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The Phoenix Gate

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My Journey to Oregon...

Around March of 1993, my boss at Disney, Gary Krisel, became fascinated with comic books -- mostly because his sons were collecting. At the time, no one was more successful than Tod McFarlane. He had launched SPAWN, and for awhile at least was bringing in multi-millions of dollars per month. WOW. I had worked briefly with Tod at DC Comics in the mid-eighties, when he was penciling INFINITY INC. for Roy Thomas, and I was Roy's Associate Editor on the book. At the time, Roy was a huge fan of Tod's. Most everyone else at DC thought his work was too eccentric. What did they know?

So anyway, Gary had me contact Tod. He wanted to see if he could get Tod interested in participating in GARGOYLES. We arranged a meeting at Tod's new home in Oregon. I prepared yet a tenth pass at the pitch, and Gary and I flew up north for an hour meeting with Tod. I did pitch the show, but Tod was way too focused on SPAWN to have any real interest. He and Gary talked about strategies for turning Spawn into a movie, and then we flew home. Nothing ever came of it. But here's the pitch, I pitched Tod:

GARGOYLES McFarlane Pitch
Semi-Modified Tenth Pass (Weisman / 3-4-93)

I. Trio of typical stone GARGOYLES.

"These are GARGOYLES. Ugly, stone statues that squat on the roofs of old buildings. But there was a time, one thousand years ago, when gargoyles were real, living creatures. During the day, they slept...frozen in stone."

II. GOLIATH, the GARGOYLE-MASTER. Proud and Noble.

"But when the sun went down, GOLIATH, the GARGOYLE-MASTER would lead his gargoyle-warriors in defense of the king's castle."

III. HUMANS scorning the Gargoyles.

"For these efforts, Goliath received no reward, no thanks or even kindness. In fact, the people of the castle treated all gargoyles with nothing but contempt."

IV. The Gargoyle-Master alone in the throneroom.

"Still Goliath could no more stop guarding the castle than breathing the air. It's part of a gargoyle's nature to be territorial, protective. And so for years, he maintained his lonely vigil. Then one night, Goliath was betrayed and lured away from his post."

V. SORCEROR curses Goliath and the other gargoyles on the castle ramparts.

"The castle was overrun and sacked. Goliath and the surviving gargoyles were unfairly blamed. The kingdom's SORCEROR laid a curse upon them, and they fell into a stone sleep--that lasted a thousand years."

VI. Castle on the skyscraper.

"New York City, 1994. A rich and powerful man has decided there's a better place for a medieval castle than a picturesque hill in Scotland. He's moved the whole place--lock, stock and gargoyle--to the top of the tallest skyscraper in Manhattan."

VII. Police Detective ELISA CHAVEZ.

"All of which means absolutely nothing to New York City Police Detective, ELISA CHAVEZ. She doesn't care about castles, and she doesn't believe in curses. She's hot on the trail of a major badguy."

VIII. She's ambushed on a rooftop by multiple THUGS. She's got the drop on most of them. But someone's about to nail her from behind. (And from another rooftop, someTHING is watching in the shadows.)

"Too bad that trail leads her right into an ambush. But thank goodness, a shadowy figure sees what's happening and decides to help."

IX. Reveal THE GARGOYLE, determined, as he dives into fray from above.

"Thank goodness for THE GARGOYLE."

X. Gargoyle lifts a badguy with either hand. While a third shoots at him, the bullets glancing off his stone-like hide.

"Goliath benchpresses two badguys easy. And that stone-like hide of his makes him practically invulnerable..."

XI. Romantic shot in moonlight. Close in. She reaches up to touch his face gently. He looks handsome and noble and just a bit uncomfortable and sad.

"...To everything but Elisa's kindness. She is the first human being who's ever offered him understanding and friendship, hope..."

XII. From atop the skyscraper, she shows him Manhattan. The city as fortress. This is our showpiece card.

"...And a sense of purpose. She introduces him to his new home, Manhattan, and asks for his help in protecting it against modern day barbarians."

XIII. HUDSON. (One pose, plus two headshots.)

"Fortunately, our hero isn't alone. This is Goliath's old friend HUDSON, a Gargoyle-Warrior long past his prime. Hudson helps out by keeping an eye on the young Warriors-in-training..."

XIV. Trio of young Gargoyles, BROOKLYN, LEXINGTON and BROADWAY. Same as card 1. (But in color, perhaps?)

"...BROOKLYN, LEXINGTON and BROADWAY. (Uh, they picked their own names.)"

XV. BRONX, the DOG. (Multiple poses.)

"And then there's BRONX, the Gargoyle-dog. He's not a big fan of adventure."

XVI. Bronx (two poses) chewing on a fire hydrant and flying.

"He just likes to eat a lot, sleep a lot and make a general mess."

XVII. Goliath and Elisa try to be inconspicuous on the Subway.

"Goliath has wider interests, but it can be hard for a seven-foot medieval monster to squeeze into the modern world."

XVIII. Interior of Gargoyle lair.

"Sometimes he just needs to retreat back to the old castle and let time stand still. Of course that can be tough too..."


"Especially with XAVIER around. Rich, powerful and arrogant, Xavier bought the gargoyles' castle. Now he thinks he owns the gargoyles too."

XX. ROBOT climbing building toward Gargoyle.

"If something rotten is happening in New York...odds are Xavier's behind it."


"But Goliath's greatest foe is the evil gargoyle DEMONA."

XXII. Demona vs. Goliath, above the city.

"Once she and Goliath were friends. Now, she's his sworn enemy, and she won't rest 'til she controls the night..."

XXIII. Stone version of our Gargoyle. Looking vicious and scary. Daylight.

"And the night is all that matters, because the gargoyles still sleep as stone statues during the day, finding an outdoor ledge just before sunrise and striking a pose that could give you nightmares."

XXIV. Night. Goliath, handsome and noble again, on top of a skyscraper with the full moon, Elisa and the other Gargoyles right behind him. Gothic mood, but clearly set in the present.

"But when the sun goes down, they're our only protection from the city's dark terrors."

XXV. Title Card: "GARGOYLES".

"They are the GARGOYLES."

XXVI. KID at Disneyland.

"Joining the Disney Family in 1994."