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The Phoenix Gate

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Comments for the week ending October 8, 2023

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He also references "Starfleet" in that same sequence (Her Brother's Keeper) immediately after the "use the Force" line. Don't know if that could be referencing something else, but Trek is the most likely.

Antiyonder, I don't think you need spoiler tags for a story that came out 15 years ago.

Jurgan - [jurgan6 at yahoo dot com]

Ftmb> First part of the final SLG story where [SPOILER] Brooklyn tries to explain time travel to Mary and Finella, citing Quantum Leap and Star Trek as examples [/SPOILER].

"It's canon that Brooklyn watches Star Trek, I can't help but imagine him getting an uncomfortable feeling whenever Troi and Riker show up but not being able to figure out why."

It's canon that Brooklyn watches Star Wars " use the Force Lex!" But where is it canon he watches Star Trek? I missed that!


Todd's comments below got me thinking, which is why this is a bit of a slow response.

I heard someone, probably a college dorm-mate from all these years ago, remark admiringly of his new girlfriend that she was a real person: "She curses, and burps, and farts, and everything." It wasn't a very mature remark, but even at the time I recognized in that what I've always admired about these characters. They are, by and large, not supernatural. They're very earthy people, with earthy concerns. There are exceptions, but not only are they really exceptions, but even faced with them, the stories by and large concern the earthly effects of those supernatural beings and events.

These are characters that could really be out there somewhere. That's attractive, and I think it makes them much more relatable.

So turning to the specific point that (I think) Todd raised, I don't think that [SPOILER] a favorable outcome from Goliath's hearing is likely to change the story so much that it can't be worth telling. They remain very grounded characters, living in a real world, or as real as you're going to get, I suppose. If you have been able to get stories out of that, then I don't see you ceasing to get those stories even if the court finds them absolutely sapient; at most, they lose the benefit of being sort of outside the law. In all other respects, the world rolls along as it has.

As long as their world contains a wide variety of humans, as it has and presumably will, there will be some who are charmed by the view into Goliath's head and think well of the gargoyles, and there will be those horrified at these imitations of humanity and will fight against them. These stories, the stories of how the gargoyles interact with the humans around them, do not go away just because there are more humans who may be understanding of them. Visibility does not mean acceptance. It is a necessary condition, but not a sufficient one. Our own sad mundane world shows that all too well, but even the gargoyles' own experience reflects that. It's not like they were universally celebrated back in the days of Castle Wyvern, and that was a smaller community than Manhattan. [/SPOILER]

One more thing: unlike other superheroes, these are themselves and only ever can be. Clark Kent or Bruce Wayne can go catch a movie or shop for grapes, or whatever, and not have to deal with being Superman or Batman and the consequences that flow from those identities. It's an interesting and telling recent detail that [SPOILER] both Coldstone and Lexington are trying to escape Goliath's hearing and its potential consequences (Coldstone by refusing to watch, Lexington by asking about moving to Knight's Spur) [/SPOILER], but besides that, Halloween has been a high holiday for the gargoyles largely because it does offer them some escape, for a little while, from being Those Things, and it's about the only chance they get. It doesn't seem likely to me that you could ever have this become just another superhero story while that's still a factor.

And now I can't stop thinking about Broadway (whose name, I am sure, refers to the breadth of his frame and not his gut) pushing a cart around the produce section of A&P and getting the side-eye from all around, which is a fun image for a Sunday morning.

morrand - [morrand276 at gmail dot com]

Speaking of Xanatos, he got a cameo in a new Disney "Broken Karaoke" on villains (for a moment that paid tribute to those villains with goatees).

You can find it here:


Todd Jensen

"Well there is this exchange from Star Trek: Generations..."

When Frakes was on the Voices podcast, Greg suggested the "evil Riker" in one episode was a Xanatos impression, and he didn't deny it. Then Greg pressed his luck and asked if a guest spot on Wings was also a Xanatos impression, and Frakes asked if he was high.

Jurgan - [jurgan6 at yahoo dot com]

Reminds me of my old creativity demon of the gargoyles' new television set in "The Edge", instead of picking up the news report about Xanatos donating the Eye of Odin to the Museum of Modern Art, showing a repeat of "Star Trek: the Next Generation" and turning on in the middle of one of Riker's speeches - with Goliath momentarily mistaking his voice for Xanatos's.
Todd Jensen

It's canon that Brooklyn watches Star Trek, I can't help but imagine him getting an uncomfortable feeling whenever Troi and Riker show up but not being able to figure out why.
Jurgan - [jurgan6 at yahoo dot com]

TODD> Well there is this exchange from Star Trek: Generations...

PICARD: Someone once told me that time is a predator that stalks us all our lives. I rather believe that time is a companion who goes with us on the journey, and reminds us to cherish every moment, ...because they'll never come again. ...What we leave behind is not as important as how we lived. ...After all, Number One, we're only mortal.

RIKER: Speak for yourself, sir. I plan to live forever.

Also that one ep of Voyager where a bunch of painfully stereotypical Irish holo-villagers start malfunctioning and become convinced Captain Janeway is the "Queen of the Fairies".

'Nuff said.

I noticed the "broad" part, which is pretty obvious. But the original Broadway is famous for its entertainment connections, and Broadway shows some leanings towards that (his enthusiasm for Westerns - at least, until his desire to re-enact a showdown had disastrous consequences - and "film noir"-style detective stories; granted, they're movies, not stage plays, which the original Broadway is linked to). Maybe he had that Broadway in mind when he picked his name (though I'm certain that Brooklyn and Lexington would have thought of the "broad" part in response).

And while I'm not a "Star Trek" expert, I've long noticed that they never got Patrick Stewart on the voice actor list. (It even inspired a creativity demon I had back in 1997, where Riker would be telling the rest of the cast, "I had a dream last night that I was a really rich businessman in New York in the 1990's, and you were there" - to Deanna Troi - "and you, and you" - to Worf and Data - "but not you" to Picard.)

Speaking of Brent Spiner, I remember seeing him in a sadly short-lived science fiction television series many years ago, where he played a scientist who was part of a team dealing with a very unusual alien invasion; the aliens, instead of launching a conventional invasion with an army, were sending devices to "terraform" the Earth, including transforming its inhabitants - especially humans - into the species of their planet. I think it was called "Threshold", but I might be wrong.

Todd Jensen

Jurgan> Patrick Stewart was my personal choice for Prospero as well, I thought it would tie-in well to Sir Stewart's Shakespearean background.

As for Broadway's name, I too have made the comparison to his size though I don't think that's[ why he was given that particular name. Back when I first saw this as a wee little one that might've been how I learned that the term broad could apply to girth.


As a kid, I always took it as a reference to Broadway's size as well. Something about his gesture and the way Fagerbakke delivers the line. To be fair, the early episodes went very heavy (no pun intended) on jokes about Broadway's weight/appetite, particularly in the "Awakening" five-parter. It's probably one of the few weaker aspects of "Awakening," and I'm glad they fairly quickly moved away from that.

"I always took it as his own sense of body positivity. Like, he's broad, he knows he's broad, he's not bothered by it, and he thought the name Broadway suited him."

So you're saying it is a reference to his size, just not a derogatory one. Fair enough.

Jurgan - [jurgan6 at yahoo dot com]

Jurgan > We know Prospero will eventually turn up…that’s who I’d like Patrick Stewart to play on Gargoyles.

Okay, I now know how to respond:

I always took it as his own sense of body positivity. Like, he's broad, he knows he's broad, he's not bothered by it, and he thought the name Broadway suited him.

Greg Bishansky

[SPOILER] Yeah, I'm not sure how the Clan going public is going to preclude further adventures. Even if the hearing ends with the best possible verdict for Goliath, getting to the Gargoyle Minority Protection Act is going to be the work of a generation at the least. It's not going to dissuade Demona or Castaway from their genocidal agendas, or Thailog from scheming, or any of the Clan's other enemies from causing trouble.

It might push them a little more into the territory of conventional superheroes like Batman or Spider-Man, who are known to the public yet have an often fraught relationship with the official authorities. But Gargoyles has always been a superhero show in all but name. [/SPOILER]

'Nuff said.

JURGAN> "Also, while I have people’s attention, something I’ve been wondering: Is Broadway’s name a fat joke? I’ve always assumed it was. In Awakening, he doesn’t have much characterization beyond “big eater.” When it comes to naming time, he says “Broadway” while spreading his hands out, which looks like he’s indicating the broadness of his gut. So I thought that was obvious beyond need for discussion, but I had someone disagree with me about it recently and now I’m not sure."

Um... wow... I don't know what to even say to that. But, no... I don't think so. At all.

Greg Bishansky

Todd> I’m not sure that I follow your logic here. Gargoyles has never been a show bound by status quo. It’s always been changing and growing? I don’t understand why that would change following the Trial. If anything, the verdict; either way, opens new possibilities for stories that wouldn’t be possible before.

As a kid, Gargoyles made me conscious of the existence of the Status Quo for the first time; by frequently breaking it. Moving to the Clock Tower. The World Tour. Angela. Blowing up the Clock Tower. This is just one more step in the chain of changing status quo that is signature to the series.

Chip - [Sir_Griff723 at yahoo dot com]
Become a writer, you can be petty.~~Roshni Choksky

I’m not much of a Star Trek fan either, but I’ve seen clips of “The Measure of Man” in which he is on trial to prove an android can be considered sentient. Picard is his counselor. I wonder who Patrick Stewart would have eventually played in Gargoyles? Seems like a shoe-in for Peredur.

Also, while I have people’s attention, something I’ve been wondering: Is Broadway’s name a fat joke? I’ve always assumed it was. In Awakening, he doesn’t have much characterization beyond “big eater.” When it comes to naming time, he says “Broadway” while spreading his hands out, which looks like he’s indicating the broadness of his gut. So I thought that was obvious beyond need for discussion, but I had someone disagree with me about it recently and now I’m not sure.


I presume that was something that happened to Data?

The part about Oberon's Children becoming public knowledge after the gargoyles reminds me, on a more serious level, of one thought I've had about the developments in "Here in Manhattan". [SPOILER] Goliath's hearing, televised so that practically everyone in New York will be watching it - and no doubt, something on this scale is going to be picked up by other news media around the world - is going to make a lot about the gargoyles public knowledge, even before Elisa took the stand (and we can assume that her testimony's going to reveal even more information, though we'll have to wait for next issue to find out exactly what and how much). For the first two seasons, the gargoyles were, from the public's standpoint, just a rumor - people glimpsed the gargoyles, everyone had a "friend of a friend" who'd seen one, etc. - but they didn't know for certain that they existed. Even after the gargoyles' existence was revealed, all that the human population of New York knew was that they existed, but they didn't know precisely what they were - as the Jogger pointed out at the start of "The Journey".

However, we can be certain that the hearing will broadcast enough about the gargoyles' nature to make them no longer the "unknown"; in particular, we can be certain that their being crime-fighters will come to light. We've discussed the legal ramifications - especially for Elisa's career - but the public perspective on the gargoyles, and the likely tone of the story, is bound to change. Up to this point, the gargoyles' adventures had been largely secret, with bits of them (especially the more fantastic ones) boiling up on occasion, but with more of a "what just happened?" tone. It felt like an urban fantasy of the sort where the "weirdness" is taking place beneath the surface. After this, however, it could easily feel more like a "public super-hero" story - and I'm concerned that that might take away some of the atmosphere of "Gargoyles".

It's made me wonder whether - apart from the upcoming Halloween special - "Here in Manhattan" should be the last story about Goliath and his clan. I know that there are other stories Greg had planned for them that I'd like to see - the return of Queen Mab or the "Weird Macbeth", for example - but, short of the human population of Manhattan suffering from a convenient case of "Sunnydale Syndrome" that reverts the gargoyles to an urban legend (and which I doubt would happen), I wonder whether, after Goliath's hearing, the time for such tales has passed. [/SPOILER]

Todd Jensen

Also, Todd, jumping off from your crossover ideas, here's something I thought of:

With gargoyles revealed to the public, it's only a matter of time before The Third Race are also revealed. And since Xanatos is known to consort with gargoyles, investigators look into his books and discover that he also has a Child of Oberon on his payroll. Owen is arrested and held without trial, but he claims the precedent in Goliath v. City of New York applies to him. The judge insists he testify in his true form, and so Brent Spiner plays a character on trial to determine if he is sentient...

Jurgan - [jurgan6 at yahoo dot com]

Of course, Christmas isn't a gargoyle holiday the way that Halloween is. To them, it'd be somebody else's celebration (though they might observe the winter solstice - the night when they'll be awake the longest).

I think that there was a Christmas episode in Season Two of "The Spectacular Spider-Man" (they covered all the big holidays, I recall, from Halloween to Valentine's Day), though I'll have to check.

Todd Jensen

That'd be neat, Greg doesn't often do Christmas stories.

Todd, you just set off a creativity demon in my brain. Come December, I might have a Gargoyles Christmas story for the group...
Jurgan - [jurgan6 at yahoo dot com]

That was nice!
Metal Works

Cool page. Thanks for the update
Railings - [bellidzx at outlook dot com]

Paul > I was first! So you’re seventh.

I believe Craig was fifth, Matthew was sixth, and Antiyonder was seventh.

So here I am, coming in eighth.

Paul - [nampahcfluap at yahoo dot com]

I look forward to a Christmas story all the more given the implications of his elves [SPOILER] in that we have seen them before, thus being Oberon's Children [/SPOILER].

CRAIG - Yes, I'm still curious about that Santa Claus story. I've mentioned this before, but I've wondered, ever since Greg Weisman mentioned it, how you'd match Santa with the atmosphere of "Gargoyles" (a series that is ultimately hopeful, but still rather grim by Disney standards, and even opening with the slaughter of most of the Wyvern clan).

MATT - Good point about why television series don't do that much with the "Year's Cycle". It reminded me of a few recent strips of "Drabble" talking about how cartoonists aren't too keen on autumn because they then have to draw all those falling leaves.

Todd Jensen

The changing of seasons was usually reserved for obligatory holiday themed episodes for both animation and live-action tv. The former because it was easier to reuse "neutral" backgrounds that don't connotate a specific time of the year (you see this in a lot of Hanna-Barbera) as well as not draw too much attention to the passage of time.

For live-action, filming is primarily done in agreeable weather so filming in the warmer months make more sense, plus, unless you're filming on location in areas with predictable inclement weather, it's far easier to simulate snow or rain rather than wait for the appropriate climate needed for the shoot.

Greg's works and use of marking the passage of time within the story and reflecting it is pretty unusual for most programs.

Ain't nothing crazy 'bout me but my brain!

Todd > Agreed about the “year’s cycle.” Of course, we’re on our third Halloween adventure now, an annual tradition (even if it’s taken 28 years to reach the third one!), and the SLG comics gave us New Year’s. It would be fun to get a Christmas-themed story (I know Greg has teased Santa Claus existing in some fashion).

I'd like to have seen a bit more of the "Year's Cycle" in "Gargoyles" - something that we got in "The Spectacular Spider-Man" and "Young Justice". (Of course, those series were more human-centered, as has been pointed out. Though the shifting length of days and nights as the seasons change would have some impact on the gargoyles.)

I bought a little used book on gargoyles at the local public library today, one that I mentioned a couple of times before. It focused on architectural gargoyles, but had a chapter on gargoyles in fiction which included "Gargoyles" - if with a couple of inaccuracies in its description; for example, it gave the impression that the gargoyles turned to stone in the daytime because of the Magus's curse rather than as part of their natural biology. It also described the show as running "for three seasons, totaling 65 episodes" - making it uncertain whether it was including the "Goliath Chronicles" or not. It included Station 8 in the bibliography section.

Finally, a few scenes we'll probably never see in "Gargoyles", but which I couldn't resist imagining.

1. A mini-Timedancer adventure. Brooklyn arrives in early 14th century Scotland, where he secretly witnesses Robert the Bruce and the spider. After Robert the Bruce rushes off, newly inspired, the Phoenix comes for Brooklyn, but the spider had crawled over to him by then, and so it's carried off in time alongside Brooklyn. The Phoenix briefly deposits them in a laboratory in modern-day New York - Brooklyn noticing from a newspaper lying around that it's a couple of years away from his original time, meaning that the Timedance isn't over - then carries Brooklyn off again, but leaving the spider behind. The spider crawls around the lab, getting exposed to the various experiments there, and a couple of days later, crawls over to a visiting high school student and bites him....

2. At the end of the "Once Upon A Time There Were Three Brothers" part of "Dark Ages", the Players depart Wyvern, planning to make Denmark their next stop - with the possibility of staging a play about a king who gets murdered by having poison poured in his ears....

3. A scene in the upcoming Halloween special: when Gnash goes trick-or-treating with some New York kids, at every house they stop by, all the other kids get various treats, but Gnash always gets a rock.

Todd Jensen


It occurs to me now that a lot of my favorite episodes had snow... "Reawakening", "The Price", "Possession".

"And, thus, given no choice, we waited..." - Alesand, "The Reach"


My ornaments are fruits; my garments leaves,
Woven like cloth of gold, and crimson dyed;
I do not boast the harvesting of sheaves,
O'er orchards and o'er vineyards I preside.
Though on the frigid Scorpion I ride,
The dreamy air is full, and overflows
With tender memories of the summer-tide,
And mingled voices of the doves and crows.

"October", Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, "The Poet's Calendar"

Some good thoughts on the symbolic role of the wintry weather in "The Price".

I've had thoughts on the snow starting at the end of "Her Brother's Keeper", and its symbolic purpose. That episode was the start of the "creation of Talon" story, but they only had enough room to do the set-up (Derek being lured into Xanatos's service). Since that thread would have to wait until Season Two to be continued, and they didn't know for certain if there'd be a Season Two, they needed a "seeming resolution", so that if there was just one season, the audience could believe that Elisa had warned Derek away in time - before learning the truth in "Metamorphosis". Hence Elisa taping Fox's boast about Xanatos's plans (with the side-effect, of course, through Laura's performance, of Fox and Xanatos's relationship emerging), and the first time I saw "Her Brother's Keeper", I did think that Elisa's recording would get Derek to change his mind. The snow falling at the end, with its foreboding atmosphere, prepares the audience for the revelation next season that Elisa didn't succeed, that Derek continued to work for Xanatos - leading to his transformation....

Todd Jensen

Second. Good morning!

Craig > The Himalayas episode in "Clan Building" is an interesting point of comparison. It's established as very cold outside, and we see Goliath in a cloak alongside Angela and Bronx (and Elisa, naturally). There's no apparent reason for Goliath and Angela to wrap up except for the cold: it's not a disguise, or at least not an effective one given that they are immediately spotted. The cloaks, being not totally workable once they have to spread their wings, kind of start dropping away once Goliath and Angela have to fly, and they abandon them entirely shortly after finding shelter although Elisa keeps hers.

I guess it says that they're not bothered as much by the cold as most humans, but they do have their limits. It would make some sense that they'd be even less bothered by the cold when they're active, as anyone is. (And as was pointed out back in "Voices" 16 for "Reawakening," Hudson seems quite happy to ride out the storm indoors rather than roaming around outside.) It's been too long since I saw "The Price" and I won't rule out that Brooklyn is being a bit whiny, but I'd also consider the possibility that Goliath is just being a bit stoic and the truth is somewhere in the middle. On the other end of the scale, I seem to recall the boys complaining about the heat, but I can't remember where that shows up.

By the way: photos of the new NECA figures just dropped on ex-Twitter over the weekend, and it got me thinking about this because the new Gabriel figure (who, by the way, has what I find to be an absolutely endearing grin) is actually pretty well clothed. Part of me did wonder if that's because perhaps the climate on Avalon isn't quite as balmy as advertised, but on thinking it over, it's probably more of a cultural thing.

morrand - [morrand276 at gmail dot com]
Fabruary on the Lakes doesn't make you shiver; it makes you curse life.


Todd > Good point about the snow. I take it for granted now as part of the episode; but as a kid, that element made a strong impact on me. Even at a young age, I understood that animated shows only tended to incorporate seasonal elements, or specific meteorological elements, when there was a story reason. The fact that it was snowing in the episode immediately signaled to me that this was going to be a "special" episode (along with the obviously strong animation). It probably helped that the snowfall in "Her Brother's Keeper" is one of my favorite Gargoyles moments ever, so seeing snow on this series always gets my expectations up. The fact that "The Price" wasn't a Christmas or winter-themed episode, that there was no particular need for it, just made it all the cooler. It made the episode feel very authentic, like we were really watching life happen to these characters (because of course, it snows in NY). I do also like Jurgan's take on the "winter of life" symbolism, but that's not immediately obvious and perhaps not even intended? But cool nonetheless.

There is also the question of Brooklyn shivering, when Goliath had previously said in "Reawakening" that, "The cold does not bother us." I've always wondered about that. How literally was Goliath speaking? He certainly seems to be pretty OK in "Eye of the Storm." Is Brooklyn just being whiny and dramatic?