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RETORTS 2004-11 (November)

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Frank Tanuvasa writes...

Are there many pctures of Goliath and bronx, and if so are there full size pictures that I can obtain over the net or in your neck of the woods. I have always been a great admirer of the mystical background of the Gargoles and the realm of Avalon, so if you can, send me a few pic's to my E-mail adress franke_t42@hotmail.com

Thanks alot and I'll keep in touch, one of many fans in the outer pacific ocean called New Zealand.

Greg responds...

It's very gratifying to know we have fans so far away. But I'm afraid, as I've said many times before, that I'm not a clearinghouse for pictures or product. I don't have any of that stuff. Sorry.

Response recorded on November 04, 2004

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Billy Kerfoot writes...

Dear Greg,

Hi Mr. Weisman, it's Billy. Man I couldn't believe my eyes
when my first question got posted with my name atop being ready to be answered back by someone like you. I've seen your name by a lot of cartoons so I've known you a lot but boy did I ever think that you and I could get in contact so easily! I know it must be a little strenuous to answer all of these questions on a show that has passed away for quite a while and you'd have to consider your question subscribers your buddies. Well Greg, I want to... I want to be your buddy! I know I might be a little crazy but you are the bomb! I'm glad you can recieve this note.

Oh Greg, if I got too hyper when I asked you my first question which was about a hopeful future for Lexington I'm sorry. I get so much into him a lot when I think about the show. He was the reason I got back into this show because I saw a ToonDisney late night lineup commercial and he looked like a nice guy and all. I still like him as a matter of fact and sometimes I think he's the type of person I've dreamed of being (not counting that nightmarish future guy I mean.) Don't take about what I said about that episode personally I mean it's a little OK. There is something about it that mesmerizes me real good.

I watched this cartoon with my dad when I was a kid on FOX at 6:30 A.M. way back when. I never really paid attention to it however because, well I don't know, I guess I wasn't seeming fit for it. But sometime last year when I heard about this show on ToonDisney I decided to give it a shot. So one night when I stayed up late, I checked it out and Leader of the Pack was on halfway through and guess who stars in that episode... Lexington!

Well Greg questions are why you're here so here I go:

1) I used to think Oberon and Titania were aliens but are they fays like Puck, how many powers do they have, and what are their occupations?

2) Are the Weird Sisters good guys, bad guys, or in between helpers?

Thanks for your time Greg! I hope we'll be calling each other buds soon.

Greg responds...

1. They have magic. What they can do with that magic is limited largely by their store of it and by their imaginations and by the Laws of Oberon himself. As for their occupations, they are the Lord and Lady of Avalon. In her human guise as Anastasia Renard, Titania is also a scientist, but I don't think she's employed by anyone at the moment.

2. All of the above. Check out their archives in ASK GREG for more info.

And thanks for your time, Billy. I hope you're still around to read these answers two years later.

Response recorded on November 04, 2004

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And here are my notes on the second draft outline... note we were approaching ever closer to the correct big cat.

WEISMAN 3-12-95

Notes on "Leopard Queen" Outline...

Hi, Brynne. Well, I'm at it again. Basically, I didn't feel we were there with the last draft of the outline, and given how far behind things are, I felt that it was necessary to beat it out here. My main problem was a lack of true jeopardy. The poachers were never any real threat to our gargoyles. In the end, neither were Tea or Fara Maku. The traps in the lost city had no effect on either Tea or the Poachers, so it was hard to believe that they would give Goliath and Co. a hard time. I just felt we really needed to escalate the situation, so I've added in the only character from African Mythology that I know anything about: Anansi the Spider. (And of course, I have no idea if Anansi is part of Nigerian myth, and unfortunately no time to check.) And just so you know, I wasn't secretly hoping you'd add Anansi. But he was the only thing in my head that felt authentic when I addressed the Jeopardy problem myself. Giant Spider. Worked for me. I tried to preserve what I felt was best from all the various versions we've had of this story. In reworking the legend of Kara Digi to include Anansi, I went for an animal folk tale feeling, instead of a curse, since you told me that African Myth tended in that direction. As usual, if you have problems with all or part of this thing, just call me.


II. On landing safely, no one is completely sure where they are.

A. Africa maybe, ELISA thinks, but she's not sure. She and her brother and sister came here as a child with their parents. Her mother's side of the family is from Nigeria.

B. ANGELA makes some semi-bitter comment about how she wishes her father would talk to her about her roots. GOLIATH gives the gargoyle company line in response. But it's clear that Angela wants something more personal from G.

C. Suddenly they spot something horrifying. We don't see what it is, but we can tell from their faces that it is something disgusting. Goliath is appalled. He cannot understand why any hunter would skin, defang and declaw an animal, only to leave the meat behind. Elisa explains that these jungle cats weren't hunted; they were obviously poached. An illegal practice, that's destroying the wild. Goliath thinks that may be the reason Avalon sent them here. To stop the poaching. They move off into the jungle. We do not follow them. We cut away.

III. Tribal clearing. A woman (DIANE) is telling a story to a bunch of native children. A few adults are gathered too (including FARA MAKU who has a claw mark tatoo or scar on his shoulder). In a cage nearby, a black leopard paces back and forth. We segue into her folk tale, told in arealistic "primitive" animation.

A. The Leopard Queen was the most beautiful creature in the
1. Beautiful black fur. Razor Sharp Claws. Huge white
B. But she was also very vain.
1. She mocked the Hippo.
2. She mocked the Crocodile.
3. Then she made the mistake of mocking Anansi the
C. Anansi weaved a magic spell in his web that transformed
the Leopard Queen into the first human.
1. No beautiful fur. No sharp claws. Puny little teeth.
D. The Leopard Queen begged Anansi to return her to her proper
1. He promised he would on one condition.
2. That she build him a great city shaped like a giant
3. She agreed.
E. But she could not do it alone. So she gave birth to the
human race to help her build the city of Kara Digi.
1. They followed Anansi's plans to the letter.
2. Anansi was very pleased.
F. When the city was built, Anansi kept his promise and
weaved a spell that returned the leopard Queen to her
true form.
1. With the beautiful fur, sharp claws and big teeth.
(Keep emphasizing these three elements.)
G. But Anansi had tricked the Queen. For now she was lonely
for her children.
1. She asked Anansi to turn her children into leopards.
2. He refused, because they tended his city.
3. But he told the Queen that if she hunted for him and
brought him food, she could choose one of her
children by marking him, and Anansi would turn
that child into a leopard.
H. So the Leopard Queen hunted for Anansi and brought him
1. Anansi got fat and happy. He promised to grant her
2. The Leopard Queen made her mark on her oldest son,
who was the wisest, bravest and most handsome
man of the tribe.
3. Anansi didn't want to let this great man leave his
city, but he had given his word.
I. Anansi called the Prince to him and told him of his promise.
1. The Prince did not want to become a leopard.
a. He had been born a human and wanted to stay
that way.
2. He asked Anansi if there was any way to escape this
3. Anansi told the Prince that if he killed the Leopard
Queen, Anansi would no longer be obligated to her.
J. So the Prince hunted the Queen.
1. But when he found her, he saw the beauty of her fur,
the sharpness of her claws and the hugeness? of
her teeth.
2. And he realized that she had chosen him out of love.
3. He decided not to kill her.
4. And so Anansi was forced to transform the Prince into
a Black Leopard.
K. Anansi was so furious, he banished all of the humans from
Kara Digi.
1. But that was foolish, because now he had no one to
tend his needs.
2. And so the spider went hungry.

V. As the tale ends, we see that Goliath, Elisa, Angela and Bronx have been listening from just beyond the clearing. They are enraptured by the story.
A. We get Angela's line about: Who is that woman? Magus?
1. Elisa responds definitively: "No, that's my mother."
2. Probably at some point someone should remark on the
coincidence of her mother being there when our
travellers arrive, and someone else should point
out that with Avalon it is no coincidence, it is fate.
Maybe not here, but somewhere.
B. When the story's over, the adults (except for Fara Maku and
Diane) lead the children from the clearing for the
festival meal in the nearby Hauka village. We find
out that after the feast, the Black Panther will be set
free to honor the Leopard Queen.
C. Once the clearing is empty, Diane asks Fara with some
trepidation whether she told the story well. She'd been
studying to do this for months.
1. Fara praises her.
2. And Elisa steps into the clearing to tell her mother
she did a great job for someone born and raised in
New York.
D. That smart-ass remark is followed by a tremendous hug
between Elisa and Diane. Diane is very releaved Elisa is
all right.
1. But now that she knows that Elisa is all right, Diane
is furious that Elisa just vanished the way she did.
a. Elisa is surprised that she didn't get the
message from Matt.
b. But Diane can't believe that Elisa didn't call
home herself.
i. And Elisa's excuse that there hasn't been
time, doesn't cut a lot of mustard here.
2. Diane was so worried she nearly didn't come to
Nigeria for the Leopard festival, even though she
had been preparing to participate for a year. Peter
had to practically force her to get on the plane.
And he had to skip the festival, in case any word
came about Elisa back home.
3. So what is Elisa doing in Africa?
a. Elisa fumfers a lame excuse.
b. Diane recognizes it as lame, and is more pissed.
c. From the clearing, ANGELA doesn't understand
why Elisa doesn't tell her mother the truth.
d. Goliath explains that Elisa has some problems
sharing her secret with people. Though he
agrees that she SHOULD be able to tell her
e. Angela remarks pointedly that Goliath's right.
Parents and children should be able to talk
about anything. Goliath burns but says
E. Suddenly, Poacher's attack led by TEA. (Please find a
different last name for her than MAKA, it's just too close
to Fara's MAKU. We're asking for confusion problems.)
Tea and the poachers want to kill the ceremonial leopard.
(Though for very different reasons.) And we may notice
that Tea also has what we might take as a claw mark
tatoo or scar on her shoulder.
1. Angela is prepared to jump in right then. But the
Poachers have guns which can fire faster than even
the gargoyles can move. Goliath wants to give
Elisa a chance to try to diffuse the situation.
2. Elisa, Fara Maku and Diane obviously have no intention
of letting Tea and her men kill the leopard. Fara
seems to know Tea. He can't believe she's working
with Poachers. This is what comes of leaving the
tribe for the big city. (Doesn't have to be America,
in fact it probably shouldn't. It's a bit distracting.
What's the biggest city in Nigeria or near Nigeria?)
We see Fara's getting very upset by all this.
3. Tea doesn't want to hurt Fara, but he doesn't know
what happened to her when she went to the big city.
And one way or the other that Leopard is going to
die. If necessary, every leopard in the jungle.
4. An increasingly agitated Fara places himself in front
of the leopard. The poachers are getting angry.
Let's just get rid of them all. We don't want
witnesses anyway. Things are reaching a boiling
point, and left with no choice, Goliath is just about
to go in.
5. When Fara Maku transforms into a HUGE black leopard
-- at any rate, considerably bigger than the
ceremonial leopard in the cage.

VI. All hell breaks loose. Tea says something like "It was you!!". The poachers panic and start shooting at Fara, who attacks and is wounded. Goliath, Angela and Bronx wade into the battle. Short work is made of the poachers, but Fara/leopard flees into the jungle pursued by Tea. (We still think Tea is a villain at this point.)

Diane is stunned at all that's happened. And the appearance of the Gargoyles doesn't help. But the straw that breaks the camel's back is that Elisa clearly knows these monsters. Elisa is quickly able to convince her mom that Goliath and company are friendly, but that only raises more questions. How long have you known about this? Why didn't you tell me? Etc. Elisa doesn't want to deal with this, so she changes subject. What's the deal with Fara's transformation? Diane doesn't know. She thought the legend was just a legend. Goliath says that in his experience most legends have a seed of truth in them. At any rate, Fara's in obvious danger from that Tea-woman. They need to protect him. Elisa wants her mom to stay behind. Fat chance, young lady.

Just before they leave, they free the ceremonial panther and put the poachers in his cage.

VII. In the jungle, Tea hunts the Fara/leopard like a woman possessed. We get a sense that she and Fara once cared for each other and that for some reason she feels betrayed by him. She nearly kills him, but is prevented by Goliath and co. But when they try to apprehend her, she too transforms into a HUGE black leopard (though she seems to be trying to fight the transformation in a way that Fara didn't earlier.) Tea/leopard escapes, still pursuing the wounded Fara/leopard.

VIII. With Bronx's help, our intrepid band track Fara and Tea to the gates of legendary Kara Digi -- home of Anansi the Spider. Diane can't believe it's real, but then again, what isn't real these days? The city is layed out like a spider's web. Bronx seems confused. There are multiple cob-web filled pathways, and he seems conflicted between two of them. Angela realizes that Fara and Tea must have gone down separate paths. Angela, Elisa and Bronx will follow one path. Goliath and Diane will follow the other. (Elisa probably wants Goliath with Diane so that the big guy can keep mom safe.)

IX. The two teams split up. But both fall into death traps. Spider-themed death-traps ideally.

X. Both groups separately escape their respective death traps and continue pursuit.

XI. Along the way, Angela has a discussion with Elisa, that chastens Elisa. (Angela wishes that her father would talk to her the way Diane seems to want to talk to Elisa, or something like that). Diane has a conversation with Goliath that chastens him. (As you said, the difference between the human and gargoyle way; the unreasonableness of children, the fact that Goliath treating Angela like a daughter doesn't preclude him from loving his non-biological kids back on Avalon. Diane has three kids, and she loves them all, but that doesn't mean she can't try to be as close as possible to Elisa. You might even get in the fact that Elisa's always been Daddy's girl. In fact, maybe we should run this through Elisa and Diane's whole conflict. Or maybe not. I'll leave that up to you.)
Note: Both Elisa and Goliath should be chastened but unconvinced at this point. Also, plant little spiders throughout their treks through the city.

XII. Anyway, all paths lead to the heart of Kara Digi, the heart of the web. Everyone converges there. Fara arrives first and transforms back into a wounded human. Tea isn't far behind. She too transforms back, and pulls a primitive weapon off the wall to use on Fara. She's intercepted by the several arrivals of all our heroes. And finally we get some answers. Tea was attacked by a leopard just before she left for the big city. Now everytime she gets upset she transforms into a black leopard. Made life difficult in the big city. She knew the Tale of the Leopard Queen and figured that if she killed the Leopard who marked her, it would break the spell. So she teamed with the Poachers. They helped her kill the leopards to get the fur, claws and teeth. She still can't believe that it was Fara that marked her. She loved Fara. Fara protests that he loved her too. That is why he marked her, to force her to come back to the jungle and stay with him. That isn't love, Diane says, that's selfishness. Fara realizes that now, but he really does love Tea. (Man this jungle's just filled with lousy communication skills.) But Elisa doesn't understand. How did Fara get cursed himself. Fara's reluctant to answer....so Anansi answers for him. Anansi lowers himself on a web from the darkness of the ceiling. He is a GIANT INTELLIGENT SPIDER. Fara knew the legends and searched for the city. He found it and Anansi, who was just a hungry little thing. Fara made the old deal. He would hunt for Anansi and bring him food in exchange for the Leopard "curse". Anansi's pleased with the arrangement. He's obviously eaten well. Now Fara begs Anansi to remove the curse from Tea, even if Fara has to serve Anansi forever. Tea's touched, but Anansi figures if one hunter is good, seven might be better. Anansi knows from his little spider children (who "bugged" Elisa and Goliath's respective conversations with Angela and Diane) that each of them has a loved one here. He may send a few of them out at a time to hunt while the others serve him and act as hostages. Of course this doesn't sit well with anyone, so we have a fight. Fara transforms again, so we have gargoyles, Fara/leopard, Tea, Elisa and Diane against this giant spider, and frankly, it doesn't look good for our guys. Fara is still wounded, and Tea has to transform to a leopard to save him at some point. She still loves him. Anansi is ultimately destroyed in some cool way that ANGELA thinks of. But with Anansi gone, now there's no way to remove the curse from Fara and Tea.

XIII. Epilogue. A bandaged Fara and Tea are reconciled. Both have done bad things that they need to atone for. But they are together, and like the Leopard Queen and her son, they choose to stay together out of love. If that means occasionally turning into black leopards to protect their jungle. Well, so be it.

Goliath tells Angela that he is very proud of how his Daughter defeated Anansi. She gets the message and gives him a huge hug, as dawn breaks and they turn to stone in each other's arms.

Diane is once more, suitably impressed. She and Elisa share a nice quiet moment alone. When night falls again, Elisa plans on continuing the world tour with her gargoyle friends, but she promises to tell her Mom EVERYTHING about it when she gets home.


So that's that. I'm not sure about the break between the second and third act. You can move it if you want. And if this doesn't play for you, all or in part, give me a call and we'll talk.

Finally, this may be sticky from an S&P standpoint. I can't really justify the poachers having futuristic guns. Their rifles can be semi-hi-tech, but they can't be laser guns. Also, I want to deal as realistically as possible with Fara's wound. Both as a leopard and as a man. I'm going to copy Adrienne on this. After you've both read this, you might want to confab with her to discuss perimeters.

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Below are my notes on Brynne & Lydia's first outline for what would eventually become "Mark of the Panther". (Unfortunately, I no longer have copies of the actual outlines. Just my notes.)

WEISMAN 3-1-95

Notes on "Jaguar Queen" Outline...

"Emotional Distance" would be my best guess.
Goliath and Angela.
What is key issue/theme?
--He treated her more like a daughter before she knew he was her father.
--He is fighting a loving instinct inside himself.
--She doesn't grasp Gargoyle heritage on the subject.
--Distance? Coldness? Heritage? Self-control? Acknowledgement?

Diane and Elisa.
What is key issue?
--Distance? Coldness? Heritage? Self-control? Acknowledgement?
--Elisa is Daddy's girl.
--Is she distanced from her mom and/or her mom's heritage.
--Is mom shocked by Elisa's secret life with gargoyles?
--Is respect the issue?
--How does it relate to G&A arc?

Fara Maku and Tea.
What is key issue?
--Distance? Coldness? Heritage? Self-control? Acknowledgement?
--How does it relate to G&A and/or D&E?
--Do we need another set of parent & child?

Maybe we need to team Goliath and Diane?

--Got to get more happening in Act One.
--Act One currently feels like it's all prologue, except that emotional issues aren't introduced until Act Two.
--Act Two seems too late to bring up Angela's arc.
--And Goliath's side doesn't get any play.
--It seems tacked on, not a dynamic element in the story.
--Must intro emotional arcs by end of Act One.
--Definitively for Goliath, Angela, Elisa and Diane.
--At least hint at them for Tea and Fara Maku.
--By end of Act One we need a jaguar transformation.
--By end of Act Two we need to get to the city if we're going there at all.

--She's not personally from Nigeria. Her ancestors are from Nigeria.
--I frankly don't want to distance Diane & Elisa from the most negative side of the African-American Experience.
--Diane's been to Nigeria before, though.
--Searched out her ancestors.
--Studied there traditions.
--Has Elisa been here before? Probably.
--But how 'into it' is Elisa?
--Can she sense a monsoon coming?
--Much more of a Daddy's girl.
--Diane's an expert on "oral storytelling traditions"
--Not on all things Nigerian.
--Not on healing herbs for example.

--Elisa can't speak it.
--Maybe Angela can, but do we need it?
--Can't it all be in English?
--Ellipsis between 4 Heroes leaving the skiff and there arrival in village.
--We wipe from riverside to the village.
--Start hearing the story.
--Segue to depiction of story.
--When we return from 'telling', we see that the heroes are there and heard most of it.
--Elisa recognized her mom's voice right away, but doesn't tell the others right away.
--Stunned to see her there.
--Lost in the tale. etc.

THE CURSE - Simplify & Clarify
--Jaguar Queen's Logic seems confused.
--Curses conditions seem unclear and "Multiple"
--Why doesn't Tea turn into a jaguar?
--Was she turning into a jaguar in America?
--Does she want vengence on Fara Maku or does she want to kill the tribe's Jaguar?
--If she knows Maku is the jaguar that bit her, why try to kill the tribe's Jaguar?
--If she doesn't know, why does she want specific vengeance on him?
--What initiates Fara Maku's transformation into a Jaguar?
--Greed? Anger? How does it fit the curse we heard about?
--What initiates his transformation back at the end?
--How did he get cursed in first place?
--Do we want him to be the villain?
--Does their love story seems off point? Can we bring it on point?
--His motivation for cursing her seems pretty reprehensible.
--Tia's not bad for wanting to leave, per se.
--His vengeance being motivated by her greed, is fishy too.
--Why can't Tea end her curse by killing Fara Maku?
--How can she keep it from "being passed along"?
--Why do they reconcile?
--Who or what are we rooting for?

--When does Diane first see Elisa?
--How do gargoyles take out poachers without being seen?
--Why does Elisa feel it's necessary to reveal gargoyles at page 8?
--Beware set-ups that don't pay off.
--Straw man dangers.
--Spiked pit.
--Everyone notices and glides or "edges" around.
--Rope bridge - same deal. Whole set up feels artificial since Goliath could have glided over to rescue Tia in first place.
--Settled things that become unsettle.
--P.6 Tea's down, then is up again, with knife.
--Even gets her rifle back.

--Spear in Fara Maku's shoulder.
--Tea's rifle or shotgun at end of show.

--Also discovered too late to not feel tacked on.
--Why is city booby-trapped? What is it protecting?
--A city doesn't only have one way to proceed.

--Aren't poaching.
--So why were they helping Tea?
--Was Tea a poacher?
--Has she been killing Jaguars looking for the one that bit her?

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Chapter XLVII: "Mark of the Panther"

Time to ramble...

Chapter XLVII: "Mark of the Panther"
Story Editor: Brynne Chandler Reaves
Writer: Lydia Marano
Director: Dennis Woodyard

We reestablish Elisa's reluctance to share the Gargoyles even with people she trusts. And we reestablish Angela & Goliath's conflict over her parentage.

This one went through a number of permutations, as you'll see from the various drafts of outline that I'll try to remember to post tomorrow. We kept changing the title as we kept learning more about the myths of the area. Here was one time where our research helped to keep us honest. Since it's not a one-word title, it probably came from Brynne and/or Lydia.

We did Elisa falling and Goliath saving her so often -- even as we tried to avoid relegating Elisa to a mere damsel in distress -- that we always had to find variations on the theme. This time he catches her, but then gets slammed by Angela and they all fall into the water. Fortunately, he split the distance on the drop, so they're all okay. Compare this to Hunter's Moon III and... well, maybe I'll wait until I get to that ramble to elaborate...

I've always been interested in Tricksters. Tricksters and Bastards are my two favorite archetypes. So I'd already done a bit of reading on Anansi legends. This one isn't authentic. The words that Nichelle Nichols speaks in narration as Diane Maza were written by Lydia, but the story itself was mine... though I had made it more of a tribal creation myth. Anansi creates a human being by removing the things about the Panther Queen that were the root of her vanity: her pelt, teeth and claws. The Panther Queen then mothers (at least this segment of) the human race, the ancestors of Fara Maku and Tea. Brynne felt that might be disresepectful to the peoples of the area, so we modified things so that the Queen had her own individual children but was no longer mother to the ENTIRE tribe. (Although I like to think that Fara Maku, at least, was an ancestor of the Queen.) From the beginning, we kept the emphasis on the fur, teeth and claws. Even the poachers are the most interested in those three items.

And how about our little mini cartoon within a cartoon? I love it, myself. (He says without a hint of bias ;) I think Dennis and his team did an amazing job at designing an entirely different art style appropriate to the fable. And I think Nichelle's reading is amazing. She did that in two takes. The first half in one take, the second half in the second take.

But as good as I think it is, I think it's most amazing for its daring. We stopped our episode and ran another cartoon of a totally different style for minutes there. Imagine someone tuning in late to see Gargoyles and finding themselves in the midst of the Tale of The Panther Queen... That was one of the things that was just magic about working on Gargoyles. We took RISKS.

Some of our best stuff came out of conflict, I hate to admit. Like "The Mirror", this episode was one that Brynne and I fought over a lot. In general, I "won" those fights, because, after all, I was the boss -- and because, even if I had trouble at times articulating it, I had a clear vision (or would eventually find a clear vision) of what I was looking for. But Brynne (and everyone else) would influence me, temper me, moderate me. And the result was usually pretty darn cool. In the end, I think this was one of Brynne & Lydia's favorite episodes. They asked Nichelle to autograph their scripts -- and Nichelle asked THEM to autograph her script. I think she was quite taken with it as well.

The Panther Queen & her son. Goliath & Angela. Diane & Elisa. Obviously, the theme of parents and children ran throughout the episode. But because of that, we made a conscious decision to make Tea into Fara's lover, not his daughter. We didn't want things to seem TOO pat by having every observable relationship be a parent/child relationship. But Tea & Fara still provide a cautionary example of someone attempting to hold on too tight...

Diane: "That's not love, Fara, that's selfishness."

It applies to any relationship.

Still, we get some fun mother/daughter and father/daughter and mother/son stuff from the three parental relationships we did have in the episode.

As with Fox and Anastasia in "Walkabout" you get moments of the old dynamic emerging between Diane and Elisa. Elisa comes up with a lame excuse for being in Africa ("I'm on a case.") and Diane responds with the kind of "Oh, please," that you know she must have used a hundred times on the 16-year-old Elisa.

But Elisa is still impressed by her mom and proud of her. She listens in some reverence -- and without interrupting -- to her mother telling the tale of the Panther Queen. Angela, also impressed, asks if Diane is a queen or magus (trying to relate her own reverence to her experience). And Elisa responds simply, but eloquently: "Actually, that's my mother."

We also get to see how much ALIKE Diane and Elisa actually are. Both hate spiders. ("Spiders. Why did it have to be spiders?" is of course a riff from Raiders of the Lost Ark.) Both hate to be seen as weak or needy. (I love Goliath's intimidated reaction when Diane tells him: "I don't need watching over." I wonder if he's already regarding her as his mother-in-law?)

My kids listened to Elisa being pissed off at Diane in front of Angela. She seems to be making sense at first, but it soon becomes clear -- even to an embarrassed Elisa -- that she's being unreasonable. Angela does a very Goliath-esque reality check for her (remember when Goliath reprimanded Elisa & Derek in "Her Brother's Keeper"?), which also served to remind us that Angela is Goliath's daughter in more ways than one.

Erin said: "I don't always understand Elisa." Goliath gets her. She doesn't like to share her secrets. She doesn't seem to trust easily. But she also views knowledge as power, and she doesn't want to share that power. The "THAT" which makes her special.

We also get some nice Angela resolution here, as well. Goliath's obviously so concerned about Angela focusing on her biological parentage (because he fears what that means vis-a-vis Demona) that he's totally blind to his duties as her only present (if not surviving) rookery father. He's there. She needs him to act as a father to her, not just as a leader. He refuses. And then Diane sets him straight, simply and clearly. Later, when he says he's proud of her, it's a bit of a sappy moment, but I like to think we've earned it.

And I like to think we've earned the better executed moment at the end between Elisa and Diane. Diane knows that loving sometimes means letting go. (Fara helped remind her of that.) But Elisa now doesn't want her mother to let go so soon. While the gargs sleep she has a full day to tell her story. *You know... Chapters I - XLVI.

Diane's last line is cute: "There aren't any more spiders are there?" But I wish we had ended there or with Elisa's little chuckle. When Elisa ends by saying, "No." it flattens out the moment. Oh, well...

During the Tale of the Panther Queen, Anansi laughs when the Queen attacks him because "creatures such as he cannot die." This is a tip off -- along with the little tiny spider we see at episode's end -- that we weren't actually killing Anansi by having Goliath plunge that spear into him. As my son Benny asked: "Is that all magic that's coming out of him?" Yes, indeed. He's being bled, in essence, of some of his magical energy. He's weakened but not destroyed. And he escapes as a little spider, to reappear in cameo during the Gathering. This was ALSO designed as a hint that Banshee was still alive too. I'm not saying that Oberon's Children cannot be destroyed. I think they can. But it's tough. They have to be utterly wiped out. Otherwise, they are simply weakened. It's easy enough for them to flee to recharge later and fight or trick or whatever another day.

Anansi was played wonderfully by LeVar Burton. But Frank Paur felt that his voice wasn't threatening enough to play the giant spider. So he was enhanced by the good folk at Advantage Audio. (Love those guys.) I think they did a marvelous job of merging LeVar's voice with the effect. We lost none of the acting. But we gained a lot of presence. And Anansi has some great lines:
"I know. Company's coming"
"I'll spin you wishes!"

Benny noticed the mark on Tea's shoulder, indicating that she was a were-panther. He wondered if Tea and Fara were the actual Queen and Prince from the legends...

Erin noticed that when Goliath was gliding with Tea and she transforms, she seems to scratch Goliath with her claws. She wondered if that meant Goliath would become a panther-goyle? THAT thought never even occured to me before. Should have though. I'm contemplating adding that to the list of missed bets along with the Pack killing everyone in "Grief" and Cu Chullain's armor and bones being in the tomb in "The Hound of Ulster".

Goliath has his own version of the Weird Sisters: "All Things Are True" line when Diane expresses surprise that the legend she had just faithfully related might have had some basis in fact.

Bronx is a great old smell hound. (I miss Norman. After watching this episode, my kids went to bed... and then an hour later my daughter had another grief-attack over our late dog. I can't help thinking that subconsciously, Bronx reminded her of Norman in this episode. Not that Norman ever hunted down were-panthers for us, but you get the idea.)

There's also a wonderfully animated moment, where Bronx knocks Tea over, just as she's about to spear Fara. The way she stumbles before crumbling is just gorgeous.

Fara Maku echoes the Captain of the Guard when he says: "It wasn't supposed to be that way." One could argue that it's us just being unoriginal. Or self-indulgent. But I like to think we were creating thematic echoes that ran across the entire tapestry of our 66 episodes.

"Dream on, Spider-Man!"

Tea spends most of the episode trying to take revenge on Fara Maku. Then at the end they reconcile? I like to think that the events with Anansi really served to take the steam out of her need for vengeance. That seeing him threatened reawakened her feelings for him. And the fact that he admitted his mistake and apologized didn't hurt either. She makes a conscious decision to forgive him. But did that forgiveness come too cheap? Was it too pat? Maybe. I'm pretty confident about Renard's turnaround in "Golem" and the Captain's in "Shadows of the Past". We only had 22 minutes, and I think we planted all the necessary seeds to justify those last minute changes of heart. I'm less confident about this one. But I can live with it. And we created two more heroes for down the road...

Anyway, that's my ramble...

Where's yours?

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Patricia von Graf writes...

Hello Greg,
Okay where do I start? My daughter Elisabeth (she is 8 years old), is a complete die-hard fan of the Disney Gargoyle series. One of her wishes from Santa is to get an Autograph and or letter from (actually she would really love to meet one of the creators, but I told her that this wouldn't be quiet so easy even for the "big guy"to do) for Christmas. And of course if possible to get some of the Gargoyle Action Figures. Now, the later you probably aren't able to help me with, but maybe a with the Autograph? She only has these 2 wishes for Christmas. Due to the limited supply and the fact that I am not looking to collect, but to buy these toys for play, things are a little more difficult for me ($$ wise). Is it possible to get an autograph from you? I have no problem paying postage etc. You would make her Christmas wish come true. I made her a collage from Gargoyles that hangs above her bed & it would be so wonderful to full-fill this wish for her in adding your autograph to it. Please help! (or email me at Pvongraf@yahoo.com)
Thank you,
P.S. She has this huge imagination, is a great artist, that sells her pictures for 1$ a piece on the weekend in front of our door (lol maybe a future cartoonist?) and she actually wishes she could be in real life a Gargoyle. I fully support her in her hobby, as I do like the story too. (Thank good she doesn't like Pokemon etc). A big compliment to you! And Thank you!

Greg responds...


Well... two years have passed since you posted this request. I'm afraid I'm only seeing it now for the first time. If your daughter still wants an autograph for Christmas THIS year, contact Gorebash, and he'll forward the contact information to me.

Of course, another way to meet me and other professionals involved with the show is to attend the annual Gathering of the Gargoyles convention. It'll be in Las Vegas in 2005.

Response recorded on November 02, 2004

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Chris writes...

Hi Greg,

This probably isn't the right forum for this, but I don't know how else to contact you!

I was wanting to speak to you about the possibility of having you as a guest of honor at CONvergence, a Science Fiction convention I help to run. It's held the first full weekend in July each year in Minnesota, with an attendance of just under 2000 people. If you'd be willing to discuss the possibility, please contact me at cajones@winternet.com.

By the way, I'm also a penciller for DC Comics and was the artist on your Exercise in Self-Indulgence story with Captain Atom and some familiar looking beasties.

I hope to hear from you soon.

Thanks for your time,


Greg responds...


You did great work on that Captain Atom/JLE/Gargoyles parody story in JLA SHOWCASE back in February of 2000. Thank you. I think the story turned out great. Self-indulgent as planned and as noted, but pretty darn funny to Gargoyles' fans.

Of course, I'm not sure if your offer still stands to attend the con, as two years have past.

Response recorded on November 02, 2004

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Chapter XLVI: "Walkabout"

Time to ramble...

Chapter XLVI: "Walkabout"
Story Editor: Michael Reaves
Story: Michael Reaves
Teleplay: Steve Perry
Director: Dennis Woodyard

Focus here was on Fox being in the family way and on Dingo. At this point, I often (almost) forget that Fox was ever in the Pack, she seems so beyond them now. But there are a couple of nice reminders throughout the episode, that as "Grief" dealt with Jackal, Hyena, Wolf and Coyote (i.e. the LEAST human members of the Pack), "Walkabout" reunites the MOST human (former) members.

"Walkabout," is one of my typical one-word titles. I kind of had an ambition to hit every inhabited continent at least once on our World Tour. Couldn't skip the land down under therefore, and couldn't go to Australia without Dingo, of course. But this was also our opportunity to present a demonstrably pregnant Fox and to introduce her mother Anastasia, voiced by the incomparable Kate Mulgrew -- whom I've loved since her amazing run as Mary Ryan on Ryan's Hope.

When the skiff first appears, my kids (Erin & Benny) attempted to guess the location: Asia, Africa. Then they see the kangaroo.

Then they see the advancing "Gray Goo". Or silver sheen. That was another concept that Michael and I wanted to cover: nanotechnology and the threat it presents, i.e. the Gray Goo Scenario that Anastasia describes later. Oh, and artificial intelligence. More on that down below...

Unfortunately, the Gray Goo as executed here never really worked for me visually in the episode. It gets the idea across, but it's never got the precision that I wanted. And it's terribly inconsistent for a mono-maniacal computer program. It's kind of all over the map.

He's seeking a clean slate, a fresh start. But it's not that easy. When Goliath spots him later, and Angela asks who he is, Elisa says: "He's not one of the Good Guys." Erin countered: "Trying to be."

Benny saw him activating his armor and immediately figured out what he was up to. How did he know? Because he's seen the concept more recently on the new "The Batman" series. Dingo's using Batwave!!!! (Dingowave?)

I love the visual of Dingo's armor opening up in back to let him step right in. Then closing up around him. There are some great armor moments in this episode.

[But some awkward movement throughout. There's a shot of Goliath falling to the ground and landing on his back, before rapidly flipping over onto his hands and knees to hold his head. It's very clumsy. And Fox runs very well for a pregnant woman, don't you think?]

Dingo also has some nice lines... (particularly: "Always did fancy a trip to Disneyland.") ...and Jim Cummings-provided Australian slang like "Ripper" and "Sheila" (referring to Elisa -- though Sheila is also my mother's name)

Erin wanted to know if we got sued for calling the computer program "The Matrix". I explained that this episode pre-dated the movie. So a couple of minutes later she asked why WE didn't sue the movie. (Where did she get so law-suit happy, huh?)

There are some great moments between Fox & Anastasia. Some moments where you can hear Fox practically reverting to her teen self with lines like "Mo-ther!" And I like when Anastasia plays on that by saying, "Humor your mother." Relationships trump science fiction.

When Fox says, "Your grandson just kicked me..." Erin said, "I'm her grandson," referring to the fact that Erin provided the voice of Alex Xanatos in "The Journey." But this was a bit of a reveal. In "Outfoxed", we revealed that Fox was pregnant. Now we reveal the baby's gender.

I also like Fox's "Where are my manners?" line.

And we get a bit more feeling for the Renard clan as Goliath realizes that Fox is Halcyon's daughter, and as Anastasia dismisses discussion of her "ex-husband."

I never knew what that "instrument" was called before working on this episode. Carl did a great job of providing some unique scoring to this episode (as he had with Hound of Ulster). The Theramin work. And the Didgeridoo (am I spelling that right?) Cool stuff. Both added greatly to the ambiance and helped compensate for some weakly executed gray goo.

Mr. One-Note, huh? You must use the Dream-Time. Find the Dream-Time. Enter the Dream-Time. Okay, okay. We get it.

There's potential in that character, which I wanted to explore in Bad Guys. But I don't think we found it here. Part of the problem is the accent. I don't know what I'm hearing exactly, but it doesn't sound like the accent of an Australian aborigine. I like James Avery's performance, and I'm not being critical of him, but he was hampered by our accentual ignorance and the one-note nature (as written) of the character. Still he has some decent moments, I suppose. At least enough that I wanted to make him Harry Monmouth's surrogate father in Bad Guys. I just wanted to get the accent right by that time.

And what is the Dreamtime, exactly? I'm not sure we got THAT right either, really. I think we just played it like the inside of Coldstone's head. That was probably my fault. Again, we just didn't always have the time to do all the research we would have loved to do.

I haven't watched "Walkabout" in a few years, but I see the Bad Guys Reel EVERY year at the Gathering. So I'm used to hearing Jeff Bennett as Matrix. But here we have Jim Cummings as Matrix, and it does sound very different, despite all the electronic filtering and futzing we did on both actors in the part. In the episode, we cast Jim as Matrix because he was already there as Dingo, so it saved us money.

But when we developed Bad Guys as its own series, I decided to recast Matrix. Not because Jim isn't great or because he couldn't handle doing two voices on a regular basis, but because we wanted to have the freedom to play with Matrix's voice a lot. And we didn't ever want him to sound like Dingo. So I brought in Jeff, because, well, I just love Jeff.

There's some interesting visuals in the Dreamtime. I liked how each of the combatants used what they know. Goliath uses a medieval shield and recreates the Trio & Hudson to fight with/for him. (It was also a conscious attempt on our part to get those four in the episode -- at least visually. We knew even then that we were short-changing them during the tour and that the audience would be missing them.) Dingo "upgrades" his armor again, saying with relish "I like it." _I_ like how he dived down into the "stuff of dreams" to revamp the armor. And Matrix uses waldo-like arms to fight and capture his opponents.

Of course, Dingo (and the writers including me) are grasping at straws with that whole "Law and Order" thing at the end. It's Artificial... but, hey, so is Matrix's Intelligence. As Dingo says as his armor tranforms yet again (looking positively gorillaish for a second or two), "Australia's got a new kind of hero, mates!" And I like how he revealed that he liked PLAYING the hero when he and Fox were on the Pack TV Show. You never know what you've got until it's gone, eh, Harry?

Of course, we were building up our international cast of heroes, but the idea behind Dingo & Matrix soon evolved into Bad Guys. And I think they work very well together and as part of the larger group in that piece.

Erin thought that the Shaman was the real hero of the episode. I like that she thinks that. Accent or no accent.

Anyway, that's my ramble...

Where's yours?

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Maelgrim writes...

How much can Goliath and Demona actually lift? thier strengths seem inconsistant as in one episode Demona yanks a rock bigger then she is out of the floor yet Eliza can overpower her! as for Goliath he has to many inconsistancys to list here !

Greg responds...

I'm hoping that we achieved a basic consistency, and that factors like momentum and surprise and whether she's human or not and grip and adrenaline and whatever all explain whatever basic inconsitencies you observed.

But I'm not going to attempt to come up with a number that either character benchpresses.

Response recorded on November 01, 2004

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Maelgrim writes...

IN santurary why does Macbeth have a picture of Eliza over his fire place?

Greg responds...

It perplexed me too.

Response recorded on November 01, 2004

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