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Mo writes...

I just rewatched spectacular spiderman and I feel there were a few bits inspired by the Rami trilogy, is that true?

Greg responds...

Since I don't know what the Rami trilogy is, I'm gonna say no.

Response recorded on January 09, 2019

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Beleg Aglar writes...

What were the books and films (if any) that inspired the everything in the show Gargoyles, because I know that some of it was William Shakespeare's Works, some was D'Aulaire's Books of Greek and Norse Myths, maybe Le Morte D' Arthur by Sir Thomas Mallory,Holinshed's Chronicles in the case of the Weird Sisters, and The Mummy's Hand in the case of Tanna Leaves, and i know where stuff like Anubis, Anansi, Raven, Coyote, Grandmother, Thunderbird, Banshee, Crom Cruach, Cú Chulainn, Hound of Ulster (or Hound of Cullain), Fu Dog, The Green Knight, The actual Macbeth, the actual Duncan, The actual Canmore,Lulach, Gille Coemgáin of Moray, Gruoch of Scotland, Robin Goodfellow (AKA Puck), Quetzalcoatl, Yeti, Actual Crime in Manhatten, The Golem of Prague, Will-o'-the-wisp, and Tengu come from i just would like to know the books you probally read first that made you want to put that stuff in the show.

Greg responds...

Didn't you list most of them above?

I don't have a concise reading list. It was everything that influenced me (and others who worked on the show, as I was NEVER a one-man band) all rolled together.

I've read a lot of Arthurian stuff, including Mary Stewart, Roger Lanclyn Green, Mallory, etc. I've read and seen all of Shakespeare. I've read Hugo and a lot of books on mythology of different cultures. Movies including Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and Pal Joey and many others, particularly those adapted from Damon Runyon stories. The list goes on. Plus tons of comics.

Still the biggest influences were probably HILL STREET BLUES, GUMMI BEARS and maybe STAR TREK (the original series).

For more, check out the INFLUENCES archive here at ASK GREG.

Response recorded on May 05, 2017

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B writes...

In "M.I.A.", after Goliath appears in the past and Griff saves him from the plane, Douglas asks "Clive, did you see that?" and Clive seemingly didn't. This greatly resembles the opening scene to the "Batman: The Animated Series" premiere episode, "On Leather Wings" (though it was obviously Man-Bat and not a Gargoyle in that case), which was then mirrored later in the DC Animated Universe as well as other shows.

My question is: Was that intentional here?

It always seemed ironic to me that the pilot being asked if he saw anything was named Clive when that's the name of the actor who played the pilot in the same position in the Batman episode (as well as Alfred for the first few episodes). Also, the "On Leather Wings" name and the humanoid bat in the episode seemed like a similar enough concept and Elisa does reference Superman in the previous episode, "Sanctuary": "This is a job for the Gargoyles."

Greg responds...

No. Not intentional. Of course, I had seen the episode, so maybe it was floating around in my subconscious. But frankly, even that's a bit of a stretch. The name Clive was chosen because it's quintessentially British. Otherwise, most of what you're describing is purely situational.

Response recorded on July 22, 2015

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AJ Wipper writes...

Hello Greg,
I scoured the unanswered questions and the archives. As far as I can tell, nobody has asked this of you before:
1.)When did you know while writing Lexington that he would eventually realize that he's gay?
I'm a 25 year old gay man living in Minnesota. I loved Gargoyles as a kid. I had almost all the action figures (couldn't find the castle play set so I made my own out of cardboard boxes lol) and all the VHS tapes. Now I have all the released seasons on DVD. I grew up feeling different all the time from my peers. Your show resonated with me! It's still a viewing pleasure of mine. In retrospect, I think the clan was an allegory for how I felt in the world. In the minority, alone and isolated and misunderstood by society. I was always cheering when more Gargoyles were introduced from Avalon.
I have one more question that is about the writing of the show:
2.) Were you and the show's writers warned or advised that kids couldn't follow continuity in an animated series?
I was between 5-7 years old while Gargoyles aired and I was fascinated that the show relied on flashbacks and foreshadowing and slow builds of the storylines.

I'm so glad that the show was on when I was young. It had a profound impact on me. Lexington was ALWAYS my favorite and I just recently found out he was to be gay. Thanks for making me feel less alone growing up. I wish you continued success!
Thank you for your time!!

Greg responds...

1. I don't remember exactly. (Twenty years ago, you know.) But it was probably some time during Season Two. Definitely before we wrote Turf.

2. No. Not then. That's come up on other shows since, but I was following a simplified version of the Hill Street Blues model on Gargoyles. One clean story per episode. Multiple storyLINES in play.

Response recorded on November 12, 2014

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13th Dimension Interview

In anticipation of my FIVE panels at Long Beach Comic Con, here's a nice little article/interview on 13th Dimension:

http://13thdimension.com/greg-weisman-from-gargoyles-to-young-justice-to-novels-and-more/


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Anonymous writes...

I just realized that the second question I asked two days ago (about how Tom got from Avelon to Manhatten) is REALLY stupid...for some reason I was misremembering the entire situation and was thinking Tom went to Manhatten AFTER Goliath and co. got back from their trip (which makes absolutly no sense now that I remember correctly)...OOPS! Sorry. I'm verry much expecting a "Hey stupid, what the heck are you talking about?!" response to that question.

Anyway, since I don't want to clog the que with just an apology for screwing up a previous one, I'll ask a couple of actual questions too, this time regarding Brooklyn and Katana.

1. You once described their relationship as: "there's conflict." Can you elaborate (in a general sense, not specific situations...ie. they bicker a lot, they disagree on many things, ect.)?

2. I know that the real-world reason for Katana's name is the sward, but in-universe, did her clan use names? (Also, I know it's a "spoiler request," but if you feel like saying who gave her the name if it wasn't her clan, that would be awesome -- same for Foo Dog).

3. Were the parallels between the casts of the World Tour and Timedancer (ie. the lead Gargoyle: Goliath/Brooklyn; his mate: Elisa/Katana; the child: Angela/Nashville; and the beast: Bronx/Foo Dog) a deliberate decision or just a coincidence?

4. Has/will Foo Dog ever had/get a mate?

Greg responds...

1. Watch Sam and Diane on Cheers or Beatrice and Benedick in Much Ado About Nothing.

2. We've established that the Ishimura Clan uses names. Whether they did back then is a SPOILER REQUEST.

3. More organic than anything. Keep in mind, it's just Brooklyn. Then it's Brooklyn, Finella and Mary. Later it's Brooklyn and Fu-Dog. Later still it's Brooklyn, Fu-Dog and Katana. Later still, it's Brooklyn, Fu-Dog, Katana and an egg. Then Brooklyn, Fu-Dog, Katana and Nashville. Then Brooklyn, Fu-Dog, Katana, Nashville and Egwardo. And that's assuming no one else temporarily joins them for some of the Dancing, a fact I'll neither confirm or deny.

4. SPOILER REQUEST.

Response recorded on September 18, 2014

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My CONvergence 2014 Schedule

So the #Gargoyles20 U.S. Tour continues. Stop #3 is CONvergence in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Well, actually in Bloomington, Minnesota, but close enough.) http://www.convergence-con.org

This is a big one for us. It includes a number of events that we used to do at the old Gathering of the Gargoyles Conventions, which ran from 1997-2009. And I know a bunch of Gargoyles fans will be attending, so it'll also be a reunion of sorts.

My schedule for the long weekend is quite packed - which is just how I like it!

THURSDAY, JULY 3, 2014
2:00pm - 3:00pm GARGOYLES RADIO PLAY AUDITIONS
Ever wanted to be in a radio play? Now is your chance! We are holding auditions for a live performance at CONvergence! You don't even have to be a fan of Gargoyles to enter. You just have to know how to read! Casting: Myself and Jennifer Anderson (Talent Coordinator on The Spectacular Spider-Man and Young Justice). Casting decisions will be posted by 7:00pm on Friday, July 4th. ATRIUM 7.

3:30pm - 4:30pm BUFFYVERSE TEN YEAR ANNIVERSARY
Okay, so Gargoyles ISN'T the only show celebrating an anniversary. The Buffy/Angel universe has been off the air for ten years. Let's reminisce and talk about the impact these shows have had on TV fantasy since their cancellation. Panelists: Myself, Tim Lieder, Cetius d'Raven, Madeleine Rowe, Mark Goldberg. EDINA.

7:00pm - 8:00pm OPENING CEREMONY
If it's not exactly a magical invocation, it is nonetheless our official kick-off for the convention! Join CONvergence mascot Connie as we welcome our Guests of Honor, give out some awards (including the Mark Time and Ogle winners), and get this party started. Panelists: Myself, Amy Berg, Emma Bull, C. Robert Cargill, Sarah Clemens, Scott Lynch, Marina Sirtis, Frank Paur, Matthew Ebel, Dawn Krosnowski, Greg Guler, Rob Callahan, Windy Bowlsby, Michael Lee. MAIN STAGE.

9:00pm - 10:00pm GREG WEISMAN'S FANCY BASTARD PIE COMPETITION
Geek Partnership Society is excited to host the Greg Weisman Fancy Bastard Pie Competition at CONvergence 2014! It is open to all CONvergence members who wish to participate. The goal is to make a pie that Greg Weisman, herein to be known as "Fancy Bastard", likes best. The winner will be told super-secret Young Justice spoilers. Find out [some of] what would have happened in Season 3! (But winner must swear to secrecy to claim prize.) See below for some helpful hints.* CABANA 110.

FRIDAY, JULY 4th, 2014
11:00am - 12:00pm GARGOYLES RADIO PLAY AUDITIONS
Ever wanted to be in a radio play? Now is your chance! We are holding auditions for a live performance at CONvergence! You don't even have to be a fan of Gargoyles to enter. You just have to know how to read! Last chance to audition! Casting: Myself and Jennifer Anderson (Talent Coordinator on The Spectacular Spider-Man and Young Justice). Casting decisions will be posted by 7:00pm on Friday, July 4th. ATRIUM 7.

12:30pm - 1:30pm FROM TV TO COMICS
We'll discuss the TV shows that expanded into the comicverse, such as Buffy, Smallville, Young Justice and Gargoyles. Did they succeed? Were any of the comics improvements on the shows? How did canon change during the transition? Panelists: Myself (Gargoyles, Young Justice), Shawn van Briesen, Jonathan Palmer, Greg Guler (Gargoyles), Karine Charlebois (Gargoyles, Bad Guys), Christopher Jones (Batman Strikes, Young Justice, Bad Guys). PLAZA 2.

2:00pm - 3:00pm SIGNING
Myself, Christopher Jones (Young Justice, The Batman Strikes, Parallel Man) and Greg Guler (Gargoyles, Phineas and Ferb) will be holding a signing session. Both Chris and Greg always have an array of stuff (books, prints, etc.) to sell and sign. But this time I'm pretty darn prepared as well. First off, I'll be selling and signing copies of my first novel RAIN OF THE GHOSTS for $10 cash, which includes the book, a personalized signature and signed copies of the original development character designs by Kuni Tomita for the television version of Rain that never was. In addition - and by popular demand - I am selling and signing an array of my animation teleplays for $20 cash from such series as Gargoyles, Team Atlantis, DC Showcase (Green Arrow), Men in Black: The Series, The Spectacular Spider-Man, The Batman, Batman: The Brave and the Bold, Roughnecks: Starship Troopers Chronicles, W.I.T.C.H., Young Justice and even the 2009 Radio Play "The Spectacular Spider-Man Meets Gargoyles". I'll also sign anything else you bring and put in front of me for FREE - especially if you buy my book. ;) CONVERGENCE CENTRAL.

3:30pm - 4:30pm CREATING GARGOYLES
This is what we used to call (at the Gathering) the Rocky Horror Gargoyles Show. The creators of Gargoyles show clips and tell stories of how the show came to be. Lots of visual aids. Panelists: Myself (Creator, Supervising Producer/Story Editor, Writer), Frank Paur ( (Supervising Producer/Director), Greg Guler (Lead Character Designer). ATRIUM 6.

7:00pm - 8:00pm TIME TRAVEL THEORY
Let's assume for a moment that Time Travel is possible. This panel will explore the theories behind such technology. We'll explore quantum realities, temporal anomalies and all other challenges our theoretical time travelers will be face! [Now, I suggested this panel, but then they went and put some actual scientists on the damn thing. So I may quickly be embarrassed into silence.] ;) Panelists: Myself, Nicole Gugliucci, Jim Kakalios, G. David Nordley, Amy Berg. ATRIUM 4.

8:30pm - 9:30pm GARGOYLES Q&A
Join the cast and creators of the "Gargoyles" series and SLG companion comic books to ask and talk about the property. And, as always, Cosplayers are welcome! Panelists: Myself (Creator, Supervising Producer/Story Editor, Writer), Christopher Jones (Bad Guys guest artist), Marina Sirtis (voice of Demona and Margot Yale), Frank Paur (Supervising Producer/Director), Karine Charlebois (Gargoyles Guest Artist, Bad Guys Artist), Greg Guler (Lead Character Designer, Gargoyles Guest Artist). MAIN STAGE.

SATURDAY, JULY 5th, 2014
9:30am - 10:30am GARGOYLES SIGNING
Myself, Marina Sirtis (voice of Demona and Margot Yale) and Frank Paur (Supervising Producer/Director) will be holding a signing session. Again, I'll be selling and signing copies of my first novel RAIN OF THE GHOSTS for $10 cash, which includes the book, a personalized signature and signed copies of the original development character designs by Kuni Tomita for the television version of Rain that never was. In addition - and by popular demand - I am selling and signing an array of my animation teleplays for $20 cash from such series as Gargoyles, Team Atlantis, DC Showcase (Green Arrow), Men in Black: The Series, The Spectacular Spider-Man, Roughnecks: Starship Troopers Chronicles, W.I.T.C.H., The Batman, Batman: The Brave and the Bold, Young Justice and even the 2009 Radio Play "The Spectacular Spider-Man Meets Gargoyles". I'll also sign anything else you bring and put in front of me for FREE. CONVERGENCE CENTRAL.

11:00am - 12:25pm GARGOYLES RADIO PLAY REHEARSAL
This is a closed session - for those who were cast in the Radio Play - led by Myself, Jennifer Anderson (Talent Coordinator on The Spectacular Spider-Man and Young Justice) & Marina Sirtis (voice of Demona, Margot Yale and Queen Bee). ATRIUM 6.

12:30pm - 1:30pm GARGOYLES RADIO PLAY PERFORMANCE
Fans and professionals - including Myself (voice of Donald Menken and Lucas "Snapper" Carr), Jennifer Anderson (Talent Coordinator on The Spectacular Spider-Man and Young Justice), and of course, Marina Sirtis (Deanna Troi from Star Trek TNG and the voice of Demona, Margot Yale and Queen Bee) - perform a LIVE, ORIGINAL Gargoyles radio play! ATRIUM 6.

2:00pm - 3:00pm GARGOYLES BIOLOGY AND CULTURE
A "what if" panel about the biology and culture of the Gargoyles universe. Creators and performers speculate about anything and everything going on outside the frames of the TV series. Panelists: Craig A. Finseth moderates Myself (Creator, Producer) and Greg Guler (Lead Character Designer). ATRIUM 7.

3:30pm - 4:30pm RAIN OF THE GHOSTS
I'll be reading from and talking about the world and characters of my novel "Rain of the Ghosts" and its sequel, "Spirits of Ash and Foam," which comes out July 8th, 2014, one week after the convention! ATRIUM 3.

7:00pm - 8:00pm ONE ON ONE WITH GREG WEISMAN
Hal Bichel will moderate a one-on-one panel with Myself. PLAZA 2.

8:30pm - 9:30pm SIGNING
Once again, I'll be selling and signing copies of my first novel RAIN OF THE GHOSTS for $10 cash, which includes the book, a personalized signature and signed copies of the original development character designs by Kuni Tomita for the television version of Rain that never was. In addition - and by popular demand - I am selling and signing an array of my animation teleplays for $20 cash from such series as Gargoyles, Team Atlantis, DC Showcase (Green Arrow), Men in Black: The Series, The Batman, Batman: The Brave and the Bold, The Spectacular Spider-Man, Roughnecks: Starship Troopers Chronicles, W.I.T.C.H., Young Justice and even the 2009 Radio Play "The Spectacular Spider-Man Meets Gargoyles". I'll also sign anything else you bring and put in front of me for FREE. CONVERGENCE CENTRAL.

10:00pm - 11:00pm BLUE MUG
Ever wonder about the sexual habits of Gargoyles? Ever wonder who was sleeping with whom among the Young Justice Team or the cast of Spectacular Spider-Man? Join us for for a late night peek at your favorite animated series. This panel will get blue! (So attendees will be carded!) Panelists: Myself, Christopher Jones, Mara Cordova (Last Tengu in Paris Artist). It is also rumored that Edmund Tsabard (an unfancy bastard and Last Tengu in Paris Writer) may make an appearance. EDINA.

SUNDAY, JULY 6th, 2014
11:00am - 12:00pm PROTOFEMINISTS IN SHAKESPEARE
Shakespeare portrayed several intelligent, independent, and self-aware women--Juliet, Lady Macbeth, Katharine, Beatrice, Viola, Rosalind. We'll discuss the problematic and the remarkably (for the era) fleshed-out aspects of their representation. Panelists: Myself, Elizabeth Bear, Ashley F. Miller, Joseph Erickson, Alexandra Howes. EDINA.

12:30pm - 1:30pm GARGOYLES FAN PANEL
It's the 20th Anniversary of Gargoyles. Come share your favorite moments from the show. As always, Cosplayers are welcome! Panelists: Daniel Mohr moderates Myself, Ryan Alexander, Robert Wagner, Maggie Schultz, Jennifer Anderson, Karine Charlebois. ATRIUM 6.

2:00pm - 3:00pm SIGNING
Myself and Greg Guler (Gargoyles, Phineas and Ferb) will be holding one last signing session. Greg G. always has an array of stuff (books, prints, etc.) to sell and sign. And I'll be selling and signing copies of my first novel RAIN OF THE GHOSTS for $10 cash, which includes the book, a personalized signature and signed copies of the original development character designs by Kuni Tomita for the television version of Rain that never was. In addition - and by popular demand - I am selling and signing an array of my animation teleplays for $20 cash from such series as Gargoyles, Team Atlantis, DC Showcase (Green Arrow), Men in Black: The Series, The Spectacular Spider-Man, Roughnecks: Starship Troopers Chronicles, The Batman, Batman: The Brave and the Bold, W.I.T.C.H., Young Justice and even the 2009 Radio Play "The Spectacular Spider-Man Meets Gargoyles". I'll also sign anything else you bring and put in front of me for FREE - especially if you buy my book. CONVERGENCE CENTRAL.

3:30pm - 4:30pm YOUNG JUSTICE
Creative minds behind the Young Justice TV and comic book series will talk about this fan favorite. We're planning some special surprises as well. And, as always, Cosplayers are welcome! Panelists: Myself, Marina Sirtis (voice of Queen Bee), Christopher Jones (Artist YJ Comic). MAIN STAGE.

5:00pm - 6:00pm CLOSING CEREMONY
It's not over 'til the gynoid sings - or something like that. Join CONvergence mascot Connie and our Guests of Honor as we say farewell to another convention. Shenanigans may ensue. Panelists: Myself, Amy Berg, Emma Bull, C. Robert Cargill, Sarah Clemens, Scott Lynch, Marina Sirtis, Matthew Ebel, Frank Paur, Dawn Krosnowski, Greg Guler, Windy Bowlsby, Rob Callahan, Michael Lee. MAIN STAGE

SEE?!! I told you there was a lot. And that's only the stuff that I'm doing. CONvergence is jam-packed with all sorts of pop culture nutritional goodness. So stop by and say hello!!

*In the interest of Full Disclosure, Fancy Bastard would like all to know that he especially likes the following pies:
APPLE
BERRY (pretty much any kind of berry or a mix of same)
PEACH
APRICOT
PUMPKIN
BANANA CREAM (herein to be known as the funniest pie)
Combinations of some of the fruit pies can be great. Contestants are welcome to try other pies at their own risk.

Fancy Bastard does NOT especially like the following pies:
PECAN
Anything with Chocolate or Lemon or Meringue
Raisins in Apple Pie
Almost never Cherry, though he has tasted the rare exception...


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hmmaster writes...

Hey, Greg, what an amazing show in Young Justice. I have a couple of questions for you.

1) I was hoping you could comment on this, because you've answered variations of this question at different times, but never this specific one. I thought of an idea that would make a lot of sense for where a certain character's situation would go after the events of Summit and Endgame, but I won't share it with you to avoid getting a spoiler. You've talked in interviews/answers before about Roy and Jade having to get married off-screen in order for CN to approve Lian being born. Were there any story-lines of similar controversial topics that you and Brandon had planned that could have created tensions between you and the network?

2) I recently rewatched JLU, specifically JLU's season 1, and I noticed a striking similarity in the way the format works there and the masterfully-crafted interwoven network of plot-lines of YJ. It seemed like you may have been inspired by that format where there were several stories being told all at the same time, as opposed to other shows that have a more episodic nature (like the first JL cartoon, before JLU). Was it a conscious decision to draw heavily from that idea, or was it something that just happened independently?

Thank you for a wonderful show.

Greg responds...

1. None spring to mind at the moment. We didn't have a lot of fights with S&P.

2. I haven't seen all that much of JLU. (Started to when we were in the development phase, but ran out of time once pre-production got started. [I'm really not much of a binge watcher. The most of any show I can stand to watch in any one sitting - no matter how good it is - is two episodes, and for me, even that's pushing it.]) The way we plotted YJ is really more in line with the way I've done other series in the past, such as The Spectacular Spider-Man and Gargoyles. And all of that goes back to lessons learned from reading and writing comic books, and, of course, from Hill Street Blues.

Response recorded on May 13, 2014

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Uehara writes...

Have you watched Neon Genesis Evangelion? I was just struck by a lot of similarities Superboy had to the Clone Rei Ayanami, the white outfit, the alien/human hybrid, labeled inferior by others because of his clone status, the manipulation by a equivalent of a father figure to further his goals and the moon motif. But I'm pretty sure Lex still is a better father figure than Gendo Ikari.

Greg responds...

I think I saw the first episode back in the late nineties when I was working at DreamWorks. My memories are extremely vague. If it had any influence on Young Justice and/or Superboy, it would have to be entirely subconscious on my end. Can't speak for other members of the YJ crew, of course.

Response recorded on April 30, 2014

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Michael Chabon knows Gargoyles

So in my car, I've been listening to the audio book of Michael Chabon's novel: TELEGRAPH AVENUE, read by the amazing Clarke Peters (of THE WIRE and TREME). I'm a little over halfway through the book, which is set (largely) in a used record store in Oakland in 2008 and revolves around a diverse cast of characters. It's full of all sorts of pop cutlure references, but I was still pretty stunned when suddenly the narrator starts talking about GARGOYLES. Not generic gargoyles, but our GARGOYLES televsion series.

I was going to try to cut and paste the section here, but Amazon won't allow that. So you can check it out yourself here: http://www.amazon.com/Telegraph-Avenue-Novel-Michael-Chabon/dp/006149335X/ref=pd_sim_sbs_b_1?ie=UTF8&refRID=09RDPEC6XPYS8K9E3CQR

Or better yet, buy the book. I haven't finished listening to it yet, but so far it's definitely worth the price of admission.

The GARGOYLES' references begin on or about p. 293. (At least on the Amazon Look Inside function.) It's all pretty cool, and very specific. Though Keith David isn't mentioned by name, Goliath is, and his amazing voice is referenced, along with Goliath's backstory, etc. The character seems to have been part of a significant moment in the life of Julie Jaffe, one of the many protagonists of Chabon's book.

Chabon's written many books, including two particular favorites of mine: THE AMAZING ADVENTURES OF KAVALIER & CLAY and THE YIDDISH POLICEMEN'S UNION. So the fact that our little series registers with him is fairly gratifying.


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Harlan Phoenix writes...

The Wizard of Oz references in Gargoyles are among my favorites when it comes to your various literary sources. My all time favorite literary allusion in Gargoyles comes from issues 3-5 of Clan Building, where Lexington's "post-modern Tin Man" is the very cyborg visage he possessed when losing his heart in the Future Tense scenario.

Given that the original book is in the public domain, was there any thought ever given to how the events of the Wizard of Oz related to the Gargoyles Universe?

Greg responds...

Like Frankenstein, I mostly thought in terms of references, rather than working the story into actual continuity. But you never know...

Response recorded on February 21, 2014

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A fan from far away writes...

Hi Greg!
I'm a huge fan girl of YJ from Singapore. I really love your show and hope to see more seasons if possible.
My favorite character in the show is Artemis, she really struck me in season 1 and her tenure as Tigress in Season 2 was really impressive. So I would like to ask a few questions about her.
1) What served as your inspiration for creating her?
2) Are any of her character traits inspired by strong female characters from other sources? Cos I noticed that she was rather similar to some of my other favorite ladies, such as Katniss Everdeen from Hunger Games, Eponine from Les Miserables, Mulan, Ravager (Deathstroke's daughter), to name a few.
3) How abusive was Sportsmaster? Cos I figured he had to be pretty bad to his girls for Jade to pack up and abandon her younger sister.
4) Unrelated but... Will YJ be translated into Chinese? I'm ethnic Chinese and I would love to know their Chinese names.
Thanks for looking through my queries, though they may have been answered. Thank you for giving us fans a really wonderful show while it lasted!

Greg responds...

1. The DC Comics character.

2. Well, I'm not familiar with Katniss. I mean, obviously, I've heard of her, but I haven't read the books or seen the movies. I'm only passingly familiar with Ravager, though we had plans for her in YJ, given enough seasons. I would have done more research on her before bringing her in, of course. I don't really see much Mulan in Artemis, other than the fairly generic notion of a woman in combat. So that just leaves Eponine. And I can indeed see a bit of Eponine in Artemis. But if so, I wasn't conscious of the influence at the time.

3. He was emotionally and verbally abusive. He was not sexually abusive. It's debatable whether or not you'd consider him physically abusive. He didn't beat them. But he did endless combat drills with them, and they took punishment from him. Given that he was a full-grown man and they were young girls, it's absolutely fair to say he was physically abusive.

4. No idea.

Response recorded on January 30, 2014

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A Flash Fan writes...

These 2 are related...

1. While on the topic of inspirations I have a question about your series Gargoyles. When it originally came out I really don't remember it because I was really young, but I did always know of its existence. When I learned that you, who are producer of YJ, also created Gargoyles I was motivated to watch the series and I am doing so know (soon I hope to see SSM too!). It is very interesting and I really like your character portrayals and interesting plots. Now the question I have about inspiration is did you derive anything of Gargoyles from the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles animated series, and if so what? I apologize if the question seems strange, but I notice how both series were produced in the close time frames, they both take place in NYC, and in essence both show are about groups of outcasts by society who in turn fight crime. I think what merely stood out for me is that when I see Elisa Maza and her friendship with the gargoyles it kind of reminds me of April O'Neil and the turtles. Besides there are mutants in both series, most cool stuff happens by night (for the turtles so they won't be seen); Gargoyles because they don't have a choice, etc. Anyway these are the similarities I see and I just wanted your opinion on them.

2. While on the topic of the TMNT, have you seen the new CGI series, and if so what do you think? I think it's a cool adaptation.

Greg responds...

1. Not so much, because as you say, both were being produced at more or less the same time. There may have been some influence in little things, like when we started saying Jalapeña all the time - though the origin of that (as discussed elsewhere) was nevertheless very different. And I won't deny the two series have things in common. But just as often we tried to AVOID having things in common with Turtles. If the series started to veer in that direction, there were plenty of people (Frank Paur, especially) who would make sure to course correct.

2. I haven't seen it - or, frankly, most any version of TMNT. That's not meant as a critical comment. I just haven't had the opportunity.

Response recorded on March 22, 2013

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F.H. writes...

I've seen the novel The Mysteries of Udolpho pop up multiple times in the series (Young Justice), and I've scanned the Wikipedia page (I would read it, but Outlaws of the Marsh isn't something you flick through in an afternoon, and my to-read list is long enough already), and I can't see anything tying it to the plot outside of a girl with a bad father, which would be Artemis, I guess?

1) Is there reason or rhyme to this, or is it just you showing off your literary power level, as you're known to do (which we all love, by the way).

And another question on a similar idea:

2) Where's the Shakespeare, man? Your name on a show promises Shakespeare, and YJ remains bardless. Bring a little of him back from Oregon for the team, wont you?

Greg responds...

1. It's kinda the original gothic novel.

2. Stuff has to fit, you know? If I just wedge it in artificially, how does that help anyone? And I find it hard to believe there have been NO Shakespeare references at all. That seems unlikely.

Response recorded on December 06, 2012

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celestia writes...

Hey Greg! I think you adviced people that wanted to become writters to read great literature and the classics.

Beyond Shakespeare (who is a must read :) ) What kind of literature would you recomend for this purpose?

Greg responds...

Homer, for sure.

Cervantes.

Austin.

Dickens.

Hardy.

Faulkner.

Even Hemingway.

The list of authors are probably endless. Personally, I'm a big fan of mysteries/detective stories, and my favorite author in that genre is Ross Macdonald, who I believe transcends the genre. I also like James M. Cain, Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler, Michael Connelly and Maj Sjöwall & Per Wahlöö, to name a few.

I'd scarf up myths and legends. Greek, Roman, Egyptian, Norse, Arthurian, etc., etc., etc. And I wouldn't just limit myself to Western Culture. Chow down on the stories of the far east, of the mid-east, of aboriginal peoples everywhere...

Read NEWSPAPERS.

History books. Biographies. Some are deadly dull, but others are fascinating.

Anyway, that should keep you busy for awhile.

Response recorded on December 05, 2012

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Sammy writes...

I just wanted to say I love all th puns on your show! I especially love the Powerpuff Girls pun in "Darkest" or rather, the Rowdeyruff Boy reference xD

Greg responds...

Not that I don't love the Powerpuff Girls and the Rowdyruff Boys, but you do realize that that nursery rhyme WAY pre-dates that show, right?

Also, it's not a pun.

Response recorded on December 03, 2012

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Toasthider writes...

Hi Greg,
I was wondering if you read Hellboy at all? It just occurred to me recently that the use of folklore and mythology in the series is kind of in the same vein as Gargoyles!

Greg responds...

I've read some Hellboy and seen both movies. I see some overlap, though we did Gargoyles long before I read any Hellboy.

Response recorded on November 30, 2012

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Marvelman writes...

Hi Greg,

I'd like to make an observation about "Salvage."

It's that moment where the creature says (through Blue):

Where is the stillness of wood, of stone, of crystal, of metal? All this noise, all this life is pain. We sense the power in this place - power enough to destroy us, to end the pain, to be still again.

And Superboy says, "I can identify."

And then it hit me…

Oh that this too too solid flesh would melt…

the thousand shocks that flesh is heir to…

I wondered if we were intended to hear an echo of Hamlet in Connor and the… whatever it was. One of the reasons that Hamlet is so despondent is that he believes the girl he loves has betrayed him. Then, I remembered that the girl Connor loved and probably still does betrayed him.

So, my question is: am I reading too much in to this? Or, did you intend for there to be deliberate overtures of Hamlet in this scene and in Connor's character in general?

Greg responds...

I'd love to say otherwise, but it wasn't in my conscious mind. But you know, it's all rattling around in my brain, so...

Response recorded on November 28, 2012

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B writes...

When you were creating the Superboy/Miss Martian breakup storyline, was the plotline from Buffy the Vampire Slayer where Willow erased Tara's memories of their arguments about Willow misusing her powers, leading to their breakup, an inspiration?

Greg responds...

Not a conscious one.

Response recorded on November 27, 2012

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btgr writes...

In YJ did you based Wade Eiling on disgraced US Marine Lieutenant Colonel "Oliver North"?

Greg responds...

No. We based him on Wade Eiling from the Captain Atom comic book that Cary Bates and I wrote in the 80s and early 90s. And Eiling was loosely modeled on Captain Kirk.

Response recorded on November 19, 2012

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Marvelman writes...

Did you have Beatrice and Benedict in mind when you created the Wally-Artemis dynamic?

Greg responds...

Shrug. I suppose it'd be cool to answer yes, but the truth is - and I'm not pretending otherwise - it's a pretty common trope, and mostly what we had in mind was Wally and Artemis and tracking how they'd react as individuals.

Response recorded on November 14, 2012

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Kyle Reece writes...

I was wondering, was Blade a possible inspiration for Macbeth's modern design?

Greg responds...

No.

Response recorded on November 06, 2012

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An Intelligent Mackinaw writes...

HI GREG!

I heard down the grapevine you're a fan of Joss Whedon.

1.) Have you gotten to see the Avengers film yet?

2.a) If so, did you draw any inspiration from it, seeing as it's in the same "super-hero ensemble" genre you write (so well) for?

2.b) What modern works (be they film, television, literature, art, or not at all) do you draw inspiration from? Or just like?

3.) Over your career, you're written generally high-concept stories. Now more than ever, it seems like high-concept stuff has entered the mainstream (aliens, super-heroes and giant transforming robots running around everywhere). Since everyone's playing in the same sandbox artistically, does that make it more difficult to come up with original ideas? Without subverting or straight-up parodying the genre you're writing in?

4.) How do u rite so gudd? What would you recommend to new, ambitious writers, to help us learn to write with confidence and voice and stuff?

5.) Your decision to skip ahead 5 years (in YJ) shocked me, upset me and piqued my interest. I've never seen a show jump so much time, so I'm very excited to see how you all bridge the two season together. How did you let the studio powers-that-be let you take such a big narrative risk? Was it a big struggle?

Thanks for (presumably) taking the time to read and answer my questions. I love that Ask Greg makes it so easy to reach out to an artist I admire, whose work I respect. I'm the biggest fan ever of everything you've ever done, yadda yadda more accolades, etc. But really, you are an inspiration.

Greg responds...

1. Yes.

2a. We were WAY done by the time I'd seen the movie.

2b. Check out the "INFLUENCES" archive here at ASK GREG.

3. I'm not sure you're defining "High Concept" correctly. I think you mean "genre" has entered the mainstream. In any case, I just don't think in those terms. I'm just trying to tell good stories.

4. READ the classics. WRITE a lot. Proofread scrupulously. Get yourself VERY educated. Read newspapers. Etc. Or check the ASK GREG archives for a more complete answer.

5. No struggle. Everyone loved the idea.

Response recorded on October 08, 2012

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Battle Beast writes...

I was having a religeous debate at work today with a staunch Christian. Long story short, she got to "Remember David Versus Goliath?" and I said to her, "Hold it. I know full well about them but the only Goliath I care about is eight feet tall and lavender."

And then it hit me: David V. Golaith. I never, ever thought of that connection before... so I check the Archive and sure enough I was right. It was intention, you said.

I get their relationship now on a different level... Very clever! :)

Greg responds...

Thanks.

Response recorded on October 08, 2012

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Erik writes...

Hey Greg,

I know a lot of people consider Gargoyles to be an anti-Disney show due to its dark tone, but I think it actually has a lot of similarities. Both Gargoyles and other Disney films adapt mythology and famous stories in their own ways, while featuring strong emotions and conflicts(okay, those might be a bit general).

My question is, did Disney storytelling have an influence on the making of Gargoyles, and the eventual integration of different mythologies?

Greg responds...

I'm sure it did, since I grew up on Disney movies. But we weren't consciously trying to either DO DISNEY or NOT DO DISNEY. We were just doing GARGOYLES.

Response recorded on October 04, 2012

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A Pretty Cool Guy writes...

Hi Greg,

I hope you don't shut down the site, it's excellent being able to reach out to a creator I so admire and discuss their work. On that subject, I was wondering who are some of your influences are as a writer (obviously Shakespeare). Which writers serve as your models or inspiration for plotting stories, writing dialogue, and the writing process as a whole?

Are you familiar with / a fan of Joss Whedon's work? Between Gargoyles and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, you two wrote characters facing some similar challenges (tormented individuals, tragically and unwittingly bound to each other, frequently dealing with the burden of immortality). Obviously Gargoyles came first, I've just noticed you two writing about many of the same themes, and was wondering if you enjoy or find inspiration in his work in general.

Assuming I am granted it, thanks for your time!

Greg responds...

1. This has been answered before. Please look at the "INFLUENCES" section of the ASK GREG archives.

2. Yes, as even a casual glance at the topics in the archive would indicate, e.g. "Buffyverse Geek-Out".

Response recorded on September 12, 2012

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Andre writes...

Hey man, been a big fan of Gargoyles since my early childhood days, and have been following your work from Spectacular Spider-Man to Young Justice.

My question refers to the primary antagonist of the Gargoyle universe, David Xanatos. What was the inspiration for you to create such a complex gray villain? Also, where'd the name come from for Xanatos too?

Greg responds...

1. The most immediate inspirations were Captain Hook/Duke Igthorn mixed with a healthy dose of General Wade Eiling, plus some Bruce Wayne and Captain Kirk.

2. The name is a variation on Thanatos, the greek god of death. It also is a real name you can find in most phone books. Assuming you can find a phone book.

Response recorded on August 30, 2012

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Matthew writes...

Just watched Performance and liked it a lot. I'm glad to see an episode focusing on Robin. Just curious was Robin's laugh inspired by the Shadow of pulp/radio fame?

Greg responds...

Well, the Shadow's up there in my brain, but I really don't think so. It's inspired more by his youth and irrepressibility.

Response recorded on August 23, 2012

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The Greenman writes...

Hi Mr. Greg Weisman,

I have been a fan of yours since Gargoyles. One of the things that interest me is the basic structure of the themes and world building in the series. One of the styles I see continue to pop up in your series is the relationship between science and sorcery. This is something I have been a fan of in comics like Iron Man and Fantastic Four (specifically Dr. Doom versus Reed Richards). I love the simple explanation that energy is energy.

1. Now I didn't see much of this argument come up in your Spectacular Spider-Man series, because Peter debunked Mysterio, but can you say that you ever planned to and who you would've used to explore that science versus mystic aspect?

2. I am upset that directors such as Jon Favreau and Shane Black have knocked down the very idea of Mandarin showing up as not to approach the so-called mystic aspect. Though, it could be be alien in origin or something, as they claim and prove that even super-science isn't allowed in the MCU. Have you read and understand the Iron Man comics specific to Mandarin and Tony's relationship to science versus sorcery? Was it influential at all in your writing?

Greg responds...

1. Well, we had Calypso. I'm not going to get into much beyond the fact that we would have explored her character more.

2. I'm not sure specifically to what you're referring. I've read comics from the 60s, 70s and 80s with Iron Man and Mandarin. Probably nothing more recent than that. In any case, I don't think it influenced me much if at all.

Response recorded on August 15, 2012

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Richard Jackson writes...

Did you name the London Clan's magic shop, Into the Mystic, after the Van Morrison song?

Greg responds...

I didn't name it. I assume either Gary Sperling or Robert Cohen named it.

Response recorded on May 16, 2012

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Todd Jensen writes...

Though I haven't seen "Coldhearted" yet, I've read a bit about it, and learned that Perdita originated in a Green Arrow story that you wrote a couple of years ago, meaning that you created the character. Did you name her after the Perdita of "The Winter's Tale"? (I thought it likely, given your fondness for Shakespeare, but wanted to make certain.)

Greg responds...

Yes. The Lost Girl.

Response recorded on May 16, 2012

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Tyler Reznik writes...

More a philosophical question than one about any of your work (although it does relate to some of your characters):
What is your opinion of Friedrich Nietzche's quote "He who fights monsters should see to it that he himself does not become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you"? How do you think it relates to superheroes, and characters who struggle against "evil" in general? I'm very interested in your input on the subject.

Greg responds...

I buy into it 100%. Doesn't mean every good guy goes bad, but every good guy's going to - at the very least - have those moments where it could go either way.

Response recorded on May 10, 2012

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Mel writes...

Hi Greg,

I have a MacBeth question this time. You mentioned a while ago that MacBeth has worked as a stage actor in the past. I thought that was such an interesting tidbit about a guy we don't necessarily know a ton about. Was that you idea, and if so, what inspired it?

You also mentioned that you saw MacBeth as acting in a lot of George Bernard Shaw plays probably. Why is that? Shaw was pretty political - do you think that influenced MacBeth's decision to do those plays?

Greg responds...

1. Yes.

1a. It just felt right. Plus I like the idea of him collaborating with Shakespeare.

2. Yeah. It just felt like Shaw's work would appeal to Macbeth.

Response recorded on May 04, 2012

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Zach Baker writes...

Hey Greg!

I recently saw this line from an interview with Steven Bochco in the early 80's, talking about Hill Street Blues (which currently has its first two-and-a-half seasons on Hulu Plus, by the way):

"Maybe the biggest problem with Hill Street, in terms of popular success, is that it is a show that demands to be watched. And most people do not watch television. They simply are in its presence."

I love that quote. What an insightful way to encapsulate about what was essential and great about Hill Street Blues, without going into all the details of what made it so outstanding. Just leave at this: unlike nearly anything before it, in many ways it was a show that demanded to be watched. I think that characteristic also applies to Gargoyles as well, no doubt due to the major influence Hill Street Blues had on the show (as you've often mentioned).

Nowadays, that quality, of being a show that "demands to be watched," is characteristic of so many excellent shows that appear on HBO, Showtime or AMC (before hitting DVD boxsets and iTunes), places where popular success isn't the one and only yardstick. And again and again, we've seen how this kind of series can flourish in the atmosphere of creative freedom offered by these outlets.

Can viewers hope that someday soon, that kind of environment will produce an animated serial drama that has the same level of quality, complexity and acclaim as these channels' current headline series? If so, what might it take for that to happen?

Greg responds...

Hey, Zach. Long time no see. I'd heard that quotation about Hill Street before, and couldn't agree more.

I appreciate you think Gargoyles falls in the same category. It's flattering and certainly what we strived for. I don't pretend that we were as good as Hill Street Blues, but no one can accuse us of not going for it.

As to your question, I like to think that W.I.T.C.H., Spectacular Spider-Man, Young Justice and Young Justice: Invasion also qualify. At least at Gargoyles' level. So I think it's already possible. But that's just my - apparently not so - humble opinion.

Response recorded on May 03, 2012

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Todd Jensen writes...

Recently, somebody asked you if you were familiar with C. S. Lewis' work, and you said "No", apart from seeing a couple of adaptations of "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe". I thought that you might like to know that Lewis and Roger Lancelyn Green were friends, and that it's thanks to Green that "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe" was finished and published.

When Lewis was writing "Lion", he read some of it to J. R. R. Tolkien; Tolkien had done the same to him with "The Lord of the Rings" when he was writing it, and Lewis wanted to return the favor. Tolkien thought that "Lion" was dreadful, however, and made that clear. Lewis was so saddened by Tolkien's critique that he considered abandoning the story, but first read it to Roger Lancelyn Green. Green told him, "No, this is a great story, you mustn't drop it," and his words encouraged Lewis to complete the story and get it published.

Green also included a tribute to Lewis in his King Arthur book. One of Lewis's fantasy novels for adults, "That Hideous Strength" had Merlin awakening in the modern world to help the main characters defeat an Illuminati-type organization; Lewis had Merlin sleeping beneath a forest called Bragdon Wood. In Green's "King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table", one of the places where Merlin is said to be sleeping is "beneath the Wood of Bragdon". Since you especially liked Green's book on King Arthur (and even drew on it for Blanchefleur, and Percival's parentage), I thought you might enjoy hearing about that (and I hope the Wood of Bragdon wasn't on your list of places for King Arthur and Griff to visit during their search for Merlin, since it was Lewis' invention!).

Greg responds...

I did not know about the Green/Lewis connection. I did know about Tolkien/Lewis, but this is great additional info. Thanks.

Response recorded on February 10, 2012

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Harlan Phoenix writes...

A Young Justice related question that, rest assured, is not fishing with poor bait.

I've been thinking about the Light lately and, without posting my own speculation, one thing I really like about them is how much the concept seems to embrace the inherent absurdity of the DC universe. I can tell from observation that the Light is probably a fairly diverse group of people (and rightfully so, as this uses the DC universe to its vast potential). And I can't help but be fondly reminded of the Legion of Doom, the villainous alliance from the Superfriends animated series.

Though the Light is written with a much more sophisticated sensibility than the Legion of Doom, I can't help but feel they have a strong similarity. This isn't a slant against Young Justice at all, because I feel the Light uses this similar dynamic to its own unique way that I absolutely adore. But I do have a question, and luckily it has nothing to do with your future intent or anything like that.

Was the Light, on some level, inspired by the Legion of Doom? That is, the Superfriends group of villains who operated together despite their vast differences in genre identity (as an example, Scarecrow the grounded criminal alongside Bizarro the mirror universe Superman in Superfriends). Or was such an organization just a logical extrapolation from the setting that wasn't really meant to homage this group?

Greg responds...

Question received on Wed, October 20, 2010 11:06:14 PM
Clark Cradic writes...
Did you like the original Legion of Doom?
Greg responds...
As I mentioned before, I get all the names mixed up: Legion of Doom, Injustice League , Injustice Unlimited, Injustice Society, Secret Society of Super-Villains, etc.
I can't quite remember which group consisted of which villains and/or appeared in which series or story.
So the short answer is I like the idea of the villains teaming up, but I can't address the specifics without a more specific reference.
Response recorded on November 12, 2010

Took me less than a minute to find that, btw.

Anyway, they all blend together for me. I think the cartoon would have been less of an influence than the comics. But it's all in there.

Response recorded on May 26, 2011

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Jess writes...

Heya Greg! I have a quick question RE a fairly obscure adaption of the Arthurian mythos and your knowledge there-of.

Have you ever seen the episode of the '80s Twilight Zone series called "The Last Defender of Camelot"? If you haven't, to give an explanation without spoiling too much, it involves Lancelot, Morgan La Fay, Merlin and a modern boy named Tom *cough cough*. I was a little surprised to see many of the key themes that show up in Gargoyles, such as immortality, and how power and good intentions can lead one astray.

If you haven't seen it, and it wasn't an influence, I'd recommend checking it out if you should get the chance. Despite a certain cheestasticness and pretty bad special effects, there's some really solid and interesting writing.

It just struck me as an odd coincidence how the tone reminded me so much of Gargoyles at times (in the best possible way. It brought a smile to my face.) Though working from the same source material, not to mention pretty universal themes, some similarities would be inevitable. I guess I'm just curious as to whether it was kismet, or a case of one work having an influence, however small, on the other.

I wish you all the best and am waiting with bated breath for Young Justice's premiere!

Greg responds...

I have seen the episode... or at least a chunk of it... but only recently. It didn't influence Gargoyles, though I'm sure both had common influences.

Response recorded on October 22, 2010

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Vaevictis Asmadi writes...

Greg:
In response to Matthew and also to your answer earlier concerning "All You Zombies," doesn't changing what he did (let alone preventing his own birth) also change history? It is part of the past that the character said certain words in a certain order, and not other words. If he chooses to change the words, he must change history also. Isn't this true of Demona in Vows as well? But in Gargoyles, history cannot be changed.

The reason I focused on whether or not the character remembers the words spoken to their past selves is this: when Demona shows up with the Phoenix Gate, the events of her encounter with herself have not actually happened yet. So they appear not to be predetermined. But she remembers what she her future self said to her when she was on the receiving end, and she remembers watching her future self kick Goliath. The events are already in her memory, and therefore part of the history she has already participated in. If she remembers the events, then either her memories are wrong (and were wrong all along) or else the events were part of history. The other possibility I can think of is that when she went back in time, she temporarily forgot her previous encounter with her future self and was free to make it up from scratch.

What I don't follow is how she (or Heinlein's protagonist) can choose not to play along without altering history.

Greg responds...

Nothing prevents you from TRYING to change history. Succeeding is something else. Nothing prevents you from trying to jump off a cliff in order to fly under your own power. Succeeding at flying under your own power is something else.

Again, free will is NOT the same as sudden control over things you never had control over.

There's no forgetting in a mystic sense going on with Demona. (No making it up from scratch.) But it has been a thousand plus years. Her memory is good, but not photographic. She tries to make some changes, and no changes are made. They can CHOOSE not to play along. But they DIDN'T choose not to play along. It's a loop. The fact that the CHOICE itself is part of the loop doesn't negate the choice.

If you're falling off that cliff (not flying) and AT THAT POINT choose not to jump... well, it's a little late. But the fact that you can't change it halfway down the mountain doesn't negate the fact that you made a choice in the first place.

Response recorded on October 02, 2010

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Matthew writes...

In an earlier post the discussion was about Robert Heinlein's "All You Zombies..." and whether the protagonist had free will or was predestined to carry out his actions in the story. You said he could have chosen to do otherwise. I agree, but I'd like to point out that it wasn't much of choice. If he did not he would not have been born. So whether not he had free will, he had to do what he did to ensure his own existence.

Greg responds...

If existence mattered that much to him. Like any of us, sometimes the choices we're presented with aren't particularly appealing. You're in a burning building. You can jump to your death or burn to death! Choose! (Yeah, not fun. But you get the idea.) Having free will doesn't make you omnipotent in real life, so why would it make you omnipotent in a time travel story?

Response recorded on October 02, 2010

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Vaevictis Asmadi writes...

Thanks for your response to my religion comment. You said that in some Bible passages, the Hebrew God is depicted in a way that you called "geotheistic." What do you mean by this? That in some passages the deity is represented, not as the supreme God of the whole universe, but just the supreme deity of a particular region or human group?

Greg responds...

Exactly. There are without a doubt passages in the Old Testament at least where the existence of other gods is not questioned. Just their potency relative to the God of the Hebrews. Egypt has gods in some passages of Exodus. They're just weak and impotent relative to the God of Moses.

I studied this once upon a time. But it's been a LONG time. (And hell, I just turned another year older.) So I can no longer quote chapter and verse. But I know it's in there.

Response recorded on September 29, 2010

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Emily writes...

I imagine that you had to read alot of comics when making shows like Young Justice or Spiderman. So did you get those comics for free from the Marvel and DC saying you needed them to help with the shows or did you have to go out and buy?

Greg responds...

Mostly, I went out and bought. Alan Burnette had a backlog of Young Justice comics he lent me, i.e. a bunch of individual issues, not always consecutive. Maybe a couple other things here and there. But mostly, I'm outlaying on my dime to do the research.

Response recorded on September 29, 2010

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Todd Jensen writes...

A comment this time, rather than a question. One of my favorite details in the "Stone of Destiny" story was Macbeth's presence at the Battle of Bannockburn. It recently occurred to me that this might be an example, if a subtle one, of the time-honored motif of a legendary hero from long ago who returns to his country to aid it in a time of need.

The concept has attached itself to King Arthur, of course, and his return has featured in "Gargoyles" (if with a premature re-awakening). The returns of the Golem and Cu Chullain, elsewhere in the Avalon World Tour, also evoke it. For that matter, I remember your once saying that the Avalon gargoyles looked upon Goliath (from what they had learned of him through their human guardians) as a great sleeping hero who would one day awaken and return if ever they needed him - and he did indeed return in their hour of need, when the Archmage attacked Avalon.

I also recall, outside of "Gargoyles", the legend that Theseus returned to aid his fellow Athenians against the Persians at the Battle of Marathon (and Mary Renault including it in her Theseus novels) - which forms a great parallel here to Macbeth's presence at Bannockburn, both cases of a desperate struggle against an invading army.

At the same time, your use of the "return of the king" motif for Macbeth's participation at Bannockburn (assuming you had it in mind at the time) came with a twist. Macbeth returns incognito; so far as we know, none of the other Scotsmen taking part in the battle know that he's fighting alongside them. Robert the Bruce is the Scottish king who will be associated with the victory (deservedly, of course, from what I've read about the battle). No chronicle or legend even hints at his presence there. As far as we know, only he knows that he was there (we don't know if Shari knows or not; the panel depicting him at the battle is in one of her stories, but she does not mention him in the text itself). The king returned to aid his country in need, but in secret, his presence unremarked on.

Greg responds...

Very cogent analysis.

Response recorded on September 29, 2010

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Vaevictis Asmadi writes...

I read "All You Zombies" by Heinlein a while ago, based on your recommendation that it demonstrated working paradoxes in time travel, and although it was not recent I decided to finally type up and share what I thought from reading it. First of all, the story creeped me out!

But what I'm writing to you about is free will. Did the main character of that story have free will? On the surface at least, it appears to me that he did not for much of the story. He clearly remembered everything that had happened to him, yet he did not have to option not to seduce himself, or not to catch take past self back in the time machine, nor could he choose to change what he said and did in that bar when he was the bartender. When interacting with his past self, I think he had no choice but to say and do exactly what he remembered seeing his future self doing and hearing his future self saying.

He did have options regarding abducting the baby, mainly because he didn't remember being abducted, but one way or another he had to abduct that baby or get someone else to abduct her: he only had options in how he did it. This is comparable to Goliath time-travelling with Griff in M.I.A. Goliath could not possibly get Griff back to his clan in the 1940s, but he had plenty of options of what he could do instead. In that situation Goliath had far more options than the character in "All You Zombies" had when abducting the baby, but still this is a situation with free will.

But what options does a character really have when meeting their past self, if they DO remember the entire encounter? This is apparently what happened to Demona in Vows. She remembered Goliath's "little speech" (or maybe she was lying to him or to herself, but let's assume she was telling the truth this time) and so she must have remembered what her future self said and did. Does that mean she had no free will to change the encounter with her past self when she went back in time? For example, did she really have free will to change what words she said, or not to kick Goliath? It appears to me that this is a situation where she didn't have free will. When the Archmage(+) told his past self that the future is a place of science, not superstition, and that Demona and Macbeth were only "cannon fodder" he couldn't even have understood what he was saying, let alone invented it himself. In fact his entire bizarre mini-timedance seems to abrogate his free will, because as he said "I should (know what to do), I watched you do it."

Demona's PAST self certainly had free will in Vows, since she did not yet remember the encounter. Likewise, the Archmage clearly had free will during his first pass through his time loop. I would think that any time a character is in a stable time loop, they have free will as long as they are unaware of what "already happened." But when they do remember what happened because their past self is there at the scene, they don't have the option to change what already happened. They already KNOW what happened. If they already know what words they spoke to their past self, then those words are something they remember, not something they are thinking up freely, and they don’t have the option of saying anything different from what they remember.

Am I missing something?

Greg responds...

I tend to disagree with you about the free will thing. Heinlein's character could have chosen NOT to cooperate with his memories. Either because he liked the end result or because he felt oppressed by the inevitability of it all (or some other reason I can't think of at this moment), he CHOSE to play along.

Again, Free Will doesn't mean you get to live the life you want to lead. It means that at best you have the option of STRIVING for the life you want to lead. But some people use their free will to conform. Doesn't mean it's not a choice.

Now, that raises the obvious question: what would have happened to Heinlein's character, to Demona, to the Archmage had they chosen NOT to play along. We'll never know.

Response recorded on September 17, 2010

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Vaevictis Asmadi writes...

Hello again Greg,

This isn't so much a question as it is a comment/ramble on the subject of religion in Gargoyles.

In the past you've stated that you prefer not to confirm or deny the existence or non-existence of the Abrahamic monotheistic God in the Gargoyles Universe, and that you don't wish to define or describe GOD in the Gargoyles Universe as being specifically Abrahamic. I think that this is a wise decision. Many television or book series set in the real world have some take on the supernatural and spiritual; often they take one single religion to focus on as being "true." In my opinion this is usually fine for fiction, as long as the "incorrect" religions aren't depicted as being evil or a one-way ticket to Damnation; but it is a more difficult task to create a universe wherein all the religious beings exist, though not at all impossible! I've never been willing to accept any religion's claim of being The Only Truth No Matter What, including my own religion. (I find it interesting that you've comented on the Biblical God as being "geotheistic.") I also like that no episode ever makes explicit whether the Third Race are or are not divine. They clearly exist, but their religious significance (if any) is left for viewers to decide. Supernatural and magical things and beings exist in Gargoyles, but without eliminating the ambiguity of the real world.

But I'm wondering if you planned how you will handle the omnipotent Allmighty God(s?) in other monotheistic religions, such as Sikhism and some indigenous African religions. I think some forms of neo-Paganism may monotheistic as well, having an Allmighty Goddess or Creator. I think it would be only fair to have the same consideration towards the Allmighty of any religion that includes belief in such, but that's my opinion. And I don't know if you've thought about this yet.

Hinduism also has monotheistic denominations or forms. There are the many Hindu deities, and this makes the religion appear polytheistic, but not all the gods are the same. The Trimurti (Vishnu, Shiva, and Brahma) and Krishna (an Avatar of Vishnu) sometimes appear as though they are just gods. But my limited understanding (not being Hindu), is that these four particular "creatures" are actually the names and manifestations of the Allmighty/Infinite/God/Creator of the Universe. Different sects or denominations consider one or another of these four to be THE God, while considering the other three to be alternative manifestations that the Creator sometimes takes. For example, the Vaishnava Hindus consider Vishnu the Omnipotent/Infinite God, creator, sustainer, and destroyer of the whole universe, and consider Krishna, Shiva, and Brahma to be manifestations in which Vishnu sometimes appears. I think Rama is also a manifestation or Avatar of Vishnu. In comparing Hinduism to other religions, at least some Hindus very much consider their concept of the Allmighty the equal of the Abrahamic God.

I can't ask how you would like to handle individual stories, since I know little about Biblical myths and almost as little about Hindu stories. I saw how Jacob was handled in the comic, but I don't know how that story was told in the Bible. But I'm a little curious what further thoughts you've had about this topic, if you feel like sharing.

Greg responds...

Just to clarify, I believe God is presented as geotheistic in certain sections of the bible (parts of Genesis and Exodus especially) but not consistently throughout the bible. There are many chapters and verses where God is clearly presented monotheistically.

My basic fallback to your question is one word: research. If and when I start to deal with these issues, these cultures that I am less familiar with, I will first do a boatload of research (either myself or with the help of a research assistant like Kathy Pogge). Then I'll make decisions based on that research.

For example, I'm pretty well versed in the Judeo-Christian traditions. But when I set out to write in detail about the Stone of Destiny and how it might wind through those traditions, Kathy did a ton of research, and I reviewed it all and sorted through it and then made my decisions as to how I wanted to present things.

Response recorded on September 16, 2010

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AJC writes...

Very excited for your new series! Its good that you can move on to something else, especially after how spec spidey ended.

My questions are, how much have you watched of teen titans and justice league and JLU?

Will you watch the new ultimate spider-man cartoon when it comes out?

Greg responds...

I've watched many Justice League, Justice League Unlimited and Teen Titans episodes (particularly from the early seasons of each) but not every single episode.

And, no, I won't watch Ultimate Spider-Man, though that's not a dig at it. If it's great, it'll just drive me crazy with envy. If it's not, it'll just drive me crazy with frustration. It's a no win proposition for me. So I might as well just avoid it.

Response recorded on August 16, 2010

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Rachel N. writes...

Hi Greg.
I looked in the archives under "Influences" but didn't find anything on this, so I'm going to ask: Was the Beauty and the Beast TV series (1987-1990) in any way an influence in the creation of Gargoyles?
I'm a big fan of that BATB series (which starred Linda Hamilton and Ron Perlman), and I've noticed it has certain elements/aspects in common with Gargoyles (like certain plot elements, similar settings, similar traits among certain characters, etc.)

Greg responds...

I watched a bit of that series. Not religiously. But it's in there in my head, as are thirty other interpretations of Beauty and the Beast (from Disney) whether direct or 2nd generation.

Response recorded on August 12, 2010

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Todd Jensen writes...

Some time ago, I mentioned a book by Eleanor Prosser called "Hamlet and Revenge", which argued that Hamlet's goal to avenge his father on Claudius was not a righteous duty, but a misguided and dangerous quest. Recently, I thought about a passage in it in connection to "Clan-Building: Volume Two".

In one of the early chapters, the author discusses Kyd's "The Spanish Tragedy", one of the leading revenge-plays before "Hamlet". The protagonist, Hieronimo, is out to avenge the murder of his son Horatio. After discovering his son's body near the start of the play, he decides not to bury it until he can achieve his revenge, an act which, Prosser comments, would have unsettled the audience.

This reminded me of the scene in "Clan-Building" where, after Demona reports the slaughter of the Sruighlea cell by Constantine and Gillecomgain, True suggests that they hold a Wind Ceremony for the dead gargoyles, and Demona rejects it in favor of pursuing revenge on the humans who did the deed. I just thought I'd share it with you.

Greg responds...

Thanks. I like the parallel a lot. And I agree with what it reveals about character... though I've never read "The Spanish Tragedy" unfortunately. At least not yet.

Response recorded on July 29, 2010

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Balron writes...

Are you a MARVEL or a DC?
And even if you aren't one or the other, did you like the movie "Watchmen?"
Was that particular comic book any good inspiration on the works you have done in this decade? And if so, who was a favorite character of yours from that particular story?

Greg responds...

I'm both. I've worked for both companies, and even before that I was a fan of both sets of characters. When I was very young, I didn't even understand that they were too separate companies. I saw Superman team with Batman and Spider-Man team with Daredevil, and figured next issue I might see Daredevil team with Batman. Of course, I soon realized the truth, but it doesn't change the fact that I have an abiding affection for characters from both companies.

There were things I admired about the movie "Watchmen". But I thought Ozymandias was massively miscast, and that spoiled a lot of the film for me.

Watchmen's influence is probably in the mix somewhere, but I can't think of any specific way it has inspired me. As to my favorite character... I'm tempted to say Rorshach, but just because I donated his thumb prints to the original book.

Response recorded on March 25, 2010

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Gothic Cowboy writes...

Mr. Weisman, I was recently re-watching Excalibur (the bloody 1981 Arthurian adaptation), and was inspired to ask two questions of you:

1. When Quinevere is accused by Sir Gawain (whom I noticed was a young Liam Neeson) and Arthur is unable to act as her champion because the law demands he be her judge, he tells Quinevere (of her and Lancelot) "You are the two people I love most in this world." Having recently read Clan-Building Vol. 2, I was struck by the fact that this is what Peredur said to Duval and Blanchefleur, his wife and his best friend. Was that an intentional parallel, or is it just a coincidence?

2. The Excalibur film is noted for being one of the few Arthurian adaptations that didn't flinch from presenting the more violent and sexual aspects of the stories, which many other adaptations have glossed over or eliminated. I remember the copy my Father taped, and how he'd (roughly) attempted to edit the more graphic scenes (something my little brothers and I found amusing at the time). In his defense, we were quite young. But the question of how you'd have dealt with some of these aspects can into my mind. Obviously, even with the comic, you'd have to be more circumspect than an R-rated film, but even then, how much of, say Lancelot and Quinevere's infidelity would you have shown. Another example would be how Merlin arranged for Uther to be with Igraine, in return for their child (which, when I re-watched the film, couldn't help but remind me of Merlin's father and the events of The Gathering episodes). At the far end of the scale, some of the legend cycles have it that Arthur pulled a Pharaoh, ordering the death of the first-born in an attempt to eliminate a young Mordred, an act that, even in context of the time he lived in, makes him difficult to redeem. How much of these elements would have dealt with?

P.S.-In a previous post, I mistakely used "who's" when I should have used "whose." My apologies.

Greg responds...

1. It was an intentional reference to the Arthur/Guinevere/Lancelot relationship. Not necessarily a parallel. And not necessarily a specific reference to Excalibur, since I've seen those sentiments in many other Arthurian adaptations, including "The Once and Future King" and the musical "Camelot" which is based upon it.

2. Everything would have been dealt with. Whether "off-screen" or "on" is the question.

Response recorded on March 18, 2010

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Aeschylus writes...

Greg,

Just wanted to comment on the brilliance of the show, and you and your team being able to successfully weave different mythologies together to create a whole new mythology. It's works like that that inspire so many others to continue in the arts, whether it be writing, designing, or performing arts alike- myself included. So thank you for that and for continuing to share this amazing experience with us over a decade later. Whether or not we ever see the rest of the show released on DVD (or the next big media software), it is my belief that Gargoyles will continue to inspire all who have the privilege of watching.

Greg responds...

Thanks. And I really liked your Oresteia too.

Response recorded on March 12, 2010

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Vaevictis Asmadi writes...

Dur, how did that happen? That comment about R.L. Green's other books retelling myths and legends was from me.

Greg responds...

Okay.

Response recorded on February 04, 2010

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Ask Greg writes...

Chiming in after Todd's comment, R.L. Green also wrote books retelling Greek, Norse, Egyptian, and Biblical myths. I haven't ever read or seen any of them, I only saw numerous titles mentioned on Wikipedia and Alibris. Evidently he also has a Robin Hood book, and one named "Sir Lancelot of the Lake."

Greg responds...

I've read the Greek book and I have the Robin Hood one but haven't had a chance to read it. I knew about the others, but haven't read them.

Response recorded on February 03, 2010

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Todd Jensen writes...

I checked out from the library today (I'd checked it out once before, but this time, I thought of mentioning it) a book by Roger Lancelyn Green called "Tales From Shakespeare", that retells many of the plays. (All of them comedies, tragedies, and romances: he doesn't tackle any of the histories, though in his retelling of "The Merry Wives of Windsor", he mentions near the start about Falstaff's association with Prince Hal.) Since you liked Roger Lancelyn Green's take on King Arthur (enough to even make it one of your sources for the "Gargoyles" take on him), I though that you'd be interested to know about it (assuming that you haven't heard of it yet).

Greg responds...

I've heard of it, but haven't read it.

Response recorded on February 03, 2010

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simon writes...

hi Greg
I just watch Gargoylese episode-future tense and I wonder if you have been inspired by x men -days of the future past storyline when you wrote that episode?

There is also a moment when brooklyn said that" thailog was killed during clone
wars"Was it intentional wink for star wars fans,or did you just wanted to gave George Lucas headache.

I appologise every Gargoyle if I made some mistakes in English.

Greg responds...

Yes, as I've mentioned before, "Days of Future Past" was an inspiration for "Future Tense". The "Clone Wars" thing was a throwaway, though I have no interest in causing George Lucas headaches of any kind. And now the line has meaning.

Response recorded on January 21, 2010

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Todd Jensen writes...

In the scene in "The Gate" where Brooklyn scares the suspicious townspeople away from Mary and Finella, was the cry "Run away! Run away!" intended as a "Monty Python" allusion? (Especially since you'd done such an allusion in "Future Tense", with the Xanatos Program's "bite my knee-caps off" line.)

Greg responds...

Yes.

Response recorded on December 16, 2009

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Greg Bishansky writes...

So, something a little different. Like you, I enjoy the work of William Faulkner immensely. I gained a taste for him in my senior year of High School when "Sanctuary" was on the curriculum.

So, if you had to pick a favorite novel written by Faulkner, which would it be? I have a soft spot for "Sanctuary" since it was my gateway book, even though the man himself said:

"To me it is a cheap idea, because it was deliberately conceived to make money. ... I took a little time out, and speculated what a person in Mississippi would believe to be current trends, chose what I thought would be the right answer and invented the most horrific tale I could imagine and wrote it in about three weeks and sent it to (Harrison) Smith, who had done 'The Sound and the Fury' and who wrote me immediately, 'Good God, I can't publish this. We'd both be in jail.'"

I also enjoyed "As I Lay Dying" quite a bit. I haven't read all his novels yet, and very few of his short stories. But I love what I have read.

Greg responds...

"Absalom, Absalom"

Though the short story "Two Soldiers" is so perfect, I'd probably choose that even over Absalom...

Response recorded on November 06, 2009

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Will Keaton writes...

Greg:

SPIDEY SPOILERS

1. You've often mentioned how you chose Tombstone as the new "Big Man of Crime" because the Kingpin was unavailable due to legal issues. What other characters besides Tombstone did you consider for this position? Also, is the phrase "Big Man" a title given out to whoever happens to be in control of New York's crime rings at the time and is passed on to their successor, (ie, like a king or queen) or is it an alias that is permanently attached to Tombstone? I've seen evidence to support both cases.

2. How exactly does Doc Ock get dressed in the morning? The part of his harness that lines up with his spine clearly goes on underneath his clothing but the ring around his waist goes overtop of everything else. Can the harness still open up in front or is that fused shut too? Just watching Ock go through his morning routine would probably clear most of this up, plus the notion of him using his tentacles to brush his teeth is just hilarious. (Just be glad I'm not asking how Rhino goes to the bathroom.) I also assume that for the duration of Season 2 he's had enough time to acquire or build a new power source for his harness that can last for years at a time?

3. You burned down the Big Sky Billiard lounge! I loved that place. Every comic book needs a place where the supervillains can go for some downtime and hang out. Please, I know you don't want to spoil anything you have planned for season 3 but at least give us a vague hint that we'll get to see a new "Bad Guy Bar."

4. Is Chameleon's white visage a mask that he wears with other masks going on top of it, or is that actually his face after being surgically altered to have any distinguishing features like a nose and ears removed? Typically one would expect a face-changer to remove as much of their original face as possible and then add on top of that as needed, (just look at Metal Gear Solid's Decoy Octopus, the guy shaved down his cheek bones and cut off part of his nose and ears.) Wearing two masks doesn't seem to be that effective since you're doubling the amount the disguise is lifted above your actual face.

5. Exactly how long has Norman been inhaling the gobulin green? I'd assume he'd either start as soon as he'd invented the stuff, shortly after he was nearly killed by a giant geriatric buzzard and wanted to make sure he didn't have to rely on Spidey the next time something similar happened, or shortly after his first dealings with Hammerhead when he started planning to overthrow the Big Man. By the way, what kind of guy develops an experimental highly dangerous performance enhancing drug and then brings it home to show his family and then just leaves some lying around where his son can start chugging the stuff without anyone noticing it's gone?

6. We didn't see much of Aunt May in Season 2, but with so many characters floating around this isn't too surprising. If May does play an important role in any season three episodes is she going to get a spot in the opening credits for that episode?

7. When comparing animated shows through the years there doesn't seem to be a large change in the style and tone from the 1960's through to the late 80's. All the animated shows had a simplistic plot and generally weren't mentally demanding. However sometime in the early/mid 90's we started seeing shows like Fox's Spider-man, Batman The Animated Series, Reboot and Gargoyles, all of which felt more sophisticated than earlier shows and had such features as real character development and story arcs that could last through a season. Somehow I have a hard time imagining an episode like "Lethal Force" being done on G.I. Joe. As someone who has been in the industry a while did you notice a change in attitude from networks or executives towards animation at around that time? When producing Gargoyles did you find that in general people were more willing to let you attempt making a show with more mature themes relative to what you had done before?

8. Should Spiderman not get a third season or become cancelled for certain after season three wraps up, how likely is it that production could continue on direct to DVD movies? Generally speaking is it easier to convince producers or whomever to greenlight a single movie length piece of work comparred to an entire season of an animated show?

Greg responds...

SPIDEY SPOILERS!!!!!

1. No one really. Tombstone was pretty much my instant second choice to replace Kingpin. And as for the "Big Man" title, I've seen evidence to both sides too.

2. I'm mostly content to leave Ock's morning routine to your imagination. As for his power-pack, he has had time to find one that lasts a long time. But he still NEEDS the power-pack. The arms won't function without it.

3. Yes, eventually.

4. Again, I'll leave this to your interpretation.

5. As you indicated, he started immediately after surviving Vulture's attempts on his life. He did not like feeling that powerless.

6. Yep.

7. I think Batman the Animated Series was a revelation to many of us, and gave us the courage and evidence of success that allowed us to at least attempt to match or better that great series. Simpsons helped too, as did Who Framed Roger Rabbit and The Little Mermaid (the movie), and to a lesser extent The Great Mouse Detective. Animation seemed to be in something of a renaissance. But it shouldn't have been surprising. A generation of multi-discipline writers and artists who grew up on cartoons, comic books and genre fiction -- creative types who had learned to be discerning readers and viewers -- began to execute the kinds of shows they wanted to see. As for Gargoyles specifically, the miracle wasn't that people let me do what I wanted, but that they left me alone, which allowed me to do what I wanted. A subtle distinction, I know. But a significant one.

8. If we got cancelled or not picked up after Season Two is done airing, it would, I believe -- despite all evidence to the contrary and no matter how unfair that perception might be -- put the stink of failure on the series. Which would make it hard to get a greenlight on a DVD.

Response recorded on August 07, 2009

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Count Orlok writes...

Just wanted to thank you for answering my last question... :) ... and ask you another.
Throughout the run of Gargoyles there were numerous references to various works of literature in its many forms (classic literature, Shakespearean works, philosophy and politics, comic books and graphic novels, horror, gothic romance, science fiction, fantasy, world mythologies, etc.). I recall being an avid fan of all of these literary genres or categories when I was very young, but Gargoyles certainly helped to further interest me in them. Other than the obvious works that you've made allusions to in the series, what do you like to read?

Greg responds...

Lots of stuff. I'm listening to Charles Dickens' "Great Expectations" on CD in my car these days, and LOVING IT! (Of course, I've read it at least twice before.)

Generally, I read a lot of detective fiction, with my favorite author being Ross MacDonald. And as I've stated before, I'm a huge William Faulkner fan.

Response recorded on July 28, 2009

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Mo writes...

More Spidey questions!

1) Regarding JJJ: I think Daran Norris does an amazing job in the voice role, but i'm wondering if you ever considered having J.K. Simmons reprise the role.
2) With John Jameson, why did you choose him to fill the role of a rival hero? And why did you make Colonel Jupiter rather than, say, Man-Wolf?
3) The influence of Stan and Steve's work, the Ultimate line and the films is clear in the show. Did earlier Spider-Man programs influence it at all?
4) Regarding Green Goblin: Did you ever consider using the Ultimate demonic design or the movie's armored design or did you always want to use the classic Halloween costume look?
5) If you had to choose, who has been your favorite villain on the show?

Once more, I thank you.

Greg responds...

1. It was discussed, but Sony Features vetoed the idea, as they wanted the two casts to be distinct.

2. I love the original Colonel Jupiter story from the Lee/Romita Sr. run of The Amazing Spider-Man. You should check it out.

3. I'm sure the 60s show is a deep influence, as I inhaled that series as a kid. But I consciously chose NOT to go back and rewatch it, so my memories of it are a bit vague. I'm not personally all that familiar with the other animated incarnations. I don't think I've seen more than an episode or two of any other version.

4. Classic. Always.

5. But I don't have to chose.

Response recorded on July 08, 2009

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Derek writes...

Their are obvious character similarities between Demona to the marvel comic book characters Magneto and Mystique. Was that intentional? Certainly physically Demona is a wringer for Mystique.

Greg responds...

I don't think there was ANY attempt to make Demona intentionally look or behave like Mystique. Magneto probably was something of an influence on me to some small degree, but I think the similarities are more superficial than deep. They don't really strike me as having much in common in terms of psychological make-up.

Response recorded on June 08, 2009

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Bela writes...

Greetings from Spain, Greg :)

I've been gliding through the archives in the hopes of finding something, anything, that can help me remember what my absolutely vital question was las time Ask Greg was open (Ask Greg closed before I could submit it). I'm sure it was something super boring about insights and Gargoyle psychology (especially Goliath's, I find him complex and amazing) but well. I'll have to stick to the rant that went with it and spare you the question :D.

You've heard all kinds of praises and ear-candies about you and the show by now, so I really don't want to be boring and repetitive.But the fact is that more than twelve years after the show was first aired here, I'm still as hooked as I ever was. If not more. I was in college then (imagine, I'll love watching cartoons till the last day :D) and I couldn't believe how good that episode of this Gargoyles thing I randomly caught one day was. I ended up rushing out of classes for the rest of the term, not to miss a single episode more.

You've explained before how you really feel that the story it's out there somewhere, and you tapped into it, somehow. I understand what you mean. It feels that way. Exactly that way.

The characters are so dimensional that they make the story so intense and...well, real. To the point that I'm not only positive about it being the best tv show I've ever seen, but also feels like one of the best readings. Your story is better than 80% of the books I've read in the last, say, 12 years. One almost yearns for something like Gargoyles happening to the world, with the same intensity which half the female population around the world dreams of finding Mr. Darcy... And that is something I truly thank you for.

Goliath and Elisa deserve a special mention. I don't think I've fallen so in love with a fictional couple since..well..Mr. Darcy here and Elizabeth (mm..actually I think I might have subconsciously matched the two brooding heros with the two strong-willed women, even though their stories are so different..). No wonder Elisa couldn't get herself off Goliath's hook and viceversa. And by the way, going through the archives, I read something about clan wind ceremonies on Elisa's dying. I'm amazed, I couldn't even picture it. It's so sad, one or the other dying, that even if intellectually it's something obvious, I really don't want to know that far. Pretty childish of me I guess but, well. I want some things eternal :D

For a Gargoyles unconditional, I guess I was born in the wrong country, lol. But one day, who knows! I just hope Gatherings are still happening.

Thank you so much, Greg, for a lot of reasons. Not only for the show and the comics and being here to feed the beasts from time to time, but for your dedication. For not giving up. For believing in what you do, and therefore allowing some of us to go along for the ride, and end up believing in what WE do (doomed-storyteller here :))

Wish you all the best, Greg, and I really hope you can find soon a way to let the story go on. The clan would want you to ;)

BeLa xx

PS: Just so you know, I showed Awakenings to Tania, a dear friend, and she watched the entire show, plus TGC (which she didn't really enjoy as much, by the way) in less than ten days.

PPS: I hope my english was understandable enough, by the way!

Greg responds...

Hey, I'll take all the Jane Austen comparisons (particularly favorable ones) that you want to dish. I'm a big fan. And I'm sure she was (at least) an indirect influence on my work.

And your English is just great. Thanks for all the kind words.

Response recorded on June 04, 2009

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Count Orlok writes...

Greg, what films are you a fan of and how have they inspired and/or influenced your work on the creation of Gargoyles?

Greg responds...

Uh, I'm not going to list all the films I like. That would take forever. There's no specific film that jumps out to me as a direct influence on Gargoyles, though as I've said before, television series including Gummi Bears, Bonkers and Hill Street Blues were major direct influences on Gargoyles. In any case, check the "Influences" archive here at ASK GREG for more info.

Response recorded on June 03, 2009

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Todd Jensen writes...

In "Avalon Part One", Tom is dubbed Guardian of the Eggs by Princess Katharine, in a manner that evokes being knighted - and is indeed depicted as dressed like a knight as an adult, as well as (while he's still a boy in Scotland, at the time of Constantine's coup) wearing a sort of medieval uniform marking his new position. Was there any influence here from his namesake, the boy Tom whom Arthur knights at the end of "The Once and Future King" and charges with keeping the memory of Camelot alive (a parallel that stands out all the more because of the Arthurian links in "Avalon"), or was this just a coincidence?

Greg responds...

Definitely influenced. I don't think we were being subtle.

Response recorded on May 29, 2009

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Greg Bishansky writes...

Just a comment on an archetype that seems to be a theme in your shows. I can't help but notice that the series you produce are populated by tricksters.

Puck is an obvious and classic example, the original trickster. Also, "Gargoyles" has Raven, Anansi, and Coyote who were also literal tricksters.

Beyond that, one of the lead villains, Xanatos, was a trickster... he even said so himself. That's an interesting choice of archetypes for the primary antagonist.

Thailog, while you've cited the bastard archetype often enough, outside of that, he seems like a trickster as well. Which makes sense since he was programmed by one. Granted, he's a more malevolent trickster than Xanatos, but he still displays those characteristics.

Meanwhile, over in in "Spectacular," you have Spider-Man as, perhaps, the most benevolent trickster you have yet to write. Fitting, he is the hero after all, and the people he acts like a trickster towards usually have it coming.

And, of course, you have a more sinister trickster in Green Goblin, hie arch-nemesis.

I know from personal experience how difficult tricksters can be to write, as I've often had to jump through hoops to do it right,

I haven't seen WITCH so I have no idea if this archetype shows up there or not. But it seems to me like the trickster archetype is a favorite of yours to write, and you do it so well.

So, does it just come naturally? Is Greg Weisman a trickster himself, or do you ever find yourself jumping through hoops as I sometimes do to create schemes worthy of the trickster you're writing?

Greg responds...

There's some definite hoop-jumping going on. Personally, I'm more of a bastard than a trickster. But I do enjoy both archetypes, so I do the work to make them worthy.

You'll notice, however, that each of the tricksters you named, with the exception of Xanatos, were based on existing sources, which helps. As for Xanatos, he was a variation on General Eiling (from Captain Atom), who was more of a bastard. And Eiling, in turn, was loosely based on Captain Kirk, or rather a dark mirror of Kirk (and, no, that's not a reference to the "Mirror, Mirror," as the Mirror Kirk in that episode couldn't fool anyone).

Thailog is more in the classic bastard mode than the trickster mode -- at least in my mind -- though I'll admit there's definite overlap between the two archetypes.

Response recorded on May 28, 2009

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Vaevictis Asmadi writes...

Hello Greg,

While I was looking in the GargWiki for information about the Olympians, I saw that you wanted to know the Ancient Egyptian name for the Egyptian pantheon.

The word which can be translated as "god" is _netcher_ or _netjer_, feminine _netcheret_ or _netjeret_, plural _netcheru_ or _netjeru_. TCH and TJ are just ways to spell the CH sound at the beginning and end of English "church," without confusing it with the German or Greek CH. As with every Ancient Egyptian word, the vowels were never written down, so the vowels in netjer and netjeru are speculatively added to make N-TJ-R and N-TJ-R-W pronounceable.

Netjeru refers to all the deities, including large numbers of minor deities who are servants to the greater deities, and who are often referred to in English as "demons" or "spirits." Netjeru sometimes also include other beings: deified mortals, the _akhu_ or souls of the dead, and divine beings like Ammut and Apophis that were not worshipped. Netjeru can also include the _bau_, which are "manifestations or emanations" send forth from a deity.

I do not know if netjer was also used to refer to gods of other religions, but I'm guessing it was.

What I have told you comes from Richard Wilkinson's "The Complete Gods and Goddesses of Ancient Egypt." In my non-expert opinion this is one of the best books on Egyptian Mythology that I have seen for the non-specialist.

Greg responds...

Wow, that's seriously helpful, both the info and the reference book. I'm definitely buying that book! Thanks.

Response recorded on May 14, 2009

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Laura G writes...

I saw Watchmen recently (awesome, by the way), and I just had to ask...

Was David Xanatos in any way inspired by or modeled on Adrian Veidt?

Thanks!

Greg responds...

Not particularly, though of course I had read Watchmen -- in fact, I worked at DC Comics when it came out (and provided Rorshach's thumbprints) -- so it's possible that Veidt had a subconscious influence. But Xanatos has WAY less in common with Ozymandias, then he does with General Wade Eiling from Captain Atom.

Response recorded on April 28, 2009

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Todd Jensen writes...

This is a comment rather than a question.

A few years ago, I mentioned here that the medieval flashback scenes in "Awakening Part One" had reminded me, the first time that I saw them, of a PBS animated adaptation of David Macaulay's "Castle". Recently, I was rereading the book that the PBS program had been based on, and discovered that the castle in it (a fictional castle, portrayed as part of Edward I's castle-building program in northern Wales) was called Aberwyvern, and stood by the Wyvern River. I'm certain that it must have been a coincidence (I assume that when you came up with the name "Wyvern" for the castle in "Gargoyles", you were thinking of the two-legged dragon-like creature), but it still astonished me, and I wanted to share it with you. (And Edward I *does* have a link to the Gargoyles Universe as the man responsible for the Stone of Destiny's removal from Scotland to Westminster Abbey.)

Greg responds...

I think Michael Reaves came up with the name Castle Wyvern. So you'd have to ask him what his influences were.

Response recorded on April 01, 2009

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Todd Jensen writes...

I was recently rereading Roger Lancelyn Green's retelling of the Arthurian cycle (it was the January 2009 book for an Arthurian book club that I recently joined), and found this passage at the end of the section on the Quest for the Holy Grail:

"But when the last battle had been fought and the realm of Logres was no more, Percivale's kingdom made still a little light in the darkness of a Britain conquered and laid waste by the barbarians." (p. 248 of the old Puffin Books edition I bought as a boy).

Was this passage the inspiration (or at least, *an* inspiration) for your idea of Percival/Duval founding the Illuminati?

Greg responds...

Probably.

Response recorded on March 23, 2009

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HILL STREET BLUES ON DVD

As many of you know, perhaps my favorite television series of all time is HILL STREET BLUES. A couple years ago, the first season was put out on DVD. There was no marketing that I noticed... but there was a bit of publicity. A year later the second season came out. This time no marketing and no publicity. Also, I'm GUESSING, not much in terms of sales -- as the third season isn't on the schedule. I've signed up at Amazon to be notified if-and-when it is released...

SOUND FAMILIAR?

I bring this up, since it allows me to do a few things:

1. SPREAD THE WORD! I encourage you all to buy the first two seasons of Hill Street Blues. This was one of the truly seminal shows in television history, brilliantly written and acted and directed and a HUGE, HUGE influence on Gargoyles. Like Gargoyles it created a tapestry, a world of characters. Very much worth your time and disposable income.

2. CREATE A REALITY CHECK. For those of you who STILL seem to feel Disney is doing something unusual (let alone nefarious) in its treatment of Gargoyles, this is one of just many, many, many examples that demonstrates it's not. We can all sturm and drang about how business should be done, with marketing and publicity galore for every product, with a guarantee that once a company starts a project they must finish it (whether or not the economics justify it), etc. But the gnashing of teeth doesn't change the reality. Companies -- even companies as huge as Disney have LIMITED resources and must deal with the notion of OPPORTUNITY COST. So one company takes a flier on a Gargoyles DVD set, another takes one on Hill St. Both do fairly well in their first season releases, despite limited or no marketing and limited or no publicity. Both fair poorly in their second release. Both don't seem to rate a third release. It's sad. But it's life.

3. ENCOURAGE YOU TO SPREAD THE WORD! The best thing any one of you can do to help get the next release of ANY show you love -- short of spending your own money -- is to help us Spread the Word! About the DVDS, the comics, the Gathering. Oh, and about Hill Street Blues. (See, I practice what I preach!)

With that in mind, I depart in less than 48 hours for Chicago and my 12th Annual Gathering, followed immediately by a trip to Minneapolis for ConVergence (http://www.convergence-con.org/). I won't have internet access while I'm gone, but when I return I'll post my conjournalx2. I encourage all of you who are attending the Gathering to post/cut&paste their conjorunals, diaries etc. here to ASK GREG. It creates a central place where I can refer ignorant PTB-types. Also, if you see me at either con, please come up and say hello. I am notoriously bad with names, and I admit (with some embarrassment) that it often takes me two or three conventions to really nail a name down. But I do want to meet you, and I do want to get to know you. I'm not much at small talk, but I can talk about animation and comics and pop culture in general ad nauseum (just ask my wife).


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Mary Jane origins...

My folks, Beth and the kids went to see a truly wonderful performance of "Big River" yesterday at the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts. "Big River" is of course based on "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn". Now keeping in mind that this is a show I've seen at least three times before, and that Huck is a book I've read at least four times, it stunned me that I NEVER noticed this fact before...

The girl that Huck has a huge unrequited yen for is named "Mary Jane Wilkes". And one of the women who takes Huck in at the beginning of the book is named "Miss Watson". It seems nearly impossible to think that the name "Mary Jane Watson" from Spider-Man wasn't lifted (consciously or otherwise) from Twain... I assume by Stan Lee (though possibly from someone else working at Marvel in those years).

How did this get by me?


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Todd Jensen writes...

Got "Bad Guys" #2 today. Here are a few comments on it.

Strong characterization for the members of the Redemption Squad, especially Yama. I liked how he was handled in it, especially the banishment scene and the remark that he had a "rigid and unforgiving" judge - himself. And his stiffly dignified response to Robyn's offer (as well as his wrath when she threatened his clan).

But the other members also had some great moments. Matrix's multiple heads all popping up to make their report to Dingo (just when you thought Matrix couldn't get any more bizarre....). Dingo commenting on how grating Robyn's brogue was (says the guy with the Australian accent). His way of introducing Matrix. His alarm when he learns that they're returning to New York, and Robyn's cool response.

The revelation that the bearded man entering the Labyrinth was Sevarius surprised me - but to add to that, we finally learn what Fang's real name is. (I immediately thought of Bill Sikes from "Oliver Twist" once I read that scene, but I don't know if you really did have Dickens in mind or if it's just a coincidence.) And who but Sevarius would deliver that "time to meet your maker" line to a Mutate?

I also enjoyed the various cameos: Vinnie (as misfortune-prone as ever), Brendan and Margot, Al, Claw, Shari.

Looking forward to #3 (especially since the other two Canmores will be guest-starring in it). Thanks for this issue, Greg!

Greg responds...

Bill Sikes was an inspiration.

Response recorded on June 06, 2008

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Darren writes...

Which cartoons did YOU watch when you were younger? Did any of these inspire you?

Greg responds...

I'm SURE I've answered this before, but...

I watched TONS of cartoons when I was a kid. And I'm sure MANY influenced me. The ones that seemed to most spark my imagination included...

SPACE GHOST
JONNY QUEST
HERCULOIDS
THUNDERBIRDS (does Supermarionation count?)
SPIDER-MAN
SUPERMAN-BATMAN-AQUAMAN HOUR
SPEED RACER
SCOOBY DOO
FRACTURED FAIRY TALES
ROCKY & BULWINKLE
THE FLINTSTONES

That's really just a partial list.

Response recorded on May 07, 2008

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dab writes...

Was the structure of Gargoyle clans (in particular, children in common) at all influenced by Plato's ideal society in the Republic? Similarly, from where did Gargoyles derive their prediliction for protection? Sounds an awful lot like the Platonic guardians. Is this true, and if so, was it intentional?

More generally, what sorts of philosophical streams most strongly influenced your idea of the ideal gargoyle society?

Thanks!!

Greg responds...

Well... I read most of Plato's republic back in high school. I can't say my conscious memory of it is too clear at this point, but I suppose everything I do is the sum total of all that I've learned, so...

Response recorded on January 23, 2008

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zuher writes...

greg i dont know iff u will read this ortake it seriously ur great and im not just sayin that i have all the episodes where did you get the inspirtion for this samrt idea?

Greg responds...

From actual gargoyles, largely. But for other influences, check the "influences" section of the ASK GREG archives.

Response recorded on January 21, 2008

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KingCobra_582 writes...

Picked up my copy of Gargoyles #7 today. After all these weeks, it's finally here.

And, after the very mild disappointment I had with issue 6, it was worth the wait too.

**SPOILERS**

PROS:

More great story twists.

-I didn't see Maggie's pregnancy coming, oddly. Those were some great moments, with Talon and Maggie looking at each other like that.
-It was cool seeing Claw again, even if it was only for one panel, and he didn't do anything.
-The cover threw me off somewhat, which is a good thing.
-More Elisa and Goliath stuff. At least it's not too angsty this time.
-Does Goliath know that Brooklyn is bothered by B & A's relationship? I had the impression at first, when he looks over Brooklyn's shoulder at them, that he had a good idea. But then it occurred to me that Goliath may have been silently asking them to stay with his second. So which is it?
-Nice little Lex moments. I liked the expression on his face when he complains about 'I don't feel so hot.'
-On a semi-related note, who's this 'Amp'? Is Lex naming someone or simply giving them a nickname?
-I loved that MacBeth/King Arthur moment. Though I admit that, since I thought they left on good terms in 'Pendragon', I am a little confused. What's Arthur hiding/protecting? Also, since Arthur's here, kudos on introducing the new gargoyles at the end. And is that Griff behind Lex and Hudson?
-Nice throwback to the Cold Trio. And I'm eager to know what Xanatos, Coyote, and Coldsteel are up to. Whatever it is, it can't be good. Is this part of Xanatos' Illuminati assignment?
-The bits about Gathelus interested me greatly. Thanks, Greg. You made me want to do research on this guy.

As usual, Greg, you have left me with so many questions, and very few answers. Thank you.

The art was decent. Hedgecock has definitely come a long way since #1.

CONS:

These are very minor things that I was able to let go of. They didn't really ruin my enjoyment too much.
-The biblical reference. Mainly because (and this is a self-personal quip. I'm not trying to offend anyone or push my beliefs.) I'm not really into religion. No offense.
-The constant time changes were a little confusing.

End the rant.

A near-perfect issue that I really enjoyed. Great writing, great story, and I loved the artwork. Plot threads left dangling, but then, I love being in suspense, so that was a big plus too. There were a couple of flaws, but I was able to ignore them.

What a hell of an great issue. I can't wait for #8. :)

Merry Christmas.

Greg responds...

Goliath now knows about Brooklyn's angst.

You don't have to be religious to appreciate the bible. I personally don't regard it as a religious text (for myself) -- but it's without a doubt a great repository for stories. It's definitely worth a read.

Response recorded on January 14, 2008

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Antiyonder writes...

Finally got a hold of the issue today. My brother is passing on the spinoffs, but I'm still purchasing an additional copy for my friend. On to the comments.

It was certainly worth waiting for. It shows that the other characters can carry a series without Goliath and Company. My favorite moments include:

- Fang's "sensitivity" towards Dingo and Robyn's "spat" (who said he isn't observant).
- Dingo and Matrix's fight with Tasmanian Tiger. Reads a bit like an old super hero comic, and in a good way. Even though I started collecting in the late 90s, I tend to prefer the older comics with some exceptions.
- Dingo's reaction to learning of Matrix's insertion.
- What's the worst that can happen indeed.

As with Gargoyles #5, Karine did topnotch work on the art. Some questions.

1. I know that The Redemption Squad is based off the Dirty Dozen, but did DC Comic's Suicide Squad serve as any inspiration?

2. Is Tasmanian Tiger based off any particular super villain?

Keep up the great work.

Greg responds...

1. It's not like I'm unaware of DC's Suicide Squad, but frankly I think both series were inspired by Dirty Dozen.

2. Not any one in particular.

Response recorded on December 13, 2007

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Todd Jensen writes...

Since your birthday's on September 28, I thought I'd share with you a piece of trivia I recently discovered.

I've been collecting Fantagraphics Books' reprints of "Peanuts", and discovered that on September 28, 1962, the "Peanuts" strip for the day was Snoopy pretending to be a gargoyle (the regular architectural variety, of course). In fact, it was one of three such strips (the other two were on September 27 and September 29 respectively). I thought you might like to know that. (If you'd like to see the strips, they're in "The Complete Peanuts 1961-62", on page 273.)

Greg responds...

Very cool. Of course, 1962 was a bit before even my time, but I know I've seen Snoopy pose as a vulture, and I have a vague memory of him as a gargoyle. Maybe I saw it in a reprint edition.

Response recorded on December 04, 2007

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Charisma82 writes...

Hey! Do you ever miss teaching in a classroom setting, like at a school? I seem to remember you saying that you taught English at a college. I am in the process of becoming a high school English teacher (though most people think I'm crazy to do so), & I was wondering what your favorite part was about teaching English, & what you might have done differently.

Thank you for your time and all that you do.

-Charisma82

Greg responds...

I do sometimes miss the classroom itself. But I hated reading papers. Once in a blue moon I'd read something that really... sang... but otherwise, it wasn't too fun. Even the good papers weren't exactly my idea of fun reading. Grading just isn't fun in general. But I like the classroom (most of the time). I guess it's the performer in me, maybe. But I liked imparting stuff too.

What might I have done differently? I don't know.

But I admire what you're doing. I had a number of great and very inspirational high school English teachers (Mrs. Diskin, Mrs. Wardlaw, Mr. West, Mr. Holmes, Mr. McGrew and Mrs. Wardlaw again) without whom, we would not be sharing this forum.

Response recorded on November 01, 2007

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Vaevictis Asmadi writes...

Hello again Greg,

I've been thinking about Greek mythology and the little glimpses we've seen of how it fits into the Gargoyles Universe (and hungering for more, of course! ;) ) I've gotten to wondering what books you've read about it, and which ones you liked the most? You've mentioned several times your particular fondness for Theseus (the bastard), and you and Todd have had conversations about favorite Arthurian books. Is Theseus your only favorite character in Greek Mythology, or are there any others?

I myself was first introduced to Greek myths as a child with the D'Aulaires book. I next read Edith Hamilton's book. Since then I've read bits and pieces of many books on the subject, but I've only read a few tragedies and the Odyssey from start to finish (I found the Odyssey pretty boring, at least in translation). So I guess I can't really say I have any favorite book on the subject.

Oddly, my favorite source for Greek Mythology I've used so far is not a book, but a website, www.theoi.com. (This will sound like an advert but I ~love~ this website) It's a very thorough collection of research and information about the Greek gods. It must have every god, spirit, monster, or giant ever, no matter how obscure. Perhaps this sounds strange (I hope it isn't presumptuous), but if you're ever looking for a great source about Greek Mythology for research, I think you'd find this website very useful.

What I like most about theoi is that it gives information in the form of quotes (translated of course) from lots of ancient texts, and provides all the different versions of each story and genealogy. Different ancient writers told different versions of the myths, and had different ideas about who was the son/daughter of who, but most print sources I've read only provide the most common version of each myth, or the one or two versions preferred by the author. So this is a source in which the information is minimally interpreted, so to speak, by intervening minds.

The big downside of this website is that it has almost no information about the heros and mortals, and even less information from archaeology. The webmaster is only just starting to add hero information. (I myself find gods much more interesting than heros, so I don't particularly mind). However, for the gods the information is excellent.

Greg responds...

Theseus is my favorite character in Greek Mythology. I'll admit to having a fondness for bastards (in the literal sense) in literature/mythology. I'm fascinated with the archetype and its variations. Also the parallelism between Arthur and Theseus are quite startling to me.

The D'Aulaires' book is indeed one of my ALL TIME favorite books. Same with their book on Norse Gods & Giants. I still use both as a reference. Although I'm not generally a fan of Cliff Notes, I'll admit that their "Mythology" booklet is a VERY handy reference. I also have Robert Graves two volume book(s) on Greek Mythology, which has(have) been very useful. I've got a couple of geneology chart type books. But they're at home, and I'm at the office, and I don't remember the names of the authors or their exact titles at this moment. I've also read both the Iliad and the Odyssey. Probably liked 'em better than you did. A lot probably depends on which translation you read, I suppose. I might also recommend Isaac Asimov's Fantastic Voyage, a cool sci-fi take o the Odyssey.

I'm semi-familiar with theoi.com. I've used it on occasion. Though I guess I still prefer my books.

Response recorded on October 30, 2007

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Todd Jensen writes...

While the notion of mists surrounding the skiff on its journeys from and to Avalon during the World Tour was something that the story needed anyway, to give the proper sense of mystery about travelling to Oberon's isle and back again, I've sometimes wondered whether that concept was also intended as a visual reference to the title of Marion Zimmer Bradley's "The Mists of Avalon". Do you know if the name of her book was an influence there (obviously not the book itself, since Bradley's Avalon is very different from the Avalon of "Gargoyles")?

Greg responds...

I"ve never read Bradley's book. It was given to me as a gift, but I've been reluctant to read yet another modern treatment of the legend, so as not to color my own. Of course, I do know the title, so it's theoretically possible it influenced me, but I think it's much more likely that the choice was a pragmatic necessity combined with a cool moody choice.

Response recorded on October 26, 2007

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Shannon 'Shan' Muir writes...

About the Dracon and G. F. Benton name choice... I never stopped to think about it before.

And I have a pretty good guess where Cary might have gotten Benton from.

See, Dracon is pretending to be someone else, which is like an illusion. Another type of illusion is a hologram. The name of the man who invented the hologram is Stephen Benton.

Which is why it was chosen as the last name of the two sisters in JEM, the show you first wrote on with Cary. (The other Holograms last names, Leith and Elmsford, also come from pioneers in holographic tech FYI).

Or it could just be total coincidence...

Greg responds...

You'd have to ask Cary.

Response recorded on August 03, 2007

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dph writes...

I searched through archives and didn't seem to find this question answered anywhere. A world-wide vote was recently held for nominations for a new set of 7 Wonders of the World. Chichén Itzá happenned to win. I am wondering if Chichén Itzá in Mexico was an inspiration for the pyramid shown in "The Green".

Greg responds...

To some extent, yes.

Response recorded on July 24, 2007

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Marie writes...

Was Una named after Lady Una from Spencer's The Faerie Queene, or simply because she was based on a unicorn?

Greg responds...

Largely the latter, but I read Faerie Queene in college, so it may have been an influence.

Response recorded on July 12, 2007

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Purplegoldfish writes...

My review for number four!...it's another long one.

Awesome story!! My favorite issue so far.

The interior art: well I have to say that Paniry(?) is a better comic artist than Hedgecock (though Hedgcock does do more detailed backgrounds.) From an artist's standpoint, the art is very good. Good fluid action sequences and nice facial and body expressions. Paniry has a better grasp on anatomy than Hedgecock as well. I don't mind the thick outlines. The one gripe I have is that Goliath looks a little too "Incredible Hulk" in some scenes-and Elisa, well she looks more like the REAL Princess Jasmine than Elisa in a Jasmine costume. I have some more thoughts on her costume later. Thailog and Angela look great throughout the book, as do the clones and mutates.
Evan's coloring is pretty decent. One thing though, why are Elisa's eyes blue?? And I could do without all the lens flares-and what's with the shiny white streaks in Goliath's hair?
Okay, sorry for that long babble-I'm an artist, so I'm anal about this stuff.

On to the story-(finally). So we start the book off with Yo' Mama jokes. I couldn't help groaning-oh it's the 90's! I like the kids' banter, though they look a little too "Mickey Mouse" cutesy to me. Also isn't Billy's hair blonde? Okay, I'll stop with the art, I promise :P I thought those Quarrymen were kids in costumes at first. Seriously though, I'de be more scared of those guys than of the gargoyles.

I really like the Hudson/Robbins scene. How awesome would it be to get halloween candy from a gargoyle? I love the panel with Bronx and Gilly sleeping by the fire. A dog is a dog no matter what it looks like! I have a feeling Robbins suspects Hudson is a gargoyle and is waiting for him to admit. I wonder why Hudson doesn't tell him though? Surely he's been in his company enough to know by now that Robbins wouldn't chase him out simply for what he is. Is that what Hudson is afraid of? I like his "mask" line though. It's so true-and it seems to be the theme of this issue (Where's the title?). Everyone wears masks-not just to hide their physical features-but also to hide their inner thoughts and feelings-to others and to themselves.

Ah, Margot and Brendan. I had always assumed for some reason that Brendan's last name was Yale. I guess they are not married. Love the Wizard of Oz costumes-particularly Angela's. Though Lex's choice is a bit creepy. Margot gets close and personal with Lex. For someone who's "seen these beasts up close" she can't tell he's a gargoyle when she's mere inches from his face. Which brings me to this thought; how dense are the people at the party that none of them seem to notice they have *real* gargoyles in their midst? I can understand the random party guests that don't get a good look at them--but those who go up to them like Margot and Morgan? No costume is THAT good. The wings, the tails, the feet. Morgan even *touches* Goliath. Does he suspect? It just seems odd particularly with the rumors that Xanatos harbors the gargoyles. Maybe I'm just being anal...

back to the story...Elisa shows up as Jasmine. We've got a theme here with the Disney Princesses. But is it really in Elisa's character to be dressed in such a skimpy outfit in public like that? I mean we hardly even saw her bare arms throughout the series. I see this as being much more out of character for her than when she breaks up with Goliath. Angela shows she has a bitchy side-it's great-she's not the sweet little angel so many people make her out to be. She's right to be annoyed at Elisa-I am too- but isn't Angela being a bit of hypocrite considering the way she and Broadway are around Brooklyn? She even seems to be flirting with him later on. I like how our heroines are showing flaws in their characters though-makes them more real.

I just love Judge Roebling here. I like how Greg takes all these bit characters we assume we'll only see once and brings them back and gives them personality. Robeling seems to have gotten in the bubbly a bit. His speech patterns remind me of Foghorn Leghorn lol. I love how he just comes up to Goliath and talks to him as if he's just like any other normal guy in the room. And I love the "wink wink nudge nudge" line. A reference to Monty Python? I have a friend who says that a lot and he likes both Monty Python and Gargoyles. This guy reminds me of him I guess. I like Goliath's terse "No!" when Roebling asks if Delilah is Demona. Goliath's in such a talky mood...One thing that is really missing from the comic books is tone of voice. I would like to hear how Goliath said "No!", how Brentwood said "free...will?" Oh well, I guess we just have to use our imaginations.

I love the akward moment when delilah talks about her genetic sources. She's so direct hehe, and then Elisa and Morgan show up. I think the term we are searching for during the party scenes is "Awkward." I love that long dark panel with just the four of them in the spotlight staring at each other. It's just them in the room...

I think drooling broadway and Lex is a bit much. We're trying to get away from the idea that Broadway is just a big eatint machine. I'm glad that Lex is drooling right along with him though. At least they're enjoying themselves-even Lex who doesn't have a signifiant other. Unlike Brooklyn who's moping and feeling sorry for himself again...he's getting on my nerves.

I got the connection with the Chungs. Ambassador Chung and Terry, the kid from the first few panels. Not too big of a deal for me since I've never been interested in the New Olympian spinoff in the least-don't really know why, I'm just not. Maybe if I went to the Gathering and learned more about it--though unfortunately I can't go this year. (I do intend to get to at least one). Though I wonder if we'll see more of these two in the current gargoyle universe.
Interesting bit of information about Alex's growth spurt. I haven't noticed. I'm also a bit surprised that only four months has passed since "The Gathering." Probably because we haven't gotten new material in ten years.
I'm not surprised that a high up Illuminati guy would be working in the white house-as a server no less! I can't even make any speculation on what they want to talk to Xanatos about.

Back to the labyrinth- Claw and Maggie come into their own here. Claw tackles Thailog-must have taken a lot of guts considering his timid personality. But I gotta hand it to maggie. She stands up to Thailog-a homicidal gargoyle armed to the teeth who had just subdued both Talon and Claw. I don't think a lot of people give her enough credit-she has a lot of courage-and she's buried for it...I hope she's okay. Didn't get the Norma Rae line until some people said it was a Sally Field movie. How old is the target audience again? ;)
I like the free will theme going on with the clones. Do they have a choice in following Thailog? Or maybe they just don't realize that they do. Brentwood stands out from the other clones here. He's even listening in the background when Goliath and Owen discuss Delilah's free will later on. I think he's going to break off from Thailog.

So labyrinth girl volunteers to go warn Goliath. She's a bit too late though- if she even went at all. I'm curious as to her motives. Back at the party Morgan is an idiot and reminds Elisa that she broke up with Goliath...dude, that's not the best way to romance a girl. He's perseptive, but Elisa and Goliath must have tension radiating from them that you can cut with a knife when they're next to each other. It can't be THAT hard to figure it out.

Elisa and Goliath are so kind to their dates hehe. I actually feel bad for them. Elisa just kinda ignores Morgan and stares into space, and Goliath just kinda ignores Delilah and stares at Elisa. Goliath just orders Delilah to "stay here" while he runs after Elisa. Yeah, real nice Goliath, treat Delilah like Thailog does. I love how morgan attempts to break the tension with his "having fun yet" line. I think they both realize they're being used.

I really like the Goliath/Elisa moment. It's so frustrating- Elisa is trying to run away from her feelings. Does she honestly believe that she can go on without Goliath? It's so pathetically obvious that she can't, yet she keeps trying. I love Goliath's speech. He actually uses the word "love" in reference to Demona and Elisa. Pretty strong admissin I think. This is the closest he has ever come to telling her he loves her...I get the feeling he was about to-but Elisa cuts him off, again. Maybe Elisa realized what he was about to say and that's why she ran off. ARGHH! DAMNIT ELISA! I'm surprised Goliath hasn't completely lost it with her by now-just grab her by the shoulders, tell her to "shut the hell up" and listen to him!

Thailog is true to his word and crashes the party. Poor Goliath, it's just going from bad to worse. I love Owen's response. So very "Owen." He had that goon squad ready relatively quickly-so maybe Labyrinth girl did give word? Hmmm...I love Owen's line about constantly repairing the castle. A little nod to all the times the castle is damaged because of all the craziness that goes on there. Owen makes the best possible choice he can and offers up Delilah. Poor Delilah, just a pawn in all this mess. I hope she eventually rips Thailog a new one. I really like the split panel with the halves of Goliath's and Thailog's faces. And then the cliffhanger...Wow, Thailog is one nasty SOB! First he buries Maggie alive for talking to the clones, then he stabs Goliath in the gut, who's just standing there!! I wasn't too surprised that this happened, since I seen the cover to #5 when it got out accidentally. Oh well. The look on Goliath's face while he's being stabbed is a bit comical. I'm not sure if that was the intention. But oh man, Greg really leaves us hanging! I can't wait for number five! I'm intrigued by Greg saying "Elisa makes a choice" on the back page. Maybe seeing Goliath nearly dying will convince that she's being an idiot and that her place is with him. I'm also curious as to what Delilah will choose to do.

All in all, an awesome chapter to this great story! My one major gripe is that it's too short! Great job to everyone who worked on it!

Greg responds...

Foghorn Leghorn and Monty Python -- who says I don't have widespread influences?

As for the target audience, it's basically me. Just me. Only me. Me. Me alone. No one else. Just me. Me. Did I say "me"? Me. (The rest of you are just along for the ride. Hope you like the scenery.) Me.

[Oh, come on, like you haven't suspected it all along!]

Response recorded on June 12, 2007

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Todd Jensen writes...

This is also a comment, rather than a question.

I saw, not too long ago, the episode "Artifacts" that you wrote for "The Batman", and very much enjoyed it. My favorite part of it was the scenes where the archaeologists in the future are speculating about Batman's history and come to several wrong conclusions (such as that Thomas Wayne was the Batman and Bruce was Robin, or that the wheelchair that they found in the Batcave belonged to Alfred). It reminded me, incidentally, of my favorite part of Stoppard's "Arcadia" (which I read after you spoke highly of it in the Station 8 comment room some years ago): the part where the modern-day professor was convinced that the events in the Regency period of the play were connected to a scandal involving Lord Byron, and was deliberately ignoring all the evidence that didn't fit his theory!

Greg responds...

Stoppard's "Arcadia" was the absolute inspiration for the entire episode. Call it an homage.

Of course, as we got into it, the work of Frank Miller inspired the near-future segments, which I thought turned out nicely. But for me, the real appeal of the episode was the far future stuff, which was very much Stoppard-inspired.

Still, it's fun when your influences range from Stoppard to Miller.

Response recorded on April 17, 2007

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Shannon 'Shan' Muir writes...

Greg, you mentioned in a recent post that the writings of Stephen J. Gould may have influenced you on GARGOYLES? How did you come to be exposed to his writings? For me, they were required reading in my Advanced Stats class for my MA in Communications (prof was a Gould fan). Thanks.

Greg responds...

I was teaching Freshman Composition at U.S.C. and some of his stuff was in the textbook.

Response recorded on April 13, 2007

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Vaevictis Asmadi writes...

Hello Greg!
I haven't got the newest issues of the comic yet, I have to wait until they are available on Amazon. But in the meantime I wanted to write while the queue is open.
I watched Gargoyles when I was a kid and I really liked it, especially the mythology and medieval history episodes such as City of Stone. At the time, although I enjoyed City of Stone (and it is still my favorite episode) I thought it was peculiar to depict Macbeth as the hero. Of course, now I know that City of Stone is actually more historically accurate than Shakespeare's play.
Unfortunately I only saw a few episodes before it was cancelled/moved, and I didn't remember much of it. I'd pretty much forgotten about the show years ago, until I went to the Gargoyles panel at Convergence last year and was reminded about it. That panel was a good idea to tell people about the DVDs and comic, and to encourage old fans to get back into the show. But unfortunately for me, I hadn't known yet about things like Owen/Puck which you revealed at the panel.
I've gotten the two DVD sets so far (with some help from my parents) and having watched all the episodes so far, plus the rest on Toon Disney, I have to say how great a show Gargoyles is/was. It's like the old Batman and X-Men shows in being much more than just a cartoon. Of course the major draw for me is the gargoyles themselves which are a very interesting and appealing race, and visually pretty awesome. I've always loved the way gargoyles look, physically. I especially like their feet and talons, for some reason. Wings are also good. I also remember how I was very happy when Goliath came to Avalon and discovered that the species was not extinct after all. I love that the gargoyles from different parts of the world are the sources of various mythical creatures, and I'm very curious what the Chinese, Korean, New Olympian, and Loch Ness gargoyles look like.
I'm looking forward to getting a hold of issues 2 and 3 so I can get up to date but I also have some questions about the Gargoyles universe that are not answered in the archives. The setting is a pretty interesting one and I'm curious about some things. I don't want to flood the queue all of a sudden so I'm only starting with a single question:

Why did you choose to make the gargoyles an entirely "natural" species instead of being inherently magical like the Third Race? (natural is in quotes because, I suppose magic is a natural part of the Garg universe) What I mean is, why did you choose to have biological explanations for their evolution, wings, stone sleep, and great strength, instead of using magical explanations? Was it just more to your taste or was there a more specific reason, thematically or within-the-setting, that you didn't want them to be a magical species?
(I'm not trying to say your biological explanations don't work, I'm just curious about your choice from a thematic point of view)

Greg responds...

We didn't want to make them inherently magical for a number of reasons. We didn't want them to be a "created" race. Creatures that could be woven and unwoven by magic. Or brought to life from stone and returned to unlife from stone. You get the idea. We wanted, in essence, to put them on equal footing with humans in terms of inheriting the Earth, so to speak. Creationists or Evolutionists or IntelligentDesignists or whateverelseists should see Gargoyles and Humans as equivalent. Whatever method was used to create humans (choose your poison) is the same method that was used to create Gargoyles.

There's an essay by Stephen J. Gould called something like "Equality is a contingent fact of human history". It's just worked out biologically that all sentient creatures are the same species Homo Sapiens Sapiens. But how would we deal if there were another species...? Gould probably influenced me more than I realized, come to think of it.

Response recorded on March 30, 2007

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Doorhenge writes...

I just thought of this. Red eyes. Vader had 'em. Could have been explained as a property of his particular Sith power, but was there a connection?

Greg responds...

I don't think so. (Let it go, dude.)

Response recorded on March 12, 2007

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Doorhenge writes...

Do you think Demona influenced Darth Vader?

What I mean is, do you think when he saw City of Stone it influenced him to make the prequels?

Demona: If you are not my ally then you are my enemy!
Darth Vader: If you're not with me, then you're my enemy!

That line is way to similar to me. Sounds like a homage he thought people would pick up on.

If you don't like the prequels, sorry if I depressed you.

Are you gonna retaliate and make a ... Spawn Star or something?

Greg responds...

I haven't seen the third of the pre-quels. But I wouldn't presume that we were any influence on them.

And the specific line that you're quoting is a sentiment that borderlines on the cliché, so it hardly appears to be evidence of anything.

Response recorded on March 12, 2007

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FordPrefect writes...

For your Gargoyles Future Spinoff, was the idea of Brooklyn travelling into the future to help against the alien invaders from the old Superboy and Supergirl comics where they travel into the future and join the Legion of Super Heroes?

Greg responds...

I can't deny that as a possible influence -- since of course I'm familiar with the Legion -- but I wasn't specifically thinking of that. The TimeDancer idea came to me before I thought to include Brooklyn in the cast of what eventually became Gargoyles 2198. It just seemed to make sense that if Brook was bouncing around, that one of the eras he'd bounce to is 2198.

Response recorded on February 16, 2007

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Aldrius writes...

All right. Hi. I already posted a question, but it was kinda sucky, and I wanted to ask one of a more intellectual/character-oriented nature. Demona's character in "Awakening" reminds me much of the character Andrea from Batman: Mask of the Phantasm. (Which is my favourite movie ever, by the way.) Both were love interests to the hero in the past, indepentant, intelligent and strong-willed love interests to be sure... but still love interests.

At a certain point, the hero and the love interest part ways. (With the hero being mis-led in terms of the love interests' parting.) And continue on their lives seperately. Leading very different lives. Eventually, the hero and his love meet up again, and the woman is now a very different person than she was before. Leading the hero to believe nothing's changed, she eventually reveals her true colours at the climax of the series of episodes/movie. (Both hiding themselves from their lovers, knowing that they would never accept what they've become.)

I was just wondering if this was intentional in your thought process, or just a comparison I've dreamed up. As I am a big fan of both of the aformentioned characters.

(P.S. As a side-question, what were your thoughts on the character of Andrea, and the performance of her Actress Dana Delany?)

Greg responds...

I have had a crush on Dana Delany for longer than I'm sure either of us would like to admit. Way pre-China Beach. So I thought she was great. It's been years since I saw Mask of the Phantasm, but I thought it was just great at the time, and I still feel that way. I'm sure I liked both Andrea and Delaney's performance.

But as to how much influence Andrea had on me... I'm guessing none. Just because we were in production at the same time. The movie may (I don't remember) have come out first, but I didn't see it until it did come out, so...

Having said that, I think your argument about the parallels are fairly convincing. And although it's probably mostly a case of great minds thinking alike, I can't rule out the possibility of influence, as both Michael Reaves and Frank Paur worked on Batman TAS and may have worked on Mask as well. Still from a story standpoint, I was the guy in charge and we started developing the series including Demona back in 1991 or something, i.e. long before Mask came out.

Response recorded on February 16, 2007

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Twiggess writes...

I'll try to keep this short, as I kinda already gave my 2 cents yesterday.
I didn't catch the Star Trek reference at the time, b/c I hadn't heard of that episode. Now that I've seen clips of it, I realize it was a brillant (for want of a better term) spinoff. Although I think over all the Angie-Desie-Broad-Cold kiss was better than Kirk and Uhura (spelling, sorry- that chick who voiced Diane! That'll work!)'s. I mean, I haven't seen the whole Star Trek episode, so I don't know what the alien's relationship was like, but those 2 were so freakin SHAKY. They looked like they were having a seizure out of passion, or something.
(I am sorry if this offends any Treky's out there. Like I said, I haven't seen anything but a 5 minute clip of the kiss. I'm much more of a Next Generation gal, anyway. Two words: MARINA SIRTIS. Plus it's really fun to see "Xanatos" and "Demona" flirting.)
I'm assuming you left Ms. S out of the TNG voice credits in your ramble cuz she wasn't in the episode. I'm cool with that, and I realize that if you gave credit to all the Star Trek voices, we would be here all day.
So yeah. I'm not really a big Cold trio fan (although I am a big fan of Coldstone's icecream-sorry, couldn't resist! I think of Micheal Dorn whenever I go in that creamery now!), but this episode was okay. And I was really excited that I finally got to see Angela (even if she WASN'T white with red hair like I always imagined. Don't ask me WHY.)
Oh and one little confession: Before I could remember what her name was, I used to call Coldfire "Starfish Face." I sincerely apologize for this crudeness. I never really got a good enough look at her, and I thought her horns kinda made her look like she had a starfish on her head. I really hope the animators and fellow fans forgive me for this, as when I got a better view of her in "City of Stone" and "Legion", I realized she was actually quite pretty.
OK, so that's my confession for the day (again, REALLY REALLY sorry!) Now I better go before some random Treky or Desdemona fan gets some vitual tar and feathers for me!
P.S.: Was it ever confusing to have both a Demona AND a Desdemona? I realize that other than in the first "City of Stone" they never had an episode together (CF wasn't in "Reawakening, was she?) but it's still seems like kind of a nusiance to me.
P.P.S: Have i mentioned I'M SORRY?!

Greg responds...

The episode with the famous Kirk-Uhura kiss was not the episode I was referring to as inspiration. I'm talking about an episode guest starring Diana Muldaur.

Desdemona was never a name used in dialogue.

Response recorded on February 09, 2007

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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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LSZ writes...

Aaargh..I lose Internet access for a while, and return to find that due to my poorly phrased questions that I was looking forward to finding out the answers of, I have totally messed up the question..oh well.

I'll try a more careful rephrase now..but first, some new questions.

Are or were there any plans to incorporate the legend of Faust into the Gargoyles Universe?

Greg responds...

Yes.

Response recorded on October 05, 2000

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Derek! writes...

Greg-
I think the book club thing over in the comment room is a great idea. But I just finished Postman and already owned Rime,(and it's not even October yet!) so I was wondering if, off the record, you could recommend a few more books. I'm working at a Borders bookstore now and am itching to use my book discount.But, if you want me to just be patient and wait with everyone else, I'll understand, of course. Thanks for your time:)

Greg responds...

Well, I'd suggest looking at the list that Todd gave of books I've already said I read and influenced Gargoyles. (You might also check out the ASK GREG "Influences" archives for other suggestions.) But I don't know what I'm gonna pick for December yet, so I can't tell you exactly what I'm gonna choose.

Response recorded on September 26, 2000

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Aris Katsaris writes...

Quick! We must fill the queue - Greg's caught up! :-)

Anyway, just a nitpick: You said "Odysseus traveled for twenty years."

Well, he was away from home for twenty years. But ten of these years he had been fighting at Troy. His return took him a further ten years, seven of which he spent as a virtual prisoner in Callisto's island.

So, one could say that he spent only *three* years travelling, though it was twenty years that he spent away from home.

If one's nitpicking, anyway. :-)

Greg responds...

That's what I meant.

I actually DID know that.

And Brooklyn may stay in one place, fighting or whatever for various lengths of time in various periods of time. But when all is said and done, he'll be twenty years older when he gets back.

Response recorded on September 25, 2000

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Punchinello writes...

Hello Mr. Weisman.

It has been a while since I have stopped by here. I've been extremely busy.

I reviewed your most recent responses to your fans, and I took special notice of a response you gave to Aris regarding the weird sisters.

You commented that one was older and one was younger, but not always the same one. (Or words to thqat effect.) That made me curious.

I am not really familiar with the mythology surrounding the sisters. I know that the imagery and concept of the "three women" can be observed in a number of disparate cultures and stories. I never actually took the time to investigate their history , however. I knew that Shakespeare's works played a prominent role, so I just assumed you were importing them from there. I kind of took it for granted.

Anyway, I was interested in your comment because it reminded me of an incarnation of "the three women" that I knew of. Lloyd Alexander's Orwen, Orduu and Orgotch. I specifically remember one of them being upset because they "always had to be Orgotch!" They were bitter because the other two seemed to always appropriate the other two identities. Alexander's Weird sisters were the only ones I had ever observed to display this interchangeable identity. I know that Alexander's sisters were Welsh in origin. His books were inspired by the mythology of that culture. I dont know if the interchangeable identities were also of the same origin, or purely a creation of the author.

I was wondering if your weird sisters were inspired by Alexander's in any capacity, or if the concept behind their identities has other origins.

Thanks in advance for taking the time to answer.

Mr. Pun, Mr. Chin, Mr. Nel and Mr. Lo

Greg responds...

I've never read Alexander. (Is the BLACK CAULDRON based on one of his books? I did see that.)

Response recorded on September 25, 2000

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Todd Jensen writes...

Just read your "Gargoyle pitch" that you posted a few minutes ago. It's definitely interesting to see the familiar story increasingly taking shape (with some differences still here and there, such as Goliath being an artificial creation or the "Elisa-equivalent" being still considered as descended from the "Princess Katharine-equivalent").

I was also intrigued to note that even this early in the development, you'd visualized Goliath fighting the Germans in the air in World War II, the first hint (perhaps) of "M.I.A."

Greg responds...

Yeah, M.I.A. was actually a VERY early idea. My dad is a MAJOR Spitfire buff, (which is how I wound up meeting Douglas Bader as a child). So images of the Battle of Britain have always filled a special place in my imagination. And the thought of Goliath mucking it up on the side of the RAF was such a potent image, it survived until we found a way to bring it to pass.

Response recorded on September 25, 2000

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puck<40> writes...

Greg responds...

I once read a Star Wars novel right after the original movie came out. It stank. Kinda turned me off that whole thing.

But you never know.

;-; you read Splinter of the Minds eye? huff. See when I read this trilogy of books it turned me *onto* the other books. Timothy Zahn is really a great writer. And turned me on so much so that I read through so many of the bad ones... including "splinter" <which was released shortly after the movie, pure crap>. Occasionally I try to make my way through another one here and there..... But everything pales. PALES!!!!!! ~taunts all the star wars fans who disagree~ sheep!!!! can't any of these so called hardcore fans see that a BIG MACHINE OF DEATH is kinda boring? book after book.... ;-; so depressing. But This trilogy.... MWAHAHAHH. 9.9; sorry

erhm, heheh. ^.^ anyways.... ~wavies the books in front of Greg~ If I managed to send these.... or not even these. Just the first one to Jen, would you consider reading it? "Heir to the Empire". Made the best seeeelllleeeerrrssss list. =) Hit number oooooonnnneeee. read the reviews online of it if my sales pitch didn't sell it.

and forget about the rest of the books. <a couple short stories are superb here and there but mostly they're blah>

running off now, spanish homework to do.

Greg responds...

You don't have to send me books. (Thanks for the offer.) The truth is, I'm not interested in reading Star Wars-anything right now. That world isn't firing my imagination. The next book I plan on reading is William Faulkner's "New Orleans Sketches." Plan on starting it on the plane ride down to New Orleans. Right now that's just where I want to go.

But if I ever get nostalgic for Star Wars, I know which books to pick up. Thanks.

Response recorded on September 25, 2000

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Vashkoda writes...

1a) You said that Brooklyn would travel to the "Future Tense/2158/?" era both before and after he met Katana. From the perspective of those living during this future period, did Brooklyn's first visit (when he was alone) happen *after* he had already appeared with his family? b) If so, did the people during that time reveal (perhaps accidentally) to Brooklyn that he was going to have a family?

2) You said that Brooklyn keeps "chasing" after the Gate because he wants to get home. Although I'd understand why this would be important to him when he's alone and memories of home are still fresh on his mind, I would think that after 40 years and having the comfort of his family, getting home wouldn't be as critical to him. Am I wrong, or does Brooklyn find a new reason to be motivated to return home to the present?

Greg responds...

1. I'm not answering that now.

2. Odysseus traveled for twenty years. Brooklyn for 40. (But he was only awake for 20.) Sometimes we reason not the need.

Response recorded on September 25, 2000

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Wing writes...

Knowing you are an English type teacher (as opposed to Science and what not), is it safe to assume you are familiar with the concept of the HERO'S JOURNEY? (a journey of self-discovery?)

It can be said that Titania went on the HERO'S JOURNEY. She took a trip and came back all the better (simplified). Too, it can be said, that Oberon ordered all fae to complete a HERO'S JOURNEY of sorts. (Loving the capital thing by the way) Oberon himself I belive went briefly on a journey, but only kinda (assumed from previous answers).
My q is, will Oberon ever go on a HERO'S JOURNEY and have a coming of age? Has this already happened, more subtly? Will his character continue to develope?

Greg responds...

I like to think all of my characters continue to develop. (And yes, I'm familiar with the Hero's Journey concept.)

Response recorded on September 25, 2000

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Emmlei writes...

You were a big comics fan until recently, right? so, i got to ask, did you read Archies?

Greg responds...

I've read Archies. But I was never a big Archie reader.

Response recorded on September 21, 2000

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Todd Jensen writes...

In one of your recent answers to "Shadows of the Past" questions, you called the enormous megalith that Hakon and the Captain of the Guard were using to drain Goliath "the Megalith Dance". Was this name for it (particularly the "Dance" part) inspired or influenced by Geoffrey of Monmouth's name for Stonehenge, the "Giants' Dance"?

Greg responds...

I wasn't naming it so much as I was describing it.

I've read Geoffrey, so again, that might be where I got the reference. Though I've heard stone circles referred to as a "dance" on many occasions, in many works. But maybe we all got it directly of indirectly from Geoffrey.

Response recorded on September 16, 2000

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Aris Katsaris writes...

Mary Mack <<They specialize in the older versions of legends, so I didn't even realize (should've, because you mentioned that Ancient Greek was closer to Modern Greek than Middle English is to Modern English) that somebody else might know the word in a different context.>>

A small correction - I said that Modern Greek is closer to Ancient Greek than Modern English is to *Celtic*.

I'm not so sure about the analogous place of Middle-English... Perhaps it's similar to Ancient Greek - most of it would be unintelligible, but people would recognize clear connections between words and could perhaps slowly decipher the meaning of a written text?

Greg responds...

Uh, yeah. I've read Chaucer in Middle-English. It's tough, slow going, though fun.

Response recorded on September 16, 2000

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Aris Katsaris writes...

And since Todd referred to it, I may as well... was "By the dragon!" an Excalibur (the movie) reference, as I had thought it to be?

Greg responds...

If so it was unconscious. (I've seen the movie many times, but that wasn't what I had in mind at the time.) Good movie though.

Response recorded on September 16, 2000

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Todd Jensen writes...

This is another thing that I've meant to post here from time to time, and your recent mention that you've read The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings encouraged me to do so at last.

I've sometimes thought that the Eye of Odin has a certain similarity to the One Ring at times (although I think that it's probably coincidental). Both the Eye and the Ring altered the person who used them, and with a sinister undercurrent to it so that practically anybody who used either would become corrupted, and almost used by the magical object in the process rather than using it. But the Eye of Odin in "Eye of the Storm" especially there reminded me of the Ring. Odin comes seeking the Eye because he lost much of his native power when he parted with it, just as Sauron was seeking the Ring because much of his power passed into it when he made it, diminishing him. And Goliath, when he donned the Eye to use against Odin, became subtly corrupted by it until he wound up, while ostensibly fighting Odin to keep his companions safe from him, really doing so to dispose of the competition over the Eye's ownership. This reminds me of how in "The Lord of the Rings", Gandalf pointed out that they couldn't use the Ring to defeat Sauron since it would do the same thing to its user and turn him into a new Sauron. (Indeed, I can't help but feel that if Gandalf *had* claimed the Ring as a weapon against Sauron, his corruption by it would have been much like Goliath's corruption by the Eye in that episode).

Of course, "Eye of the Storm" didn't feel like a Tolkien copycat, since its concerns were more those of the Gargoyles Universe (and in particular, the correct way of solving the problem with the Eye turned out to be to give it back to Odin - a definite difference from the case of the Ring and Sauron), but I did feel that there was a certain similarity there. I just thought that you might be interested to read this.

Greg responds...

Tolkien, which I read when I was about fourteen years old, may easily have been a subconscious influence on the Eye of Odin. Although there are many other similar stories in myth and legend that may have possibly influenced me (and Tolkien too for that matter).

Response recorded on September 16, 2000

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Todd Jensen writes...

One last post.

You revealed in your last batch of answers that Gabriel is the leader of the Avalon clan. I will confess that this revelation amuses me a bit because of a slight echo here with "Paradise Lost" (which might be coincidental, of course, but which I'll mention anyway).

In Milton's epic poem, the original Gabriel (the Archangel) is portrayed as the leader of a squadron of angels stationed in the Garden of Eden to guard it (and who clashes briefly with Satan at the end of Book Four). Both the Garden of Eden and Avalon are earthly paradises; both are also associated with apples (although the general consensus of biblical scholars is that the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden wasn't an apple after all). And now both have as the leaders of their guardians a figure named Gabriel. I must confess that I rather like this touch, even if you didn't have Milton in mind when you came up with it.

Greg responds...

Been getting a lot of these recently...

Again, I've read Milton. So maybe it was back there in my head, but I'd be fibbing if I said I was conscious of it. Still it's cool. More evidence of a real Garg Universe out there? ;)

Response recorded on September 16, 2000

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Aris Katsaris writes...

Tana> Well JRR Tolkien didn't exactly say that what he was writing was fact. More that (like Greg) he seemed to not be inventing, but rather delving into a subcreation - a universe that had some reality of its own, so that instead of inventing he just had to wait until he could see what had 'really' happened...

Greg responds...

Uh, yeah...

Sorta.

Response recorded on September 14, 2000

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Tljack2001@aol.com writes...

I'm doing a report in class and I'm having a hard time I'm compering your cartoon "Gargoyles" to Edith Hamilton"s book Mythology could you tell me how you originated the characters in comparison to characters in Mythology, and why you changed the way Gargoyles live compared to Gorgons you know blah blah blah. It's a comparison and contrast report and i'm having a very hard time with it I know I'm on to something please help! Compare and contrast how you used stuff from "mythology" I have to have a source from you and this is all i found please help!! Plus I'm a girl so I have to do well on this because everyone says I don't know what I'm talking about and this is a "boy's" cartoon. Thankyou sooo much

Greg responds...

There was never any particular connection in my mind between Gargoyles and Gorgons. Sorry. I did have a Medusa character in mind for New Olympians. She was largely supplanted by Sphinx. But I was going to use Medusa in a different way if we had done that spin-off.

Gargoyles isn't a boy's cartoon. It's for anyone who likes it, obviously. Don't let anyone tell you different.

But I'm not sure how I can help you. I'm not going to sit here and either (a) write your paper for you or (b) write a paper of my own for you to cite.

In a nutshell, we looked for ways we could adapt mythology that intrigued us into the universe that we had created. We looked for ways to unify and simplify a diverse global mythology, without over-simplifying the characters of that mythology itself. We tried to be respectful and faithful to the ideas the characters and stories suggested to us. But we also tried to make it fit into a dramatic episodic context.

Does that help? It's quotable, I think.

Let me know how it turned out. Post it here when you're done.

Response recorded on September 09, 2000

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Matthew Smith writes...

hey Greg, what's up? Well, this isn't really a Gargoyle related question, it's more about one of the movies you mention being one of your favorites: Ghostbusters. That is one of my all time favorite movies. I see you didn't seem to like the sequel. I rather enjoyed GB2, heck I bought both movies last weekend, but I guess i can see why you didn't like it. I mean walking Statue of Liberty, "Mood Slime" that responded to good/bad vibes...ect...
My passion for Ghostbusters goes back to my when I was 5. Oh I remember religiously watching "The Real Ghostbusters" every day before kindergarten. Me and my brother used to dress up in old pyjammas, which our mother altered to have the Ghostbuster logo on the shoulders, and would run around the neighbourhood pretending to "bust" ghosts.
Anyway, back to the movie. My mother must have hated that movie with a passion, simply because it was the only thing we'd rent whenever we'd go to our grand-parents house (who had a VCR when we didn't) must have seen the movie like 60 times back then, and that was before I could appreaciate the witty humor, let alone understand the plot.
Last year, I watched the movie for the first time in about 10 years. I never realized excactly how clever of a movie it was. It was hillarious, yet not off the wall not to be taken seriously. Even the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man provided a serious enough threat.
Come to think of it, this actually is a Gargoyles question. Gozer's Terror Dogs, the one's who possessed Dana and Louis reminded me an awful lot of Bronx. Did this in anyway inspire you to create the Gargoyle Beasts? Also, the Terror Dogs came to life by breaking out out of it's stone shell, much like the way Gargoyles do. Is this simply a coincidence? I remember you stating that your inspirations for Gargoyles were Gummi Bears, actual stone gargoyles, Hill Street Blues. But is it possible that Ghostbusters is among one of the inspirations for Gargoyles? Or am I just making wild speculations in hoping that one of my favorite movies helped inspire one of my favorite animated shows?

Greg responds...

The terror dogs might have influenced Frank Paur, who redesigned Bronx to the shape we currently know and love. But I wouldn't want to speak for Frank. You'd have to ask him.

But I did like the movie a lot.

Response recorded on September 05, 2000

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Todd Jensen writes...

This is a comment inspired by your recent answers to the "Tempest" question. While you never did manage to get "The Tempest" into Gargoyles outright (and I found that a pity, for my own part), I've sometimes thought that Angela does resemble Miranda a little (in the same way that, to me, Thailog resembles Edmund in "King Lear" and Demona Shylock) - there's the same general concept there of a sweet, innocent girl being brought up on a mysterious magical island and filled with wonder at the outside world (Miranda's "brave new world" lines strike me as being just as suitable for Angela as they were for the original speaker). I just thought that you might be interested.

Greg responds...

Yeah. Angela/Miranda. That's there. But I won't pretend I was conscious of it. But like with Thailog/Edmund, the play is such an intrinsic part of my consciousness and education, I'm sure I was influenced by it.

Response recorded on September 05, 2000

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Ambrosia writes...

Okay, this is a response to that S.T. Coleridge reference and suspending disbelief.
I've been blessed with a really great English teacher who I loved so much in Freshman Comp 101, that I took him again for Literature and again in Survey of Shakespeare. Last spring semester, he lectured a bit about how to read fiction effectively. In my notes I have written down:
"be imaginatively involved in the work" That's Mr. Farrell and not Coleridge. He then quoted Coleridge saying reading fiction should be "a willing suspension of disbelief." In other words, while reading about a giant dragon, you're not supposed to think to yourself, "there's no such thing as a giant dragon." In a work of fiction, you put yourself into that world... like a certain universe we all know and love.
Just thought I'd clarify.
On the other hand, there's nothing wrong with suspending belief either...

Greg responds...

If that's the accurate Coleridge quotation, and it sounds like it is, than it certainly works. We suspend our disbelief, that is we put our dibelief on hold.

The reason, I'm guessing, why the quote is often misquoted the other way is because "suspend" has other denotations as well. We could "suspend our belief", that is hold it up over the not-so-believable parts. Keep our belief aloft.

So either "work". But since we're all paraphrasing Coleridge, something I didn't realize until you told me, it's nice to get it right.

Response recorded on September 02, 2000

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Todd Jensen writes...

Just thought that I might tell you that I was very amused (LOL), in fact, by your answer to the question about whether pigs can fly in the Gargoyles Universe ("I've got the bacon, do you have the catapult?") - particularly since I'd never imagined firing pigs from a catapult as a means of accomplishing that feat.

Greg responds...

Then you don't watch enough Monty Python.

Response recorded on September 02, 2000

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Samantha writes...

Hi
I releize you get a ton of these questions each day so thanks for taking the time to read mine, I was just curious what inspired the idea for the show Gargoyles in the first place? What was the inspirtaion for the show? Thanks alot.

Greg responds...

Among the inspirations:

Actual Stone Gargoyles

Gummi Bears

Hill Street Blues

Shakespeare

Response recorded on August 23, 2000

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Aris Katsaris writes...

How many Tolkien books have you read? The Hobbit, Lord of the Rings? Have you read The Silmarillion?

Greg responds...

I've read The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings. I started The Silmarillion many times, and could never quite get through it.

Response recorded on August 23, 2000

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Todd Jensen writes...

Oh, and I've read "The Book of Merlyn" myself, and agree with you that the scene with Arthur and the hedgehog looking over the sleeping Britain was a very good one.

Greg responds...

Oh, I love that scene. It slays me. Wonderful writing.

Response recorded on August 22, 2000

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Scott Iskow writes...

Concerning Clan London:

1. Would a child of Leo and Una possess characteristics of both a lion and a unicorn?

2. If so, does that mean that Leo's parents were both lion-feature gargoyles and Una's unicorn-feature? I ask this because they don't seem to have too many features of other animals.

3. What are some other creatures, (besides lion, unicorn, and griffin), that Clan London resembles?

4. Slightly related to the first question. Writing it out made me remember that "lion and the unicorn" quote from an episode of "Batman" with Kate Mulgrew (and, no doubt, also from some literary source I've yet to discover; I won't bother you by asking what the source is since I can just ask the comment room). Is it just a coincidence that Leo and Una seem connected to the quote? (I kind of doubt it... the show's full of clever little things like that.)

Thanks, Greg!

Greg responds...

1. Potentially. Or one or the other. Or latent stuff from an ancestor.

2. Not necessarily.

3. Those are the big three.

4. Probably less a coincidence then common influences. I think maybe the quote you're referring to is from one of the two Alice books. The notion that Lewis Carroll was influenced by the heraldic symbols that surrounded him in Oxford (where he lived and worked) was also an influence on me when I studied there. (Of course, I could be wrong.)

Response recorded on August 21, 2000

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Todd Jensen writes...

A little something that I thought I'd mention, because you might find it interesting. I saw a PBS documentary on gargoyles once, a few years ago, which, when it got to the gargoyles atop Notre Dame Cathedral, mentioned that local legend in Paris had it that they would come alive at night and go flying about the city.

I don't know if you were aware of this legend or not (your past comments on gargoyles being stone by day and flesh and blood by night in the series would imply that you weren't), but I thought that you might like to know that the notion has shown up in actual legends about real-world gargoyles. (Maybe it was the "tapping in" thing again, much like what you said when Aris mentioned that the actual Irish legends about Cuchulain indeed give him a love-hate relationship with a female faerie).

Greg responds...

Could be...

But it's cool.

Response recorded on August 21, 2000

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Todd Jensen writes...

This is a sort of rambling about gargoyles in general which I finally remembered to submit.

One thing that I have to hand to "Gargoyles" is that it really did change the way I viewed gargoyles. Before the series came out and I started watching it, I'd always taken it for granted, whenever I thought of "living gargoyles" in a fantasy context, to imagine them as the "bad guys", given that almost every fantasy book, game, television program, or what-not out there portrayed living gargoyles as evil. (Particularly fantasy role-playing games). I wasn't even aware of gargoyles being placed on medieval cathedrals and castles to protect them from evil.

Then I watched the series, and was actually presented with the notion of "gargoyles as 'good guys'". I became interested enough in real-world gargoyles, as a result of the series, to read up on them and discover that indeed, their original function was as protectors. And since then, I've found my own attitude towards gargoyles to be more positive - in particular, I like looking out for architectural gargoyles wherever I can. (I've actually come across metal ones as a part of old-fashioned street lamps in my neighborhood). It's become almost hard for me to realize that I used to see gargoyles as I did before the series came out. (At the same time, though, those memories of how I used to view gargoyles make it all the more understandable for me why so many humans in the Gargoyles Universe would hate and fear gargoyles - which is, in a sense, an acknowledgement on the series' part of the modern-day angle on gargoyles, although the gargs are based ultimately more on the original medieval concept of them).

Just thought that you might find these comments interesting.

Greg responds...

Very. I had the benefit of knowing the "legend" so to speak, more or less from the time that the idea of Gargoyles was introduced to me. But we were actually counting on our audience needing a perspective twist. In fact, one of the little sad things is we can't ever do it again really. Now you all know.

Response recorded on August 21, 2000

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Emmlei writes...

I was thinking recently about Demona and the Canmores/Hunters, and it dawned on me that it's a lot like the Montagues and Caputlets of 'Romeo and Juliet'. Both involve two 'families' battling each other over a past greivance, one whose cause unfortunately became lost in the past (for Gargoyles, it's some kid getting slashed in the face, and we never learn the cause in 'R&J'). In both, the drive for revenge becomes the driving force for keeping the feud going. It's kind of tragic that in both stories, something as low as vengence causes so much pain on both sides. So, was that intentional or did I just come across one of those universal themes?

Greg responds...

Largely the universal theme thing. The obvious piece that's missing to make it truly parallel R&J is the young lovers. And I don't think that Jason & Elisa really fill those rolls, wouldn't you agree?

I was going to do a much more dead-on R&J riff in NEW OLYMPIANS with Terry Chung and Sphinx.

Response recorded on August 21, 2000

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Todd Jensen writes...

You mentioned that you have a project planned in which Theseus will be a major character. Just out of curiosity, what sort of project is it? Is it a proposed television series, a movie screenplay, a stage play, or something else?

Greg responds...

It began when I was a kid. Originally, it was going to be a comic book Universe. Now, who knows?

Response recorded on August 19, 2000

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Aaron writes...

"I've seen the movie. What's this post in reference too?"

Check the archives. ;) I've always wanted to say that.

But seriously, do you remember the bit in Dead Again where Kenneth Braunagh asks Andy Garcia what Kenneth's 40s doppleganger whispered to him before he was executed, and Andy says "He kissed me."

I asked if that was the answer to the old what did Titania whisper to Fox question, and asked if you knew what movie I was riffing on. Hope this clears things up.

Greg responds...

Yep. Sorry, I was so slow.

"Check the archives." <grumble, mumble, grumble>

Response recorded on August 18, 2000

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Todd Jensen writes...

One little Arthurian note about your theory that the grave at Glastonbury really contained the bodies of Lancelot and Guinevere rather than Arthur and Guinevere. I noticed that Roger Lancelyn Green went for the same notion himself. (And it's not a bad way of explaining the grave, either, once you a) recall that Lancelot turned monk at Glastonbury after Arthur's passing and so was in the area in his final days, and b) go for the notion of Avalon being a faerie island - as it's portrayed in "Gargoyles" - rather than just an old-fashioned name for Glastonbury).

Greg responds...

Yep.

You and me should start a R.L. Green fan club.

Response recorded on August 18, 2000

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Laura 'ad astra' Ackerman writes...

The questions keep on coming in!

Have you every seen the cartoon Exosquad? It was the first cartoon series with a serious running plotline I saw. It did not have quite the breath of Gargoyles [what does?], but it was interested in a much smaller timeframe- a devastating war and the events of the last half century or so that created it. Aside from a running story line the thing that most reminded me of Gargoyles in it was the complex theme behind it. It did deal a bit with accepting the strange and different and the consequences of hatred, but even more it dealt with the idea of mankind as beings who can create far beyond their ability to take responsibility for their creations. If you had not heard of it before Gargoyles, did anyone bring it up when you were working on Starship Troopers? [btw, I am greatly enjoying that series and was very happy to see your name at the beginning of a few ep] Whoever came up with Exosquad has probably read Heinlein. As the only member of my family who has not yet read Starship Trooper or The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, I can only guess that the use of exosuits, jump troops, and pirates descendent from abandoned penal colonies were borrowed from Heinlein- almost as explicitly as Roughnecks does. If you can get your hands on some copies of the series I highly recomend it.

Greg responds...

> The questions keep on coming in!

No kidding! I thought I'd never get through "June 27"! Were you guys having a contest of your own that day to see how many questions you could post?

Anyway, I've seen one episode of Exosquad. Unfortunately, it was a middle episode and I couldn't keep all the characters straight. I didn't stick with it. But I've heard great things.

But no, I don't recall anyone mentioning it while we were working on Troopers. There's no doubt however that Heinlien orginated the ENTIRE powersuit, sci-fi jump troops, space marines idea. (I'm not sure about the pirates.) It may all seem old hat today -- heck, we even borrowed from it in Gargoyles more than once -- but it all originated with Heinlein.

I've never read "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress" either, by the way. But I've read a lot of other Heinlein. He's definitely one of my all time favorite Science Fiction authors.

Response recorded on August 02, 2000

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Charles writes...

How did you or one of your fellow creators come up with the idea for Thailog's name? I realize it is Goliath spelled pretty much backwards.

Greg responds...

I was at a sound mix session for the edited version of AWAKENING. We kept playing scenes over and over to make sure the sound was right. We'd listen to it and then rewind to listen again. I kept hearing the word "Thailog" over and over and over again. It was driving me nuts. Finally, I realized it was "Goliath" SAID (not spelled) backwards. Right then and there, I came up with the idea for Goliath's evil clone. I knew what he looked like (inspired somewhat -- believe it or not -- by what John Byrne did to the Fantastic Four's costumes after their trip to the Negative Zone and by Darkwing Duck's nemesis NegaDuck) and I knew where he'd come from and I knew what he'd be named: THAILOG. It just sounded so great.

Response recorded on August 02, 2000

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steven s (repost by Aris) writes...

Just watched "the edge" .In the scene when the gargs are fighting the steel clan, goliath says to brooklyn "No doubt for us to lead them back to our new sanctuary" meaning xanatos wants to find out where the Gargoyles live.

But at the end of the episode, when the gargs turn to stone they are outside on top of the clock tower. Don't u think that would be a easy place for xanatos to find the gargs? seeing as they would be visible from say a chopper?
I think it would be a lot safer if the gargs turned to stone indoors.
thanks in advance.Keep up the episode reviews, i enjoy reading your opinions on them.

Greg responds...

We felt the Gargs being on the ledge was a classic example of them hiding in plain sight. (Compare Poe's "The Purloined Letter".) I don't think Xanatos was checking every building in town. I don't think, frankly, it occured to him that they'd be quite that easy to find.

Still, largely the gargs were still operating out of a custom that wasn't designed to safeguard them even back in the tenth century. It might not have been wise, but it was their WAY.

Response recorded on August 01, 2000

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Fenrir writes...

Greetings Mr. Weisman!

On 12/29/99 you said:

"Who said any of this was the Archmage's plan? Well, he did. But he was an arrogant bastard. So do you trust him? Where did he get the plan? By observing his future self carry it out. Where did his future self get the plan? By observing HIS future self carry it out. Maybe there's something larger going on here... "

I myself have dubbed this sort of time-travel story The Archmage Paradox, but anyways: Was your statement intended to be a hint of something from a future series? Or even from your intended Season Three? Just curious.

Greg responds...

Not from season three, but yes, eventually.

And I believe what you are flatteringly referring to as "The Archmage Paradox" is actually what is known as a "Working Paradox". That is as opposed to a "Non-Working Paradox" like the kind where a guy goes back to kill his own great-grandfather. A Working Paradox is also sometimes known as a Circular Paradox (for obvious reasons), or a Heinlien Paradox -- since Robert Heinlein's short story "All You Zombies" is the ultimate example of such a paradox. It's a great story by the way. Everyone should read it. It was a real influence on my view of time travel.

Response recorded on July 26, 2000

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Chapter XVII: "A Lighthouse in the Sea of Time"

Written by Brynne Chandler Reaves & Lydia C. Marano
Story Edited by Michael Reaves

Well, I watched "Lighthouse" again last night with my family. First thing I noticed was the bad "Previously" recap. This is all my fault. The recap features Macbeth, because I wanted to make sure the audience knew who he was. But that blows out the first act surprise reveal that he's behind it all. Up to that point in the story, you'd be thinking Xanatos. But because of the dopey recap, you know it MUST be Mac. Later in the season, after I got hammered over these recaps by the folks on the Disney Afternoon e-Mailing list, I learned never to put anything into the recap that wasn't revealed in the first five minutes of the show to follow. But here's a perfect example of me screwing up my own mystery.

We introduce archeologists Lydia Duane and Arthur Morwood-Smythe. Dr. Duane was named after writers Lydia Marano and Diane Duane. Professor Morwood-Smythe was named after writers Arthur Byron Cover and Peter Morwood. Arthur is Lydia's husband. Peter is Diane's husband. I don't know anyone named Smythe.

Macbeth episodes, at least up to this point, seem to be cursed with mediocre animation. (Of course, everything's relative. Mediocre on Gargs was still better than most series got. But relative to our expectations, this ep is pretty weak.) I bet Elisa would have really looked cute in that red baseball hat if the animation had been even slightly better.

I don't know how clear it is in the prologue. The idea there, was that the wind was blowing through the lyre. The haunting sound drew the archeologists further into the cave. They read the warning which indicates that the seeker of knowledge has nothing to fear, the destroyer everything. They are supposed to hesitate, look at each other, decide that they are seekers not destroyers and then open the chest. Merlin's clearly put a safety spell of some kind on the chest. An image of the old man appears and basically checks to confirm whether the archeologists are in fact seekers or destroyers. Satisfied, the spell disipates. But you can imagine what would have happened if a Hakon type had stumbled in.

Anyway, it never felt like all that came across. Did it?

Brooklyn (re: Broadway): "Ignorance is bliss." In High School, I had a classmate named Howard Bliss. We had chemistry together with Mr. Miller. Mr. Miller once asked the class a question that we all should have known. No one knew the answer, and our own idiocy generated laughter among Miller's students. He just shook his head and said: "Ignorance is bliss." He forgot that he had a student named Bliss. It generated more laughter. I don't know why I told you that. But it's what I thought about when Brooklyn read that line.

There's a semi-heavy-handed "Read More About It" feel to the clock tower conversation regarding Merlin. Goliath practically quotes those public service announcements, saying there are many books about him in the library. I don't mind. I had wanted to cite a few actual books -- like Mary Stewart's THE CRYSTAL CAVE -- but our legal department wouldn't give us clearance for that. Very short-sighted.

A connection is made between Merlin and the Magus. This was not an accident, as at that time, I had planned to have the Magus journey with Arthur on his Pendragon quests to find Excalibur and Merlin. I later changed my mind. But the Magus does at least play a Merlin-esque roll in the Avalon three parter.

I always wonder who was playing in "Celebrity Hockey" that night.

Macbeth's standard Electro-Magnetic weapon was my idea. I didn't design it exactly, but I did make crude little drawings of something that looked vaguely like a staple gun, with two electrodes that generated the charge. I was always proud of that weapon. It was uniquely Macbeth's (and Banquo and Fleances'). Set him apart from all the concussion, laser and particle beam weapons we used elsewhere. (I did the same kind of thing on the Quarymen's hammers.)

It's fun to listen to B.J. Ward voice both sides of the confrontation between Fleance and Duane.

Banquo's model sheet showed him squinting out of one eye. Some episodes, not so much this one, but some took that to mean he only had one eye. So he walks around looking like Popeye for the entire episode. (His big lantern jaw helps accentuate that.) There are a couple of Popeye moments in this ep. But more in his next appearance I think.

It was my idea to just have Mac's mansion rebuilt without explanation. I don't exactly regret it, but it's kinda cheap. We burned it way down. He has it rebuilt. It makes sense. But we usually dealt with consequences more than that.

When he rebuilds it, he installs those cannons. They were supposed to be giant-sized versions of the hand-held E-M guns. But they don't come off that way. Instead they fire at the gargoyles. And mostly seem to destroy the various turrets of Macbeth's own place. Ugghh.

As in "Leader" we get another scene of Goliath and friends confronting Owen at the castle. Looking for Xanatos, when in fact Xanatos isn't the threat. It made sense in both episodes. And it's always nice to showcase Owen a bit. But after two of those in four episodes, I wasn't gonna do that again. (At least not until KINGDOM.)

I love the "Macbeth Theme" that Carl Johnson created for the villain, which is featured at the end of ACT ONE.

Macbeth opens the "second scroll" and starts to read Merlin's seal. This caused tons of fan confusion, as he read "Sealed by my own [i.e. Merlin's] hand". No one seemed to get that he was reading that. They thought Mac was saying that he [i.e. Macbeth] had sealed the scroll. Of course that notion renders the whole thing confusing as hell. But it never occured to us that anyone would take it that way.

We also introduce Jeffrey Robbins and Gilly in this episode. Gilly is of course short for Gilgamesh, one of the legendary characters that Robbins once wrote about. It's just a bit odd, because Gilly is a female.

Robbins is a very cool character. Wish we had had the opportunity to use him more.

I like how when Robbins and Hudson are introducing themselves, Robbins gives his first and last name. Hudson says, I'm Hudson, "like the river". An echo of how he got the name. And a reminder that names aren't natural to him. Even if they are addictive.

John Rhys-Davies is just fantastic as Macbeth. I love his speech to Broadway. It accomplishes everything we needed it too. That line about the "human heart" by the way is a reference to the Arthur/Lance/Gwen triangle.

I also love his line: "I'm Old, but not THAT Old." This was a little hint to what we'd reveal in CITY OF STONE. Sure Macbeth's from the eleventh century, but not the fifth or sixth. It's like someone saying to someone my age, "So what did you do during World War II?"

Lennox Macduff. That was a cool touch. Also a hint as to how Macbeth feels about Shakespeare.

I like the Phone Book scene too. Hudson says "Hmm. Magic Book." Robbins replies: "Aren't they all." Great stuff.

By the way, as Robbins goes through the phone book, scanning names, he passes "Macduff, Cameron". One of my college roommates was Cameron Douglas, who was really interested in his Scotish heritage. That was a mini-tribute to him.

My daughter Erin reacts to the fact that Macbeth threatens to use Merlin's spells on Broadway. She points out that Macbeth had promised to let Broadway go after he had the scrolls. She's surprised he hasn't kept his word. My wife at that point reminds Erin that Macbeth is the villain. Erin gets that. But you can tell it isn't quite sitting right with her.

Later when Macbeth DOES let everyone go without a struggle, Erin is clearly not sure what to make of him.

And on one level, that's exactly as we wanted it. Macbeth is a troubled guy -- a hero who's devolved into a villain. A suicidal villain on top of that, though we hadn't revealed that yet. But he is a villain. Later, it's debatable, but here he's taken to being an ends-justify-the-means kinda guy. And even his ends are hazy at best.

I love Broadway's "precious magic" speech. It's so wierd hearing poetry from the big galoot. But that's so Broadway. The soul of a poet. Bill Faggerbakke was a huge help.

And I love Robbins "They are lighthouses in the dark sea of time..." speech. I love that it's not exactly the title. Brynne and Lydia did fine work on this one.

I wonder what happened to that lyre?


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Ambrosia writes...

Greg, you could write a book: 101 Ways to Live a *Really Long Time*.
It seems everyone is at least a thousand years old in the gargoyle universe :)

Anyway, my question is, how were you planning on introducing Theseus? More meddling from the Weird Sisters? Or did he just eat really well, excercise and refrain from smoking?
:)

Greg responds...

I never said I was planning to intro Theseus. Theseus is a major character in another project of mine.

I'm sure eventually, Theseus would make an appearance in the Garg Universe. Either in TimeDancer or in flashback, but I don't have any specific plans for that right now, other than perhaps in dealing with the "truth" behind Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream". And I'm rethinking that these days.

Response recorded on July 10, 2000

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James Park writes...

One of my favorite quotes is the one by Jeffrey Robbins at the end of Lighthouse in a Sea of Time. The one

The written word is all that stands between memory and oblivion. Without books as our anchors, we are cast adrift neither teaching, nor learning. They are windows on the past, mirrors on the present, and prisms reflecting all possible futures. Books are lighthouses erected in the dark
sea of time.

1) Who wrote this? I have it currently attributed to you, but do you know who actually wrote it?

2) Didn't oral traditions serve the same function (in at least some ways--keeping customs and histories alive) as books in certain cultures, like Native American, and others?

Greg responds...

1. No, not me. It was either Brynne Chandler Reaves or Lydia Marano or both. The title itself, "A Lighthouse in the Sea of Time", comes I believe from a Barbara Tuchman book. (Can anyone confirm this?)

2. Probably, yes.

Response recorded on July 10, 2000

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Todd Jensen writes...

An additional little thought, inspired by your comparing Coldstone to the Frankenstein monster. As somebody who's read the original book by Mary Shelley, and quite liked it, I feel that while Coldstone certainly has a strong echo of the monster in him, as you've pointed out, I feel that Goliath does as well, although more in a contrast than in a similarity.

Like the monster (as portrayed by Mary Shelley in her book; alas for the way that Hollywood weakened the character by turning him into a mute, shuffling brute), Goliath is a noble being who appears threatening towards humans and is shunned and feared by so many humans whom he seeks to help. Also like the monster, Goliath is a thoughtful and eloquent being, and well-read with a taste for the classics (the Frankenstein monster reads Plutarch's Lives and Milton's "Paradise Lost", while Goliath reads Shakespeare and Dostoyevsky). The big difference is that the Frankenstein monster is all alone, with nobody to befriend him, and becomes embittered towards humanity thus, while Goliath has the clan and Elisa, which undoubtedly helps him. They're almost foils, in a sense. (Of course, Goliath also isn't an artificial creation, either, as the monster was). Just a little thought that had occurred to me.

Greg responds...

I like that analysis. Very sweet.

By the way, it always blew me away that the VERY FIRST BOOK the Monster ever read in "FRANKENSTEIN" was Milton's Paradise Lost. I hadn't read FRANKENSTEIN until college, and also not until after I had read Paradise Lost. (Of course, I knew the basics of both stories long before I actually read the books.)

I couldn't imagine having to teach myself to read with PARADISE LOST. Not exactly FUN WITH DICK AND JANE or Doctor Seuss, you know?

Response recorded on July 10, 2000

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Todd Jensen writes...

About what time did Oberon and Titania get married? Was Shakespeare corect about them being a wedded couple during the time of Theseus?

Greg responds...

Ask me again some other time, I'm currently in a re-think on Midsummer. I'm not sure how it's gonna come out.

Response recorded on July 10, 2000

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Faieq Ali writes...

My brother asked me this ages ago and I didn't have the answer at the time, so maybe you could help me.

If, before 1995 (when Demona got the ability to turn to human), a hunter or someone else, shattered Demona during the day, what would happen? Would she crumble to dust and die or what?

Greg responds...

It never happened. It's moot. You're looking to establish parameters to the Macbeth/Demona spell by creating non-existant hypotheticals. To paraphrase Ralph Waldo Emerson, a petty consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds. Get over it.

Response recorded on July 10, 2000

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Anonymous writes...

What did Artemis in Greek mythology look like? We know Apollo was a guy with flaming hair.

Greg responds...

Apollo's a guy with flaming hair? Since when? Not in any depiction I've ever seen.

As for Artemis, I think she was beautiful, athletic, lithe, dark of hair, haughty, virginal, sympathetic but not empathetic, proud, tall, regal, capable of kindness, of love, of regret, afraid of change, loyal, protective, dangerous, with a hell of a temper, intelligent, struggling, untouchable...

A goddess.

Response recorded on July 07, 2000

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Joxter the Mighty writes...

Ahhh... So THAT'S why the Miranda episodes of Bonkers were better. Not sucking up here Greg, they were jsut genuinely better for the most part. Thanks for explaining that.

Greg responds...

I agree, at least story-wise, conceptually better for sure.

Response recorded on July 07, 2000

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Aris Katsaris writes...

Hmm, now that I think of it, I'm not even certain if 'revelatory' is a real word...

Anyway on the Theseus business, something a bit less... deep: In "A Midsummer's Night Dream" it is said that Titania had an... affair (ahem) with Theseus - would you say that's true in the Gargoyles Universe?

Greg responds...

Probably.

Response recorded on July 07, 2000

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Chapter XVI: "Legion"

Story Editor: Michael Reaves
Written by Marty Isenberg & Robert N. Skir

I just watched "Legion" again. Time to Ramble.

From the memo I posted earlier this week, you'll see that the never used on screen names of Othello, Desdemona and Iago were my idea. But I've always wondered if that's the case. The outline that Marty and Bob wrote immediately prior to that memo had all the Othello elements very, very present in the story. All they didn't do was NAME the characters. I always wondered whether they and/or Michael had the Othello story specifically in mind, consciously or un-, and I just capitalized on it.

The Goldencup Bakery Building, which semi-secretly houses a defense department hi-tech research and development installation is modeled after the Silver Cup Bakery Building -- which actually exists in Brooklyn (as I recall). That Building was trashed in the original HIGHLANDER movie in the final battle between Connor and the Kragen (who was played by a pretty damned horrific Clancy Brown). Small world.

I was always worried that the whole Othello, Desdemona, Iago, Cassio (whoops, I mean Goliath) backstory was a bit vague in this episode. Did anyone have problems getting it?

I don't think I'd like to be one of those Goldencup Guards. Coldstone punches one of them out. That's gotta hoit. He just seems fairly unstoppable in that Xanatos-program controlled sequence. I like how that plays.

Matt says to Elisa: "You never let me drive." My wife's reaction: "Was that in homage to me?" My wife, you see, almost always drives when we're together. She gets carsick when anyone else drives. And I don't much care.

Speaking of Matt, we've got that line about him spending six months reading RECAP manuals to justify why a normal detective would be in charge of RECAP in the first place. Just trying to avoid either adding a superfluous character and/or making the situation seem artificial.

Another appearance of the Scarab Corp. Logo, even though Scarab is never mentioned by name. Oh, well...

Coldstone flees the Goldencup. Goliath and Lex pursue, and Coldstone attacks them. Then he immediately stops, when he sees it's Goliath. The problem I always had with that scene is that the lighting made it obvious that it was Goliath from moment one. (Not just to us, but to Coldstone.) If Goliath had been in shadows, it would have played better.

Minutes later Lex asks Goliath if it's wise to take Coldstone into their home: "He hasn't always been your friend." This was, theoretically, a reference not simply to the most recent attack, nor even only to the events of "Reawakening", but also a reference to the pre-Massacre backstory of the actually non-existent love triangle (or square or pentagram if you include Demona) that caused Goliath and Othello to fight way back when. Lex remembers those days too. Othello was always a bit of a hot-head.

I love Goliath's response: "Without trust there can be no clan." And I love that this is part of a Lex/Goliath exchange. It fits in perfectly with the message they taught each other in "Thrill of the Hunt". Gotta take some chances on occasion. Or else you'll always be alone. It's an anti-Demona mentality. Or rather a mentality that is strikingly un-Demona-esque.

From the moment Coldstone premiered in "Reawakening" I knew (that if we survived to a second season) we'd discover that he was created from three Gargoyles. Tried to work that conceptually into the design more, but we never quite achieved it. So basically that becomes something that the audience has to take on trust.

Which brings me to the title "Legion". It's a one-word title which usually is a tip-off that it's one of mine. I know it's a biblical reference. Some possessed guy with a demon/devil inside who goes by the name "Legion". But that's not actually where I got it. When I was a kid, I saw this tv movie based on Mary Shelley's FRANKENSTEIN. It starred Michael Sarazan or Chris Sarandon. (I always used to mix those two guys up.) It was trying to present a more realistic believable version of the Frankenstein story. I was pretty young. And I don't remember too much about it. I do remember that I was supposed to be asleep -- past my bedtime in the days before my parents gave up and I began going to bed long after they were asleep. But instead of being asleep, I was watching it, in the dark, with the volume turned as far down as possible, me sitting right by the set, so I could flip it off if I heard my parents' door opening. (This was long before remote controls were common.) Anyway, the one scene that I really remember is a scene where they put the Monster under hypnosis. The voices of all the people who "donated" body parts begin to speak. And one of them quotes the "Legion" thing from the bible. But I didn't know that. That is I didn't know back then that he was quoting anyone or anything. It just seemed like a very powerful, poetic and humanly true statement. So it wasn't until college that I read that passage in the bible and realized where it was from. Can anyone cite the actual quote? I can't remember where exactly it's from, and I don't feel like searching right now.

Anyway, all this is relevant because Coldstone was ALWAYS our Frankenstein character from the "IT'S ALIVE!" moment to the "Legion" stuff here.

Coldstone calls Hudson "Mentor". That's a "name" I've been long considering for Hudson's "designation" in the DARK AGES prequel spin-off.

Coldstone shoots Goliath at point blank range. Goliath gets up unharmed. A far cry from what happened to G in "Long Way to Morning." Now in the outline and script, it says that Coldstone uses his "concussion cannon" as opposed to his laser cannon. But nothing in the as-aired episode makes that distinction. And so it just looks irresponsible to me. Like suddenly we're saying violence has no repercussions. Did that bother anyone else?

I love the dark comedy of Coldstone going bonkers at Ellis Island. Fighting with himself. I think Michael Dorn did a terrific job playing all four aspects of CS's personality. Which of you figured out what when? I'd like to know.

The Trio has the Recap visor. Now all they have to do is find Goliath, Hudson and Coldstone. How will they do that? "Three guesses?" A very elegant way to explain how in a huge city, they're able to locate three gargoyles.

Kenner's Coldstone toy is a lot of fun. With it's window into Coldstone's soul. And the spinner that allows any of the four personas to take over at random.

Xanatos doesn't even appear until the VERY END of Act Two. And it's not even really Xanatos, just a program designed by him. Normally, I'd say that wasn't playing fair. But I feel like his presence was obvious all-along. (And did David personally design that program. Or did he just put his stamp on it, management-style?)

There's a moment when Goliath, thrilled to see his rookery sister again, hugs Desdemona. She is immediately annoyed, because she knows that hug is prone to misinterpretation. It's a nice little touch in the animation.

I always wondered what if anything Demona thought about that ancient conflict way back when. Was Iago playing her as well? Trying to make her jealous of Desdemona? I think maybe he did try. But wouldn't it be cool if she didn't credit it for a second. If she just knew intuitively that Desdemona didn't present any threat at all to her relationship with G? Because, I feel the opposite is true. That Demona knew intuitively that Elisa DID present a threat. Say what you want for Demona, but her subconscious knows her man.

I love that moment where BOTH Iago and Xanatos are whispering in Othello's ears. Poor slob never stood a chance.

We've got a nice little Xanatos tag in this one too. Certainly not a doozy as in "Leader" or "Metamorphosis", but it's got a nice little kick to it, I think. And that's THREE episodes in a row. X had been busy.

And then I love the last beat back at the clock tower. Goliath has confiscated Coldstone's body, to keep it safe and "among friends" should he/she ever wake up again. I wanted to keep it in the corner from that point until "High Noon". Always present and visible. We didn't for two reasons. First, we figured it would be a bit confusing. The Batcave can get away with the giant penny and other souvenirs from Batman's cases, because there ARE multiple souvenirs. But just having one immobile gargoyle in the background, as cool and creepy as that is, would be horribly distracting for any audience member who missed this one particular episode. And second, we had our tier system. What if "Legion" wasn't ready as scheduled. We couldn't have Coldstone sitting around the clock tower in later episodes that we'd be forced to air first. Talk about disconcerting. So we invented a back room. Where Coldstone, the Grimorum, the Gate and eventually the eye could be stored.

Comments welcome, as usual...


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Todd Jensen writes...

I read your ramble to Aris on Theseus this morning, and quite enjoyed it. One part of it that I found interesting was your bit about how Theseus, in his team-ups with Hercules, would help keep his tendency to go berserk in check - the reason why I found that interesting was because I noticed that you included that bit in your "Grim Avenger" story for Disney's Hercules, where Theseus gets Hercules to calm down after he's going full-vengeance after the Minotaur.

Greg responds...

Yeah. Though of course, that was a reversal on the very un-Theseus-esque way we were playing the Grim Avenger earlier in the story.

Response recorded on July 05, 2000

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Graymonk writes...

Thank You for answering my New Olympian questions. I it appreciated a great deal.

Since you are a Shakespeare fan I was wondering if you had seen either of the following Shakespeare related plays
1) "Rosencrantz and Guilderstern are Dead" by Tom Stoppard
or
2) "Goodnight Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet)" by Ann-Marie MacDonald
If you have seen either play, what did you think of them?

Thankyou very much,

Greg responds...

I've seen Stoppard's play. Not MacDonald's.

I love the Stoppard play. I particularly love the movie he wrote and directed based on that play. It's an amazing piece of work. I'm a HUGE Stoppard fan. Though I haven't seen close to everything he's done. I think both ARCADIA and SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE are completely ****ing brilliant.

Response recorded on July 05, 2000

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Greg "Xanatos" Bishansky writes...

Hi Greg

I was thinking today about the Quarrymen and the Ku Klux Klan. One of my favorite quotes in "The Journey" was Goliath's "Brave words for a man who hides his face behind a hood".

We were discussing the Klan in US History today and I got really worked up and went into a rant about how if the Klan are a bunch of cowards who are too afraid to show their faces. I'm half Jewish so I take everything the Klan does personally (I would even if not). And then I thought about Goliath's quote, and it really spoke to me in that scene. It was brilliant. I applaud you for it.

Did you have these sentiments in mind when you wrote "The Journey"?

Greg responds...

Absolutely.

Response recorded on July 05, 2000

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Todd Jensen writes...

Thanks for responding to my comment on the "how Gargoyles and Batman are different" business. While I'm at it, your answer reminded me of something that I'd wondered once about the Canmore trio. Did you ever see them as a sort of "twisted version" of Batman, in the sense that they become gargoyle-hunters after seeing their father getting killed by Demona in front of them when they were children, that element being a parallel to Bruce seeing his parents getting killed in front of him when he was a boy? (I brought this one up in the comment room once and rather unnerved some other posters there who didn't like the thought of Batman being similar to the Hunters, but I am emphasizing the adjective "twisted" here).

Greg responds...

You're right, of course. In fact, Macbeth and the Hunters (and Xanatos too, a bit) were all and always twisted riffs on the Caped Crusader.

Response recorded on July 03, 2000

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Todd Jensen writes...

A comment on Pyro X's "Gummi Bears" question.

I actually saw a slight similarity between the two series myself, but more in terms of the overall situation of the title characters. Both Gummi Bears and Gargoyles were portrayed as non-human sentient beings who once lived alongside humans, until that came to an end through human hostility (in the Gummis' case, driving most of them overseas, in the Gargoyles' case, destroying most of their clans), leaving only a few scattered communities/clans left, which would only gradually begin reconnecting with each other and recovering what was lost.

(I might add that I recall the presence in the latter part of the series of some Gummmis from the Barbic Woods who were portrayed as particularly suspicious and unsympathetic towards humans, and can easily imagine many gargoyles in the Gargoyles Universe having a similar attitude).

Greg responds...

Yep.

Gummi Bears was a big influence.

Not to be confused with Care Bears. Puh-leeze!

Response recorded on June 29, 2000

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Chapter XV: "Metamorphosis"

STORY EDITOR: Michael Reaves
WRITERS: Brynne Chandler Reaves & Lydia Marano

The first appearance of Anton Sevarius and the MUTATES: Maggie the Cat, Fang and Claw. Derek had appeared before, but this was TALON's "first appearance" as well.

In our original development, the Talon character was called CATSCAN. He wasn't Elisa's brother. In fact, he was sorta Sevarius. That is, he was the scientist who created the mutagenic formula. At first he works for Xavier (Xanatos), but later -- when he realizes that Xavier was responsible for the "accident" that turned him into Catscan -- he tries to hunt Xanatos down, forcing Goliath to actually protect Xanatos in order to save Catscan's soul. This version of Catscan was basically the inspiration of my good friend Fred Schaefer, who was a Disney Development Associate at the time. Part of the team. Oh, and Catscan was a solo act, there were no other Mutates. And he didn't have wings either. He fired some kind of radiation bolt from his eyes.

Later, we began to prep Derek for the Catscan/Talon role. I don't remember if we knew Derek's fate way back in "Deadly Force", when he was introduced, but we definitely knew by "Her Brother's Keeper". One of the reasons we made him a pilot was to give him some flight background to justify how quickly we needed him to learn to fly. This was emphasized HERE by putting him in a glider.

Anton Sevarius became a separate character obviously. Michael Reaves, I believe, came up with his name. At first, I didn't like it. I thought it was too cartoony. Now I think it suits him.

Rereading my memo, it seems I was thinking of Brent Spiner to play Sevarius. I hadn't remembered that. Of course, no one else could be Sevarius except Tim Curry. And Brent was a perfect Puck for us too. So all's well that ends well. (But can you imagine if somehow the rolls had been switched?) Tim has some great lines here: "...Or has that changed?" is one of my favorites. He's so hungry.

FYI - That's Jonathan Frakes voicing Fang's one-liner in this episode. We couldn't afford to hire a separate actor for one line. So Jonathan stepped in. Of course, later Fang was taken over by Jim Belushi. But I don't think anyone noticed.

Gotta love the Snidely Whiplash reference.

As I mentioned in my last Ramble on "Leader", Xanatos' plans were getting more and more sophisticated. Here we had two humdingers in a row. The one in "Leader" is just a lot of fun. This one is cruel. Throughout the story, we (I think) tend to believe in Xanatos' mea culpa and his outrage regarding the Mutates ("They'll crucify you. And if they don't, I WILL!!"). Why? Because he's so darn likable we want to think well of him. (Who was fooled? I'd like to know.) Also his story rings true. When he tells Sevarius, "I've been in prison before." We know he has. We believe he could take it again. It's that touch of truth amid the lies that makes him so sharp.

And Owen was complicit. On one level, that shouldn't be surprising, yet there's something of the Mr. Spock about Owen. As faithful as you know he is, you don't actually expect him to lie.

And frankly, the plan is SO complex. I hope it's believable when all is said and done. We made a real effort to make sure that it could have worked, that if it hadn't gone EXACTLY as depicted it would feel like there would have been alternative scenarios that would have generated the same result. Of course the master-stroke is Sevarius' death. Our S&P executive raised an eyebrow over that, as she finished reading Act Two. Fortunately, she was the type who finished the script before knee-jerking us with an objection. We got away with depicting a violent death on-screen -- because it was fake. (But who was fooled?)

We tried to play fair with a number of clues throughout. We used Xanatos' own security team as the "hired mercenaries" that Sevarius was using. Only Xanatos checks Sevarius' pulse. When Matt and Elisa are later investigating the scene, there's no body and NO CHALK OUTLINE either. They have no idea that anyone even theoretically was supposed to have DIED there. And Sevarius is SO OVER THE TOP. That should have been a stylistic clue. It was way fun to do -- and it took great acting on Tim's part to act that badly and still make it play.

For once the script came in a tad short. So the board artist added the bit where the gargoyles break out of stone and we see the debris rain down on the people below. Pigeons fly off into the night. (Just a little touch of realism.) Very nice.

I was never too fond of Elisa's Zen Master joke. Still, in the comic book story I wrote before the Marvel comic book was cancelled, I created a Zen Master character. (Just compulsive I guess.)

My original plan for Gen-U-Tech was to abreviate its name as G.U.T.S. As in the company that twists yours up. (The full name is Genetic Undiscovered Technical Systems.) Instead it became Gen-U-Tech, which is probably better. But I can't remember who made the change. The script has plenty of GUTS references in the descriptions. But it may have escaped my notice that it has none in the dialogue. And the logos designed all read Gen-U-Tech, not guts. I wonder if Frank & Michael were slyly protecting me from a mis-step?

I like the conflict between Brooklyn & Broadway here. All the interplay with the trio is very well handled, I think. Were people really rooting for Brooklyn & Maggie to wind up together?

Not our best animated episode. Both the modeling and the animation leave a bit to be desired. Derek's ears look mid-transformation long before he's hit with that dart. Makes me cringe, but I guess if the audience isn't expecting him to get changed, they don't notice the subtle pointyness to the ears, until after the contents of the dart are revealed. But on a second viewing...?

Maggie Reed: "I'm from Ohio." As if that should explain EVERYTHING. I love that line.

"Morgan Reed", by the way, was one of our may early names for what eventually became Elisa Chavez, Elisa Bluestone and finally Elisa Maza. (I never waste anything.)

Observations from my daughter Erin:

1. "I like the click of their boots." [Erin complimenting the foley during the recapture of Maggie in the alley.]

2. "His hands ARE tied!" [My clever Erin catching the irony. Elisa says "My hands are tied." Brooklyn responds, "Well mine aren't." But then he turns to stone, prompting Erin's observation.]

3. "Hudson and Bronx always stay home." [Erin commenting on our proclivity for leaving Hudson & Bronx behind at the castle or clock tower when Goliath and the Trio go off. It is kind of a rip.]

Another great series of endings and false endings.

Xanatos tells Owen to bring him the "best geneticist on the planet."

The gargs arrive and fight the Mutates. Elisa arrives. Xanatos asks her to "stop this senseless violence". [Ahh, what a lovely bastard he is.]

Maggie makes the accurate observation that Brooklyn wants her to stay a monster. And yet despite that incite, she clearly still believes that both she and Brooklyn ARE monsters. She's as bound up in appearances as he is.

Talon names himself. It's kinda odd. But I think it works.

Elisa declares war on Xanatos. And for a split-second it registers on his face. Something has actually given him pause.

And then Owen brings in the best geneticist. I still wonder if it's immediately clear that this "new guy" IS Sevarius. He looks SO different. And Tim wasn't using the hoky accent anymore. Was anyone else confused, even momentarily? But anyway, it's another stunner Xanatos Tag. Did your eyes bug out? Or did you know by this time?

And finally, back to the Tower. Brooklyn is in a funk. But Elisa...

This entire episode is obviously a direct sequel to "Brother's Keeper". Right down to the end. In the end of that one, Elisa can do nothing but stare sadly out at the snow. But we're past that now. Now she cries. Xanatos doesn't wind up with the Mutates, though he correctly predicts there eventual return, but this is his clearest victory yet. The Mutates blame the gargs. Talon still believes X is his best chance at a cure. And he has an emotional and physical weapon against Elisa and the gargs. I was proud of us for ending a "cartoon" on such a relatively down note. Can't always have happy endings. How many people were surprised we ended it that way?

That's it. Comments welcome...


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Anonymous writes...

Is the comparision between the skrull and the space spawn and the kree and Nokkar's people accurate?
Were the Kree and the Skrull your source of inspiration for the Space Spawn and Nokkar's peopl?

Greg responds...

No, I don't think so. I have a fairly clear memory of what the Skrull look like visually. And I remember the Super-Skrull who had everyone of the F4's powers. Were the other Skrull shape-shifters? As for the Kree, I remember the name. Can't think of what they even looked like. Did they look like Nokkar? At any rate, I don't recall the relationship between the two alien races. So I don't think I was basing what we did on them.

Response recorded on June 28, 2000

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Aris Katsaris writes...

A brief thought on the Edge.

I was indeed quite surprised when the red robot was revealed as Xanatos... I had thought it was just an very advanced robot, possibly a recurring character, but I never thought it was Xanatos himself...

And ofcourse in 'Leader of the Pack' you used that eralier episode to your advantage... Now *everyone* expected Coyote to be Xanatos, and noone expected him to be a very advanced robot... Very intentional, I suppose?

Weirdly enough, though quite a bit older than Erin, I also felt a bit nervous in the Statue of Liberty battle... I tend to do that when in TV monuments/antiquities are casually endangered... A bit silly perhaps, but there you have it... :-)

Greg responds...

"Very intentional, I suppose?" Yep.

Actually, I know how you feel about the monuments. That's part of the reason why Planet of the Apes is traumatic. And why we stole from it for "Future Tense".

Response recorded on June 27, 2000

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Chapter XIV: "Leader of the Pack"

I've already dealt with the changes between the first and second seasons of GARGOYLES. (See a previous ramble on that subject.) And hopefully you've all read the serialized postings of the memo I wrote to Michael Reaves in July of 94. Note the date. I was writing that memo to Michael a good three months before the first season of the series would actually premiere. Meaning, Michael, myself, all of us, were just guessing.

Now, finally, I have the time to sit down and ramble about my recent re-viewing of "Leader"...

STORY EDITOR: Michael Reaves.
WRITER: Steven Perry.

Some things were coming to fruition in this episode. A CY.O.T.I. robot had been part of the original development of the show and the Pack. Six characters seemed like a bit much, but the main reason we left CY.O.T.I. out of "Thrill of the Hunt" was because of the way we wound up intro-ing the Pack, that is as a group of T.V. super-heroes. Giving them a realistic robot in that context didn't seem to fit. By the time we got around to introducing the show's version of the Coyote robot (note the NORMAL spelling) much had changed in how we conceived the thing. And yet many of the original elements were still present, if altered. The orignal CY.O.T.I. (CYber-Operational Technical Individual -- or something like that) was a hovering robotic head. But not a Xanatos head. It was a dog-faced head. The head could attach to multiple different robotic bodies, as well as lock into various vehicles as a kind-of autoMATED pilot. One of the robotic bodies was four-legged, dog-shaped. Another was bipedal. But in either case there was never any question that the robot was a robot.

But by the time, we got to "Leader" we had learned so much more about our characters, that our whole conception of CY.O.T.I. changed into the Coyote you know. Part of the change came right out of how sophisticated Xanatos himself was. David constantly made Michael and I jump through hoops to come up with trickier and trickier plots. Plots that would allow the Gargoyles to generally triumph, and yet allow Xanatos to snatch some real victory out of seeming total defeat in what had become our trademark Xanatos Tag sequences. The one in "Leader" is one of the best, which brings up another thing that came to fruition in this episode. When we first created the Pack, I had NO IDEA that Fox and Xanatos were an item. That was a complete discovery, a revelation that came to us during the making of "Her Brother's Keeper": akin to, "Ohmigod, Fox is in love with David!!!" I don't know if it shocked you guys, but it sure came as a surprise to me, their so-called creator. Another instance when I think of myself less as a writer, and more as simply the guy who was tapping into what was really going on in the GARGOYLES UNIVERSE. When did you guys figure it out? During "Brother's Keeper"? During "Leader"? Or not until the end of "Leader" when it was objectively revealed? (Obviously, any of you who saw later episodes first are disqualified from voting on this one.)

Anyway, since we knew they were destined for each other, and we had this semi-top secret plan for them to marry and extremely top-secret plan for them to procreate, we knew we had to get Fox out of jail. And not break her out. But have her out more-or-less scott free. So that would be Xanatos' plan. All the subterfuge would lead to that. Having the robot pose as Xanatos in armor, allowed us for the kind of multiple surprise onion-peeling kind of story that I just live for. Plus it would leave us with a more wieldy five-man Pack again. Fox would graduate. Coyote would take her place.

One tricky thing was electronically futzing Jonathan Frakes' voice when Coyote was wearing his helmet. We wanted to alter it enough so that no one would know it was "Xanatos" until after he took off the helmet. But we didn't want to alter it SO much that you couldn't register Jonathan's standardly and casually wonderful acting AS Xanatos inside the armor. I think we succeeded. (Credit for that goes to the guys at Advantage Audio, who mixed the show. Real unsung heroes.)

We also gave Jamie Thomason, our voice director, and Jonathan the key note that would differentiate the true Xanatos from Coyote. And that was Coyote's fairly primitive desire for vengeance. If I do say so myself, I thought this was a terrific clue, a great moment of fair play, planted in the story. I wanted people to be a little surprised that Xanatos would care about vengeance. But I also figured most would buy into it, because we're all so trained to think of villains in a certain way. But then when Xanatos calls revenge a "sucker's game" at the end, the audience would feel "Oh, of course. That's OUR Xanatos. The other guy was just a cheap imitation." Who was fooled? Who wasn't? I'm curious to know.

When Coyote first took off his helmet at the end of Act One, my three year old son Ben yelled out "Xanatos!" He was truly and wonderfully surprised at that moment. It was fun.

Random observation: Wolf's not doing real push-ups. Not fully extending, either up or down.

Another thing we did do for the NEW SEASON start up was feature the gargs EXPLODING out of stone. Another of our series' trademarks that we wanted to be sure to get into the first episode of the new season.

Coyote clearly has a "quip chip" installed. He's got some great very Xanatosian lines. "Exact change". "Wanna see what I can do with both hands." Etc.

In fact lots of characters have great cutting lines in this one. Owen is wonderfully officious, even a tad smarmy in this one. You can almost see Puck smiling through, and this is before I knew Owen was Puck. But his, "Shouldn't you... be there." is just great.

Or Brooklyn's line: "Yeah, why should we stay up here... where it's safe." Great.

And Hyena: "I love a man who brings me weapons..." and "A robot?! Even better." Classic. And that was another discovery. Hyena would have the hots for Coyote. It wouldn't necessarily be reciprocated, but the mere fact that he was a robot wouldn't bug her. (I'm guessing she's used to using technology to satisfy her desires.) On some level, I think this was us (and Hyena) just being perverse for the sake of perverseness. But I also think it created an interesting parallel to Goliath and Elisa's relationship, if that doesn't sound to preposterous.

______

Another random observation: Hyena mentions Santa Claus. :) Ho ho ho.

______

CHARACTER CONTINUITY:
I think there was a semi-conscious desire to give every character something that new and returning viewers could use to hang their hats on, so-to-speak.

Lex is still so angry at the Pack for events in "Thrill of the Hunt" that he's literally HOPPING mad. Actually, that bit of hopping bugged me. Made Lex look silly and young at a point when I was hoping to present him as truly dangerous. Oh, well...

Brooklyn still feels the same way about Demona. And he's self-aware enough to know it. Though not mature enough to get passed it. (That'll come -- sometime in 2158.)

Broadway still hates guns and smashes them at every opportunity. (Lex obviously doesn't share his rookery-brother's opinion. Lex looks real tough holding that launcher. And I think it's a fairly shocking moment when that hole gets blown in Coyote's torso, and Lex is revealed -- through the hole, no less -- as the shooter. Even though we know by this time that Coyote is a robot, I still think it's one of the most violent images that ever appeared in our show. And it's all about context and attitude. You get the sense that Lex might just do the exact same thing to any of the human members of the Pack too.)

Hudson is still the observant guy who deduces events from what remains behind. "There's been a struggle here..." is right in keeping with his tracking skills and the way he examined that tampered-with bow back in "Awakening, Part Two".

Bronx is still a good judge of character. And he hates robots with fearful abandon. We decided he could literally smell when something isn't human. If it talks like a duck and walks like a duck, we naturally assume that it's a duck. But for Bronx it better smell like a duck or he's going to rip its face off, eh? That was another great shocking moment, I think. There's a little bit of WESTWORLD homage going on. Or FEMBOT homage, depending on how old you are. (I'm old enough to remember both.) It's pretty cool. And I love Coyote's head rocketing off at the end. It's so cool and sick. I fell in love with that head, and decided to use it in all future Coyote's -- one way or another.

Nietzche, Sartre, Kafka. That exchange was pure Perry-Reaves. And people tell me _I_ write to old for the demographic. Geez.

I love that moment when the phone rings at PackMedia Studios. (Also have I mentioned I love the name PackMedia. It's so perfect.) Anyway, Broadway's tentative response, before picking it up. And Owen knowing someone WOULD just pick up. It kills me.

As most of you know I favor one word titles. But "Leader of the Pack" WAS in fact one of mine. It was just irresistible.

The fight between the Gargs and the Pack aboard the oil tanker was very well-choreographed in script. But this was an instance where, in my opinion, our board artists lost the forest for the trees. The fight in storyboard went off on some wonderful tangents -- that wound up creating problems for those interested in keeping track of our combatants. Who was where and when just became a mess. We basically were able to fix those problems in film editing. But that's accomplished by keeping the fight well-paced. In the script, I actually think it's well-choreographed. In particular, Broadway freeing Lex, Brook and Bronx made a bit more sense in the script.

Coyote's perception-warping weapon is very cool. We probably didn't use it enough. Mainly because it was too effective. Too hard to stop.

I wanted the gargs to have to swim back to shore from the sinking tanker. But no one else agreed with me.

The head of Fox's parole board is voiced by Jim Cummings (aka Dingo, Darkwing Duck, Bonkers, etc.), doing his best Orson Wells imitation. Which is damned good by the way. Jim Cummings and Jeff Bennett in the same show. Man, were we blessed or what?

And coming full circle, we have our great Xanatos Tag. The villains kiss passionately. You don't see that too often in cartoons, I think. I love Xanatos' great line "That was merely the icing, you're the cake." And also his "true love is so much harder to come by." But here's my question for you guys. At the time, did you really think Xanatos was truly in love with Fox, or did you think he was merely being glib? I knew by that time, but even David didn't. Wasn't until "Eye of the Beholder" that HE realized how deep his feelings were for Fox.

So, comments?


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SEASON TWO

Well, my plan had been to finished transcribing the "Leader of the Pack" outline memo. Then start on my new ramble on seeing the episode last week. However, I'm at home today and the only copy of the memo is still at the office. So I'll finish the memo soon. Meantime, here's a ramble that "Leader" inspired with a little background info on the transition to Season Two...

So the second season begins. And we had a new system in place. Tiers and tentpoles. As you may recall from a previous ramble we had run into huge scheduling difficulties with "Enter Macbeth". The animation had come back very problematic and the nature of the story was such that we couldn't air it out of order. I received a mandate to make sure in Season Two's fifty-two episode killer schedule that we do everything possible not to run into that kind of problem again.

Trouble was, I liked the sequential nature of the series. If all the episodes could air in any order with no effect on each other then how could the characters grow, evolve, change? How could the situations?

My solution was tiers and tentpoles. We would create tiers of episodes that could air in any order as long as they aired BETWEEN their tentpole multi-parters. We'd pay special attention to the Tentpole episodes to make sure THEY didn't get into production trouble that would derail the entire airing schedule. But if an individual episode within a tier ran late, we could skootch another one forward without causing any harm.

Tentpole One was retroactively set as the "Awakening" five-parter. Tier One was retroactively everything between that and "Reawakening", which became Tentpole Two by default. (Now obviously the Season One airing order was very important, but they had aired already, so I didn't have to worry about them anymore.)

Tentpole Three would be the "City of Stone" four parter. Tier Two would include eight episodes: "Leader of the Pack", "Metamorphosis", "Legion", "A Lighthouse in the Sea of Time", "The Silver Falcon", "The Mirror", "Eye of the Beholder" and "Vows". In theory, I was supposed to make sure that these eight could air in any given order.

In practice, it never turned out to be that simple. For example, how could I air "Vows", the episode where Xanatos & Fox wed before "Eye of the Beholder" the episode where they get engaged? I wound up having a strong order preference for ALL 65 episodes. Tiers and Tentpoles be damned. But the truth is, the system served us well. It did tend to keep us on track. Creatively, it allowed us to build to strong multi-parters. And we rarely ever HAD to air episodes out of my preferred order. We only screwed up twice. "The Price" aired too soon. "Kingdom" aired too late. But only someone paying VERY careful attention would notice that. (Of course, anyone fanatical enough to be reading this was probably one of those people paying VERY careful attention.)

So anyway, "Leader" was my choice to open the new season. Lots of action. Some really great twists and turns. Some great character moments. It all seemed like a great way to intro potential new viewers to the series. BTWE, is there anyone out there for whom "Leader" was their first GARGOYLES episode? I'd love to hear from you here at ASK GREG.

We made other changes off the first season, as well. We had rebuilt the opening titles sequence to include some new footage. Keith David/Goliath's narration was added as well. This was written by Gary Sperling and myself. And hotly debated around our offices. Hotly debated inside my own brain as well. Frank Paur and I both felt that the titles were more powerful, more dramatic WITHOUT the narration. But we wanted to make sure that the series was still accessible to new viewers. The narration would serve the same function as the GILLIGAN'S ISLAND theme song. If you missed our pilot, you could still get the set up. Frank & I could see the wisdom of both positions. Even our boss, Gary Krisel, could. He left it up to me. I finally decided to err (and air) on the side of caution. I needn't have worried about "drama". Keith's voice, as usual, was so dramatic, that the opening narration became a classic -- reprinted on nearly every garg website I've ever seen. My kids love to shout out "WE LIVE AGAIN!" in chorus with Keith.

Another thing we did was to permanently install those "Previously on Gargoyles..." recaps at the head of EVERY episode. This was done for three reasons. One, see above, we wanted new viewers to have a chance to get what was going on without requiring them to see every episode that had come before. So the salient points could and would be summed up in those recaps. Two, since at some future time there was the possibility that the episodes WOULD air out of order, the recaps would help ground a viewer in when this particular episode was falling. And most important, three, it helped us in editing.

You see, footage would come back from overseas. And sometimes it would be great. And sometimes not. But no matter how good it was there wasn't a single episode that couldn't be improved by trimming a few frames here, a few frames there. No scenes were cut wholesale, but timing was improved and sped up. Mistakes were edited out. The recap gave us thirty extra seconds per episode of editing flexibility.

Now, on some level, the recaps may have backfired. Though they provided useful information, they may have given new viewers the IMPRESSION that there was too much to learn. I'm not sure it's true, but I've heard that argument. Also, I started hearing from the Disney Afternoon mailing list that everyone hated the recaps, because what they included tended to give away too much in the episode that was about to air. We fixed that problem midway through the season. Me, I still have no regrets. As I've mentioned before, HILL STREET BLUES was a major influence. The "Previously on..." format (which everyone uses today) came right out of Hill Street, so I was comfortable with it. And that 30 seconds of editing flexibility absolutely helped the shows play better.

NEXT TIME ON GREG'S RAMBLES...
More from my original memo to Michael Reaves and my specific responses to reviewing "Leader of the Pack"...


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Batman vs. Gargoyles...

As I believe I've mentioned before, there was once some fear at Buena Vista (our distribution arm) that GARGOYLES would be perceived as a rip off of BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES. Now, that seems all but laughable, but then it was a sincere concern at BVTV. (The fact that we had Frank & Michael on our show, both of them major contributors to B:TAS, probably didn't help.) So they asked me to write up a memo showing the differences. That memo follows, unedited. Note the date.

(6-14-94)

Random thoughts on the differences between Gargoyles and Batman:

--Batman was traumatized as a child, by witnessing the death of his parents, which left him totally alone and psychologically scarred for life.
--Goliath had a major tragedy occur in his life, but it happened when he was an adult. He was not left totally alone. He is mature enough to realize that bad things can happen to good gargoyles and he is creating a positive life for himself and his clan.

--Batman fights criminals because of a deep-psychological need to stop their evil.
--Goliath and the gargoyles protect the innocent because they are protective by nature. It is a very primal instinct to them. They are not taking eternal vengeance.

--Batman is one man in a suit. (Two men if you count Robin.) He wears a mask to protect his secret identity.
--There are six gargoyles, each with unique personalities. And they are a different species -- monsters. Nothing put on. No secret identies. No posing as normal. Very little technology.

--Gotham City is New York at it's worst. Dark, ugly, cynical.
--Goliath's Manhattan is a dangerous but beautiful place, w/a rich colorful palate. A place of Hope.

--Batman faces a colorful array of villains, all with their own separate backstories.
--The Gargoyles face a colorful array of villains, whose backstories intertwine with the gargoyle's own rich history in ancient Scotland and modern Manhattan.

--Batman is reality based w/a few exaggerations and sci-fi elements thrown in.
--Gargoyles is more fantastic. Magic is quantifiable, but it exists. Immortals and sorcerers walk the earth.

--Batman is a man for his time.
--The gargoyles are creatures who are displaced in time trying to adjust to the modern world.

--Batman has no regular female character (unless you count villains like Poison Ivy or the occasional use of Batgirl.)
--The gargoyles are supported by Elisa Maza, a strong, capable but tender, female New York Police detective.

--Batman wears a cape.
--The gargoyles have wings which can fold over like a cape, but can also be used to glide through the air, simulating true flight.

--Batman wears a utility belt with gadgets included.
--Gargoyles don't. Hudson wears a sword though.

--Batman wears boots.
--Gargoyles are barefoot.

--Batman doesn't have super-human strength or powerful claws or a tail.
--The gargoyles do.

--Batman doesn't turn to stone every morning and then explode out of stone every night.
--Gargoyles do.

--Batman doesn't have a dog.
--Gargoyles have Bronx.

--Bruce Wayne has nearly unlimited wealth to subsidize his heroics with technology.
--Xanatos has nearly unlimited wealth to subsidize his villainy with technology. The gargoyles have a medium-sized t.v. set and a used barca-lounger.

--The Batcave is a high-tech top secret location located underneath stately Wayne Manor.
--The clock tower is a low-tech place to hide above the police precint in Manhattan.

--Batman has a butler.
--The gargoyles don't.

I hope this is helpful. Though I don't know why it would be.

As you can see, I didn't take the assignment too seriously. The only real key point for me is the first one. The differences between the tragedies and the heroes' reactions to those tragedies. Also that Xanatos is the anti-Bruce Wayne. But c'mon... "Batman has a butler. The Gargoyles don't". Was I stretching or what?


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Joxter the Mighty writes...

Recently, when someone asked you what other cartoons you liked, you mentioned among them, "Old Development Bonkers"... What did you mean by that?

Greg responds...

There were two versions of Bonkers. One that I developed which featured Bonkers, Jitters, Sgt. Grating and Miranda Wright.

There were some problems on the show that came to light when episodes first came back from overseas. Disney panicked. Over-reacted. They basically took everyone off the show and started from scratch with a new developement and production team.

They tossed everything but Bonkers himself. Brought in Detective Piquel, and I think, watered down the premise. Some of the episodes might have been individually better -- and I think the art direction was definitely improved, but the ideas that made the show unique were flattened or ignored.

Then to add insult to injury they aired all the NEW episodes first, and created a "Transition episode" to transition from the Piquel episodes to the Miranda episodes, making it appear as if our stuff had been an afterthought. Given that our show didn't LOOK as good, it made us seem like a poor replacement, when in fact I think our stories were better (just my opinion).

By the way, the Miranda/Bonkers relationship was a clear precedent for Elisa/Goliath. (Doesn't that seem strange?) And because I didn't get to play out all my HILL STREET BLUES inspired cop ideas in Bonkers, it gave impetus to making Elisa a cop so that I could play that stuff out in Gargoyles.

Response recorded on April 07, 2000

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Siren writes...

I didn't happen to see this one, but if it is there and I missed it, I am sorry...but here it goes...

In 1972 there was an old movie called Gargoyles. One of the names of the gargoyles is Goliath, though not mentioned in the movie itself, I believe it is on credits. The whole story being gargoyles have been persecuted by man for centuries and now their back for revenge (B-movie, but I like it). And a few gargs in that resemble Disney's Gargoyles. Was this pure coincidence or was that partially your inspiration?

Greg responds...

This was NOT an inspiration. I have seen it. (The Cornell Wilde tv movie, with Bernie Casey as the lead garg, right?) We all watched it at Disney after we had developed our GARGOYLES, to see if it might cause us any legal problems. We decided there was nothing to worry about. The gargs in that movie may have felt persecuted, but as I recall they were spawns of Satan, kidnapping humans, etc. I definitely don't remember any GOLIATH in the film, though I never studied the credits.

Response recorded on April 05, 2000

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Theseus Addendum

One more thing, Aris,

About the Helen thing. I'm not trying to defend it, but I think the motivation wasn't any desire to possess a barely-pubescent Helen. I can't believe a guy who loved Antiope, wanting that. I think he was trying to stick it to all those young heroes of the new generation. I don't approve of his methods, and he wasn't able to pull it off even. But it was an act of rebellion. An act of societal perversion (as opposed to sexual perversion).

Anyway, that's my take.


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Ambrosia writes...

Hi Greg!! I was just reading your interview with Lexy. You said that you hoped Gargoyles would inspire people to learn more about sujects you touched on... and I realized that it has done exactly that for me. In fact, I don't know if I realized the magnitude of an impact Gargoyles has had in my life until I thought about that...
In The Mirror when the clan is trying to explain to Elisa who Oberon's Children are (I thought everybody knew this??), Brooklyn says, "Yeah, that guy Shakespeare wrote a play about them: A Midsummer Night's Dream." The next day after I saw that episode, I had the play in my possession and began poring over it. This began a love/obsession for Shakespeare- particularly that play.
Also, I read your ramblings about Theseus and decided I needed to learn more about him. Mary Renault's The King Must Die stuck out in my memory one day between classes and I found it in the library. I'll post again when I'm finished with it.
In ancient history 103, I could be tired and completely tune out my professor, but I'd hear the word "Scotland" and snap back awake and pay perfect attention.
I never really thought about these things as they were happening, but looking back I can see that so many things I've learned or done came from gargoyles: I'm teaching myself to draw, I want to visit New York... stuff like that. I wanted to say... thanks!

Greg responds...

And I want to say "YOU ARE VERY, VERY WELCOME!" As a former educator (who's about to start teaching again tomorrow) your message really warmed my heart.

Shakespeare and Renault are two of my favorite authors. It thrills me that I turned you on to them.

But you know what? The show had the same effect on me. I've fallen in love with Scottish History as well. I knew nothing about it before GARGOYLES. Now I'm fairly well-versed and, at the very least, very interested.

HEY! TELL YOUR TEACHER!

Response recorded on April 04, 2000

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Aris Katsaris writes...

Well if *you* can ramble about Theseus, so can I. :-)

I think that his lifepath began even before his conception. Childless Aegeus, goes to the Delphi to ask how he may get children - the oracle warns him *not* to drink wine; tells him how *not* to have children (which implies that it predicts either Aegeus's own death due to Theseus or Theseus' other deeds)

Aegeus doesn't understand the oracle, but Pittheus does - he gets him drunk and has him sleep with Aethra, Pitheus's daughter. It seems he desires to have his grandson on the throne of Athens - and for that cause he doesn't mind using his daughter. So Theseus is a "bastard" - but not the bastard of a love relationship, not even a bastard caused by lust such as Arthur was. He is a bastard whose birth was just a means to an end, a product of politics.

This *has* to screw him up in some ways. His father figure Pittheus is using him. Aethra never cared for Aegeus, and was herself used by her father in the worst way imaginable - could she subconsciously resent her own son because of that? And his relationship with his real father Aegeus begins through the test he places on him to see if he's worthy - talk about conditional love! Given the relationships which created him, it's no wonder that all the relationship he gets into are twisted and diseased in some way.

Then there's his idol: Heracles. While Theseus is still a kid Hercules comes to Troezen - among the children Theseus is the only one who is not terrified by the lion-skin that Hercules is wearing. He has to have noticed the admiration that everyone was giving to Hercules.

And even if Theseus can't know love, he *can* know admiration. So, when he grows up he goes out of his way to do heroic deeds - most other heroes of antiquity (Jason, Bellerophon, even Hercules to a large extent) had their quests forced on them - others like Odysseus simply stumbled upon heroism. But Theseus pursues heroism. He kills the robbers. But his sickened sense of relationships manifests itself: He 'ravishes' the daughters of both Sinis and Cercyon. One could think of a version where this is consentual - but in my mind it seems more reasonable to think that he saw them as trophies and rewards and didn't care what they thought.

He goes to Athens and once again pursues heroism by going to Crete: so as to kill the Minotaur, he doesn't hesitate to promise marriage to Ariadne - manipulation through lust once again - even though he already had a lover (Periboea) among the young women on the ship. He kills Ariadne's half-brother (the Minotaur) and her full brother Deucalion. And then he abandons her because of the wishes of the gods - but even if it was his own idea I don't mind that one - a woman who'd cause her brothers' death isn't one I'd like sleeping next to me - after all Medea was the last famous woman who did that, and Jason would have been better off if he had abandoned her also...

I agree that Antiope is the most 'equal' relationship he gets into, the most genuine one - Antiope seems to truly love or atleast be attracted to Theseus. But we can't forget that Theseus' mission to the Amazons was originally nothing more than another of his heroic quests: He went with the goal of kidnapping their queen - she was (in the beginning atleast) just another trophy... And in one version of the story he treats her as such abandoning her and marrying Phaedra (though in most versions Hippolyta dies
fighting on his side)

His wedding with Phaedra is once again loveless - no need to expand on that. And after his son's death he has to simply not know what to do but fall back to his own habits seeking something he can't have, vainly pursuing happiness through "heroism": And in the case of Helen, all his negative traits, his lovelessness, his rashness, his viewing women as trophies all manifest themselves...

So in my opinion he *is* a tragic character - His deeds seem to have been sprung through the situation which bore him - I can have pity and understanding for him as the product of an extremely disfunctional family. And he's a fascinating character: But if he's a hero, then I see him as providing a dark vision of what heroism can do when it's sought after, rather than stumbled upon.

Greg responds...

Aris, as always, please ramble all you like...

You're version of the myth however, includes things that mine doesn't. This creates two obvious possibilities:

1) My version is whitewashed.

2) Your version is biased.

Either way, we've got some propaganda going.

Now it would be easy to assume that 1 is more likely than 2. After all, most of what we know from Greek myth, we know via the Athenian culture, where Theseus was a hero. One would tend to think that they'd want to present their guy in the best possible light -- thus the whitewashing. It's also possible that the Athenians told the story straight, and that the whitewashing came down the centuries as people tried to make Theseus more of a roll model than he really was.

But I'm going to argue (from a pro-Thesean bias that I'll admit up-front) for #2. Because I think both versions of the myth come from Athens. Take the negative slant on Pittheus, for example. That sounds like propaganda to me. Aegeus has a kid out of wedlock. Don't blame the Athenian king, blame that Troezen trickster Pittheus. But the trickster (or villain label) doesn't sit with the old man that well. There's no hint of godly justice taking him down for that bit of nefarious business. No hint in the myths that he was trying to push young Theseus to claim the throne of Athens or to unite the kingdoms under Troezen control. So I prefer to assume something different. I prefer to think that there was something real between Aethra and Aegeus. I won't necessarily say love, since they hardly knew each other. But I'd like to think they made a real connection. And they made love. I'd also like to think that after Aegeus left, Poseidon showed up in Aegeus' form, and that he and Aethra made love too. That way NONE of them (including Poseidon) really know whether Theseus is the son of a king or of a god.

At any rate, Aegeus and Aethra didn't marry. Marrying a king is big business. Again, I'd like to give them the benefit of the doubt. He was straight with her. She still wanted him. They swam out to the island. Shared a sweet night together. And he swam off, but not before leaving provisions as to what to do in the UNLIKELY event that the union resulted in issue. (Remember, he thought he was sterile.)

She didn't throw a fit. And even after she discovered she was pregnant, she let things ride. Pittheus raises the boy without complaint. Teaches him to be a man. At any rate, I don't believe he grew up not knowing love. I think his mother loved him. I think his grandfather loved him. So I won't give him that excuse for anything he did, good or bad.

As for the Herakles stuff... Well, sure young Theseus might have been impressed, but he always took Herc with a grain of salt. Yes, Herc inspired him to "Great Deeds", but I'm not sure that's as bad as you make it sound. And Theseus was always the thinking man's hero. Always using brains as often as -- or more often than -- brawn. And always in control of his faculties, never going mad and slaughtering loved ones mindlessly. Later, when Herc and Theseus went on a few adventures together, he helped keep the big man from going berserker.

Did he rape the bandits' daughters? I hope not. I'm not sure they ever existed. They're not IN every version of the myth. Again, keep in mind, Athens (or at least Athenians) would have been of two minds on Theseus. Yes, he was their hero. But he also abandoned them. Do you love him for the good days? Or do you revile him for the bad? Maybe, a little of both. And maybe both sides twist his story a bit to suit their interpretations. I can't help thinking the truth is in the middle.

Because, NO, I don't think Theseus is a good roll model. He's clearly more fascinating than flat-out heroic. And he didn't end nearly as well as he began. And there's no divine redemption either. No Herculean ascent to Olympus. No godhood. He is human right until the end. And probably after. He is a bastard. In all the negative and misunderstood and put-upon and over-coming connotations of the term. ALL OF THEM.

But back to the narrative...

Was it rape? Were they even the bandits' daughters? Or might they have been slaves that he set free (after a party)? I don't know. But again, I'm inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt. Because, I see this YOUNG Theseus as a guy struggling to be Lancelot. He's not like Lancelot. He's too damn clever for his own good to really play the Lancelot roll. Too much of a bastard. But he's trying, I think. Inspired not by the true Herakles but by the big man's press, he's setting out as a knight errant to do right. So that he can walk into Athens as a MAN. As someone who DESERVES his birthright. That's the kind of boy that I think Pittheus and Aethra raised. (As I've mentioned before, my thinking is heavily influenced by Mary Renault.)

It's the noble Lancelot in him that sends him to Crete. And yes, of course he kills the Minotaur. The New Olympians may have gotten us to look at this another way, but from his point of view the Minotaur is an out-and-out monster, literally eating the youth of Athens. And the people of Crete, who keep their dirty secret locked up and feed it on the tribute children of their conquered enemies aren't much better (or are arguably worse) than the creature itself. So I shed no tears for Ariadne's brother. This was a rebellion of slaves against their evil masters. If Deucalion got in Theseus' way, so be it.

As for his Athenian lover, well, again, I'd like to give the guy the benefit of the doubt. I'm assuming, for starters, that by custom if not inclination, that Theseus was bisexual. That most of the Athenian youth were. That desperate people in a desperate situation reached out to each other for comfort doesn't trouble me. That they had multiple partners over (do I have this right?) seven years, doesn't bother me either. I think that Periboea may have been one of many lovers. And that she may have had many herself (of both sexes). This doesn't get in the way of him having sincere feelings for Ariadne. Feelings he believed at the time were true love. Romantic infatuation. A Lancelot looking for his Guinevere, and thinking he has found her.

And I don't need the "Medea-excuse" to justify him leaving her later. I've read enough versions of the myth where Dionysus didn't give Theseus a choice in the matter. And that was before I saw Renault's version wherein -- SPOILERS HERE -- Theseus is horrified to see what Ariadne does during the Dionysian rites. He does still love her. But he won't bring someone capable of that back to Athens as his bride.

And I'm not troubled that his intentions en route to battle the Amazons were less than honorable. After all, he was a king, setting out to conquer. It was part of the job description. Besides, it's what he ultimately did, not what he originally intended that truly frames his character. And I think here, as I've said before, he truly fell in love. A love of equals. One of the ONLY Greek heros to fall for a woman who truly was his equal. Instead of conquering the Amazons, he allies with them. He does right by Antiope, until she dies in battle, by his side. This is the true Theseus. Not the kid looking to be a hero. Not the bitter guy he'd become. This is the hero -- in fact, not by design or default, but defined by his actions. The man who loves equally. Who brings constitutional monarchy to his people. This is the great man. But then she dies. And so it can't last.

Phaedra. Yeah. A political marriage. I like to think he was, at least, fond of her. That maybe he hoped to see a bit of Ariadne in her. But she f**ked with his head. And, yes, he was open to it. He let himself be rashly used. He clearly sinned here. I refuse to absolve him for Hyppolytus' death. But that doesn't mean that I don't think he wasn't more sinned against than sinning. Antiope's death killed something in him. He didn't truly know how to raise Hyppolytus without her. I think he indulged the kid and wound up distanced from him. And he indulged his new young wife and wound up a stranger to her. And then he indulged his own bitter temper. And wound up broken.

Broken, but ironically not bent. He's no longer young. But he's still virile. And in a way, that works out very BADLY for him. No sitting back and enjoying the fruits of his labors. He's got too much damn energy for that. So the energy gets channeled into bad friends, stupid choices and wild schemes.

After Hyppolytus' death, well, I have to agree that it's all downhill. (Though I'd change the subconcious motivations, based on my interpretations.) He doesn't care any more. He's empty. This is the third Theseus. Not the young Lancelot. Not the true hero. But the guy left over. The good-looking, well-trained, virile, vital, empty wreck. He did some truly stupid stuff here. But even with the wildly nutty Helen stunt, I can't help loving him all the more for it.

But that's my problem, I guess. :)

Response recorded on April 03, 2000

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Todd Jensen writes...

Oh, one thing that I forgot to mention in my reply to your "Awakening Part Two" ramble, but I was intrigued by your mention of how you were deliberately going for "Gargoyles" being different from "Batman", and that list of differences that you drew up. I can see a few of those differences, of course (some you mentioned in that Gargoyles Bible for Season One, but a few I can come up with myself - I've seen some episodes of "Batman:TAS" myself, although I never quite got into it as much as I got into "Gargoyles").

1. (One of your points). Batman is a crime-fighter because his parents were killed by criminals in front of him when he was a boy, and so he HAS to fight crime as a means of coping with his loss. Goliath was himself grieved by the slaughter of his clan, but that's not why he fights crime in New York; it's because it's a natural evolution for the 1990's of his "Gargoyles protect" role.

2. (Also from your Gargoyles Bible, or inspired by it). Gotham City is a gloom-ridden, cheerless city, overrun with crime and with bizarre freakish criminals such as the Joker, Two-Face, and Scarecrow. The gargoyles' New York is a more balanced city, where there is something of a crime problem, but coming from more "mundane" criminals like Tony Dracon (whose only bizarre trait is that white streak in his hair), and where there's wonders and beauty to be found rather than just misery and despair. (Although Jackal, Hyena, and Wolf all strike me, particularly after "Upgrade", as definitely Arkham Asylum material).

3. Batman's entire life is focused on crime-fighting, with Bruce Wayne as just a necessary mask that he wears, something of a facade. (I recall reading once in a book about the making of "Batman:TAS" that in the production team's view of him, his temptation isn't to give up being Batman and lead a normal life as Bruce Wayne; it's to discard his Bruce Wayne identity and become Batman full-time). The gargoyles have been able to find lives outside of just patrolling the city and protecting it: Goliath reads (particularly the classics such as Shakespeare and Dostoyevsky), the trio go to music concerts and movies, Lexington also pursues his interests in technological matters, Broadway and Hudson learn how to read, the trio all court Angela when she joins them, etc. Quite different from Batman's grim, driven single-mindedness.

Well, there are probably some more, but these are the ones that I could immediately think of. Are there any, in your opinion, that I've missed?

Greg responds...

I once wrote an entire memo for Buena Vista listing tons of differences. (I'm sure I've got it around here somewhere.) But you got the main ones.

But I'd nuance your first one a bit with one important point. The Waynes were murdered before Bruce's eyes, when he was a CHILD.

Goliath's clan was massacred out of his sight when he was an adult. And some of the clan was saved. I'm not trying to quantitatively weigh one tragedy against the other, but once Goliath survived his "suicide attempt" and was reunited with the other gargs, you can see how, as an adult, he could find it much easier to cope.

Batman's scarred for life. Goliath has a horrible tragedy in his background. He'll never forget it, but he has moved on. Bruce can never move on. Never.

And fundamentally, there was one other major structural difference. Batman wound up with a large extended cast of characters. But that series was fundamentally about a single hero.

Gargoyles was always written as an ensemble piece, a la HILL STREET BLUES. Goliath was our Furillo. He was never our Batman.

Response recorded on March 31, 2000

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Aris Katsaris writes...

What are your own beliefs concerning the validity/truth of myths out there? For example do you believe there was once an Atlantis? People corresponding to Agamemnon, Theseus, Minos, Hercules? That Osiris and Seth may have been historical figures that were later deified?

My own thoughts is that there's more historical truth in some myths than is generally believed - for example I wouldn't be surprised (though I *would* be fascinated) if there was a historical Theseus and Agamemnon - while in other cases I tend to think that people like Minos and Pasiphae seem to represent entire dynasties/titles rather than specific individuals...

Greg responds...

I tend to agree with you. It's clear to me, for example, that Hippolyta is actually "The Hippolyta," female King of the Amazons. A title. Not an individual.

Had to be a flood. Too many myths about it in too many cultures. Yeah, these people existed. Stories may have been majorly skewed over the years. But nothing comes from nothing.

Of course, in a thousand years if Aris-3000 is asking Greg-3000 whether he believes there really was a Goliath and an Elisa, whether Demona was an individual or a hereditary title, well... we can figure we were full of it.

Response recorded on March 26, 2000