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I originally posted this in the comment room a few weeks ago when I finally got the chance to buy the first issue of Mecha-Nation from my local comic shop. Bad timing had the Ask Greg question queue already closed. Nevertheless, I thought I'd post my review and comments here, as I've been genuinely excited and eager for some Greg Weisman/Vic Cook/Greg Gular material all summer (I blame the lack of a complete second season DVD of SpecSpidey . . . I reckon I'll just buy the last four volumes after a few more paychecks come in *sigh*).
The first issue starts 'in media res' with First Wave fighting . . . well, our heroes with a to-be-determined team name.
Team-themes aside, the Mecha-teens go by Stealth, Blast! Tank, Charge, and Fahrenheit. First Wave on the other hand consists of Flood, Grunt, Crane, Velocity and Pulse. As you probably can tell, each individual's name relates to their particularly unique power (like Fahrenheit able to wield fire and Stealth being able to be camouflaged in his surroundings).
They're still shopping for team names mid-battle as a matter of fact (well, at least Blast! is), which rightly leads to some standard obligatory banter . . . which is SO a rule, according to Blast (his profile at the end of the issue lists Dragonball and X-Men as favorites of his, though I wonder and hope if he's seen Spectacular Spidey, hehe).
The battle ultimately cuts short and just as Charge calls it out for what must be an entirely pointless battle, First Wave tells our new heroes that in coming out to fight nearby a Glass Lake Senior High Bowlathon so quickly, they've quite possibly just slipped their hand and given away their non-Mecha-identities. Cue a few Dun Dun Duns.
The story moves on to the next day with Kevin (Stealth), Marcus (Blast!), Zahra (Charge), Ray (Tank), and Fahrenheit (Susie) making their way to school, still somewhat shaken from last night's events. Determined not to out themselves as Mecha-Sapiens, they promise not to 'Metal-out' for any reason to varying successes. We're soon treated to a funny side effect when maintaining one's human form for too long ('the itches' . . . I can only imagine).
While the five try to hide in their metal shells, we get some fun social interactions at Glass Lake Senior High, where Susie is very much a popular and can never-be-seen by the "freaks and geek." Zehra, a 'freak,' meanwhile has connections at the school she would prefer to ignore, given her (and her teammates) current troubles.
The rest of the issue has some fun introductions with the science teacher (who's got a particularly annoying verbal tic) and the school principal, all the while with the blooming mysteries of who the First Wave folk are (and have we already seen them at school?) and what "The Factory" is (evidently First Wave's . . . employers?) Clearly the questions are rhetorical; no doubt I'll get a better sense of the answers in the next two issues . . . <Heh Heh> d:
Tangent -- One issue in, and already with the Shakespeare references? Granted, its Romeo and Juliet which seems to be the typical standard selection for all high schools these days (in my own case, I read it in Eighth Grade and thus begged my freshman English teacher if we could do another tragedy -- Macbeth, I wonder why I recommended that? haha -- instead of his initial selection of Romeo and Juliet). Still, as a long time fan of your work, this brief mention made me chuckle. :)
Overall, a fun first issue that makes me want to see more very soon.
Glad you liked it. We're really proud of Mecha-Nation and hope it catches on...
Hey Greg, a couple Spectacular Spidey ?'s that I hope you'll be able to answer:
1.) Someone asked a question on whether you had plans for S.H.I.E.L.D., and you said "No", not "No comment". So I'm curious, where do you see Nick Fury and S.H.I.E.L.D. at this point in time? Have the government approved the group, or has there not been a reason to create the group yet?
2.) The Lizard in his first appearance was not seen as talking, but was seen as a mute, savage beast. I'm curious, what was the thought process behind making him that way?
3.) What happened with MOI animation in the second season? Blueprints, Shear Strength, Growing Pains, & Gangland are in my opinion the weakest animated episodes of the series. Their season 2 work just felt alot less fluid than their season 1 work, and compared to Dong Woo and Hanho their animation from season 2 was alot more fluid looking than what MOI was doing. I know there's a camp of people who complained about Hanho going off model, but I always accepted the squash and stretch being used alot more, since that's how Victor Cook intended the animation to be.
These next 2 questions are tricky to ask since I'm not sure if they break the "won't spoil because their better off being revealed in execution" code you've gone by, but I'll give it a shot anyways:
4.) You said that Roderick Kingsley owning a perfume company would be brought up in his next appearance. Does that mean you had plans to introduce Belladonna?
5.) You said you know who the main villains of each arc would be in season 3, but you didn't have everything planned out beyond that. Hobgoblin sounds obvious, Scorpion, Maybe. So are the main villains of each season 3 arc, something you'd be willing to reveal(at the very least), or not?
6.) About the radio play, when Cleatus says to Demona, "I'll have what he's having.", how come Eddie wasn't saying "YES, YES, OH GOD YES" when he became Venom again before that?
Looking forward to Young Justice!
1. I don't have my Spec Spidey research notes with me here at Warner Bros. But as I recall, Nick has not yet been recruited to run SHIELD yet. But in any case, at the time I'm sure I didn't have access to Nick or the SHIELD characters. Spidey Universe only.
2. It seemed right. He seemed more dangerous that way. More Lizardy.
3. I really don't remember.
4. No comment.
5. Not really.
6. For whatever reason, I didn't have quite as firm a grasp on "When Harry Met Sally" as you seem to. I was in a rush.
I was watching DC Showcase Green Arrow. (Which was really cool by the way). I did not something kind of odd. In most of the other adapations I have seen of him, ke Batman the Animated series and The Batman, he cause people to become dizzy with his eye patch gadget. However in the film he was using his hand. Why such a dramtic change for his power source?
You'd have to ask the director why he made the choice he did, but I know Vertigo has used the power in a myriad of ways over the years in the comics, including how you are describing it and by directing it with his hands and by using an EARpiece.
You may or may not have followed the hubbub earlier in the summer when Donald Glover (young and very charismatic black comedian/actor) was campaigning on Twitter for a chance to audition for the role of Peter Parker in the new Spidey movies. Nothing ever came of it, but it sparked a huge internet debate over whether a black Parker was true to the character.
I myself was very open to the idea. After all, nothing about Peter's character or circumstances dictates that he has to be white. Heck, May isn't even related to him by blood; the only characters that would need to be adjusted are his parents, Uncle Ben, and Ben Reilly-- assuming any of those even make it into the new film.
Given that SpecSpidey is my very favorite version of the mythos, and given that the show was notable for, among other things, mixing up the races of various (mostly minor) characters, I was curious as to your thoughts on the subject. Not to the point of any conclusion, but just a reasoned opinion. Are there some things about Spidey that are just TOO traditional, too sacred, that changing them dilutes people's perception of the character? Is his race one of them? You went with the classic white-with-brown-hair interpretation, and I don't think there are many arguments that you succeeded quite well at adapting Parker.
I'll admit I'm wary of making this post, as I don't mean for you to look like you're choosing sides or giving some definitive answer. After all, I've already made up my mind on the issue; I'm sure most people have. Or they sure seemed to have when this controversy was still fresh. But being that you are something of an expert at adapting this specific property, as well as someone who was willing to add diversity where it was appropriate, I'd really like to pick your brain and hear any thoughts you might have regarding this issue.
I think of Peter Parker as Everyman, so I can see why Mr. Glover and others would identify with him and have no trouble changing his ethnicity.
I myself KNOW that Pete is (whether practicing or not) of the Christian persuasion, because I've seen him celebrate Christmas over and over, but it always struck me as window-dressing to make the character appeal to the widest possible American audience. Because he's ALWAYS seemed Jewish to me. Perhaps that's because Stan Lee was/is Jewish and wrote him that way. Or maybe it's just me, being Jewish, reading it in. I toyed with the idea of having Pete's late mother being Jewish on Spec Spidey. But really, what would be the point? (And that was without asking Marvel if they'd have an issue with it.)
So I don't in a theoretical sense have any problem with an African-American Peter Parker. If Nick Fury can look like Samuel L. Jackson, etc., etc., etc.
The question of course is one of ICONOGRAPHY. Is the caucasian, brunette Peter to iconic to change. I certainly felt that M.J.'s red hair and Gwen's blonde hair were too iconic too change (which at least suggests that they needed to both stay Caucasian). But what about Peter?
As you guessed, I don't have a definitive answer for you. Stan and Steve (and maybe Jack) designed the costume so that it would hide race and ethnicity completely. Then WROTE Spidey's dialogue as if he were a Borsht Belt comic. (See why I thought he was a Jew from Queens?) So maybe all that matters is the nebbish -- not the color of it.
But maybe not...
1. Who is Demona's great love?
2. When was Gwen gonna die?
3. Will you spoil your entire series plan for "Young Justice story beat by story beat?
5. Why does the Monarch hate Rusty Venture so much?
LOL, I'm just kidding. Instead here's a comment.
I recently put the entire timeline from the GargWiki into my word processor, and it came out to about fifty-four pages. Obviously, about 98% of that timeline is directly quoted from ASK GREG's "This Day in Gargoyles Universe History" and since you last said that your timeline hit three hundred page mark, well, I am in awe.
In awe mostly because, I knew you were holding out on us... but damn. Sixty-five episodes and eighteen comics, and we still have not scratched the surface of what you have in your head for this world.
I am impressed, sir. Impressed. And, I hope you consider bringing "This Day in Gargoyles Universe History" back sometime soon.
I'm a little to swamped to do that right now. And besides, I don't think that much has changed.
My timeline is currently 330 pages long. But it also has a lot of math.
In an earlier post, (March 4, 2002, to be exact) you said, "I think Fox has some issues. The fact that even when she is in love, she thinks she can't love or be loved, that she doesn't deserve love, etc. is central to her problems. Her parents and their relationships to her and each other play in too."
I read, also in an earlier Ask Greg post, that Fox was 25 when her parents divorced. We the audience don't know how long the marriage lasted happily before Titania grew bored from Renard's rigid ways, or even how long it took her to divorce Renard. A child first learns about relationships from his or her parents, for better or for worse. Growing up and choosing fun over integrity has its key role, of course, especially with her father. So even though Fox wasn't a child when her parents separated, can Fox' feelings that she cannot love or be loved be, at least in part, as a result of her parents' divorce?
Sure. Though of course troubles precede any final divorce decree.
Hi Greg, this is a rather silly question...
I was watching the "Avalon" trilogy the other day, and it came to the part where King Arthur, Elisa, and the Magus arrived at Oberon's Palace after Arthur is awakened. Elisa introduces Arthur to Goliath and the others, and Arthur comments that he needs someone to tell him "what is going on".
So, here's the thing...I find it hard to believe that neither Elisa nor the Magus gave Arthur any background info on the walk back from the Hollow Hill. Were they talking at all? ( I know if I were personally taking a hike with King Arthur, I would be embarassed to say anything dumb and would just cast sidelong glances at him awkwardly lol).
I imagine Arthur was largely still in recovery mode from a LONG sleep.
There may have also been some delaying tactics on the part of Elisa and the Magus as they struggled to figure out exactly how to explain everything.
Mostly, my answer is "Use your imagination!" ;)
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.
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.
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.
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?
Can't wait for young justice! From the limited we've seen ad heard, it looks great. I was wondering if you were planning on using any of the plotlines from the young jusice comic in the show, sort of like how the teen titans took the judas contract storyline and turned that into one of the major plotlines of the second season.
Also, i have to say I'm a little worried about robin being voiced by jesse mcartney. No offense to him, but being as he has a pretty high voice, and you said robin is 13, not 3... I was wondering about how you went about choosing voice actors? Robin for example has been voiced by a number of other people on all the batman shows as well as teen titans. Did you all have. Certain tone in mind for each charecters voice before casting?
Lastly, I know you probably won't dignify this with an answer, but I have a strong urge to ask (I don't HAVE to like that other person lol) I read one of your responses about the number sixteen being involved in the show so much, and you responce wa something like "chuckles evily" or something. I know you can't and won't specify, but was there a reason for using 16 so much?
Thanks for taking the time to deal with all of us :)
Jesse does an EXCELLENT job. And his normal speaking voice is NOT particularly high. Not for a guy his true age and certainly not for a thirteen-year-old. Have you actually heard him speak... you know, anytime recently?
And, as I've said before, we chose our leads by AUDITIONING a ton of people for each part (i.e. Robin, Aqualad, Kid Flash, Miss Martian, Artemis and Superboy/Superman). I think we probably heard something in our heads in advance -- Brandon more than I, probably -- but we knew enough to stay open to serendipity. In any case, I'm thrilled with our leads, as well as our HUGE recurring/guest cast.
How hard was to come up with the story for DC showcase Green Arrow since you didn't have the same amount of time you have for a tv episode?
It wasn't that hard. I had a pretty clear vision of what I wanted to do.