Goliath rakes the creature with his claws.

Then Angela spots the Illusion. And plays it cool with Raven.

I like Goliath's line to Grandmother: "We live. We do not thrive."

Grandmother than establishes that Raven is a Trickster and that they are both "Children of Oberon". Thus we establish that aspect of our series.

She states that they are forbidden from directly interfering in human affairs. Reinforcing what the Weird Sisters said a few episodes before.

Raven joins the party. The jigs up, but he revels in it. He's got a few decent lines too.

I like "It's so messy."

POOR HORATIO, ALWAYS A BRIDESMAID, NEVER A BRIDE

Elisa more-or-less quotes Shakespeare: "There are more things in heaven and earth, Natsilane, than are dreamt of in your philosophy."

I've always loved that line.

Anyway, Goliath and Angela depart to fight Raven. They arrive first, but given the fact that Nick had to...
1. Have a final change of heart.
2. Change clothes.
3. Get up to the volcano without wings.

...He makes good time, don't you think?

Raven brings the totem beasts to life. This was always a bit weird. We introduce illusion gargs based on the totem beasts. But then when we bring the totem pole to actual life (or semblance) we have new designs for the woody creatures.

Does everyone see Goliath play dead for that bear?

Raven has a nice exit line here: "This place no longer amuses me."

Neither does this Ramble.


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Sylvan writes...

I noticed in the archives that you mentioned Puck of Pook's Hill. Have you read it and its sequel Rewards and Fairies? If so, which do you perfer -- Kipling's take on Puck or Shakespeare's?

Greg responds...

I started reading "Puck of Pook's Hill" to my kids years ago. But at the time they were too young and it didn't hold their interest. I'm afraid I never finished it. Nor have I read the sequel.

So it's not a question of preference. Shakespeare's Puck is the only one I really know -- beyond the Garg version.

Response recorded on June 10, 2002

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Silverbolt writes...

Hey there.

I saw an episode of Batman: the animated Series (not the future one) and saw a rather intresting episode which involved Catwoman being turned into a cat-woman and it also involved a genetically enginnered cat which looked like Talon oh and the worst thing was that the guy who did all this looked exactly Sevarius. Hmmm... i don't know when it was made but i wonder if they nicked the look of the guy from gargoyles. or perhaps everyone thinks made doctors look like red headed lab guys?

oh-well

Greg responds...

I think great minds think alike. But I think they were our way before we were. So although I don't think we copied them, they certainly didn't copy us.

Response recorded on June 10, 2002

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Chapter XXXIV: "Avalon, Part One"

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.

THE RECAP

...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

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?

OPENING

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."

OLD FRIENDS

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.

BELVEDERE CASTLE

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.

FLASHBACK

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. ;)

VOICES

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.

They're amazing.

SOAP OPERA

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.

THE MURDER

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 ESCAPE

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.

AVALON

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?


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"Protection" Addendum

One thing I forgot...

When Glasses first shows up at Mr. Jaffe's store, he knocks over a bunch of cans.

Later Dracon shows up, and he also knocks over the cans.

I'm reminded of the Steve Martin movie "The Jerk".

"He hates these cans! Stay away from the cans!"


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Monzo writes...

All Batman (animated) questions:

1.What are your favorite episodes in "Batman: The Animated Series"?

2.a)What do think of the episodes in "The New Adventures Of Batman And Robin" compared to TAS?

2.b)What do you think of the change from Robin to Nightwing and the arrival of Robin II?

2.c)What do you think of the design (look, costume, voice cast, etc) changes in mostly all the characters compared to the 'TAS'?

3.What do you think of the episodes in "Batman Beyond" compared to the two previous series?

4.a)Have you seen any Batman animated movies "Mask of the Phantasm", "Sub-Zero", "World's Finest" and "Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker"?

4.b)Any favorites among them? What's your opinion?

5.What do you think of Harley Quinn (I think she was first introduced in the Batman universe through the animated series)?

6.What do think of Mark Hamill's performance as the Joker?

Greg responds...

1. God, it's been SO long. And there were so many in those first 65, particularly after Alan Burnette took over as Producer. It was great stuff though. And I loved Mask of the Phantasm.

2a. I don't think I saw any of those.

2b. Didn't see how they handled it. Never loved it so much in the comics.

2c. See above. I didn't see them.

3. I've only seen a few Batman Beyond. And while I think it's well-made I don't quite love it. I guess the new Batman reminds me too much of Spider-Man. I like Spider-Man, but I don't really want to see Batman acting like Spider-Man.

4a. I've seen the first and the uncut version of the last.

b. I liked them both, actually. But Mask blew me away.

5. She's fun.

6. Amazing.

Response recorded on January 22, 2002

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OH, YEAH...

I was watching Gilmore Girls the other night and I realized that I've neglected to mention a show that was a subconscious influence on Gargoyles.

I LOVE LUCY

Here was a series set in Manhattan that periodically took its main characters on trips to other 'more exotic' locations. Like Europe, Cuba, Hollywood, etc.

Just thought I should mention it.


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Gipdac writes...

I've noticed a lot of simularties between Gargoyles and Gummi Bears. And you said you worked on Gummi Bears before you worked on Gargoyles right?

Okay first, during their first seasons there are six main character Gummi Bears and six main character gargoyles, each containing a trio of younger characters.

Second, each group found the seventh main character on a magic island (Angela on Avalon and Gusto on that island that is a hole in the ocean)

Third, the Great Book of Gummi reminds me of the Grimorum Arcanorum.

Fourth, the Gummi Bears met other Gummies on the British Isles (the Barbics) and in Japan (or China, the never said,) in Xiang-Wu, and made contact with Gummies in New Gumbrea (which if you follow the Gummi Scope is in South/Central America). Goliath & co. met other gargoyle clans in the British isles (London clan), Japan in Ishimura, and in South America (Mayan Clan).

So, how much did Gummi Bears inspire Gargoyles?

Greg responds...

I did a bit of kibbitzing on later seasons of Gummi Bears, but I wouldn't say I worked on it.

As I've said MANY TIMES, Gummi Bears was a MAJOR influence on the original comedy development of the show. Since much of that development survived (in one form or another) into the final product, it's no surprise that Gargoyles reveals a Gummi influence. Some of your specifics seem more coincidental than intentional, but the influence is real.

Response recorded on November 06, 2001

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Anonymous writes...

Is Xanadu the city from the Coelridge poem?

Greg responds...

City?

Response recorded on September 11, 2001

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Anonymous writes...

Have you ever read the works of Issac Asimov the second greatest scifi writer in the world?

Greg responds...

Without confirming or denying your pointless ranking, yes, I've read much Asimov. Including his Black Widower mysteries (which I heartily recommend) and his BIG old book on Shakespeare (which unfortunately I can only recommend with reservations).

Response recorded on September 11, 2001

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Anonymous writes...

How similar is Coyote-X to Ultron?

Greg responds...

Not very similar at all, I think.

The one thing I 'homaged' was the whole numbering system, though we modernized the idea into computer style upgrades.

Ultron is an influence, obviously, but I think the differences between the two, both in terms of goal and style speak for themselves.

Response recorded on September 11, 2001

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Yttrium writes...

You mentioned you were in a play called THE WARRIOR'S HUSBAND and played Theseus. Could you tell us what it was about?

---Ytt

Greg responds...

Sure. Although, keep in mind, that I was in this play over twenty years ago. So I may be misremembering stuff. I'd recommend hitting a library and reading it for yourself. It's by Julian Thompson.

But anyway... Hercules and Theseus attack the Amazons to get the girdle of Hippolyta, which Herc needs to complete his ninth labor. Homer is along to report on the action.

Hercules is very strong and carries a big club, but is neither bright nor brave in this play. Theseus is smart and cunning and good with a sword. He likes to let Herc stand up as the front man, while he makes things work behind the scenes. He's used to getting his way.

The Greeks come up against the Amazon Queen Hippolyta and her younger sister Princess Antiope. All the Amazon men are pretty wimpy. The title character is an Amazon man named Sapiens, Hippolyta's husband. He gains backbone as the play progresses.

Theseus and Antiope do battle. Antiope is very turned on to find a man who can hold his own with her. Theseus, used to just getting what he wants, is also knocked for a loop to find an equal in this woman. They fall in love. Together, they end the war. Herc gets a girdle. Not THE girdle, but everyone figures no one will notice the difference. It ends happily.

It's a bit of fluff, but I remember really liking it. Fun fluff. (It probably didn't hurt that in rehearsing the kiss between Antiope and Theseus, Elizabeth and I sort of discovered that we liked each other. As a result, we were boyfriend and girlfriend throughout my senior year of high school. So, as you can imagine, my memories of the play are rather fond.) Elizabeth also recently reminded me that David Schwimmer, now of FRIENDS, played Giganius the Herald.

FYI, Katharine Hepburn played Antiope in the original Broadway cast.

And thanks for asking this question. It makes me very nostalgic.

Response recorded on September 08, 2001

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Anonymous writes...

Who exactly were Mab's parents?

Greg responds...

Archie and either Betty or Veronica.

Response recorded on September 06, 2001

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Anonymous writes...

Who was the first fay to gain sentience?

Greg responds...

Fay Furillo?

Response recorded on September 06, 2001

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matt writes...

for some reason i feel compelled to share this with you:

ok, i didn't even think about this until you mentioned the "Cairn" that Goliath and co. were imprisoned in in a recent question, but my dog, Gus, is a Cairn Terrier, and i've commonly called him a hound of ulster in my best irish accent. and i suddenly realized that that is funny not only cuz his species was named for digging into the same kind of place as "The Hound of Ulster" had its climax, but a Cairn Terrier was also Toto in "The Wizard of Oz" which was quoted twice in the episode (once by Elisa, and once by Banshee). and then at random i choose Cuchallin as my new screen icon in the Comment Room here! wow! i just thought that was an amazing string of coincidences, or are they coincidences?

why was "The Wizard of Oz" quoted twice seperatly in this one episode, even when it was never quoted anywhere else in the series? seems weird...

anyway, thats all i have to say... oh, and hey! now my dog is famous for being mentioned online to the Wizard of Ask Greg! hooray Gus (aka the hound of ulster reborn, lol)

Greg responds...

Well, I like the Wizard of Oz.

I don't really remember the specifics of how those quotes got in there, but it's likely that if one was down on paper our brains may have been in Oz mode, summoning up the other.

Response recorded on August 30, 2001

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Todd Jensen writes...

Have you read Rudyard Kipling's two books about Puck, "Puck of Pook's Hill" and "Rewards and Fairies"? (I've read both and quite enjoyed them; oddly enough, I first read them about the same time that "The Gathering" first aired on television).

Greg responds...

I started "Puck of Pook's Hill" with my kids. They weren't too interested in it, so I'm afraid we never finished it.

I don't have the other one.

Response recorded on August 15, 2001

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Anonymous writes...

Todd - Green also wrote one on Egyptian Mythology.

Greg responds...

Good to know. Thanks.

By the way, who are you? Could you make up some other name besides Anonymous?

Response recorded on August 15, 2001

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Todd Jensen writes...

You've mentioned before that one of your favorite Arthurian works, and one which you've used quite a bit as a "primary source" (it clearly was at least a major influence for your handling of Percival and Blanchefleur) was Roger Lancelyn Green's "King Arthur". Have you ever read any of R. L. Green's other rehandlings of myths and legends (he wrote one on Greek mythology, "Heroes of Greece and Troy", one on Norse mythology, "Myths of the Norsemen", and one on Robin Hood)?

Greg responds...

I have FOUND a copy of Green's Greek Myth book, but haven't had the time to read it yet. Haven't found the other two you mentioned. Some day.

Response recorded on August 15, 2001

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JEB writes...

Ever read anything by H.P. Lovecraft? If so, what do you think of his work?

Greg responds...

I have not. Though his influence is so wide spread I can't be sure I haven't been influenced by writers, etc. that were influenced by him. I more or less do know for example what 'Lovecraftian' means.

Response recorded on August 08, 2001

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Anonymous writes...

Did you draw any inspiration for the Illuminati from Vandal Savage and his Illuminati?

Greg responds...

I'm sure all Illuminati fiction draws from similar sources.

But I don't remember Vandal Savage being connected with the Illuminati. Of course, I haven't read DC Comic Books since 1996.

Response recorded on July 27, 2001

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Anonymous writes...

Were you trying to imitate Kirby's Gods among us theme when you were developing New Olympians?

Greg responds...

As I've mentioned before, Kirby's Eternals (and to a lesser extent his Inhumans and New Gods) were definite inspirations. We hope what we created was unique and original, but I don't deny the influence. We were going for something Kirbyesque.

Response recorded on July 27, 2001

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Anonymous writes...

You said that Mab the mother of Oberon was connected to Chaos like many of the other first gods in mythology such as Tiamat, Ymir and Gaea who were created from chaos or were chaos incarnate and like many of these gods Mab is overthrown by a younger god who is descended from her and in our case it's Oberon. So did you have Mab be Oberon's mother not his sister or cousin just to fit the myth of older/chaotic god being overthrown by a younger god?

Greg responds...

I'm sure that held influence. (Although I'd argue against Gaea being a chaos figure. I might also argue against Ymir too.)

Also, it just seemed right.

Response recorded on July 10, 2001

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Anonymous writes...

Were you ever influenced by the Inhumans of Marvel comics while you were making New Olympians?

Greg responds...

More the Eternals and the New Gods. But I suppose you could throw the Inhumans in there too. It was a very Kirby-inspired concept, and we made no bones about it. Bob Kline, Gargoyles' original Development Art Director and later a Producer/Director on the series' second season, came up with the original idea that developed into New Olympians. This was some time before Gargoyles. We later folded it in.

Response recorded on July 10, 2001

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Anonymous writes...

Greg;

I have seen many episodes of TV shows that use language and action from various literary sources. They use the TV shows characters to act out the literary source (Like Romeo and Juliet with Leo DiCaprio [same words, different setting]).

1) Did you ever want to try this style with Gargoyles using Shakespear or some other author, like Kipling? I mean, not useing your own written dialogue?

2) Would this infringe on copy writes or something, if you wanted to do it?

Greg responds...

1. Yes, I did.

2. Not if it was someone in the public domain like Shakespeare.

Response recorded on July 09, 2001

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Anonymous writes...

Did Ra's al Ghul of Batman fame influence the character of Duval/Percival?

Greg responds...

No.

Response recorded on July 02, 2001

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SEM writes...

Greg, saw "Walkabout" recently and had a question about Dingo's ending line about Australia having a new kind of hero. Was this intended in any way as a jab to Crocodile Dundee, who had been very popular in the previous decade? Maybe it's just because CROCODILE DUNDEE IN L.A. came out in the last few months that my mind made that kind of connection... not sure. Thanks!

Greg responds...

Well, it's not like I never saw the original Crocodile Dundee movie, so I suppose anything's possible.

But honestly, no, I don't think it was any kind of Dundee reference.

Response recorded on June 29, 2001

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Pyro X writes...

Greg you said in response to this question...

Siren writes...
The Fox/Titania controversy...
In the script for The Gathering, were the words that they spoke written out or was it just "psst psst..."?

Greg responds...

I guess if I wanted to start a bidding war on my copy of the script, I should answer, "The Former". :)

But I don't. Unless we're talking BIG money. Now what am I bid?
____________________________________________________________

I will trade you my piece of land on the Moon for the script. Truely. I really have one. They sold them at the West edmonton Mall for $25 Canadian. Wouldn't you like to see your children live on the moon?

(Insert Smart ass answer.)

Thanks.

Greg responds...

Uh...

There's a couple of really great Robert Heinlein short stories, "The Man Who Sold the Moon" and "Requiem". They're both about the same character. "Requiem" was written first, but it's about the character as an old man. "The Man Who Sold the Moon" is about the guy as a young man. "Requiem" is a beautiful story. Moreso, if you've read "...Sold the Moon" first.

This has nothing to do with your question. But I didn't have a smartass response to it, so I thought I might recommend something worthwhile instead.

Response recorded on June 28, 2001

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LSZ writes...

You said you saw the God of the Bible as a geotheistic deity - exactly what do you mean by geotheistic? Attached to one area?

Greg responds...

One nation.

Response recorded on June 27, 2001

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Todd Jensen writes...

Have you ever seen any of the David Macaulay animated/live-action specials about building in the ancient and medieval worlds - particularly "Castle"? They aired on PBS some years ago - for the most part, quite a while before "Gargoyles" ever came out - but when I first saw "Awakening Part One", parts of the Castle Wyvern scenes (particularly the banquet) reminded me of scenes in the "Castle" special. That recently got me wondering if you'd ever seen them (the animated sequences did, in fact, have a similar "general" feel to the medieval Scotland scenes in "Gargoyles).

Greg responds...

Nope. They don't even sound familiar.

Response recorded on May 30, 2001

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Dexter writes...

Hello Greg-Alright, so this one is about Angela's hair. It's it just coincidence that her hair style is exactly like Princess Jasmine's from Alladin, or did you guys over a Disney just do that to be cute? I'm not trying to be an asshole (wow it's a miracle) I like her hair. Hmmm, she'd look pretty gorgeous with it down though, rrrrrrrroaw!

Greg responds...

I don't know. I assume it's a coincidence, but we were all in the same building so maybe we were influenced some. Greg Guler's original design for Demona had that sort of pony-tail. Frank didn't want that for Demona, so I had it brought back for Angela.

Response recorded on April 17, 2001

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The ONe writes...

1) Why didn't Anansi use his magical arts against Angela, Goliath, and the others? Why did he choose to only use melee attacks instead of such powerful and simple attacks such as the weird sister's magickal bolts or Oberon's sleep spell to ensure victory?

2) Why did Anansi even need hunters? And especially mortal hunters for that matter. Couldn't he have magically created a source of his own food and why make his form a giant spider that couldn't support itself?

Greg responds...

Perhaps what you're getting at is that Anansi isn't that bright. But I think we were true to the Trickster tradition. Anansi is a bit lazy. A bit interested in using people for his amusement. It defines who he is and how he acts.

Response recorded on April 08, 2001

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Anonymous writes...

Why does Boreas resemble Highfather?

Greg responds...

Well....

There's no doubt that Kirby strongly influenced the entire NEW OLYMPIAN concept.

Having admitted that gladly, I don't think they look that much alike. Boreas is long and lean, with strange eyes and wings. Highfather is big and bulky, with a completely different attire.

The only thing they really have in common is a white beard.

Response recorded on March 29, 2001

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Erin Peretti writes...

I am absolutely fascinated with your comment that Gargoyle's MacBeth was more historically accurate than Shakespeare's (obviously ommitting Demona and immortality).

What parts were more accurate?

I know this is a pain, but would you happen to know where I could find some historically accurate accounts of Macbeth? His home, his full name, whether Duncan was the perfect king potrayed in the play, etc....

What research materials did you use when writing Mac for Gargoyles?

Is Glamis castle in Scotland really Mac's castle, as I have been told?

Thanks so much!!!

Greg responds...

Most of the research on Macbeth was done by Monique Beatty and Tuppence Macintyre. I did little or none myself. (I didn't have time.) Monique was my assistant (and is now a producer in her own right). Tup is a close friend and a Los Angeles Deputy District Attorney.

I know Holinshed was of some use. But I don't know what other books they used specifically.

Almost everything we did -- minus the gargs and Weird Sisters and the Mask of the Hunter -- was more accurate historically than Shaekespeare. (Not better, just more accurate.) Duncan and his father hired Gillecomgain to assassinate Mac's father. They rewarded him with Mac's title and with Gruouch. Mac eventually killed Gille and married Gruoch, adopting her boy Lulach as his own. There were some rumours that Lulach WAS his child.

Mac killed Duncan in battle, not while Duncan was a guest in his house. Mac ruled wisely for seventeen years and was overthrown by Malcolm Canmore, who was backed by the English. Etc.

I'm not 100% sure about Glamis, but I believe Macbeth's historical home was Castle Moray (also called Murray).

Response recorded on March 13, 2001

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Aris Katsaris writes...

3. The similarities between Xanatos and Sisyphus: a Theseus/Gawain-Rory/Cuchullain situation, a descendant (Xanatos comes from Greece after all), or simply the coincidental repetition of an archetype?

(I don't think the above are story ideas, but I'll understand if Todd decides to cut them away...)

Greg responds...

I did think of Xanatos as an archetypal character -- a human trickster (as opposed to a Trickster-God like Anansi or Loki). As noted in the previous post, my lack of casual familiarity with the Sis-Myth prevented him from being a specific influence. But Odysseus was in my head. "Xavier" was designed to look like the classic hero of myth. (In contrast to the monstrous 'goyles.) When I changed the name, the Greek association brought Odysseus to mind.

Odysseus is a tricky fellow, who'll use nearly any means to justify his end. He's pragmatic but also curious. (See how he deals with the Sirens.) Immortality appeals to him. But family is ultimately more important. He's also smart as hell. Handsome, strong. A fierce warrior who uses force as a last resort. Sounds fairly Xanatosian to me. What do you think?

Response recorded on March 08, 2001

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Aris Katsaris writes...

Next ramble - Xanatos and Gilgamesh:

As I said my first thought was Gilgamesh, since he also had the wish to find immortality - yet above all because Gilgamesh is the mythological hero whose mortality is an integral part of him: the same thing that you said about Xanatos... Both have had dealings with immortals, yet both are hopelessly mortal...

Other than that, admittedly they don't seem to have any other point of similarity... Perhaps (though a bit far-fetched) that Gilgamesh also starts like a bit of a villain until he discovers friendship. But comparisons between Enkidu and Goliath seem even more farfetched and I decided to stop that train of thought.

The Gilgamesh story is among my very favourite ones... And I love characters such as Utnapishtim (the survivor of the Great Flood - the gods turned him and his wife immortal). In fact I find Utnapishtim's version of the story far more fascinating than that of Noah or Deucalion - two stories which for me are so sketchy as to be really *dull*.

Anyway...
1. Do you have any plans about Gilgamesh or Utnapishtim which are more specific than "Eventually everything?"
2. Since Utnapishtim was turned immortal - do you think he's still around? :-)

Greg responds...

Sure Noah wound up a boring drunk. And Deucalion was a bit of a stiff. But wouldn't you like to see Utnapishtim, Noah and Deucalion all sitting at one of these new post-Flood coffee houses, having a beer together, reminiscing about old times? How singers could really sing pre-Flood and how the smell nearly killed them on those damn arcs?

1. Gilgamesh, Enkidu and Utnapishtim (as well as Noah and Deucalion) all figured into my plans. Vaguely. That is, I have a few ideas for all of these characters. But they have not as yet fully coalesced in the old (and getting older) brain. But I will say that Jeff Robbins is involved with my Gilgamesh notions. (FYI - I never really made a Gil-Xanatos connection.)

2. Duh. :)

Response recorded on March 08, 2001

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Aris Katsaris writes...

More of a ramble (or two) than a question but here goes:
I believe that someone here in Ask Greg compared Xanatos to Prospero- both having magical assistants... Anyway I was thinking around the same lines, trying to compare Xanatos with characters from mythology:

My first thought was Gilgamesh (I'll ramble about him next) but then I thought an even better match: namely Sisyphus. And, god, this guy seems the most Xanatosian character I know (I even imagine him played by Frakes). He's *very* intelligent (him and Ulysses are pretty much the two clever men of Greek mythology); something of a trickster; he's considered to be something of a villain; and finally in certain stories he has even tried to find a way to defeat death. Two times in fact. One of them involved binding Thanatos (or Hades - not sure which) pretty similar to what the Emir did in 'Grief'...

So questions:
1. Any thoughts on the above? :-)
2. Sisyphus was punished pretty severely for what was seen as villainy (namely his trying to cheat death and angering Zeus in general)... Other than the brief (though admittedly great) scare that Oberon gave to Xanatos, do you think that Xanatos will get a comeuppance for his crimes? He's done worse than Sisyphus I think...
3. There's a third question but I'll post it serarately in case Todd thinks it a story idea...

Greg responds...

1. Interesting. I can't claim to have been thinking along those lines specifically. Though Odysseus did come to mind, more than once. I guess, I'm just not quite as familiar with Sisyphus' legends...

2. Of course the thing I remember most about Sis is the final punishment. The Sisyphusian task of pushing that boulder up the hill. Xanatos will, on occasion, continue to get his comeuppance. But I can't picture him standing for that kind of punishment -- even in Hell.

Response recorded on March 08, 2001

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Siren writes...

I didn;t see this in the archieves and was just curious...
In Eye of the Beholder, whose idea was it to dress Elisa as Belle from Beauty and the Beast. It just seemed too perfect and at such a good time in the 1st season to do so.
Also a slightly related question...Where did Goliath learn how to ballroom dance? Demona just doesn't seem the type to have done so before 998AD ;)

Greg responds...

That was my idea, I believe.

And Goliath didn't really need to know how to "ballroom dance". He just needed to be strong enough to hold Elisa and move to the music. It wasn't a contest.

Response recorded on March 07, 2001

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Ray Kremer writes...

All the rambles on City of Stone recently brought back some memories. While that season was airing I was in High school, and the English Class that semester was British Literature. Beowulf, Canterbury Tales, and of course Shakespere. We did the Scottish play not too long after CoS aired and when I was reading the book the voice of John Rhys-Davies always found its way into my head.

The classroom also had a big poster of the complete family tree of the royalty of the British Isles. You can imagine how much fun it was to look back to 11th century Scotland and find the names of Gillecomgain, Gruoch, and Luoch right there with MacBeth, Duncan, and Malcom Cannmore.

Then when we got to Arthurian Legend I asked the teacher what the significance of Avalon was besides being Arthur's final resting place, half expecting to hear it was the traditional home of the fairy kingdom. (Never could be too sure what was real, what you were making up, and what was some of both.)

Greg responds...

It was (in many works) the traditional home of the fairy kingdom. I wasn't making that up.

Response recorded on March 01, 2001

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Sapphire writes...

According to legend demons are adraid of gargoyles. Is this same concept true in the gargoyles universe?

Greg responds...

Haven't met any demons. We'll have to see ;)

Response recorded on February 26, 2001

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Anonymous writes...

Were you inspired in someway by Quantum Leap while making Timedancer?

Greg responds...

Not really. Plenty of time travel stuff pre-dates QL.

And I'm much stricter about time-travel rules than that show.

Response recorded on February 26, 2001

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Todd Jensen writes...

I recently read not just "The King Must Die" (actually, the reading that I did for the upcoming GBC discussion was a rereading, since I'd originally read it some months before) but also "The Bull From the Sea" (I decided that I'd like to read the rest of Renault's take on Theseus). And I can certainly agree with you that both books are a very effective take on the Theseus story.

One bit that stood out to me was the impact that Hippolyta's death makes on Theseus. Renault, like you yourself, interpreted Theseus and Hippolyta's union as one of equals and one of the peaks in his life. So her death in battle is indeed devastating for him from just that alone. But the additional touch that Renault added on made the impact of Hippolyta's death all the more chilling, and fitted in all the better with Theseus's decline afterwards. For Renault makes it clear that Theseus is meant to make the "Kingly Sacrifice" (the leading thematic element of the two books) in the battle with the Amazons - but instead, he lives and Hippolyta is the "King" who dies willingly. The King has died, but the wrong king - and the impression that I received is that Theseus's not making the "Kingly Sacrifice" of himself in the battle is what sets his doom in motion thereafter, the fact that he has, in a sense, failed his duty.

The other element that particularly stood out to me - and again, struck me as having an effectively chilling touch to it - was the manner of Hippolytus's death, with Theseus for once abusing his gift from Poseidon to predict earthquakes and turning his prediction into a curse - leading to his permanent loss of the ability thereafter.

At any rate, I'm glad that you mentioned and recommended it to the folks here; I certainly was glad to read both books.

Greg responds...

Todd, as usual we are very in sync. I was also very effected by those moments.

(My one caveat is that I feel strongly that Hippolyta was the traditional name of the Amazonian "king". Almost more of a title than a name. And that her true name was Antiope.)

I'm glad you liked the books. (Is anyone else reading them?)

Response recorded on February 15, 2001

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Jim R. writes...

In one the first series episodes, (i forgot the name), where Xanatos donated the eye of Oden and then had it stolen again for himself, there in the museum scene there was night watchman who was walking down a corridor, and he stopped to look at a painting. He said "Yeh, you and me both, pal." Was that painting any famous one in particular? I almost thought it looked like Edward Munch's "Scream" but then I thought why would the night watchmen associate what he was feeling with "Scream"(not the movie)?

Greg responds...

Scream the movie wasn't out yet when we made that. It had no influence on us. And in any case, I've never seen it.

That was supposed to be Edvard Munch's painting though.

Response recorded on February 01, 2001

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Todd Jensen writes...

A couple of "Future Tense" questions:

1. What inspired you to do the "Future Tense" story (aside from the fact that it provided an effective motivation for Goliath to get rid of the Phoenix Gate)?

2. Were there any particular "dystopia/bleak future" stories that had a noticeable influence upon this episode? If so, which ones? (Well, actually, I noted that you mentioned an "X-Men" story about Sentinels in the future as one of the influences).

Greg responds...

1. Lots of things. Mostly, we thought it was a VERY powerful story.

2. That X-Men story is the main one that comes to mind. But I'm sure there were others, at least subconsciously.

Response recorded on January 26, 2001

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Laura 'ad_astra' Ackerman writes...

I've been meaning to post this for a while.. well a month or so-

On Friday, November 17, 2000 05:54:50 PM Revel writes...

"Regarding your "Vows" ramble

I think More's the pitty is kind of like Ignorance is bliss. You've just heard it so many times no one knows who originally said it. (my opinion of course) "

- I don't have my worn out favorit poetry collection with me, (where did I put that this I have been desperately searching for it for a year now …!) But I believe your example comes from a Thomas Gray poem entitled either, "Elegy in a Churchyard" or "Ode Upon Distant Prospects at Eton (or was that Oxford? Or Canbridge)" I might be mangeling any part of it. It is the last line of the poem, "In a place where ignorance is bliss, 'tis folly to be wise."

Revenge of the English major:)

Greg responds...

O.K. Not definitive, since you don't have the book in front of you, but it sounds right.

Response recorded on January 26, 2001

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Todd Jensen writes...

This is a related comment to the Mystic shop in London question that I asked a bit ago (perhaps assisted by the fact that I was watching a PBS documentary on Napoleon earlier today). Napoleon once made a famous dismissal of the English as a "nation of shopkeepers" (presumably before those same "shopkeepers" defeated his fleet at Trafalgar and his army at Waterloo). In light of this remark of his, I find it rather amusing that the gargoyles in England are shopkeepers as well as the humans. I don't know if that quote of his ever came to anybody's thought when you were working on "M.I.A.", but I thought that you might be interested.

Greg responds...

It did actually.

Response recorded on November 21, 2000

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Aris Katsaris writes...

You said: <<O.K. Thanks. So death was NEVER personified?
Certainly Uranos was personified in the mythology, right? And Eros, of course. >>

Umm, I'm not certain what exactly it is you mean by "personification", so let me be a bit more elaborate.

Pretty much *everything* was personified as a deity, including abstractions like "Victory"-Nike, "Peace"-Eirene, "Justice"-Dike, "Violence"-Bia, "Night"-Nyx, "Sleep"-Hypnos, etc. The name is the concept is the deity...

However most of these deities never seemed to have a solid existence in stories besides their very function - unlike gods and goddesses like Athena, Hades, Hermes, Thetis, Callisto, etc, who very clearly were "persons" with a history and personalities that was separate from their specific roles...

Uranus was ofcourse personified - he was a person who was defeated and castrated by Cronos, etc, etc. And in fact he was probably personified so much that the meaning of his name being "sky" was probably almost forgotten, and Zeus was considered the god whose province was the sky, etc.

Eros is a weird case: The story which "personified" him as the son of Aphrodite and the lover of Psyche, was written very late, 2nd century AD I think, by a Roman writer. In that one he was obviously a seperate person, "personified" with any definition one can come up with.

But before that, Eros seems to have been much more of an abstraction, one of the very first gods who was birthed by Chaos: For if there had been no Eros (no love) later gods (like Gaia and Uranus, or Cronos and Rhea, or Zeus and Hera) could not have loved each other. More of a force, less of a person.

Now Death-"Thanatos" was ofcourse personified like anything else: he's supposed to be the son of Night, and the older brother of Sleep (Hypnos). But besides that, he seems to me to be much more of an abstraction like Nike, and less of a person like Athena. He's referred to as a person occasionally (Zeus sends Hypnos and Thanatos to carry the body of Sarpedon with honour away from Troy, I think that Hercules is supposed to have wrestled with Thanatos in one case) but those two are pretty much the only occasions I remember him be a person...

I don't know if the above helped clarify or confuse...

Greg responds...

It helped clarify where you were coming from, but I think even the brief mentions you give legitimize the way I characterized Thanatos. The God of Death. He doesn't have a lot of stories attached to him. But that's still the idea.

Live you said, "The name is the concept is the deity."

(And I knew about the two versions of Eros.)

Response recorded on November 21, 2000

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LSZ writes...

This is a weird question, but were there any plans to use more recent fictional works in the Gargoyles universe, particularly:

1) HG Wells
2) Jules Verne
3) C.S Lewis
4) H.P Lovecraft

Greg responds...

I could easily be influenced by the first two.

But I've read almost nothing by the last two. I'm aware of their work, and some of it has seeped into pop culture to the extent that I might be indirectly influenced by them.

But I had no specific plans to hit the nail on the head of any of these four authors.

Response recorded on November 17, 2000

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Anonymous writes...

there seemed to be many similarities between the star wars universe and the gargoyles universe is this coincidence?

Greg responds...

I'm not aware of too many overt similarities. Other than a few intentional in-jokes.

I'm sure by virtue of the fact that we're both trying to tell highly archetypal stories that there will be some overlap.

That doesn't make it a coincidence, exactly. But it's definitely not intentional.

Response recorded on November 14, 2000

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Aris Katsaris writes...

Regarding Xanatos's name you said: <<First it's a slight change on Thanatos, the Greek god of death.>>

A small tidbit: "Thanatos" is not just the ancient Greek god of death, it's the Greek *word* for death (in both ancient and modern Greek).

It means death the same way that in Greek "Uranus" means sky and "Oceanus" means ocean and "Eros" means love (both romantic and physical), etc...

Greg responds...

O.K. Thanks. So death was NEVER personified?

Certainly Uranos was personified in the mythology, right? And Eros, of course.

Response recorded on November 14, 2000

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Aris Katsaris writes...

A more normal but somewhat silly question (the answer is almost certainly "no"):

Have you ever read Don Rosa's "Return to Xanadu"? I'm not entirely certain but I think that was one of the first mentions of Xanadu that I ever saw - and which lead me to read Coleridge's poem.

Greg responds...

No.

My earliest Xanadu references are from Coleridge and CITIZEN KANE.

Then there's that Olivia Newton-John / Gene Kelly movie.

Response recorded on November 09, 2000

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RPG [rpg7@poczta.fm] writes...

Hi!

I'd like to ask You for a Carl Johnson, editor of the such wonderful music sound track to the Gargoyles. Yes, I know there's nothing like a original motion picture soundtrack from the series (however, I know about a fan-made one), but what I want to know if something about this guy, especially what other movies he illustrated with music (I've asked many people, on cr too, but nobody know really nothing).

Another question: how You probably know, there was a TV horror movie Gargoyles (which I haven't seen, btw). I'm curious if You saw this movie and if it inspired You even a little.

Sorry for my english (I'm a polish fan), and thank You in advance for answering my questions and doing it for fans - You are great! ^_^

[Btw: I noticed there was a question about a possibility of releasing a Gargoyles role-playing game. If You are interested to see a fan-made amatour rp conversions of series, I've got some (there's much more of this stuff on the web) of them at following adress ftp://vortex.efekt.pl/people/gargoyle%5E/gargoyle_gamez/]

Greg responds...

Carl wasn't the music editor. He was the composer. He's a nice guy, but I don't have access to his bio. He will, however, be a guest at the 2001 Gathering in Los Angeles. I suggest you attend. (I know Poland's a long ways away, but L.A. is a great city to vacation to. And we've had fans come from Europe and even Japan and Israel before.)

If we're talking about the Cornell Wilde/Bernie Casey tv movie, than yes, I saw it. But I don't think I got any inspiration from it, since I saw it AFTER we had developed the series.

Response recorded on November 09, 2000

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LSZ writes...

1) Did you ever see either the movie or the original stage version of the musical Camelot(there's a lot of difference between the two)?
2) If so, what did you think about it?

Greg responds...

Both. Loved the musical the first time I saw it. Other productions I've seen have been more mixed. The movie is a bit mixed for me as well. But I basically think it's a great show.

Response recorded on November 02, 2000

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LSZ writes...

I recently got the original book version of 'Magic'; it's just as good as the movie. Have you ever read it?

Greg responds...

No.

Response recorded on November 02, 2000

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Aris Katsaris writes...

Todd> Such scenarios have their root in reality - whereever a minority is oppressed by a majority, you'll get the individuals who'll fight back hatefully and the individuals who'll want to live in harmony.

In my opinion it's *extremely* silly to think that Gargoyles could be copying the X-men when both were obviously copying the real world...

Now X-Men and the *New Olympians*... well that's a whole other story. :-)

Greg responds...

New Olympians is influenced by Jack Kirby's Eternals or New Gods much more than X-Men.

But I think you're missing Todd's point. I don't think we were ever really a Batman rip-off any more than we were an X-Men rip-off. His question was about our concerns. And we were concerned that we'd be PERCEIVED as a Batman rip-off. We weren't concerned about being PERCEIVED as an X-Men rip-off. But frankly, I can't remember why. Because one concern is just as legitimate (or illegitimate) as the other.

Response recorded on November 02, 2000

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Duncan Devlin writes...

Hi Greg. I was a little curious about Robbins' line about books at the end of "A Lighthouse in the Sea of Time".
Who came up with. it.
Were there any specific influences (assuming it didn't come from a source I don't know).
Are there any other drafts of the quote available (if yes, could you post something?)

Greg responds...

It was written by Lydia Marano and/or Brynne Chandler.

It was inspired by a similar quote by Barbara Tuchman, but I don't have the original handy.

Response recorded on October 26, 2000

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Amberie writes...

Greetings. I was just wondering if you've ever considered including fairy tale (Snow White, Cinderella, etc)elements into the Gargoyles Universe, especially since you've included mythology and aliens. Thanks!

Greg responds...

Yep.

Response recorded on October 20, 2000

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Aris Katsaris writes...

Greg, what do you think about the place that the "May Day's Decree" has in the Gargoyle Universe? (the murder of a great number of infants so as to destroy Mordred)

I always felt that unlike most other parts of the Arthurian legend (which didn't have so obvious sources) , the "May Day Decree" seemed a complete copycat of Herod's massacre with a bit of Perseus thrown in. As such I felt it was perhaps the part which rung by far the most untrue...

Anyway, others in the comment room have disagreed ofcourse. Do you think it happened in the Gargoyles universe or not?

(And I really hope for something more clear than "All things are true" :-)

Greg responds...

You're forgetting Moses, which I think is a much more direct parallel.

Response recorded on October 20, 2000

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puck40 writes...

Hey Greg

Comment about Terry Pratchet. :)
Just find any one of those Discworld books and read the first couple pages. If your not hooked into it by the first or second page... well like thats possible. hee hee
ja!

Greg responds...

see my comments to Aris.

I realize I'm cutting myself off from some good stuff, but I don't have a shortage of books to read EVER.

I just read William Faulkner's New Orleans Sketches. It was a great early example of his work.

Response recorded on October 19, 2000


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