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Statistics interest me. So I thought I'd share some with you guys. (Okay, yeah, I'm procrastinating. But it is my lunch hour, so sue me.)
We have completed (so far) 17 out or our 26 first season Young Justice Scripts. That is NOT the same as completing the episodes. We haven't completed a single episode yet. We don't start post-production until later this month. But we do have 17 scripts in the can.
As of episode 17, we have 147 name characters from the DC Universe. That's an average of introducing 8.6 DC characters per episode. Of course, the reality is that some episodes have introduced many more than that, others fewer. But that's the average.
Our average page count for each script is 33. Our average dialogue count is 235 lines.
We've completed recording on the first 13 episodes. (We've partially recorded episodes 114-116, but are missing a few actors still. We'll record 117 this coming Tuesday after Labor Day.) So the following statistics are only through episode 13:
Total number of actors we've used so far: 47.
Average number of actors we've used per episode: 11.
Of course many actors are in multiple episodes and many are performing more than one character.
Hmm... what else?
All 26 scripts have been assigned to writers. (All 26 premises were written and approved months ago.) As I mentioned above, 1-17 are in the can. Episode 18 is in script. Episodes 19-22 are in outline. Episodes 23-24 are in beat outline. 25-26 are approved premises, waiting in the wings.
We have seven writers, including myself, staff writer Kevin Hopps and our freelancers: Andrew Robinson, Nicole Dubuc, Jon Weisman, Tom Pugsley and Peter David. My fellow producer Brandon Vietti is also heavily involved in the writing process.
Okay, back to work...
I'm told that at Dragon*Con in Atlanta this weekend, Jonathan Frakes and Marina Sirtis will be hosting a Gargoyles panel. I'm quite jealous that I won't be there!
the panel is on Sunday, September 5, 2010 at 11:30am.
If you can attend, you should. Then let me know how it went!
So I've been lurking a bit today on various Young Justice message boards (almost always a mistake), and I feel the need to respond on one point (ALWAYS a mistake).
Some people are asking (with various levels of outrage), why we are calling this series "Young Justice"?
They cite the fact that our Robin isn't Tim Drake, that our Kid Flash isn't Impulse/Bart Allen. That we're not using Wonder Girl or Arrowette or Secret and that even our Superboy is dressed more like the later Titans Superboy.
And, honestly, I can see their point. In some ways, I do almost (almost) wish we weren't using the Young Justice title.
But it would be nice if these people turned a more practical and realistic eye toward the question of title.
Some ask, why not call it Teen Titans, when you have Dick, Wally, Aqualad, etc.?
But the answer to that is beyond obvious. There was a RECENT hit series named Teen Titans. The name is TAKEN! Taken, by the way, by a great series that used the cast not of Teen Titans but of Marv Wolfman & George Perez's NEW TEEN TITANS with the tone of neither. In fact, the tone is/was much closer to Peter David & Todd Nauck's YOUNG JUSTICE. (Ironic, huh?)
And if, somehow, we DID call our series TEEN TITANS (again), how would that help? Another group of fans (with some overlap) would cry foul because we were putting Superboy, Miss Martian, Artemis and a new Aqualad in with Dick and Wally. Where's Donna? And etc.
The thing is... we're not doing a straight adaptation of either Teen Titans OR Young Justice. We are, in fact, pulling from both properties and later Titans and decades worth of Justice League stuff to create something new with a new continuity on a new Earth-16.
So what SHOULD we entitle it? There just ISN'T one comic book title that's a PERFECT fit for what we're doing. So if you get past the impossible notion of finding a historically accurate title, you're left with coming up with a MEANINGFUL title. In which case, Young Justice fits perfectly - at least on THAT level. (Trust me, you'll see.) It's a flat-out BETTER and more appropriate and more meaningful title for our series than New Titans or Teen Titans or plain old Titans or Justice League Task Force or Justice League Europe or Extreme Justice or Justice League Babies or pretty much anything else you can come up with. I know. I tried. Nothing else captures the essence of our series as well. Baggage or no baggage.
That still leaves the perfectly legit argument: Why do this? Why NOT just adapt the David/Nauck Young Justice? Fair question, absolutely.
And the answer here is... we didn't want to. The creative people (myself, Brandon Vietti, Sam Register, etc.) behind the series premiering this November on Cartoon Network didn't want to. That's not meant as any disrespect for a great comic book. But again, we felt that the tone of the David/Nauck Young Justice book had been done recently and well on television as Teen Titans. Different group of teens, but the same feeling. We wanted to do something NEW. Maybe you'll like it. Maybe you won't. But writers as diverse as Peter David (yep, that Peter David) and Geoff Johns and, uh, Greg Weisman all like what we're doing, so maybe it's worth at least giving us a chance. Or not. That's the call of every individual.
But if you are going to give us a try, you might also try leaving a bit of baggage behind. We have six leads and many, many, many supporting characters (135 existing characters from the DC Universe just through episode 16 alone). As when I worked on Spectacular Spider-Man, we have tried VERY hard to be as true to the core truths of each individual character as possible. Some of the interpretations may be new. Some of the details. The timeline is start from scratch. (Parallel universe, remember?) But the core should hold true, or I haven't done my job.
And gang, stop pretending you know what's coming or what ISN'T coming. What characters will eventually be included and which won't. We haven't even premiered yet. It's fine to guess. But making a guess and then praising or condemning us based on that guess is a bit rough.
Now, I know that this message will invariably read like I've got a big chip on my shoulder. And/or that I'm whining about fans pre-judging the work. That's not the TONE I want for this message. But it's hard in text to get tone across. The tone I'm looking for is more like... weariness. (Not wariness, but weariness.) Honestly, all I'm trying to get across here is that perhaps the conversation would be more productive if folks weren't stuck on preconceptions.
Oh, and one more thing for the record: I know a number of people -- even a few individuals legitimately attached to the series -- have been quoted saying the original title of the series was "Young Justice League". It wasn't. Ever. For better or worse, we were "Young Justice" from Day One of our development. And why not "Young Justice League?" Well, frankly, cuz it sounds awful, don't you think?
Non-sequitor, but since I'm in correcting-internet-incorrectness-mode: Miss Martian is the NIECE of Martian Manhunter. NOT his daughter. Someone misquoted us there.
Here's a link. Check it out:
Meant to post this days ago at ASK GREG, but I forgot. I'm being interviewed for a live podcast at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/123-film TODAY at 4pm PDT, i.e. in less than half an hour. Sorry for the lack of warning...
Well, I've finally caught up with the backlog here at ASK GREG. I'm going to take a short Ask Greg vacation, and then we'll be reopening the site soon... i.e. on the Monday (July 26th) AFTER San Diego Comic-Con 2010.
As always, I ask that before you post a question you do your best to make sure it's not a question that's been answered in the archives already AND that it's not a question that someone posted just before you. You can also try asking your question first in the Station 8 Comment Room, as the fans know a LOT of answers already.
We're just trying to avoid flooding the site with so many questions, that I'm immediately backlogged again.
Meanwhile, I will be at Comic-Con next week. Subject to change, here's my current schedule:
THURSDAY, JULY 22, 2010
10 - 11:30am - Mecha-Nation signing at the Kizoic Booth. (We'll be premiering the first issue.)
FRIDAY, JULY 23, 2010
10:30-11:30 am - Brave and the Bold/Young Justice Panel. (We'll be premiering our first Young Justice footage in a mini-panel jam-packed with revelations!)
2 - 4 pm -Mecha-Nation signing at the Kizoic Booth.
SATURDAY, JULY 24, 2010
11:30am - 1pm - Gargoyles signing at the SLG Booth.
3 - 4 pm - DC Showcase panel. (We'll be previewing some footage from the Green Arrow DVD short that I wrote.)
5:30 - 6:30pm - DC Showcase signing. (Location TBD).
SUNDAY, JULY 25, 2010
10-11am - Mecha-Nation signing at the Kizoic Booth.
11am - 12:30pm - Gargoyles signing at the SLG Booth.
Please stop by and say hello!
I just got back from taking my kids to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland, Oregon. Saw five uniformly great productions:
Henry IV, Part One
Merchant of Venice
Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice
Can't recommend any or all of them strongly enough...
Wow. This has been a big couple of weeks ANNOUNCEMENT-wise.
As some of you doubtless already know, YOUNG JUSTICE was announced today by Cartoon Network.
Here's the official press release info (with slightly better proofreading from me):
"Young Justice: In Young Justice, being a teenager means proving yourself over and overâ"to peers, parents, teachers, mentors and, ultimately, to yourself. But what if youâre not just a normal teenager? What if youâre a teenage super hero? Are you ready to join the ranks of the great heroes and prove youâre worthy of the Justice League? Thatâs exactly what the members of Young Justiceâ"Robin, Aqualad, Kid Flash, Superboy, Miss Martian and Artemisâ"will find out: whether they have what it takes to be a proven hero? This all-new series is produced by Warner Bros. Animation and based upon characters from DC Comics. Sam Register (Teen Titans, Ben 10, Batman: The Brave and the Bold) is the executive producer. Brandon Vietti (Batman: Under the Red Hood, Superman Doomsday, The Batman) and Greg Weisman (Gargoyles, The Spectacular Spider-Man, W.I.T.C.H.) are the producers."
We're hard at work on the 26-episode first season. Got a great writing staff in place, and the designs look phenomenal. I really think the series will kick some major ass!
And that's about all I'm allowed to say right now...
Just over a week ago, Dick Giordano passed away. I've been meaning to write this ever since but haven't felt equal to the task. But it's time...
Dick was one of the all time great comic book inkers, but he was also the single individual most responsible for bringing me into the comic book business, which directly lead to me working in animation.
It's a story I've told many times, so feel free to skip down if you've heard it.
I was a nineteen-year-old college sophomore when Marvel Comics announced a New Talent Search. I was excited, but reasoned (correctly) that Marvel would be inundated with submissions. I also reasoned (rather cleverly) that if Marvel began a New Talent Search, DC Comics would too. So instead of preparing submissions based on Marvel characters, I immediately set to work, prepping stuff based on DC characters. Sure enough, DC announced it's search, and I immediately sent in my stuff. YEARS LATER, I saw the logbook that was used to log in each submission as it arrived. Mine was literally the second submission received.
It was duly logged in -- and then lost. (Likewise, years later, I found it in the DC offices in the back of a file cabinet.) DC still had my address in the log book. But not the submission itself. Because 70% of all submissions were artist submissions and only 30% were writer submissions, the person in charge of the talent search at the time took a chance and sent me a packet for new ARTISTS. I was OUTRAGED!!! Outraged, of course, in the way only a 19-year-old know-nothing can get outraged. So I sent a LETTER to DC Comics expressing my outrage. I said (lying) that I was a professional, and if they lost my submission, a simple admission of this fact would have resulted in me sending copies. There was no need to GUESS (incorrectly) that I was an artist and hope for the best. I stated that this was no way to run a business.
Somehow this letter found it's way to Dick Giordano's desk. Dick was at the time the EXECUTIVE EDITOR and head creative muckymuck at DC. Most guys in that position would have found a nice round file for my letter, but Dick was amused by it... and maybe a little impressed with (not the content) but the writing of it itself.
So sometime later, the phone in my dormroom rings. My roommate answers and says it's for me. "Who is it?" "Some guy named Dick Giordano." Now, I knew EXACTLY who Dick Giordano was and figured there was no way I was getting a call from him. So I got on the phone assuming it was one of my geek friends playing a prank. Nope. It was Dick. He wanted to meet me and asked if I had any plans to be in New York City. I (lied again and) told him that coincidentally, I was planning to be there over spring break. He invited me up to the DC Comics offices, and we set a date and time.
So I scraped the money together to buy a plane ticket, crashed at my cousin's apartment, put on a SUIT (what did I know, it was a job interview, right?) and headed out during a torrential Manhattan rainstorm to FIND A CAB to take me to DC. (Somewhere out there New Yorkers are laughing at the thought of me trying to find a cab in the rain.)
Ultimately, I found one, but not before I was (despite an umbrella) soaked to the bone in my stupid suit. I arrive at DC looking more like a drowned rat than a professional writer (which, of course, I was not), and met with Dick. And we hit it off. He was great. From Day One, he believed in me and tried to get me freelance work. He eventually gave me a job as an Editorial Assistant (read Xerox boy) and quickly promoted me twice over twenty-one months to Assistant Editor and then Associate Editor.
I was impatient, of course. I couldn't stick it out, and moved back to Los Angeles to go to grad school and eventually start a career in animation. I remember how disappointed Dick was. How he tried to get me to reconsider, but how he also supported my decision, when I made it clear it was final.
After that, every time Dick and his right-hand woman and good friend Pat Bastienne came to Los Angeles, they would take time out to meet with me. They met my fiancee Beth long before she became my wife. They were both always cheering me on. Eventually, Dick retired from DC and moved to Florida, and we lost touch. Which is on me. And I regret it.
When I heard/saw that he had passed at age 77 from complications from Leukemia (over the same weekend when my Grandmother turned 100), it was a real blow.
Dick was a terrific and extremely talented guy, and I owe him just... TONS.
Thank you, Dick. You will be missed.
I've heard nothing directly from Marvel, Disney or Sony, but I think the recent announcement that an "Ultimate Spider-Man" animated series is in the works at Marvel Animation, makes it fairly clear that The Spectacular Spider-Man is over.
I can't say that I'm surprised, but that doesn't mean I'm not disappointed. But guys... all of you so quick to rush to my defense (sometimes in the most heated of terms)... it's appreciated, of course, but not necessary. This is the business I've chosen to work in. It comes with the job.
Sure, I think Spectacular kicked some ass! But there's no reason to assume that Ultimate Spider-Man won't kick ass too! I'd recommend giving it a chance. I remember when we were first announced, a bunch of MTV Spider-Man fans were screaming about why they were creating a new series and not continuing that one. Heck, there were even a bunch of 90s Spider-Man the Animated Series fans who felt they should still be continuing THAT show. Some of those folks wound up giving us a chance. Some didn't, I'm sure. Some of those who loved those and other old Spidey series found they liked or loved Spectacular. Others didn't, I'm sure. But we found our audience, and now we've got nostalgia working on our side. But I wouldn't want Ultimate Spidey to be judged on anything other than itself. Because that's all I wanted for Spectacular.
It's just the way of things. I try to take the long view and be philosophical about it. Don't always succeed, but I try. I had more stories I was dying to tell, but anyone who's familiar with this website due to a certain series beginning with a "G" knows that this isn't the first series I've felt that way about. I rarely run out of tales to tell. I had more Spidey stories to tell. More Gargoyles stories to tell. More W.I.T.C.H. stories to tell. More Captain Atom stories to tell. More Starship Troopers stories to tell. Even more Max Steel stories to tell. And if and when I get a new series -- no matter how long it lasts -- I'll probably STILL have more stories of that puppy to tell too.
So I try to be grateful for what I did get. I got to tell 26 fun stories. And those led directly to me writing for The Amazing Spider-Man, which puts me in some pretty august company and fulfilled a life-long dream, even if it was only half of one issue. So it's all good.
For those who loved and will miss, alongside me and pretty much all of its cast and crew, The Spectacular Spider-Man, I appreciate all your support and kind words. Let's celebrate what we achieved and not stress over what we didn't get to do.