A Station Eight Fan Web Site
I just wrapped up Spirits of Ash and Foam. I thought the first book was decent, but the second one was fantastic. By the end of the book, I felt as into the book as I did when I thought Goliath had just let Elisa fall to her death. It was a slow build, but well worth it.
When are you going to release the third book?
Well, I kinda have to write it first. And my free time has been taken up recently writing World of Warcraft: Traveler for Scholastic Books and Blizzard Entertainment.
It's an original novel set in Azeroth, i.e. the world of World of Warcraft. And it's totally canon.
For more info on it, look here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QESzTP6_in4
But trust me, I WILL get back to the Rain of the Ghosts series and its third book, Masque of Bones, as soon as I can.
Meanwhile, if you need a Rain fix, check out the Rain of the Ghosts AudioPlay at Gumroad.com/RainoftheGhosts !
(If only I didn't have to earn a darn living!)
Toonami Squad podcast here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZV9GjwtrQpI
Here's my schedule for this weekend's Long Beach Comic Expo at the Long Beach Convention Center:
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 20, 2016
11:30am - 12:30pm
DOWN TO NERD: INVADER ZIM AND GARGOYLES: CONQUEROR VS PROTECTOR
Thunderdome (Seaside Pre-Function) w/RuthAnn Thompson (moderator), Dave Crosland, Greg Weisman.
Description: Some come from another time to protect, another from a different planet to conquer- but both hold a special place in our hearts! Gargoyles VS Invader Zim. We will focus on the first 5 episodes of the TV series Gargoyles with writer/creator Greg Weisman and the first 5 issues of the Invader Zim comic books with Dave Crosland. What are the differences and similarities do these creatures out of space and time have? How will they fit in on modern day earth? Casual Fans and Hard Core Nerds alike join host RuthAnn Thompson and be "Down To Nerd"!
01:00pm - 02:00pm
THE ART OF STAR WARS & THE FANDOM BEHIND IT
Danger Room (S1) w/Ben Paddon (moderator), Terry Dodson, Craig Miller, Cat Staggs, Greg Weisman.
Description: Cat Staggs has been working for the Star Wars / LUCASFILM family since 2004, for which she has illustrated short fiction for starwars.com, produced sketch and trading cards, exclusive prints for Star Wars Celebrations III, IV, Europe, Celebration V, and Celebration VI. Terry Dodson is an American comic book artist who penciled the Dark Force Rising comic series in 1997. He has also provided art for Mark Waid's Princess Leia limited series. Moreover, Dodson has drawn the Books-A-Million variant cover to the first issue of the Shattered Empire miniseries, and the CBLDF variant to Star Wars: Vader Down, Part I. Greg Weisman is the writer for Star Wars Rebels - "The Machine in the Ghost", "Art Attack", "Droids in Distress", "Breaking Ranks", "Gathering Forces" and Star Wars: Kanan: The Last Padawan. Craig Miller was Director of Fan Relations for Lucasfilm from 1977-1980. He created and oversaw the Official Star Wars Fan Club as well as having edited and written virtually all of the first two years of Bantha Tracks. He was the producer of the Star Wars Sesame Street episodes in addition to operating R2-D2's head in the episodes, as well as being Producer for Lucasfilm on commercials such as the ones for licensee Underoos.. He was also responsible for creating the 800-number telephone hotline for The Empire Strikes Back that allowed fans to call up to receive more information about the movies and characters.
02:30pm - 03:30pm
DWAYNE MCDUFFIE AWARDS
Creator's Lab (S5)
Description: Long Beach Comic Con is proud to announce the commencement of the Second Annual Dwayne McDuffie Award. This one of a kind award will be granted on February 20, 2016 to an American comics work, published in print or digitally in 2015, deemed by the Selection Committee to promote diversity. In the spirit of Dwayne McDuffie, "promoting diversity" can be judged as either broadening the range of characters portrayed in comics, or adding to the variety of creators contributing to the medium.
04:00pm - 05:00pm
THE SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN PANEL
Danger Room (S1) w/Greg Weisman (moderator), Victor Cook, Kevin Hopps, Kelly Hu, Josh Keaton, Pamela Long.
Description: In 2008, a new version of everybody's favorite friendly neighborhood Web-Slinger - dedicated to recreating the feel of the original Stan Lee & Steve Ditko and Stan Lee & John Romita, Sr. comics - hit the air. Come hear the creative talents behind The Spectacular Spider-Man talk about what went in to making this classic take on a classic character. Panelists include Victor Cook (Director-Producer), Kevin Hopps (Writer), Kelly Hu (voice of Sha Shan Nguyen), Josh Keaton (voice of Peter Parker/The Spectacular Spider-Man), Pamela Long (Color Stylist) and Greg Weisman (Writer-Producer)!
06:00pm - 07:00pm
GETTING ANIMATED WITH TOP ANIMATION EXPERTS
Rumble Room (S4B) w/Ray-Anthony Height (moderator), Chris Copeland, Greg Weisman, Dean Yeagle.
Description: Top animation experts Greg Weisman (Gargoyles, Spectacular Spider-Man), Dean Yeagle (Caged Beagle Productions), and Chris Copeland (Marvel/Disney Animation) discuss how they broke into animation, their work and a Q&A with the audience!
I'll also have a table a on the show floor, specifically table AN-11 in "ANIMATION ISLAND" between Ellen Jin Over and Amy Mebberson, and near Dino Andrade, Michael Bell, Keith Coogan, Chris Copeland, Matt Doherty, Loren Lester, Tiffanie Mang, Joey McCormick, Chuck Patton, Peter Paul, Sara Richards and Aaron Sparrow. I'll be there between panels on Saturday and all Sunday morning until noon. (Not as sure about Sunday afternoon. We'll have to see.)
I'll sign and personalize anything you put in front of me, but I will also be selling copies of my two novels, RAIN OF THE GHOSTS and SPIRITS OF ASH AND FOAM ($10 each), CD sets of the RAIN OF THE GHOSTS AudioPlay ($30 each) and RAIN OF THE GHOSTS prints, drawn by artist Christopher Jones ($10 each, but free with a purchase of the AudioPlay and/or both RAIN and SPIRITS). In addition, I'll be selling animation scripts from series including GARGOYLES, W.I.T.C.H., THE SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN, YOUNG JUSTICE, STAR WARS REBELS and others, ($20 each). Finally, I'll be selling script copies of a couple of the special one-off convention radio plays we did, i.e. THE SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN MEETS GARGOYLES and GARGOYLES MEETS THE SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN MEETS YOUNG JUSTICE ($20 each). All purchases are cash only.
I hope to see you there!
Hi! I've been a fan of Spectacular Spider-Man, Gargoyles, and Young Justice, but now it's time to ask about the latest show you worked on: Star Wars Rebels.
1) What was it like working on the production team? After all, many of the creative team on Rebels worked together on The Clone Wars, but there's some new blood like you.
2) Related- how much creative input did you have compared to other projects? Obviously you had less than you did in your books, given the dichotomy of working with a team versus working on a novel, but compared to other animated series and adaptations you did, was it more, less, or the same?
3) Now that you've left the production team for season 2 onwards(if that is just a rumor, my apologies for propagating it), what are you looking to doing?
Obviously, it's not a lot because at this time only the first three episodes have aired and asking questions about the season's progression would be like asking for plot points of a movie that's currently running. However, chances are I will be back with more questions after the season. Have a good day!
1. It was a lot of pressure, but it was also a lot of fun.
2. It's hard to measure this stuff quantitatively. I had two producing partners (Simon Kinberg and Dave Filoni) on the first season (as opposed to one on most of the series I've done), and there's no doubt that Dave was the senior partner, i.e. the guy that George passed the torch to on the animation side. Plus the Lucasfilm Story Group was very involved and Disney XD had input. So I was less autonomous, certainly. But that's not to imply anything negative. It was a grand collaboration, and the writing staff was great too.
3. Earn a living, mostly. :)
But if you haven't already, check out my novels RAIN OF THE GHOSTS and SPIRITS OF ASH AND FOAM. You can also download and purchase the RAIN OF THE GHOSTS full-cast unabridged AudioPlay at Gumroad.com/RainoftheGhosts. Vanessa Marshall (Hera) and Steve Blum (Zeb) are both featured among a stellar cast that includes many actors from Spectacular Spider-Man, Gargoyles and Young Justice.
Just got done reading your first book and really enjoyed it. Just got the second book on kindle and will start reading it soon. I hope you are able to turn this into a movie or animated program at some point.The first book would make an awesome movie In my opinion.THis book seems to have Guillermo del Toro written all over it.
I was wondering what type of advertising you are doing for the book and what have found to be the most useful in getting the word out?
I was wondering about the possibility of you ever doing any gargoyles novels.I can not wait to see the story line continued in some form or other. I felt like I was just reading the tip of the ice berg or cool stories. I do not know how feasible that would be,but I would love to read more gargoyles related stories from you in any format.
I'm glad you like Rain of the Ghosts. A short review on Amazon would help me out, I'm told.
Let me know what you think of Spirits of Ash and Foam, once you've read it.
I'd love to do a movie or show based on the Rain series, but so far no one has been interested.
I've used social media and done multiple, multiple interviews (print, online, even good old radio) to promote the book. I can't say anything has been all that effective, unfortunately.
Perhaps the Rain of the Ghosts AudioPlay (currently available for purchase and download at Gumroad.com/RainoftheGhosts) will bring more attention to the property as a whole.
I'd also love to do Gargoyles' novels. But that's not up to me. I don't own Gargoyles.
CONVERGENCE 2014 CON REPORT
SATURDAY, JULY 5
11:00 AM CDT
We'd actually gotten to the Doubletree a fair bit earlier than this, as the others had other panels they wanted to attend. But for Brainiac and I, beyond a quick breakfast I grabbed first-thing, we largely spent that time waiting it out in Atrium 6.
I wasn't going to risk being even a single second late to one of the most awesome events of my life.
Thankfully, most everyone got there without too much issue, and we were able to start rehearsal more or less on-time. Angela's player, Dawn Krosnowski, was running a little late…but given that she also serves as CONvergence mascot Connie's "personal assistant," she can probably be forgiven for that.
As it turned out, over 80 people had auditioned and a total of 31 were cast, after Greg made the late-game decision to split up a few roles that were originally combined together. Unfortunately, this decision had come too late to print and highlight new scripts, so those of us who were originally going to play two roles had to share the pages.
In any event, there were lots of whoops and hollers of excitement as the roles were slowly announced, and it became immediately clear that this would be a true sight to behold - especially after BATMAN and IRON MAN were called out in quick succession.
After not too long, I was called up alongside a pretty awesome guy named Tron Howard, who took over what would've been my secondary role: Fu-Dog. But I was perfectly happy with that, because I was close to melting into some sort of orgasmic goo when I got my own casting: Lexington.
When I was a young lad, Lex had always been my favorite of the main cast. He was the most "kid-relatable" to me, if for no other reason than because of his size. Combined with his intelligence, his wide-eyed idealism, and Thom Adcox's wonderfully unique voice, and I really couldn't have asked for a more exciting role.
Tron and I sat together studying the script as the rest of the names were called. There wasn't enough time to read it from start-to-finish, but I skimmed enough to make it clear that this three-way crossover was very similar to "A Handful of Thorns" - an absolutely delightful mix of silly meta-humor and serious hints as to where the trio of shows might next be going, should Greg get a chance to work on them again.
I didn't get a chance to speak with most of the other players face-to-face, though I did have a rather amusing conversation with Vandal's player…the amusing part being that he didn't know who Vandal Savage WAS, and was asking around to see if anyone could give him something to go on.
Fortunately, I was in earshot and gave him a brief description of the character. He asked what the voice sounded like, to which I responded, "Do you know who Miguel Ferrer is?" When he responded in the negative, I tried a different tact: "Have you seen Mulan?" Thankfully, he had (though is there a single person of our general age range who hasn't?), so "same voice as Shan Yu" was enough to put him in the right place for the role. And he ended up turning in a great performance, so I was quite happy to help.
Rehearsal went very well, all things considered, and it goes without saying that I had an absolute blast. It was especially gratifying to learn that (narration and recaps aside) I and Batgirl's player were actually OPENING and CLOSING the action - an unbelievable honor for a newbie like me.
Now as I mentioned before, Thom's voice is one of the most unique I've ever heard out of an actor, and so I didn't even attempt to emulate it. Without much time to practice, what ended up coming out of me was mostly my own voice, if a smidge higher. It seemed to work well, though - Greg's only note of correction to me was to add a yawn to the line "Time for this guy to get some shuteye."
Overall the first run-through of the play was an absolute blast, and while I remained a bit nervous that I'd flub something, it all went pretty smoothly. By the end, I couldn't wait to run it by a live audience.
SATURDAY, JULY 5
12:30 PM CDT
During the short break between rehearsal and the actual performance, Tron, Brainiac (who'd been cast as Bronx), Broadway's player (who was sharing with Brainiac), and I all went down to the Doubletree's front desk to ask if we could get our scripts copied. Thankfully, they were happy to do so, meaning that we wouldn't have to keep passing the pages back and forth.
By the time we got back, the room was already starting to fill up. Oddly, though, I think the increasingly packed house only made me feel more comfortable and confident. Probably has something to do with my enormous ego and how it would soon be able to feast.
Now, as to the play itself…I'll assume that anybody reading this has had a chance to watch it on YouTube (and if they haven't, a link can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ggu7lSMXOnM). So I won't dwell too much on the script itself, but rather on the experience.
And as experiences go? My God, did it not disappoint. Participating in "Recruits" was easily one of the biggest highlights, not just of CONvergence, but of this entire year of my life.
There was something…ELECTRIFYING about being "on stage," particularly at those points when I was up there alongside Marina freaking Sirtis. I really felt at the top of my game, and I think that showed through in my performance. It was everything I'd been hoping for, and so much more; really, my only complaint is that I wish it could've gone on even longer.
When it comes to favorite moments from the play, I scarcely know where to begin. By and large, the cast turned in a phenomenal performance, and I have positive things to say about pretty much each and every one of them.
Goliath's player had a wonderfully natural baritone; Angela's proved just why Connie "relies" on her so much, with a perfectly nuanced and emotional take that played off Marina like sweet honey.
We had a delightfully cocksure and quip-tossing Spidey, a brilliantly snarky Tigress, and a Doc Ock whose voice was so naturally "supervillainy" that it defied words.
An Iron Man who could steal the show with just a couple of lines; a Blue Beetle who absolutely NAILED one-side arguing with his Scarab; a Katana and Nashville who imbued some of their first spoken lines in ANYTHING with great spirit.
Not to mention Jackal and Black Cat, who were pretty much pitch-perfect imitations.
Really, though, I have little else but praise to pass about all-around, and if there's someone I didn't mention in the above list it really only means that I'd be sitting here typing all day if I mentioned everything.
The crowd seemed to eat it all up - unsurprising, since the script was balls-to-the-wall hilarious and LADEN with fanservice. I'm proud to say that I got one of the biggest laughs of the play (TIGRESS: "It's Queen Bee. Angela, get Broadway and Lexington out of here before she takes control of them!" LEXINGTON: "How's she gonna do that?" TIGRESS: "You're not affected? Then that means you're…" *lengthy pause* LEXINGTON: "What?") but the delivery of nearly all the jokes was nailed.
It was fantastic to hear the applause of both the crowd and my fellow actors, amateur and otherwise. My one minor regret is that I was seated directly behind a pillar, so most of the pictures from that performance don't capture me. But there's one I like a lot that's made its rounds on Twitter, with myself alongside Angela's player, Static's player, and Marina herself…and hell, it's all on video, so there's not much to complain about on that front.
One thing that surprised me greatly after the performance was that Marina started grabbing at people's scripts and signing them. Okay, "surprised me greatly" really isn't the right term…it FLOORED me.
I'd already accepted that I wouldn't be getting Marina's autograph that con; much as I love her work, $40 is just plain more than I'm willing to pay for ANY actor's signature, especially when I was already overbudget. And then suddenly, without warning…I was just HANDED it.
Needless to say, I was incredibly gratified. It seemed to indicate to me that, in that brief moment, Marina didn't just consider us fans…but colleagues. Fellow actors, worthy of respect. There were no words to how honored that made me feel.
Because of this, over the last two days of CONvergence that script would become essentially my autograph book, and I tried to make it as complete a record of my time at the con as possible. Greg Weisman, Greg Guler, Frank Paur (complete with an impromptu little doodle of a gargoyle body outline!), Chris Jones, Karine Charlebrois, and Jennifer Anderson all signed the front page, while Rachael Sterling - Batgirl's player - signed by her cast listing at my request. It seemed only fitting, since most of our scenes were spent playing off each other.
All in all…there was NOTHING like this experience, either before or after. But the con was far from done, so after congratulations were offered and words of gratitude exchanged, we were off to the next panel.
SATURDAY, JULY 5
2:00 PM CDT
Next up was another Gathering mainstay brought back to life: the "Gargoyles Biology and Culture" panel. This is the kind of stuff my friends from Station 8 and I are constantly discussing anyway, so while I didn't have much to add myself I was looking forward to hearing what fresh thoughts others might bring to the table.
I was sitting next to Brainiac during this one, and being a bio major and self-proclaimed emulator of Anton Sevarius (…why was I going anywhere near him, again?) he very much DID have some points to add.
Seriously though, I did appreciate hearing his insights - in particular, there was a fascinating discussion about the coloration of gargoyle eggs, and whether they might differ between clans. Apparently…well, to put it in his words:
"My contribution was pointing out how amongst humans, paternal contribution leads to the trophectoderm (fetal placenta and umbilicus) while maternal leads to the inner cell mass (what becomes the embryo). Thus leading to the possibility of egg coloration being determined more by the male (specifically Brooklyn in the discussion)."
I am, of course, just directly quoting to emphasize the "I have no idea what any of this means but it sure sounds cool" factor.
Gargoyle biorhythms, divergent wing shapes, and possible other (earlier) gargate species were other topics that I can recall being discussed, though I'm drawing a blank on too many details.
But in general I had a ton of fun hearing Brainiac and other scientifically minded fans debate this stuff back and forth - even if I myself was far too out of my element to do more than smile and nod politely.
SATURDAY, JULY 5
3:30 PM CDT
Nearly this entire day was spent attending Greg Weisman panels, and this one was no exception - though it was the only one that in no way involved Gargoyles. Rather, an intimate group (admittedly, largely the SAME fans who were following him through the various Gargoyles panels that day…but still) gathered within Atrium 3 to discuss a certain ghost-whispering girl by the name of Rain Cacique.
"Rain of the Ghosts" was a fun little gem, and one that I saw a lot of potential in; as of the writing of this sentence, I finally finished "Spirits of Ash and Foam" a few days ago, and I enjoyed the hell out of it.
I'll be uploading a lengthier review to both Amazon and Ask Greg once this entire report is finally done with, but in the meantime…
Lots was covered in this brief hour. Greg started out with pitching the basic premise and explaining the history of the project, which at this point is a speech I can probably recite in my sleep after all the interviews I've watched/listened to. But hey, if he can pick up a few more curious fans to this wonderfully promising novel series…it's not like I'M gonna complain.
He also did a reading of Chapter 7, "A Wake": the scene depicting 'Bastian's funeral. Then - to my surprise but also great delight, considering it wasn't to come out until the following week - he spiced things up with a reading from Chapter 5 of Spirits, "The Pale Tourist" - the scene depicting Constable Thibideaux discussing the discovery of Cash's body, fresh from being murdered by the *SPOILERS*
It was an interesting pick for a preview chapter, especially considering Rain and co. don't appear in it at all. But it definitely got me intrigued to learn just what'd caused the mystery death, and in hindsight it makes a lot of sense as a way to demonstrate that, like Gargoyles, the mystic fantasy tropes were going to lay side-by-side with the modern day.
After the two readings, he turned things over to Q&A. I asked whether 'Bastian/The Dark Man had originally had a smaller role that'd expanded because he's just so enjoyable to read about, considering that "ghost of protagonist's grandfather who looks like he's in his 20s" isn't a very common description of a main character in young adult fiction. But Greg said that 'Bastian was always intended as a lead from the beginning, which I thought was pretty interesting.
Other questions concerned racial diversity in the series; what changed between the original draft of the first book that Greg wrote in the 90s, and the final version that was published (answer: not all that much, actually, apart from needing to update the technology in-story to 2013 standards); why Greg chose to explore Taino mythology specifically; whether other Caribbean folklore - voodoo in particular - will eventually be covered (answer: yes); and the sorts of sources he uses for his research, especially the music.
He also spoke at length about his tentative plans for an audiobook. St. Martin's Press has right of first refusal to make one, but if they decide not to the rights pass to Greg.
If so, he has a rather ambitious plan to do it "radio play style," by hiring professional voice actors to play at least the major parts - under the rather sound logic that the narrator for absolutely everything is the masculine Opie, despite the main character being a thirteen-year-old girl. And in order to cover the costs, he intends to try his hand at Kickstarter…just as soon as he learns how to use Kickstarter.
On a similar note, Greg also made it clear that regardless of how things turn out, he WILL be finishing the Rain series…even if he has to resort to self-publishing to do so. That being said, he's very much hoping it won't have to come to that.
While he obviously wasn't going to share too many details, he did admit that St. Martin's could be sadder about the first book's sales, but most DEFINITELY could be happier. Their desire is that Spirits both outsells its predecessor AND spurs some new purchases of Rain…and whether or not that desire is realistic, I very much HOPE that it'll be the case.
Because Spirits is amazing, and it damn well deserves it.
Oh, and when the conversation turned briefly to Ask Greg, the Wise Man mentioned that we had a moderator for the site in the audience. And I got a spontaneous round of applause.
So…that was neat.
SATURDAY, JULY 5
4:30 PM CDT
After the Rain panel, Greg and his various acquaintances planned to head over to TGI Friday's for dinner…and since there were so few people left in the room at that point, pretty much tossed out an open invitation to join to everyone within earshot. Including me.
Needless to say, I jumped at the chance.
Thankfully, this was probably the best meal of the weekend (for the worst…well, see Sunday's report). A very tasty chicken BLT with fries, plus some strawberry lemonade. I do love me some strawberry lemonade.
There were WAY too many of us to sit at one table, so we ended up (after some reasoning with the management) spread out over five tables of varying size - meaning this was less "dinner with Greg Weisman" than "dinner in the immediate vicinity of Greg Weisman, close enough to hear Chris Jones' jokes and occasionally butt in." Which was still pretty fun.
By the time we were done eating, Greg's table had already taken off. After paying the check myself, I still had about half a plate of fries left…and since I'm kinda crazy about not wasting food, I went around to see if anyone wanted to partake.
Chip, who I was sitting across from, declined; as did Brainiac and Dragonlord at the next table. The Bishanskys had left as well, so I offered it to Aaron, Mara, and Lynati - the only ones also left in our general seating area. And I'm very glad they said yes.
I'd had an extremely fun conversation with all three after the radio play, thanks to the Twilight Sparkle t-shirt I was wearing during it. As a general rule, if someone is both a Gargoyles fan AND a brony/pegasister, I'm probably going to get along with them swimmingly.
And in this case, that DEFINITELY held up, as my small overture of French fries led to what I like to call an "evening of instant friendship." I'm not usually great at that sort of thing, but we really clicked and had loads of fun hanging with each other that day, chatting about ponies and Magical Girls and previous Gatherings and all sorts of other lovely things.
As a total newbie to the classic "Gathering crowd," they really helped me feel welcome and at home. I definitely hope that it won't be the last time we see each other.
SATURDAY, JULY 5
7:00 PM CDT
After dinner, we all headed back to Plaza 2 for the next stop on the "Greg Weisman CONvergence World Tour" as I have just now decided to call it, oh how clever I am.
In this case, the event was a "One on One with Greg Weisman," hosted by CONvergence mainstay Hal Bichel. This was a fun little interview that stretched across pretty much the entirety of Greg's career, with questions ranging from his inspirations to his early breaks into the business, from Gargoyles to Spectacular Spidey, and from Young Justice to Rain.
CONvergence itself was also a big topic - Greg's past experiences with the convention, and how he was enjoying his weekend so far. Despite his tiredness (and really, if I were him I'd be SO "conned out" by that point), it was clear that we was truly having a blast, and said as much.
Really, it ended up being less an interview than Greg telling stories with Hal occasionally nudging him toward various subjects…and since Greg is such a wonderfully FUN storyteller, I certainly didn't mind that.
One particularly amusing tale involved the origins of the "Fancy Bastard" competition, which in a nutshell began because Greg ONCE Tweeted about pie and Chris Jones decided to be a colossal troll about it.
Which I mean in only the most absolutely positive way, I assure you. ;)
SATURDAY, JULY 5
8:30 PM CDT
Once the panel was over, we immediately headed back to CONvergence Central to get in line for Greg's next signing.
Everything that I'd actually brought FOR signing had already been taken care of on Friday, but now there was a new item absolutely none of us could resist: an exclusive print by Chris Jones to commemorate "Recruits," featuring its diverse roster of villains (Demona, Jackal, Hyena, Doc Ock, Electro, Vandal Savage, and Queen Bee).
Accounts differed between who you listened to, as to whether Chris goaded Greg into writing such an ambitious radio play script, or whether Chris merely made a suggestion and Greg imagined the rest. Regardless, though, Greg used his version of the events to strong-arm Chris into the print…with so little notice that the thing ended up being put together in about five hours.
Which just makes its jaw-dropping awesomeness all the sweeter, LOL.
Chris wasn't there at this particular signing, but I paid for the print and got Greg's signature (and on my radio play script as well) as quick as I could, before heading back to the Theater Nippon for one final round of anime goodness.
Somehow not content with screening only one of my favorite shows of all time, the Theater was playing the first four episodes of "Baccano!" - Narita Ryohgo's rip-roaring tale of immortal alchemists, eccentric thieves, and surprisingly amiable gangsters clashing in Prohibition-era Chicago and New York.
I'd only finished the anime for the first time a few months prior, but its effect on me was immediate and profound. As such, I was very much looking forward to watching it for the fifth time, but this time (in the unrelentingly entertaining dub, one of the best I've EVER heard put together) with an audience.
I was especially glad that Bookwyrm, who like me is a burgeoning anime fan trying desperately to play catch-up with all the stuff we've missed, decided to join me and see what all my raving was about. And I was even gladder that he clearly enjoyed the heck out of it.
Unfortunately, we only had time for three of the episodes before we had to head off to our next panel. Meaning that catching up with episode four ("Ladd Russo Enjoys Talking a Lot and Slaughtering a Lot") would have to wait until we got back to our respective homes.
Aw. Sad face.
SATURDAY, JULY 5
10:00 PM CDT
Of course, I can't really be TOO depressed about where we needed to head off to next. Considering that it was, without question…
One of the funniest things I have EVER experienced.
Of the various panels that took place over the course of the CONvergence weekend, the Blue Mug was definitely the one most widely shared and Tweeted about on the interwebs. So I won't be going into TOO much detail about the finer ins and outs of what was shared.
Suffice it to say, though, that it was one of those "Gathering mainstays" that I was most looking forward to…and it in NO WAY disappointed me.
The room was packed, which was quite an accomplishment considering the lateness of the hour and the fact that the party rooms were all back open. Still, I'm proud - if somewhat dubiously so - to have been the one to offer the first question of the night…and the reaction of the Wise Man was beyond priceless.
Anticipating (correctly, as it turned out) that the vast majority of the questions asked would be related to Gargoyles or Young Justice, I stood up and said, "I figure you're going to get plenty of questions based on some of your more popular shows. But in honor of my friend Kyubey here, I'd like to ask about your own foray into the Magical Girl genre…"
It's here that I held up my plushie so everyone else in the audience could see, eliciting groans and shudders from those in the audience familiar with the character. It's ALSO here that Greg Weisman interrupted me, with what Chip and I agree to be the best single moment of the entire convention:
"PUT THAT THING AWAY, IT GIVES ME THE CREEPS!"
Given all that I have ever known or learned about him, to be good-naturedly shouted down by Greg Weisman was pretty much the highest honor I could've received…and I took it as such. ;)
What followed was my only mildly successful attempt to actually get to my question, while avoiding simply breaking down into raucous laughter.
This ended up resulting in Greg going off on a tangent as soon as I mentioned W.I.T.C.H. about how often and how brazenly the show got crap past the radar, both before and after he joined the creative team. The pilot episode's exchange on the girls'…ahem…improved figures (HAY LIN: "What do we have behind us?" CORNELIA: "What do we have in FRONT of us?") got special mention.
Greg went on to share that all five of the main girls are virgins as of the end of Season 2, as well as reiterate his suspicions that Irma is a lesbian (personally, I've always thought of her as a lesbian-leaning bisexual, even before Greg said anything on the subject…but that's neither here nor there).
Which was all well and good…but was also not what I wanted to ask about. When I told Greg this, his mock-exasperation either crossed the line into genuineness, or else he was doing a remarkably good imitation. Perhaps it wasn't wise to keep pressing…but dammit, inquiring minds NEED to know!
Following the intensely revealing "You have no IDEA what she meant to me!" line Nerissa tosses off in "K is for Knowledge," I was aware that Greg had mentioned at past cons that there were in fact feelings beyond the platonic involved between them.
But being a total pervert, I specifically wanted to know how many bases they'd gotten through before Cassidy caught a terrible case of deadness. Greg answered that they were indeed "lovers"…which I'm going to take to mean "all of the above, buckaroo" and no one can stop me!
Anyway, most of the other revelations from the panel - and they are myriad - are covered in the following post: http://archive.moe/co/thread/63412521/. Please note that I do NOT recommend scrolling down through the entire comment thread, not the least because Ask Greg is at least nominally PG. Read at your own risk…of uproarious laughter.
A couple things I recall coming up that aren't mentioned there, however:
- I asked one other question that evening, regarding Lex Luthor and Mercy Graves on Earth-16. Greg cut in to basically say "Duh," about their relationship, which indeed seemed fairly obvious but was nice to have confirmation on. My particular question, however, was actually about whether she is…ahem…"enhanced" anywhere apart from her arm. Greg's answer was essentially a shrug and a "Sure, why not," which satisfied me.
- Electro is gay. 'Nuff said.
- To clarify the Conner/M'gann thing: shifting into porn stars or other superheroines was COMPLETELY her idea, and while she assumed it would please him (because, well…he's a GUY), in truth all he really cared about was being with her. He knew that he wasn't with her "true" form the whole time, after all.
- Artemis and Wally had sex A LOT during the time skip. And in response to an almost disturbingly specific question…yes, eventually that did involve "butt-stuff." Incidentally, I'm only including this in the rundown because hearing Greg Weisman say "butt-stuff" was amazing.
- Lexington's alias from the radio play, "Tin Man," would indeed have been his canon handle during his online chats with Amp.
As the linked report indicates, Edmund Tsabard did indeed make his very unfancy appearance about half an hour into the panel, though he only stayed for about five minutes before storming out furiously because people repeatedly insisted on asking him about Gargoyles.
Quite a shame, really. I think he and Kyubey would've gotten along super-well.
Anyway, there was some amusing less-meta discussion of "Last Tengu" afterward, given that both Mara and Greg were panelists - mostly about the peculiar circumstance of learning that one CAN lose money on pornography. Now, when I'd met Mara earlier I had no idea she was involved with "Last Tengu," so it was a bit of a pleasant shock to make that connection; realizing that the Blue Mug Productions artist is also a pegasister put…interesting images into my brain, LOL.
Finally, I'd just like to note that while I'd never been to a Blue Mug before, retroactively I feel compelled to say that all the previous ones were poorer for their lack of Christopher Jones. Sitting off to the side and snarking through it all, he provided the perfect capstones to some absolutely glorious moments.
One that stands out was when Greg was mentioning that he didn't think Conner would've had much sexualization prior to his relationship with M'gann; it wouldn't really have come up in his Cadmus education. Chris then countered by saying that Conner would've been taught only "the sexual knowledge needed to destroy Superman."
And then there was the one-liner "blood from a stone," which I will not explain because it is absolutely impossible to do justice to it in text. Suffice to say that with those words, Greg declared Chris the winner of CONvergence.
AND IT WAS SO.
SUNDAY, JULY 6
12:45 AM CDT
I'm debating with myself whether to include this last "panel" in this post or the next, since TECHNICALLY it took place on Sunday. But I guess it makes most sense here.
Anyway, when I asked about the classic Gathering videos during our drink on Friday, he said that he'd been petitioning CONvergence for a time and place to screen them…if at basically one day's notice.
Finally, right after the radio play, he announced that he'd managed to procure such a location: the Bloomington room at 12:45 AM. Like my "Recruits" character, I am as nocturnal as a flying squirrel, so this didn't bother me…but it did mean a couple hours of killing time following the Blue Mug.
Thankfully, between the Brainiac/Chip/Bookwyrm/Dragonlord group and the Aaron/Mara/Lynati group, there were plenty of ways to enjoy myself while we waited for everything to get set up.
Mostly I chatted with various people about the numerous revelations that'd come out of the previous panel, as well as on the subjects of fanfiction, ponies, and why everyone should totally watch W.I.T.C.H. and Madoka Magica.
Although Lynati and I did take a quick break to run to the Aperture Science party room when I informed her that there was cake there. ;)
Anyway, by the time the doors reopened and Greg arrived with the Sacred DVD of Sacredness (TM), he was clearly in a bit of a punk-drunk mood given the lateness of the hour and the fullness of his schedule…which just made him even MORE entertaining.
It was basically just the truly hardcore fans left by that point, and the rather tight-knit and intimate atmosphere as he regaled us with tales of Gargoyles' inception, both grand and dire, was exactly what I'd always dreamed of experiencing were I able to afford to go to a Gathering.
He started out with a couple early promotional videos, including the press one that ended up resulting in the infamous "better than Barney" remark - and getting to join in that synchronized shout was a ton of fun. The one geared toward sci-fi fans (and particularly Trekkies) was especially interesting, in terms of the optics it chose to emphasize, and it was made all the more fascinating when someone from the audience mentioned actually learning about the show for the first time THROUGH that video's screening at an early 90s sci-fi con.
Next came the pitches: Dark Ages and New Olympians. I was familiar with most all of the information, and through the GargWiki I'd even already seen many of the images. But witnessing them all strung together, playing out before me, was an entirely different experience.
And I was even MORE enthralled by the Bad Guys leica reel. Sure, I pretty much knew how the entire thing would play out, beat-for-beat, thanks to the comics. Sure, there was nothing technically "new" in it.
But Bad Guys has always been my favorite of the proposed Gargoyles spinoffs (and its unfairly short-lived miniseries, my favorite part of the SLG comics run), and the sheer JOY of hearing the voices of the Redemption Squad once more - some of them, including William Devane and Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, for the first time ever - was more than enough to satisfy me.
And then, finally, the main attraction. "The Last."
While I'd had the script for "The Last" in my backpack for over a day by that point, I hadn't done more than skim through it, in hopes that my first experience with the unproduced episode would be seeing it in person. And I am very glad for my restraint.
While the fan-completed art and animation varied in quality (although some of it, especially Sweet's and Fiona's reunion, was VERY impressive for volunteer work), the true gem was hearing all the voices coming to life for the first time since I'd watched "Milo's Return" many years ago.
Never before have I been sadder that "Team Atlantis" never got to come to air. The promise, fun, and adventurous spirit of the show is quite evident from the script, and I particularly enjoyed getting to hear Demona play up the "noble gorlois" image to Kida's group.
Overall, I enjoyed the entire "after-hours panel" immensely. It was the perfect capstone to the perfect day - one which had reminded me just why I fell in love with this fandom in the first place.
It's a family…and from start to finish, it made me feel welcome as a clan member.
And the fun wasn't even over yet.
Of course, we've since DONE the Rain AudioPlay, available now at www.Gumroad.com/RainoftheGhosts!
This is definitely overdue, but better late than never!
I picked up Rain of the Ghosts the day it came out with the simple struggle in figuring out just how fast I wanted to turn the page to know what happened next when I quickly realized that I would eventually have to wait a fair heap of time for the next installment, thanks to the knowledge previously revealed on AskGreg that Rain was intended to be a series. In short, I wanted to cherish the ride that I had been waiting to get on. But now that the ride has finally started, I can finally say I don't ever want to get off!
Without getting into the details that makes most of these reviews sound all too similar (and to minimize any spoilers), let me just take the time to point out some of the strongest (and/or favorite) aspects of the story that stood out to me. As someone who has enjoyed a lifetime of reading books (and well aware I've not read enough) and watching more than a few shows with Greg Weisman at the helm, this book almost felt like the long awaited cosmic alignment that I've only just realized I should have been anticipating, lol.
Moments I liked (***POTENTIAL SPOILERS!!!***):
-- This was brought up at CONvergence for Gargoyles and Young Justice (ConJournals on the way I promise!), but I LOVE that Rain of the Ghosts is also dedicated to the realism so as to make the fantastic pop . . . from the Spanish to the slow track of time, it really does flesh it out. Such attention to detail - detail that's far more engaging than encyclopedic - makes the first novel feel like a diary for the entire Ghost Keys (at the least, the personal diary of the native omniscient narrator).
-- 'Bastian's nickname for Rain, and happy we'll be hearing it for at least a little longer :)
-- I enjoyed the magicked-scenes where Rain and Charlie (and whoever else) sees and hears different things. Especially since we actually get a lot of detail on what the folks who don't see *are* in fact seeing. If it played on television, I'd imagine it'd feel very familiar to the Weird Sisters in "City of Stone."
-- I was actually lulled into a false sense of security when Rain had snuck out of Callahan's window . . . not so much that I didn't think Callahan was clever enough to put two and two together (I do think I give him a touch more credit than Rain currently does), but I guess I didn't anticipate them having a row with each other so soon.
-- Appreciate the subtle and conscious effort to demonstrate how Rain's parents handled raising a kid with guests. Even when things got heated, there was a delicate approach to show how Alonso and Iris needed to check Rain's antics, taking her skeleton key but giving her a break. Tough - but fair.
-- I enjoyed the notable paces set by the various uses of commas, ands, and ellipses (among other tools in the syntax) in the exposition . . . whenever I noticed a pattern, or even a notable pause, it got me visualizing not only the scene but also the theoretical direction and use of the camera (transitions and cuts and everything), which, now that I'm thinking about it, would be (more often than not) from the point of view from Opie, right?
-- On that note, I remembered reading a line when a character paused for nine seconds (it even emphasizes that it was exactly nine seconds). Lines like those had me going back and trying to read the sentence in the allotted time. With the nine seconds line, I do remember its length and beat actually made it quite feasible. :)
-- Oddly enough, all the mouth wordplay . . . Alonso pushing his tongue against his cheeks, Charlie biting his cheeks, Old Joe licking his lips, Rain sticking her tongue out at Charlie . . . the visuals just seem like signatures for each character, lol.
-- And of course, finally meeting our native omniscient narrator, Opie, lol.
Overall, it's a great story with a ton of heart (Rain's experience with a death in the family is so relatable that you absolutely feel for her the minute she realizes she's pushed away the ghost she most desperately wants to see), with probably a ton more other stories to tease out. Needless to say I'm looking forward to each and every one of them!
**POTENTIAL SPOILERS END***
Thanks! All the things you mentioned were quite intentional, so I'm glad they registered - as long as they didn't interfere with experiencing the story.
Hope by now you've also read SPIRITS OF ASH AND FOAM and are looking forward to the AudioPlay version of RAIN.
And I'm told positive reviews on Amazon help a lot!
hey Greg, i've been a fan of Gargoyles since i was 11 yrs old, i was wondering, how did you come up with the distinct roars, growls and snarls for each clan member? (you can include Demona if you want)
We worked them out on two levels. First with the various actors and voice director Jamie Thomason. Then with our sound effects editor Paca Thomas at Advantage Audio.
FYI - Advantage Audio is also where we did The Spectacular Spider-Man and where we are currently posting the Rain of the Ghosts AudioPlay.
I leave tomorrow for MomoCon 2015. More information on it can be found at their website: http://www.momocon.com/
But here's MY schedule for the weekend:
FRIDAY, MAY 29, 2015
BREAKING INTO ANIM 12:30pm - 01:30pm
Main "Villains" Room Omni-International
w/Floyd County Productions
SIGNING 03:30pm - 05:30pm
YOUNG JUSTICE 08:00pm - 09:00pm
Main "Villains" Omni-International
SATURDAY, MAY 30, 2015
SIGNING 11:00am - 12:30pm
ANIM CREATORS 02:00pm - 03:00pm
w/Ben Mangum, Mike Reiss
SIGNING 05:30pm - 07:00pm
SUNDAY, MAY 31, 2015
SIGNING 11:30am - 01:00pm
GARGOYLES 02:00pm - 03:00pm
Main "Villains" Omni-International
That's right! Both Keith "Goliath" David and Crispin "Red Arrow" Freeman will also be at MomoCon!
As usual, at my autograph sessions, I will happily sign anything you bring along with you for free. But I will also be signing and selling copies of my two novels RAIN OF THE GHOSTS and SPIRITS OF ASH AND FOAM. ($10 per book, cash only.) If you purchase both books (signed and personalized for $20 cash total), you get a FREE art surprise. I will also be signing and selling copies of my animation and radio play scripts (from GARGOYLES, MEN IN BLACK, STARSHIP TROOPERS, TEAM ATLANTIS, W.I.T.C.H., THE BATMAN, THE SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN, DC SHOWCASE: GREEN ARROW, BATMAN: THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD, THE SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN MEETS GARGOYLES, YOUNG JUSTICE, BEWARE THE BATMAN, GARGOYLES MEETS THE SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN MEETS YOUNG JUSTICE and KIM POSSIBLE). Each signed and personalized script is $20 cash. I'll also be giving away #RainoftheGhosts AudioPlay postcards for free!
So please stop by and say hello!