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The following needs saying, so I'm taking time out from my very packed weekend - not to procrastinate, which would not be unusual - but to write up something that I think is important.
But first, some backstory...
I'm not particularly smart about very many things. I am in many ways a bear of very little brain. Ask anyone. I use an iPhone 4.0 because I literally believe that I don't have the brain space to deal with upgrading. I'm a slow reader. My dyslexia makes math difficult as I am constantly transposing numbers. I'm afraid of change. Etc., etc., etc.
But one thing - maybe the ONLY thing - I am smart about is STORY. Now, I've studied story for decades and decades in small ways and large. I also believe I have an innate gift for story. Like a great pianist, the gift itself would have been wasted without years of study and practice. I've had and done both.
What that means is that - when it comes to story - I have often (not always, but quite often) considered myself - with no modesty and tremendous arrogance - to be the smartest person in the room. In any room where this is a topic of conversation, but especially in any room where story was being professionally discussed. (You can see why - with an attitude like that - I'm so popular with animation executives and the like, and why I've been fired from so many jobs.)
Even on the many, many occasions when I have felt that I am among peers who understand story as well as I do, I never felt like they understood it better than I. As good, yes. Differently, sure. Stylistically, of course. But not better. I never felt anyone knew story better.
Oh, I've made mistakes, missed opportunities, slipped up, ad nauseam. I'm human and have never claimed perfection. I've collaborated with some brilliant and wonderful people. The list is nearly endless. But none of that ever shook my basic feeling that when it came to story, I was as smart or smarter than anyone in the room.
All that changed with YOUNG JUSTICE.
So let me state it for the record: when it comes to story, BRANDON VIETTI is the Smartest Human Being in the Room.
I'd love to tell you - BELIEVE ME, I'd love to tell you - that he learned all this at my ancient knee, and that if the student has surpassed the master, the master can at least take some satisfaction in that. But that, dear readers, would simply be a load of crap.
From Day One of YJ, as witness Kevin Hopps could attest, Brandon Vietti knew story, understood it deep, the way I do. And he was smarter about it than I.
The ultimate example of this dropped this past Friday.
Episode 307 of Young Justice: Outsiders, entitled "Evolution."
SPOILERS coming, so if you haven't seen the episode then please go watch it first before reading any further.
Like all YJ episodes this season, Brandon and I broke this story together. A pretty even 50-50 collaboration. There were certain things I wanted specifically to see, like the Cave Bear. Certain things I had researched such as that in (actual documented non-DC Comics) mythology, Nabu was the son of Marduk. And there were certain things that BV wanted in there, like the meta-human kid that Kalibak sacrifices. Certain things he had researched like The Art of War by Sun Tzu (a.k.a. Vandal Savage, a.k.a. Genghis Khan, a.k.a. Marduk, a.k.a. etc.)
And together, we created a pretty kick-ass story for the episode. I don't actually remember the day of the week, but for the sake of simplifying the story, let's say we finished breaking/building the story with index cards all neatly pushpinned into my office bulletin board on a Monday. Monday evening. We both felt pretty good about it, or at least I did, and we left for the day.
Tuesday morning, he comes in and says, "Something's missing."
I tell him he's crazy. There's nothing missing from 307. Nothing. It's a great damn episode. Maybe one of our best.
BV says no. Something's missing.
I say, "What? What's missing?!"
BV says, "I don't know yet. Something. Give me a day."
I roll my eyes in as pronounced a fashion as I possibly can and say, fine.
Wednesday morning he comes in and says, "I want to add a character."
I'm resistant. "It'll mess up the works, I tell him."
But he explains, and of course, he's right. Because Brandon Vietti is the Smartest Person in the Room.
The character he wants to add is Olympia. Olympia Savage. (I take credit for the first name only.) That's right. In our first version of this story, Olympia simply did not exist.
Try to picture "Evolution" without Olympia. Be honest. It's still a solid story. A few of the actual things Olympia does, we had Cassandra doing. But otherwise the plot remains almost completely unchanged.
But not the ending.
With Olympia in the story, the episode isn't merely a solid YJ episode. It's not merely a great YJ episode. To my mind, "Evolution" transcends YJ. It is a phenomenal, even revolutionary twenty-plus minutes of television.
And I tried to talk the guy out of it.
Of course, BV's contributions don't end there. He wrote the script, too, which is fantastic. And if you knew how much he contributed to every facet of production it would humble you. It humbles me, and as you can see above, I'm NOT a humble guy.
But screw all that. I'm not talking about pretty pictures, or color, or sound, or music or even dialogue.
This post is ONLY about STORY. And when it comes to STORY... BRANDON VIETTI will always be the SMARTEST HUMAN BEING IN THE ROOM.
I bow to his greatness. And trust me, I do not do that lightly.
To be honest, he's so good, it's pretty damn annoying.
But it's an honor to be his partner.
I just rewatched spectacular spiderman and I feel there were a few bits inspired by the Rami trilogy, is that true?
Since I don't know what the Rami trilogy is, I'm gonna say no.
Are any of the league members embarrassed at having giant statues of themselves in the Hall of Justice? (I can't imagine Batman being happy about it.)
I'm sure nearly everyone is to some extent. But symbols are important, and no one knows that better than the seven founding Leaguers.
Hi, Greg. Warner Bros. have given us a 2018 premiere date for Young Justice: Outsiders. However, as I'm sure you remember, there were some production delays on season one, and sometimes long intervals between new episodes because sh*t happens. Is it possible that the series may be pushed back to 2019?
Very. But the first three episodes dropped in VERY early 2019, i.e. January 4th. And the next three drop this week, i.e. January 11th, 2019.
Hi!!!!!! Huge fan of your show and quick question. In young justice comic issue 7, Artemis is waiting for her mother at a bus stop, and her mother asks if her father is coming. Does this mean that her father left her alone at a young age, and if he did what age was she when he left?
I'm not even sure I understand the premise of your question. Artemis was living with her father, who came home later that night (in that very issue) and only departed after Paula gave him an ultimatum.
Did the boy Garfield Logan watch the news in 2010 that show Icon and other new members joining the justice league?
What's the status on Rain of the Ghosts? Are you going to do an AudioPlay for Spirits? Have you put Masque of Bones on hiatus?
For financial reasons, I've had to put both the AudioPlay of SPIRITS OF ASH AND FOAM and the writing of MASQUE OF BONES on hold. Unfortunately, we didn't sell enough copies of RAIN OF THE GHOSTS and SPIRITS (in either paperback or ebook form) and we didn't sell nearly enough e-copies of the AudioPlay for RAIN. I can't afford the time to work on this project right now, which kills me. But I will someday.
What is the hardest decision you've ever had to make, storytelling-wise?
The next one?
This won't mean much to folks who aren't living in the Minneapolis area, but KFAI 90.3/106.7 will be serializing the AudioPlay version of RAIN OF THE GHOSTS across five consecutive Sundays, starting at 9:30pm on August 5th, 2018 on their Sound Affects weekly broadcast. There's more info about the broadcast here: http://www.greatnorthernaudio.com/sound_affects/schedule.html or here: http://www.kfai.org/soundaffectsaradioplayground. By clicking on the KFI website's "LISTEN NOW" button at the appropriate date and time, you can hear the Rain AudioPlay from pretty much anywhere with internet or WiFi.
I want to thank Jerry Stearns for making this happen.
For those of you asking... "AudioPlay? Rain of the Ghosts? What the heck is he talking about?" Here's a blurb:
Rain of the Ghosts
The adventures of Rain Cacique, a young girl descended from the indigenous TaÃno people of the Caribbean. Rain lives on the Ghost Keys, a chain of islands on the edge of the Bermuda Triangle, where her parents own and run a Bed & Breakfast that is both Rainâs home and place of employment. Rain goes from making beds for tourists to learning she has the ability to communicate with ghosts. Rain has a mystery to solve, a mission to accomplish and a destiny to fulfill. Book written by Greg Weisman, who also produced this audio play. Twenty actors in the cast, including Brent Spiner, Marina Sirtis, and Edward Asner, with Brittany Uomoleale as Rain Cacique. Full sound effects and an original musical score.
If you're interested in hearing this at your own pace on your own schedule, it's available on Audible/Amazon here: https://www.amazon.com/Rain-of-the-Ghosts/dp/B01MU5XQ06/ref=sr_1_1_twi_audd_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1532394865&sr=8-1&keywords=rain+of+the+ghosts
I'm truly proud of this work and urge you to check it out - one way or another.
Given that martians can assume male or female forms, does that mean that their sexual orientations are likewise fluid? For example, would M'Gann find females attractive if she assumed the shape of a man?
She wouldn't necessarily have to assume the shape of a man to find a female attractive.
But basically, I think she finds Conner attractive, irrespective of his gender.
How long does a martian pregnancy last?
I'm tempted to say 27 Earth months, but I don't want to be held to that.
There are some pretty smart and intuitive people on the League and on the team. It wouldn't surprise me if some of them suspected that Aqualad's apparent murder of Artemis wasn't what it seemed. There was Zatanna (who provided the glamor charm), Captain Marvel (who possesses the wisdom of Solomon), and Aquaman (who knew Kaldur as well as anyone and while not as brilliant as Batman still comes off as highly intelligent). Did any of them suspect the truth about Kaldur and Artemis?
Not a question, but:
I was reading Thomas Hardy's "Far From the Madding Crowd" yesterday, and one of the chapters involved an architectural gargoyle, which Hardy called throughout a "gurgoyle". This is the first time I've come across that variant spelling for "gargoyle", but I wanted to share it with you. (I don't know whether the variant was Hardy's invention or not, but it most likely stems from "gurgle", linked to many gargoyles functioning as waterspouts.)
Sounds about right.
Did Klarion offer Wotan, Felix Faust, Blackbriar Thorn, and Wizard anything in return for their help with his spell in "Misplaced?"
Do the Light a favor and the Light does favors in return. (Witness Count Vertigo.)
Hey Greg! I have two questions.
1. Do female Martians get periods?
2. Can Superboy grow facial hair?
1. I'd lean toward yes, but I have honestly not thought about this. I'd have to study on it with the help of a biologist, I think.
2. To the level of any sixteen-year-old, yes.
1) Were the Scout Scarabs sent out by the Reach prior to the treaty with the Guardians or would even that have been a violation?
2) Who actually needs to invite the Reach for it to be Guardian official? I imagine UN counts, but would a country's leader be valid to allow them into their controlled territory? Would a private landowner that wanted some friends be able to nullify Green Lantern jurisdiction?
3) Icon (at least) was referred to as the Cooperative Delegation a few times. Assuming that means that Earth was being evaluated for a place among the Collective, were they aware of the Rimbor Incident?
4) Was the Collector of Worlds from one of the worlds he mentioned?
1. All of the above.
2. I don't know about a small piece of land, but I suppose if Russia or China or the U.S. gave them permission to be on their turf, it would be okay. (Honestly, I haven't thought about it before now.)
3. If by "they" you mean the Collective, then yes.
4. In a way, he was from all of them.
Ahoy Mr. Weisman!
In yer eyes, who is the most redeemable villain in yer show, Young Justice?
I highly appreciate yer work; in fact it was ye who inspired a young scalawag like me to pick up a quill and start writing.
Yo ho ho, and a bottle of rum!
Season 3 looks to be quite fun!
Lots of villains are potentially redeemable. (It also depends on one's definition.) I'm not going to name names, because it could sound like I'm hinting at future plans, and, as always: NO SPOILERS.
Have you seen Disney's 2017 live-action Beauty & the Beast film? If so, what did you think of Dan Stevens' performance capture work in the role of the Beast? Do you think that kind of performance/mo-cap work could be utilized in depicting Goliath and his clan if Disney were to ever make a live-action film of Gargoyles?
2. I thought he was pretty good.
3. Yes, I think Keith David could create a mo-cap Goliath for live-action that would absolutely kick ass. ABSOLUTELY. KICK. ASS.
Hello from the UK Mr. Weisman.
I know we saw in "Depths" that Ms. Martian and Superboy posed as Martian Manhunter and Superman respectively for a press conference so that the public didn't know about their mentor's situation. While press conferences are one thing, superheroics are another.
So while the "Rimbor Five" were on trial for their crimes, who looked after their respective cities? Cause I doubt the likes of Joker or Poison Ivy would stop their criminal activities because Batman wasn't there to stop them.
For example, did Nightwing go around Gotham dressed as Batman while Bruce was on trial to keep up the illusion that Batman was still around? Or was Gotham Batman free for those in-universe months Batman was away?
I have a question regarding Spectacular Spider-Man:
Were there ideas you had that you couldn't do for the show or had originally planned but ended up changing? And no, I'm not asking a "what would you have done for season 3" kind of question. It's more of wondering what original ideas you had for seasons 1 and 2, if those ideas ended up changing or pretty much stayed the same from development to screen, and what they were.
I've talked about this before. We had plans to use Kingpin and Johnny Storm - and weren't allowed to use either for legal reasons. We reordered a couple things, i.e. saved Kraven for Season Two and moved up Electro. But otherwise, we pretty much did what we set out to do.
Good day Mr. Weisman
I'm a big fan of Dick Grayson, and as such I've read most of the Titans and Nightwing trades, but my interest in the character was sparked by watching Young Justice, so thanks for that. I was wondering: how would you describe him as a character? There have been varying depictions in the comics so I was wondering how you think of him. In YJ Season 2 he was very serious which reminded me of Nightwing from the Wolfman/Perez era. Anyway, I just wanted to know your thoughts. Sorry for the length of this, thanks for your time, and I hope you have a wonderful day!
I could probably write a dissertation on Dick, but I'm not going to do that here. For the most part, I like to let the episodes and issues speak for themselves. I don't want to sound like I'm trying to justify anything.
But basically, I think Dick was a fun-loving kid who experienced a horrible tragedy, but had two adult male role (Bruce and Alfred) models who stepped up and gave him a way to work through his anger and grief and reclaim the fun-loving kid that he was
Dick is, to my mind, extremely competent, which was born out in both the Teen Titans series of the 60s & 70s and the New Teen Titans series of the 80s. And so with that competence, and with the hard-earned knowledge of the responsibilities of leadership learned as early as "Drop-Zone" and "Failsafe", comes the serious-minded Nightwing that we often see in Season Two.
But I don't think that's his natural disposition. Instead, I look to the Robin of the 40s and 50s. Dick is the acrobat. The trapeze artist. The performer. Dick is the kid who learned to disappear like Batman but finds it so funny, he can't stop himself from laughing. That's the real Dick Grayson. A kid/teen/young adult that is so winning and naturally guileless and honest that even his ex-girlfriends still love him. (That is his super-power, after all.) He knows how to do the other thing - and he's actually scary good at it. But he kinda hates that too.
1. Were Wally and Artemis sexually active with each other in season 2?
2. Did they retired before or after start to live together?
3. Did Artemis used to forget Valentine's Day like Wally?
2. No spoilers.
3. Not so much.
Hi. I'm sure this question has been asked before. It might even be me who ask it, but for the life of me I can't find it anywhere no matter how hard I search.
Why wasn't Wonder Girl abducted by Kylstar? Was it because he didn't consider her strong enough? Or, was it because that as a relative newb she was unknown to him? Or, was it because of some other reason?
Basically, he didn't think she was mathematically strong enough.
will the Young Justice Comics (2011-2013) be re-printed because of Young Justice season 3 coming out?
I doubt it. But it's all available at Comixology and on the DC App.
During their time at Gotham Academy, were Dick and Barbara in the same grade? Or was one of them in the grade below?
Same grade, though she's a year younger. (She skipped a grade.)