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Gathering 2008 Journal - Day Three
Sunday, June 29, 2008
Forced myself out of bed a bit earlier so I could be sure to get to the Gargoyles and Bad Guys comic panel. Notable information:
- Bad Guys #4 is complete and will be out very soon. Bad Guys #5 is 3/4 inked, 1/4 still needing work, according to Karine. Bad Guys #6 was just over half scripted before Greg came to the con.
- Gargoyles #9 will be Hedgecock's final issue as artist; he simply can't keep up with the pace. Gargoyles #10 is being drawn at this time. Gargoyles #11 will be scripted after Greg finishes with Red Tornado #2. Greg doesn't know who will be doing the art for #11 or #12.
- Now that Disney has its own comic company ("Kingdom Comics", apparently), they may be reluctant to allow SLG to keep their license. Even if they let SLG keep it, they may increase the fee, in which case Dan Vado might have to drop it. (Although Gargoyles is SLG's best-selling title, the cost of the license fee cuts into those profits quite a bit already.)
- Although Greg originally planned otherwise, the next spin-off title after Bad Guys will be Dark Ages. There's a story for that that keeps poking him in the head, so he's placed it ahead of Pendragon. (The story wants told so urgently that he joked he might have to do it in some form even if he can't do it as a comic.) Unlike Bad Guys, Dark Ages will not be a series pilot of sorts, but rather a story that covers a substantial span of time. It will include the Children of Oberon; Othello, Desdemona, and Iago; and Hippolyta. Greg first conceived of the idea three years ago.
- Bad Guys is black-and-white for purely economic reasons, but both Karine and Greg think the story works well that way.
- There is every intention to release Bad Guys and the second six issues of Gargoyles as trade paperbacks. Bad Guys will remain in black-and-white when it becomes a trade.
- Dan Vado's main interest is in the primary Gargoyles title, so after Bad Guys is done, they will need to sit back and assess if doing a spin-off is worthwhile. If no more spin-offs are forthcoming, Greg may integrate elements from them into the main title.
- The new spin-off schedule is six issues of Dark Ages, then six issues of Pendragon, then six issues of Timedancer.
- Greg still has a second story arc in mind for Bad Guys.
- After Gargoyles #12, story arcs will be six issues long.
- Disney has been rather hands-off with Gargoyles, except for some issues with, of all things, grammar. They critiqued Hudson's accent in issue #1 (apparently not remembering that Hudson spoke that way in the series, too), and they though Shari's "The story is told..." introductions were too awkward. Greg won both times.
- The benefit that Coyote 5.0 receives from the Coyote Diamond is an enhanced A.I. (Coyote 5.0's mental processes are light-based, and the Diamond speeds them up.)
- No Children of Oberon will appear in the next few issues.
- Bad Guys is set around January 1997; the end of the Clan-Building arc in Gargoyles will catch it up to around that time.
- Greg decided Thailog was an Illuminatus after the series ended but a while back - maybe 1999. There's a story there that Greg would like to tell someday, but not in the immediate future.
- Oberon and Titania were consciously designed to be not white (as in, Caucasian).
- Sevarius isn't really worried about danger from Thailog, as he has more options for employment out there. Besides, Thailog isn't likely to harm Sevarius as long as he's useful. But Sevarius is just arrogant enough to overestimate his value.
- Greg noted how he and Neil Gaiman seem to write about a lot of the same stuff. He doesn't think it's likely they would collaborate on anything, because Neil either doesn't know him or might even think ill of him (after disapproving of Greg's use of Death of the Endless in a Captain Atom comic).
- The comic version of "The Journey" replaces the televised version, so all 13 episodes of The Goliath Chronicles are officially non-canon.
I considered going to the gargoyle biology panel, but instead I opted to return a call I'd received from my mom during the prior panel and recharge my phone. While waiting for my next panel I got a few more supplies from CVS, and read the last of my purchases from Comix Revolution. Returned for the Spectacular Spider-Man panel, with the following highlights:
- Season 2 is being animated, but Greg isn't sure when they're airing. Season 3 is hoped for but not confirmed.
- The basis of the series is the classic Lee-Ditko-Romita stories, although they are also using elements from other canon.
- Although Greg first interviewed to work on the series in February 2006, Greg only learned he had the job - more or less accidentally - in December 2006 (he'd assumed a fellow named Chris won it). He started in January 2007, and brought Vic Cook in to help.
- Greg's goal for the series was to make a Spider-Man series as definitive for the character as Batman: The Animated Series was for Batman.
- The staff followed four C's when making the show: Contemporary, Cohesive, Coherent, and Classic (Iconic). The overall theme was "The Education of Peter Parker."
- Season 1 takes place in September to November of Peter's junior year. Season 2 takes place in December to March of his junior year.
- When using characters who appeared later than Peter's high school years in the comic (such as Gwen), the staff tried to extrapolate them backwards to what they would have been like in high school.
- The chauffeur story Harry Osborn was telling in (I believe) the episode "Competition" was a reference to an incident with Greg W. and Greg B. following the 2003 Gathering.
- There are DVDs of the first season on the way, but each of the four blocks of episodes will be edited together into sort-of movies. The upside is that each "movie" will contain footage not aired on TV. Greg and Vic Cook want to record a commentary track, but they haven't. If a proper season set is released, it's unclear if the additional footage will be included.
- The opening theme was originally intended to be an update to the 1960s cartoon's theme, but the rights were too expensive. So a theme song with the same sort of energy was sought out instead. Greg sent out potential lyrics to all the prospective musicians, but the final musicians didn't use them. There were actually four finalists, and they wanted to put the ones that didn't win on the DVDs, but they weren't allowed.
- Greg would have liked Keith David to stay on as the Big Man, but he had a play to do instead (A Midsummer Night's Dream - he played Oberon).
- Season 2 will be 13 episodes long. There have been some issues with story length in this season. Black Cat will return in Season 2, as will Harry Osborn. One episode will deal with questions about how Peter gets his photos. The Tinkerer (played by Thom Adcox) will appear in episode #14.
- Greg and company can use anything from the Spider-Man corner of the Marvel Universe, but nothing outside it. This is why Kingpin wasn't used in Season 1. Although Greg would like to use the Kingpin, he can't really complain about getting an interesting character out of the Big Man.
- The new Eddie Brock was constructed as a dark mirror of Peter Parker, as Venom is a dark mirror of Spider-Man. So, Eddie lost his parents in the same way as Peter, but had no Aunt May or Uncle Ben; while Peter learned to appreciate life, Eddie learned to appreciate death. Eddie is reckless and flirts with death; the scene in "Group Therapy" where he appeared to be threatening Mary Jane was intended to show this recklessness (as well as his anger towards Peter), and not intended as Eddie being vicious towards her.
- Greg hasn't heard any confirmation of Season 3, and he's worried he might have to move on to another job before they decide to make it. (He'd happily do another decade's worth of seasons.) Season 3 would include Hobgoblin.
- Greg thinks J. Jonah Jameson was once like Peter, which is why JJJ can be nice (more or less) towards him at times.
- Greg first saw the voice actress for Aunt May when she played the nurse in Romeo and Juliet.
At one point, Keith told a funny joke about a fellow and his mechanical arm, albeit one rather Blue for an all-ages panel. Following the conclusion of the panel, I quickly went to get a light Burger King lunch and immediately returned for the auction. Even on low-bidding items, Gorebash and Seth Jackson kept things entertaining; Keith David also popped in a few times to spice things up. The big bids were $160 (Keith David, for the Goliath electronic talking bank), $275 (Leo (and others by proxy), for the set of six Applause figures (Goliath, the Trio, Hudson and a Demona with hair corrected to red), $95 (Hobdemona, for all four character mugs (Goliath and the Trio), beating out both Keith David and Thom Adcox), and $400 (Seth Jackson, for a rare lithograph image of Goliath). For my part, I was outbid on a Gargoyles stamp, and won a 200(-plus) piece Gargoyles puzzle for $8.
After retrieving my stuff and chatting with D. Taina, I hung out with Ed for a bit while he guarded his brother Leo's acquisitions. I dropped off my auction items, then returned to my room until the banquet. I was at "Table #7", which included Dracandros, Ed, Lacey and her sister Krystl, Gside and Phil. I tried to stir up conversation a few times, with mixed results; Keith David also briefly stopped by to see how we were doing and patted me and Dracandros on the back. (Perhaps he was trying to compensate for our lack of guest representation?) As for the food, I thought the main course was pretty good, but I find myself beginning to question whether I'm getting enough bang for my buck as far as Gathering banquets. After the trivia game started, I helped guide our table to near-victory, advising our spokespeople as needed. We were finally stumped by a question on something that had only popped up at the Radio Play (and is a spoiler at this time) - in other words, information that was about 24 hours old.
On the way back to my room (we took our chosen elevator to the ninth, as it skipped our floor) I talked briefly with Josh Silver. I returned a call to Dad, then updated my notes before going back to the Masquerade. Along the way, I shared an elevator with Karine-as-Hunter (who, no offense meant to the participants, had the best costume of the night). I won't cover the Masquerade itself much, as I'm sure others can detail the costumes and such better than I, but I will note that I was seated with King Cobra and Vid the Kid before prize deliberations began. Afterwards, they left, and were replaced by Lacey and Krystl. I talked at length with Lacey during and after the prize deliberations about previous Gatherings and general fandom matters, among other things, before they had to leave to walk back to their hotel (they were staying elsewhere).
Now on my own, I initiated my master plan. In previous Masquerades, I usually waited around awkwardly, not doing much, until things closed down or I'd had enough of nothing. This time, I brought my own entertainment - a laptop equipped with MUGEN, a downloadable 2-D fighting game engine with tons of characters (many from existing media) available for download. I walked over to Gside, who was also largely unoccupied, and asked if he wanted to try it out - but beforehand, I chatted with Emambu. Despite the increasing noise levels, we managed to catch up. (He also commented that if I'd wanted to show off my card game with its Gargoyles characters, I would have been well served to have advertised it beforehand. He had a point.) I eventually invited him along with Gside and King Cobra to check out MUGEN.
Once I set it up in the corner, the alternate activity attracted a respectable amount of attention - slightly fewer tried it out, but it appeared I had chosen well to bring it. Greg B. and Aaron attempted to settle a running debate on the merits of Galvatron vs. Megatron using MUGEN, which went somewhat unfairly in Greg (Galvatron)'s favor (he had played MUGEN before we left for the 2007 Gathering; Aaron was unfamiliar with fighting games in general). In the meantime, there continued to be increasingly themed dancing in the center. As we approached 1 am, people began to burn out on MUGEN, so (with company from Rob) I packed it up and left. (I was amazed the hotel let the dance run so late!)
I returned to my room for the night.
We now know that Spider-Man Season Two will premier in March 2009.