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Hey, Greg, what an amazing show in Young Justice. I have a couple of questions for you.
1) I was hoping you could comment on this, because you've answered variations of this question at different times, but never this specific one. I thought of an idea that would make a lot of sense for where a certain character's situation would go after the events of Summit and Endgame, but I won't share it with you to avoid getting a spoiler. You've talked in interviews/answers before about Roy and Jade having to get married off-screen in order for CN to approve Lian being born. Were there any story-lines of similar controversial topics that you and Brandon had planned that could have created tensions between you and the network?
2) I recently rewatched JLU, specifically JLU's season 1, and I noticed a striking similarity in the way the format works there and the masterfully-crafted interwoven network of plot-lines of YJ. It seemed like you may have been inspired by that format where there were several stories being told all at the same time, as opposed to other shows that have a more episodic nature (like the first JL cartoon, before JLU). Was it a conscious decision to draw heavily from that idea, or was it something that just happened independently?
Thank you for a wonderful show.
1. None spring to mind at the moment. We didn't have a lot of fights with S&P.
2. I haven't seen all that much of JLU. (Started to when we were in the development phase, but ran out of time once pre-production got started. [I'm really not much of a binge watcher. The most of any show I can stand to watch in any one sitting - no matter how good it is - is two episodes, and for me, even that's pushing it.]) The way we plotted YJ is really more in line with the way I've done other series in the past, such as The Spectacular Spider-Man and Gargoyles. And all of that goes back to lessons learned from reading and writing comic books, and, of course, from Hill Street Blues.
Once again, I'm hoping people in the Southern California area - especially those who live in and around San Diego - might come to my signing at Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore.
I'll be reading, answering questions and signing copies of RAIN OF THE GHOSTS at the Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore in San Diego on May 10th, 2014 at 11am.
Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore is at 7051 Clairemont Mesa Blvd., Suite #302, San Diego, CA 92111
If you buy a book, I'm also happy to sign whatever other memorabilia (Gargoyles, SpecSpidey, Young Justice, whatever) that you feel like dragging into the store.
It's a big birthday bash for the bookstore, so there are other events all day long, and I'm told they're serving cake at 3pm.
Please stop by - check out RAIN - and say hello!
What's the status of S.H.I.E.L.D. in the Spectacular Spider-Man universe? If it exists, how old and influential is it?
You know I figured out the basics for SHIELD back when we were working on the series, but unfortunately, I can't remember much... SORRY. Probably didn't stick because we weren't allowed to use SHIELD, and so I never went into any depth with it in my head.
Just a quick question this time. The other time I asked you something about gargoyles and you said that you wouldn't write it for free... wich came as a bit of a shock to me as you have said before that it is your baby proyect.
It's understandable as this is your job and main source of income... But I have to wonder if you would ever have or if you have a personal proyect wich you would do for free.
You deserve every cent you get paid but.. Many (amateur/fanfic) writters write stories for fun and I wonder if this is the case with you. thank you!
I don't write for fun anymore. To be honest, it's too much like work.
I don't write for free, though I do (occasionally) write "on spec". That is, I'll write something that has the chance of paying off later, even if no one is paying me for it immediately. For example, my first novel, RAIN OF THE GHOSTS, was written on spec. (And took over a decade to pay off - minimally.) The second book in the series, SPIRITS OF ASH AND FOAM, was not written on spec. My publisher, St. Martin's Press, ordered it. The third, MASQUE OF BONES, which I've barely begun researching, will also be written on spec, unless St. Martin's Press decides to pick it up.
But the big difference with those books, over something like GARGOYLES, for example, is that I OWN the RAIN property. I don't own GARGOYLES or YOUNG JUSTICE or WITCH or THE SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN. It would, frankly, just be foolish for me to invest my time (which is money to me) in something that isn't mine.
GARGOYLES is without a doubt my baby. I feel that strongly. But it doesn't change the hard, cruel fact that I hold no ownership in it at all.
Were there ever any plans to release the music tracks for Spectacular Spider-Man? Certain songs, like the Sandman's theme, were really catchy! Would you know where someone could listen to them free of the show's sound effects and dialogue?
Vance Michael Justin!!! Haven't seen you in years!
Anyway, Dynamic Music Partners was planning to release a soundtrack for The Spectacular Spider-Man before the same corporate politics that derailed the series derailed the album, as well. I'm afraid I don't know where you could go to listen. But I'll tweet DMP and try to find out.
While re-watching "Spectacular Spider-Man" as it has been re-run on the Vortexx, I wanted to talk a moment about what a wonderful job you did with Gwen Stacy on the series.
Obviously, Gwen's time in the comics was before my time, but I had read all those old Lee-Ditko and Lee-Romita and Gerry Conway stories years and years before Spec Spidey was a glimmer in anyone's eye, but for me... Gwen was a standard Silver Age girlfriend, and all that entailed. Mary Jane was more interesting, and I couldn't fault Gerry Conway's decision to have Green Goblin toss her off a bridge... it made for a classic story not just for Spider-Man, but for all of comics.
But I never liked seeing Gwen sidelined as all other adaptations seemed to do. For me, Spider-Man was a story about growing up and Gwen represented First Love to me. Yes, he dated Betty Brant first and flirted with Liz Allan, but Gwen was his first Great Love, and most people don't end up with their first Great Love.
So, for years, Gwen was a Silver Age girlfriend and a Stepping Stone in Peter's journey to manhood from my point of view, and little more than that.
And then your show came along, and while that's how I was looking at Gwen at first, she very quickly grew on me... to the point where I really didn't want to see that classic Gerry Conway story adapted into your universe on an emotional level. Although, to this day, my brain still tells me that sooner or later it needed to happen... and while you have dropped hints that it might happen, you've never confirmed it (and I'm not asking you to)... it's not something that I was looking forward to seeing happen. Something I was dreading, in fact.
So you got this guy who never cared for Gwen outside of intellectually believing in her importance to the mythos to fall in love with Gwen Stacy, and a lot of credit goes to Lacey Chabert, too. While I still love Mary Jane more than Gwen, I think you and your team did your job.
Hard not to love the double-whammy of Cheeks' design and Lacey's stellar performance as Gwen. Add in some fashion design advice from Jennifer Coyle, particularly with regards to Gwen's make-over, and you can easily see why Peter fell for her.
Of course, I grew up with Gwen and Peter as a couple, and her death in the comics was devastating. So we wanted to do her character justice.
So we just tried, as I've said before, to extrapolate backwards for Gwen. She was always the smart girl in Pete's life. The only one who compete with him for understanding science. And her relationship with her single-parent father was also key. There was plenty for us to work with.
1) Did Eddie Brock meet Debra Whitman during the events of "Identity Crisis"? She took his job after all, and then when he came back briefly and was offered his old job back by Martha, I wondered where that would leave Debra (though of course his return was obviously not going to be permanent).
2) Why didn't Kraven go after Spider-Man again in the weeks after "Reinforcement", since he presumably could just follow Spidey's scent at any time (like he did when he led Vulture and Electro to the ice rink)?
1a. Since the lab was doing better, rehiring Eddie would not have effected Debra's status.
2. Other plans took precedent.
In The Spectacular Spider-Man season 2, how old is Debra Whitman?
Grad student age. Early to mid twenties.
In "Shear Strength", when Norman asked Spidey where Peter was, did he (Norman) really have no idea or did he have an inkling?
I'll leave that to your interpretation.
Hi, Greg. A few questions about The Spectacular Spider-Man:
1) Regarding Gwen without glasses (in the last four episodes), was her character model completely redesigned for those episodes? It just seems that if you compare her character model for the previous episodes to the way she looks in those last few episodes, she looks completely different, it's not just that the glasses that are missing.
2) Were there plans to give Peter a new set of clothes at some point in the series? I ask because by the time he was in college in the comics, he was dressing with more confidence, though I think there was a bit of that in the later high school issues. Not that Peter in seasons 1 and 2 looks 'uncool' or anything, but I'm curious as to whether he would have started wearing a different set of clothes as the series progressed, like Gwen starts to at the end of season 2.
3) Speaking of Gwen and her clothes, when she's on the phone to MJ in "Opening Night", we see her wearing a black outfit that she doesn't wear to the play, or in any other episode. I doubt that this look was designed just for one very quick scene, so I was wondering if we would have seen more of Gwen in this outfit in season 3?
4) At the end of "Final Curtain", does Harry still consider Peter his friend, knowing that he was planning to take Gwen away from him?
5) Regarding the Hobgoblin, did you have a plan to sidestep potential complaints of the Hobgoblin mystery being too similar to the Green Goblin mystery? I'm not fishing for spoilers here, I'm just interested to know whether you had some kind of twist in mind to make the Hobgoblin mystery feel fresh and not just derivative after the Green Goblin mystery.
1. Well, we made a new model, but her face and body were basically a trace of the old model. The only things that changed - besides her clothes, depending on the setting - were the lack of glasses (contact lenses, dontcha know) and her hair. And we had been gradually lengthening her hair over multiple episodes anyway. So the change in model that you perceive is... mostly in your head. But that's good. It had the same effect on you that it had on Pete and much of the rest of our cast.
2. We had no immediate plans, though of course on an episodic and seasonal basis he would have gotten additional clothes, as you already saw. And I did have one specific plan for the last episode of the series, i.e. his high school graduation.
3. Honestly, I can't remember.
4. I'll leave that to your interpretation.
I'll be attending WONDERCON 2014 in Anaheim, California for one day only: Saturday, April 19th, 2014.
I've got no official panels this year - though, STAR WARS fans should definitely check out the STAR WARS REBELS panel on Saturday from 2-3pm in Room 300AB. Executive Producer Dave Filoni and Vanessa Marshall (the voice of Hera Syndulla) will be taking your questions.
But I do have a couple of events scheduled:
1. 11:30am - @1pm: ASK GREG LIVE, a.k.a. YOUNG JUSTICE MEET-UP, a.k.a. GARGOYLES 20TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION, a.k.a. SPEC SPIDEY BLU-RAY CHEERFEST, a.k.a. RAIN OF THE GHOSTS ISLAND TOUR, a.k.a. whatever geeky thing you like...
This is a casual fan get together where I'll be answering questions. Vanessa Marshall (voice of Mary Jane Watson, Black Canary and many more) and Nicole Dubuc (writer/producer of Transformers: RescueBots, writer on W.I.T.C.H., SpecSpidey & YJ, voice of Iris West-Allen) have both said they'll stop by too. And we may have a few other surprise special guests, as well. Note: that although I'm notoriously anti-spoiler, I'm way more likely to drop a few hints in person than on-line. We'll be meeting in Lobby B of the convention hall, behind the escalators, more or less opposite of where DC Comics and Graphitti Designs have their booths if you were going to walk into the hall. (I've posted a map on my twitter account @Greg_Weisman) If the weather permits, we will probably head outside around 11:45am and continue the meet-up there. We'll also be posing for photos, so I encourage cosplayers to attend, etc. I will also be bringing copies of RAIN OF THE GHOSTS to autograph and sell. For a mere $10 in cash, you get a signed copy of the book and signed copies of the original inspirational character designs (drawn by Kuni Tomita) for the animated series version of Rain that we never made back at DreamWorks in 1997-98. (While supplies last.) I'm in no real hurry, so I can pretty much hang out as long as folks want.
2. @1pm - 3pm SIGNING
After the Meet Up, I'll be heading over to Artist's Alley, specifically Table 186, where Thom Zahler of the amazing Love & Capes series has graciously allowed me a place to sit. Once again, I'll be selling and signing RAIN OF THE GHOSTS. Still $10 (CASH ONLY) for a signed copy of the book and signed copies of the Kuni Tomita inspirational designs. (Again, while supplies last.)
So please, stop by and say hello!
When Doc Ock allowed May Parker and Anna Watson to get away in "Group Therapy" instead of just taking Rhino's suggestion to "plough through 'em", was it because he was just being a gentleman or because he was a little bit smitten with one or both of them? Or was it both him being a gentleman AND him having a crush?
Mostly, I think he was being a gentleman. Put it this way, Octavius is not enamored of carnage and mayhem for the sake of carnage and mayhem. No point in ruling over a ruin and/or a burg of dead subjects.
Whether he found Ms. Parker or Ms. Watson attractive... well, I'll leave that to your interpretation.
Hi Greg! A question about The Spectacular Spider-Man: when it came to the arc subject titles (like Biology 101, Engineering 101, Drama 101), I noticed that you didn't revisit any of the same subjects i.e. you didn't get as far as Psychology 102 or Criminology 102. But I was wondering if you were planning on doing any 102s in season 3, or later down the line?
Not if I could avoid it. But given enough seasons, who knows?
Who was the first super-villain to discover that Spider-Man was Peter Parker in The Spectacular Spider-Man?
The obvious answer is, of course, Venom. Did you have something else in mind? Or is this like a trick question, trying to get me to admit that more than one super-villain knew Spidey's secret i.d.?
Greg! What's going on, man? Happy New Year and all that good stuff. Before I say what I say... please let it be known that I'm not trying to offend you or anyone in any kind of way.
So I hear you got a new gig. Congrats! I knew you would. Now here's the thing, bro. I'm a bit worried about Rebels and I need you to set my fears aside. Can you do that? Can you promise the same Weisman QUALITY? Will YOU be leading the ship of Rebels? I know you have partners. You always had team mates from past shows. But YOU were always the head writer. The one with the series bible. The million index cards all over. That was YOU. Everyone else worked under you.
I ask this mainly because of a recent show that totally turned me OFF in a big way. The show was HORRIBLE. What show? That would be "Ultimate Spider-Man". Have you seen this? Greg, I tell ya, I was looking forward to this. I was. Why? Because of the name Paul Dini. Paul Dini! OK?.
Dini is an incredible writer. A huge force that most of his credibility came from working on the DCAU aka the Timmverse. Namely... "Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker". Just incredible stuff all around. So when I heard he was apart of this show, I was like, wow, I need to check this out. I knew he had partners but why would that matter when he's writing tons of scripts and is part of the writers room?
Yeahhhh. Basically, Greg, it's clear as day that he's not in charge of anything there. He's there in name only. His partners (Man of Action) are obviously running things. Every episode that I watched (stopped after episode 7 or so) was so over the top and ridiculous. A true insult to even little kids who watch it. The show is SO dumbed down and tries too hard to be funny. There's nothing worse than forced "humor".
My point? IF the talented writer isn't leading the pack then the show will never be what it could be. I just want to make sure that's not going to be the case for "Star Wars: Rebels". I'm about to invest a whole bunch of money to get into the Star Wars universe. Believe it or not, growing up, I never really got into the Star Wars craze. I didn't. I've seen the movies when I was little but don't really remember much. I went to the movies to see Episode One and that was all right. I just never really gave it a proper chance. I feel I can get a better enjoyment out of it today, though. I'm actually looking forward to it.
Just know, I'm mainly doing this for YOU. To fully get myself well versed in the Star Wars universe and prepared for Rebels. I'm going to buy the complete saga of Star Wars on Blu-ray and then I will pick up the CGI Clone Wars animated series as well. I want to be ready for this.
That's why I need to know, Greg, will Rebels be another "Ultimate Spider-Man"? or will it be the QUALITY of a "Young Justice"? Who's truly in charge? Who's the head booker? I hope it's you and I hope Rebels will be everything it can be and should be.
May the force be with you, man.
Okay, let's start here: EVERYONE ELSE DID NOT WORK UNDER ME.
I had PARTNERS, not minions.
Frank Paur was a full partner on Gargoyles. I was NOT his boss.
Vic Cook was a full partner on Spectacular Spider-Man. I was NOT his boss.
Brandon Vietti was a full partner on Young Justice. I was NOT his boss.
I have two partners on Star Wars Rebels, Dave Filoni and Simon Kinberg. I am NOT their bosses. I'm flattered that you think so highly of me, truly. But by overstating my contribution/authority, you're being misleading and unintentionally dishonest. It's a collaborative medium. And THANK GOD for that.
I haven't seen "Ultimate Spider-Man". That's not a value judgement. I just haven't watched it. So I have no comment on it at all.
And, yes, I get that you're not trying to insult us here. But then please just think about what you're asking for just a moment. Do you really think we'd set out to make a BAD show? What exactly do you expect me to say to that?
"Why, yes, actually. We were hoping it would suck."
I mean, seriously.
EVERYONE involved in it, myself included, is doing his or her absolute best to bring you a terrific Star Wars series. If that's not enough, I don't know what to tell you. Because I'm NOT the "head booker" (whatever the heck that means). As with every series I've ever produced, I'm simply part of the team.
I think you once hinted that you "didn't get enough episodes" to do a musical episode of The Spectacular Spider-Man. Was a musical episode part of your 5 season plan? And if so, which season did you plan to include it in: 3, 4 or 5?
The musical episode aired only once before being retooled for Broadway by Bono.
Well, I'm about to head out of town to tour colleges with my wife Beth and my son Benny...
But before I go, here are a couple of podcasts to keep you entertained...
On the first, I discuss everything from Gargoyles to Rain of the Ghosts.
On the second, the focus is on the development and first episode of The Spectacular Spider-Man:
Had fun doing both! Hope you like 'em!
I'll be back at ASK GREG on April Fools Day!
Hi Greg, a quick question about The Spectacular Spider-Man. I believe you've said in the past that your plan was to do 5 seasons which would culminate in Peter's high school graduation. The thing is though, since Peter was still in his first year at the end of season 2, I'm wondering how you would have managed to reach the graduation by the end of season 5. Would you have skipped over the Summer holidays to accomplish this?
If season 1 was September to November, and season 2 was December to early March, and if each month of the Summer were to still get the usual 3-4 episode coverage, then logically a 65 episode, 5 season run would not quite reach the end of Peter's second year, so I'm wondering whether you were thinking of skipping over things like the Summer holidays to reach your goal?
The following was our pie-in-the sky hope:
We wanted to do a direct-to-DVD Spring Break movie between Season Two and Season Three, set in Florida. If that was not approved, it would have been incorporated into Season Three.
We also wanted to do another direct-to-DVD movie to cover Pete's summer vacation between Junior and Senior year (and also between Season Three and Season Four).
We then felt we could cover Pete's senior year over Seasons Four and Five, with at least one more movie between those two seasons.
And then we'd follow up the series with a series of movies covering his college years, etc.
If the movies hadn't been approved, then the series would have gone on for more seasons (in this hypothetical scenario) so that we could cover the same ground on television.
Of course, none of this was to be...
Spidey's a pretty skinny dude at the beginning of your series which is great since it makes him more relatable as our underdog hero. I was wondering though, was your Idea of his gradual growth going to reflect in the physical aspect as we'll with his muscles growing larger and him getting gradually taller as well?
We talked about him getting a little bigger and taller, but Vic and Cheeks and I all agreed that Spidey works better chiseled and honed, not buff or ripped.
I was wondering what aspects of Peter and Mary Jane's characters would lead them to becoming closer together if Stan Lee as well as you believed that Gwen was always the perfect girl for Peter.
Diversity in pop culture has always been an issue that concerns me greatly. I've tried to do my share to increase diversity on series like Gargoyles, W.I.T.C.H., The Spectacular Spider-Man and Young Justice.
Now, that I've entered the world of publishing, my sister Robyn brought this article to my attention:
The article asks valid questions, and - yes, to toot my own horn - I'm going to provide at least a piece of the answer with my new books, Rain of the Ghosts and Spirits of Ash and Foam. Both feature protagonists of color. Rain Cacique is Native American, as is her grandfather Sebastian Bohique. Her best friends are Charlie Dauphin, who's African American and Miranda Guerrero, who is Hispanic-American. Many - if not most - of the other characters are also of color. This reflects the Caribbean setting of the novels, i.e. the fictional Ghost Keys and the actual mythology of that region.
The books are available here:
I urge you to check them out, and to suggest them at schools and libraries.
What was your reason to initially have MJ be a "free agent" and then suddenly be into Mark?
Seemed to fit.
How does the Rhino perform basic bodily functions such as excretion if he's sealed in the suit?
The functionality is built-in, like in an astronaut's suit. Waste is secreted incrementally through the soles of the feet.
I've been rewatching The Spectacular Spider-Man, mostly the second season so far, and decided to rewatch "Subtext".
I really like Molten Man's character and looked him up. I also by chance happened to come across Blackie Gaxton in Betty Brant's page on the Spider-ManWiki.
It said that her brother was put in a similar situation with Blackie that ended similar to what happened between Spidey, Mark, and Liz in "Subtext".
After thinking about it, I'd have to say it was brilliant that you decided to do that story with Mark and Liz, whether or not Betty's brother would have appeared since Molten Man had his story.
Looking foward to Young Justice Legacy, Rain of Ghosts, and Star Wars Rebels.
Yeah, we conflated Betty's brother with Liz's half-brother.
And by now, I assume you have YJ Legacy and Rain. What did you think?
In the non-canonical Spectacular Spider-Man/Gargoyles three act radio play crossover, was Mary Jane Watson starting to fall in love with Peter?
By the way, enjoyed reading the script for the radio play. It was amusing.
PETER: That was almost the Look! :D