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John Derrick writes...

I hate to say it, but I was extremely disappointed in the Young Justice premiere. Don't get me wrong--the animation was gorgeous, the dialogue entertaining, the story intriguing. But the gender imbalance was a huge turn-off for me.

Why was it that the women of the Justice League were only shown in the last five minutes of a two-part pilot? Why did the male sidekicks get to go on a rebellious adventure and force the League to accept them as a team of their own, while the first girl is only added to "Young Justice" at the very end, introduced by her uncle and guardian like some sort of token?

I expect that the women will have a lot more to do in the episodes to come, but I still find it profoundly problematic to introduce the characters in such an unequal manner. I believe there are too many men in the world as it is who see women as mere supporting players in their stories. Why reinforce this stereotype for a whole new generation of superhero cartoon fans?

Greg responds...

It's a legitimate gripe. And I doubt my answer will satisfy you, but it came down to a couple factors that we at least found important: (1) practicality and to a lesser extent - but intertwined with - (2) tradition.

Let's start with practicality.

You asked why there were no female Leaguers until the end. But where would they have fit? There are no female Leaguers with traditional first generation sidekicks. So Batman, Green Arrow, Aquaman and Flash could not be replaced by Wonder Woman, Black Canary or Hawkwoman. That leaves the four Leaguers introduced at the Hall of Justice. I needed Martian Manhunter to be there to set up Miss Martian. I needed Red Tornado there to set up his interest in the teens. I needed Superman there to set up Superboy. That leaves only Zatara. He was certainly replaceable. But then I would have had to hire another voice actress to read ONE LINE. I couldn't afford to do that. We have budgets. (And you'll notice that Red Tornado never speaks in the episode. Couldn't afford giving him a line either. None of which had anything to do with gender.)

There was NEVER any intent to introduce Artemis this early in the season for story reasons. Wouldn't make sense for her character. And I think the reasons why will become clear as the season progresses.

As for Miss Martian, yes, in theory, we could have introduced her sooner. Manhunter COULD have brought her along at the beginning. But then I'd have had FOUR characters running around the first half hour and FIVE in the second. That steals screen time and characterization from everyone. I think the entire production would have been weaker for adding another character -- ANY other character (gender notwithstanding).

Of course, that begs the obvious question - why not ditch one of the boys in favor of her to create a little balance.

But it seemed to us that would create balance at a cost.

There are FOUR TRADITIONAL sidekicks: Robin, Speedy, Aqualad and Kid Flash. To leave one out seemed wrong to us. Which brings in the Tradition argument, which I'll admit is somewhat feeble, but as an old comic book geek, I'll also admit it matters to me and to everyone else here.

The very first Teen Titans story ever in Brave and the Bold featured only THREE heroes: Robin, Aqualad and Kid Flash. Wonder Girl did not join until their second adventure. So we felt there was a precedent for beginning with Robin, Aqualad and Kid Flash and saving the real introduction of Miss Martian (beyond hellos) for OUR second adventure.

For what it's worth, if you give the series another chance, starting with episode three (i.e. the one immediately following the pilot "movie"), I think you'll see that female characters including Miss Martian, Black Canary, Artemis, Wonder Woman and MANY others will be playing ESSENTIAL roles in the show as we progress. I think the balance - and then some - is absolutely present in the first season when viewed in its entirety.

Yes, the pilot was very boy-centric, but that's not the rubric for the series. Personally, I love writing female characters, and if you're at all familiar with my past work, you'll know I have a history of doing them justice. (At least, I think so.) Gargoyles, for example, is FULL of strong female characters, including Elisa, Demona, Angela, Fox, etc. WITCH was nearly ALL female leads. Even Spider-Man had a strong female supporting cast, in my opinion at least.

If we did "reinforce a stereotype" (which I think is overstating it) then perhaps we've lured in kids that we will reeducate over the course of the season - organically without forcing it.

So I'd beg a little patience, a little indulgence... maybe even a little trust that we'll do right by this issue.

But judge for yourself.

Response recorded on December 21, 2010

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Greg Bishansky writes...

So, on the season finale of "Venture Bros," the Monarch declared that all good villain couples swing, as he and his wife obviously do. That got me thinking...

Xanatos and Fox? They seem like the type. What do you think? ;)

Greg responds...

None of your business.

Response recorded on December 03, 2010

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Jessica writes...

Is Anastasia fully human? I know you said when Puck transformed into Owen, that he was fully human, the only hint otherwise was his ability to transform back.
I was just curious how Anastasia could be fully human and have a half-human child. Is the magic in her DNA?

Greg responds...

Yes.

Response recorded on November 23, 2010

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Lauren-Ashley writes...

In an earlier post, (March 4, 2002, to be exact) you said, "I think Fox has some issues. The fact that even when she is in love, she thinks she can't love or be loved, that she doesn't deserve love, etc. is central to her problems. Her parents and their relationships to her and each other play in too."

I read, also in an earlier Ask Greg post, that Fox was 25 when her parents divorced. We the audience don't know how long the marriage lasted happily before Titania grew bored from Renard's rigid ways, or even how long it took her to divorce Renard. A child first learns about relationships from his or her parents, for better or for worse. Growing up and choosing fun over integrity has its key role, of course, especially with her father. So even though Fox wasn't a child when her parents separated, can Fox' feelings that she cannot love or be loved be, at least in part, as a result of her parents' divorce?

Greg responds...

Sure. Though of course troubles precede any final divorce decree.

Response recorded on October 14, 2010

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Charisma82 writes...

In Outfoxed, did Fox let Vogel keep the money she’d sent to him for betraying her father and helping her take out Renard’s company or did she take it back? Or did he give it back to her? If he kept it, what did he do with the money that was used to make him betray Renard (I would assume he’d feel guilty having it, but correct me if I’m wrong)?

Thank you for your time and all that you do,

-Charisma82

Greg responds...

I'm sure Renard would have insisted on Vogel returning the money as a condition of continued employment.

Response recorded on September 17, 2010

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Patrick writes...

Hi, Greg!

Skimming through the archives, I saw the question asked: "... Both Fox and David Xanatos have been to prison.. does this mean that neither of them can vote?"

You had replied: "Honestly, I'd have to research that."

Curious, I used my powers Google-fu and found that the answer is...

"In New York, individuals who have been convicted of a felony cannot vote while incarcerated or on parole. Once an individual has completed his or her sentence, the right to vote is automatically restored, but it is up to the individual to re-register with their county board of elections. Individuals on probation retain the right to vote."

Source: http://www.nyclu.org/files/Disfranchisement7bw.pdf

So I guess the real question becomes: Are either Xanatos or Fox on parole?

I realize by the time you see this it'll have been a few months since the original question, but I just thought I'd pass along what I learned. :)

Greg responds...

As of January 4th, 1995, David began serving his probation.

As of September 6th, 1995, Fox was released on parole.

As of October 31st, 1997, David's probation ends.

I don't know when Fox's parole ends. I'd have to research that too.

At one point, L.A. D.D.A. Tuppence Macintyre told me the difference between parole and probation, but I can no longer remember exactly what those differences are (beyond what you wrote above) or why David was on probation and Fox was on parole.

Response recorded on May 18, 2010

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Pixie writes...

All too often in cartoons (specifically nowadays) female characters fall into the role of giggling love interest, counterpart to a male character to eliminate homosexual themes or are just there to fill a demographic. Writers don't seem to know what to do with them after that.

That is why I would like to sincerely thank you for your part in fostering strong female characters like Elisa, Demona and Fox.

Also, what influenced you to write those characters the way you did? Did you have specific females from your past in mind or did you choose character traits from literature and sort of mesh them for a well rounded feel?

Thank you.

Greg responds...

I honestly don't know. I've always liked writing female characters. Two of my first (unfortunately unpublished) projects for DC Comics were Black Canary and Supergirl.

I just try to write honestly for them -- removing as many of my biases as possible -- just as I would for any male character. And the result -- for better or for worse -- is what you have seen...

Response recorded on May 17, 2010

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TZ writes...

Will you EVER reveal what Titania whispered to Fox in The Gathering? Or is it completely a waste of time for anyone to ask you?

Greg responds...

Pretty much a waste of time. I think this wound up being built up too big, and the answer (which I thought was kinda neat once upon a time) would come off as anti-climactic now. So I really have no incentive to reveal the truth.

Response recorded on May 14, 2010

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Caitlin writes...

Hi Greg,
I always wander what the blue thing is on Fox's eye. Is it a tattoo? Metal scrap? Is it removable? It has always bothered me.

Greg responds...

Tattoo.

Response recorded on January 19, 2010

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Masterdramon writes...

Gargoyles and Politics

I know that you generally like to keep politics out of this site, which is why I hope that this question isn't too out-of-line. All the same, I'm very interested in the role that politics plays in the "Gargoyles" universe.

What, generally, are Elisa's political views? Does she belong to a particular political party? And does she discuss politics with the Manhattan Clan at all?

For that matter, how politically literate are the various members of the Manhattan Clan, particularly Goliath and Lexington? Do they read any political texts? For that matter, does Hudson ever catch "60 Minutes" or any similar shows on television? How much do Elisa's political views (assuming that she shares them with the Clan at all) color their political viewpoints?

I'd also be greatly interested in any information you would be willing to share regarding the politics of other human characters in the series, most particularly Xanatos, Fox, Matt, Renard, and especially Macbeth. For that matter, what does Demona think of human politics (I expect that I can guess the answer to this one, but still)? :)

If you can't tell, this is coming from a prospective Politics major who to some degree or another views all things through a political lens. If you wish to leave these things up to the viewer then I would completely understand, but any information at all would be tremendously appreciated.

Thank you very much for your time, and I eagerly await the widespread release of the two remaining Trade Paperbacks. I've been trying to spread word of them (and of the DVDs) in the Comments section of Gargoyles-related YouTube videos; every little bit helps, I hope.

Greg responds...

Based purely on stereotypes of ethnicity and labor and location, I'd guess Elisa's a democrat.

I don't think politics is something that would attract Lex's attention much. I would think that Hudson, who prefers Celebrity Hockey to 60 Minutes, would feel lost rather quickly in political discussions. Goliath is all about the classics. I don't think Elisa's proselytizing much.

Xanatos seems like a likely Republican. At least fiscally. (Don't really see him or Fox as social conservatives.) Matt must be a Dem. Renard is probably a Republican. Macbeth... I don't think he's an American citizen. Demona... come on.

Response recorded on November 25, 2009


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