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Georry writes...

I am looking forward to seeing the new Spider-Man series you are working on.

I read somewhere that the series first season order has been extended from 13 to 26 episodes, is this true?

Greg responds...

Yes.

Response recorded on December 11, 2007

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Jurgan writes...

Been working non-stop lately, but I did get a chance to read issue 6, and now that I've got a little time off, I'm going to try to drop a review.

Good news, first: when I went to my usual comics store, which has always stocked several of each issue, on the afternoon of release day, they were sold out. I know your question is always "will you order more?" so you'll be happy to know that I heard the employee say, "we need to up our orders for Gargoyles." At least, I'm pretty sure he said that, though I don't know if they ordered any more of issue 6 than the two copies I ordered (I keep one in plastic, mainly so that if I'm reading one on the bus or I loan it to a friend and lose it, I'll always have a complete set that never leaves my house). The upshot for me was that, by the time I got to reading it a week later, I already knew about the production errors and wasn't as confused by them. It did throw me a bit when I saw Coldstone and Goliath fighting and talking, but then I remembered talk about errors and figured it out. And I've seen similar errors before- my Death of Jean DeWolff paperback had two pages in reverse order, so it jumps from Daredevil fighting a mob, to Spider-man (with a hyphen!) and Daredevil talking on a roof, to Spider-man swinging into the mob to save Daredevil. Anyway, the point is that I thought the errors were a bit confusing, but nothing so bad that I couldn't figure them out. So, 'nuff said on that issue.

Reunion was a rather down issue in a number of ways. Since it was a flashback, we already knew how things would ultimately turn out, so it didn't advance the plot much (although there were some hints about future developments). It felt more like a highlights reel than an actual complete story- the travelers had barely arrived when they were on their way out again. Still, there were certainly some good things in it:

I was a bit confused right at the beginning why Angela said Goliath was "healing." Wouldn't stone sleep cure him instantly? Was Thailog's wound that bad that it took days to recover?

I'm very amused by Thailog's emperor get-up. He's barely touched the wine, though. But I also like how Shari is pretending to be subject to him. She seems to enjoy the game of being his servant, knowing that at any moment she can switch to her master role. Also, artwise (I rarely have much to say about art), I like the very dark eyeliner Shari wears. Some people thought that was another mistake, but I have no problem with her looking different from day to day. One of the advantages of comics over cartoons- methinks Elisa's buying a whole new wardrobe.

Shari starts telling the story, but opens with the line "who can say if it be true." This raises an interesting question- how reliable is Shari as a narrator? I enjoy the device of the unreliable narrator, but I can't tell if it's being employed here. So, can you tell us: is what we see in the flashback literally what happened to the travelers, or is it a distorted version of the story told by Shari?

The laundry room arrival was rather silly, but clever at the same time. I can't decide whether I like it or not.

I love Bronx's vest.

Master Dawa's kind of fun. Far too many sage characters only speak in vague, portentous platitudes. It's nice when they know how to crack a joke or two, as in "their bodies are such lousy shots."

The action sequence in the cave is excellent, with a great sense of motion. And I can hear Frank Welker's barks in my head. And then, jalapena. This word should stay around forever, and now you don't have to worry about the art crew's objections (I've never understood what it was about that word that was so objectionable, anyway).

Goliath and Angela may not look very Yetiish, but in his white fur get-up, Coldstone actually does. The next action scene is also pretty good, though not quite up to the first.

The conversation scenes are nice, and Goliath gets his first chance to tell someone about the eggs surviving. I love his little grin. I also like Bronx asleep by the fire.

Angela's talk about Gabriel being his "biological" son was a little odd to me. I thought that once Goliath acknowledged her as his daughter, her talk of biology had ended. I assumed Gabriel's heritage would be an issue obvious to us, the viewers, but never made explicit to the characters, just like Hudson/Broadway.

So, you managed to slip a quick recap of Coldstone's situation in. Probably for the best, as Coldstone's story was always one of the more confusing elements of the series for me. I didn't figure it out until my second run with the series in college, five years after it went off the air. I also like that Coldstone is learning monastic meditation techniques, or something, to control Iago. I'm not sure how that will matter in the long run.

And then there's another great fight. Tell Purcell that he does some of the best action sequences in the book so far. I know Hedgecock's working hard, but Purcell should be on your short list of fill-ins. So far, 5 and 6 definitely have the best artwork. Unlike some, I've enjoyed almost all of the art we've seen so far, even if there've been a few problems (I didn't care for some of the goofy extras in #4, and there were a few Hedgecock panels that were ridiculously out-of-proportion). However, Karine and Purcell are the ones whose art really looks like the Gargoyles we grew up with. Anyway.

Coldstone's "neck-snapping" comment was downright disturbing. There's something you never would have pulled off on television. The funny thing is, while it does seem a bit over-the-top, it works when we realize who's really in control. Othello's trying to impersonate his evil brother, but he's a hammy actor and plays it too broadly. Maybe I'm reading too much into his few lines as "Iago," but that's what it seems to me. If only I could hear Michael Dorn do this one.

Speaking of Othello, I was impressed by his character in this issue. I've never been too fond of the guy. He strikes me as a moral coward who's willing to compromise his integrity and take the easy way out until cajoled into doing the right thing, in both "High Noon" and "Posession," and perhaps other places as well (a big part of his relationship with Desdemona seems to be that she acts as his conscience). So it was nice to see him take action immediately to protect his family, even though he surely would have preferred to return with them. Of course, it's a very status quo choice- Coldstone had already left the clan, and nothing seems to have changed in this issue. Or has it? There are some hints.

I've never heard of Shambahla. I ran across suggestion that it's another name for Shangri-La- is that right? The travelers left with apparently nothing accomplished, but Avalon did not send them back. Having them leave unconscious was probably the only solution, since they would not have gone voluntarily without him (well, Elisa might have, but Goliath can be pretty stubborn).

"A story for another night." Sounds very similar to the Weird Sisters' pronouncement. In their case, though, they were talking about themselves. Shari's story is certainly one we'd like to hear sooner or later. The comment room denizens have a great theory about her which I wish I'd thought of myself (then again, I came up with the reigning theory on Number 1's identity, so I shouldn't be too jealous). A little bit I liked was Thailog referring to Iago as his "uncle." It shows how un-gargoyle he is mentally, since any gargoyle would refer to Othello as one of his rookery fathers. And then Shari suggests that Goliath may not have failed- and Thailog freaks out. We've seen Thailog angry before, but I don't think we've ever seen him completely lose his composure like this. He seems genuinely afraid at this point. Shari's an incredibly captivating character, and I can't wait to see more of her. Her talk about "fruit" suggests something big is brewing, and the possibility that there's more going on here than meets the eye saves this issue from the doldrums of mediocrity.

Scarab returns, and Xanatos meets with Coldsteel. Wonder what that's about...

All in all, this wasn't a bad issue, but it strikes me as a bit of a dud. It was nice to fill in some gaps, but there was nothing really surprising or significant about the Himalayas adventure. However, if this pays off in the next story arc, and the pay off is good enough, I may change my tune. I wonder how this would have worked as an episode of the TV show. It would have to be framed quite a bit differently. Here, we're willing to see a sort of mundane story because we sense that it's still significant. As part of the World Tour, though, it wouldn't be very satisfying to see an episode in which nothing significant appears to take place- the gang show up, get chased away, and leave. I assume the plot would have been expanded quite a bit- maybe adding in an external threat so that there could be a sense of closure to the episode.

This issue also brings to mind two of the bigger disappointments in Gargoyles. One was the other untold World Tour story, showing how Xanatos took advantage of Goliath's absence. The other is the end of Legion. While a decent episode on the whole, Legion always feels weak to me because of its ending. The Xanatos tag was that he stole a computer virus, but compared to the stunners immediately preceding in Leader of the Pack and Metamorphosis, it's not that impressive. Even worse, though, was that there was never any follow-up to this virus that Xanatos thought was so valuable- you'd think he would have found some use for it eventually. A rare moment of waste in the Gargoyles universe. So I'm making a formal request that we find out what Xanatos used that virus for. I can think of possible uses in the next story arc, but those are ideas, so I'll keep them to myself (of course, you've already written the next story arc, but something down the road might be similar to what I'm thinking, so...). If you've already got plans, I don't want to know specifics (not that you'd give them anyway). I'm happy hanging on for the ride. Just letting you know that that's something I've always been curious about.

All in all, a decent issue, but nothing too spectacular. The weakest issue of the book so far, due to the fact that it currently seems like mostly filler. 2.5/4 stars (note that this is by Gargoyles standards- compared to other comics, it'd probably get 3 or 3.5). If it's redeemed by future issues and takes on greater significance, as I suspect it will, my opinion may improve a good bit. Thanks for listening.

Greg responds...

The M in Spider-Man is capitalized after the hyphen.

Response recorded on November 12, 2007

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Jess writes...

In my previous post I referred to your upcoming Spiderman cartoon as Ultimate Spiderman instead of Spectacular Spiderman by accident. Whoops! Once again I plead midterms, because they ate my brain. With ketchup.

Greg responds...

No biggie. But yeah, it's THE SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN. With a hyphen. Everyone always forgets the hyphen.

Response recorded on October 19, 2007

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Landon "Lumpmoose" Thomas writes...

Hello, long-time reader, first time asker. I just caught "Ken 10" and loved it. I think it's one of the best Ben 10 episodes yet, and that's saying a lot. I love seeing the shades of Gargoyles in there with your fearlessness in shaking things up, adding drama, introducing new characters, and playing with the time line. It makes me all the more excited for Spectacular Spider-man (congrats on the 26-episode pick-up, by the way).

I'm currently pondering a career in sound design/editing/engineering. Animation is my passion and that's what I'd like to work with, at least partially (i.e. I can't draw). You've mentioned Advantage Audio in the past as the Gargoyles post-production house. Advantage Audio looks like a great place to work, but it surprises me that Disney television animation would contract out for audio work on one of their flagship products.

1) I know smaller animation studios usually contract out for audio post-production, but how often do the big studios, like WDTVA, WB, Cartoon Network, and Nickelodeon, use external post-production houses?

b) Do they even have in-house audio teams? If so, how often do they use them?

c) Just out of curiosity, what does Culver Entertainment do?

2) The thing I'm worried about most is being 'merely' a tech grunt in the audio production field. In your opinion, how much creativity is there in the audio post-production field?

b) How closely do you, as a writer/producer/director, work with audio teams? Do you just pass the work on and expect an end-product?

3) This is a personal, limited-in-scope question of which you may have no opinion. I'm currently in Minneapolis with a BA in theatre, minor in computer science, and very little audio experience. I'm pondering going to Full Sail for a trained-by-the-best kind of thing. Does that school stick out for you or would a local tech school and/or experience be good enough to break into the big time?

Thanks for any help! I know questions weren't strictly Gargoyles-related, but Gargoyles was what inspired me to steer into the entertainment industry in the first place!

Greg responds...

Thanks for the congrats.

1. None of the studios I've ever worked with in Television Animation have their own post houses.

b. Never.

c. Each show is different, but as far as Spidey's concerned, we'll probably make a decision in the next couple weeks as to which audio post house we'll be using.

2. Tons. But it depends on what you mean by creativity. Obviously, you're coming at the piece near the end of the process. You're not writing the story or animating the picture, but you are breathing life into it with sound, and there are a tons of choices to be made. The producers (if not the executives) have final say of course, but a great engineer or sound fx designer makes all the difference in the world.

b. I discuss things with the team, they go to town and then I'm present for the mix (at the very least). I don't just hand it off and cross my fingers that I'll like what comes back, but I also don't stand over their shoulders while the sound is being designed.

3. I've never heard of "Full Sail", but frankly I don't know this arena very well, so don't judge by me.

Good luck!

Response recorded on October 12, 2007

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PODCASTING...

Here's a link to a Spectacular Spider-Man interview I did last week...

http://spidermancrawlspace.com/

Check it out!


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San Diego Comic-Con

Hey intrepid-ones! I will be attending Comic-Con in San Diego. I'll be in town from Wednesday July 25 - Sunday July 29, 2007...

What follows is my schedule. Please stop by. Say hello. Introduce yourself or reintroduce yourself. Come here me pontificate endlessly (until time runs out). Etc.

THURSDAY, JULY 26, 2007
*1:30pm - 2:30pm - Gargoyles Signing
SLG Booth - Come purchase Gargoyles Comic Books at the SLG Booth and get them signed by myself and artist David Hedgecock!

FRIDAY, JULY 27, 2007
*12:45pm - 1:45pm - The Spectacular Spider-Man Panel
Rooms 6CDEF - Come hear all we're willing to tell and see the first footage from the new Spider-Man television series coming in early 2008 to the KidsWB.
Also on the panel, Supervising Director/Producer Vic Cook, Character Designer Sean "Cheeks" Galloway, Voice of Spider-Man/Peter Parker Josh Keaton, Marvel Exec VP Craig Kyle, Sony Exec Michael Vogel

*2:15pm - 2:55pm - Spider-Man Signing
Marvel Booth - Get free Spider-Man posters and get them signed by myself, Vic, Cheeks and Josh!

*5:30pm - 6:30pm - Gargoyles Signing
SLG Booth - Come purchase Gargoyles Comic Books at the SLG Booth and get them signed by myself and artist David Hedgecock!

SATURDAY, JULY 28, 2007
*12:00pm - 1:30pm - Spider-Man Signing
Sony Booth - Get free Spider-Man posters and get them signed by myself, Vic, Cheeks and Josh!

*1:30pm - 3:00pm - Gargoyles Signing
SLG Booth - Come purchase Gargoyles Comic Books (including the new issue #5) at the SLG Booth and get them signed by myself and artist David Hedgecock!

*5:00pm - 6:00pm - Gargoyles Signing
SLG Booth - Come purchase Gargoyles Comic Books at the SLG Booth and get them signed by myself and artist David Hedgecock!

*6:30pm - 7:30pm - The Animation Production Process Panel
Rm 3 - What goes into bringing an animated script to screen? Producers Stephanie Graziano (X-Men: The Animated Series), Tad Stones (Hellboy Animated: Sword of Storms), and Greg Weisman (Spectacular Spider- Man) take you behind the scenes and into the trenches. Moderated by Shannon Muir (Invader Zim), author of Gardner's Guide to Writing and Producing Animation from GGC, and currently project management coordinator at Animation World Network.

SUNDAY, JULY 29, 2007
*1:30pm - 3:00pm - Gargoyles Signing
SLG Booth - Come purchase Gargoyles Comic Books at the SLG Booth and get them signed by myself and artist David Hedgecock!


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Gathering 2007 - Insta-Journal, Part Five

THURSDAY, JUNE 21st, 2007

Travel day. Beth and I got up early, packed, checked out and finally had a breakfast at our bed and breakfast. (Eggs Benedict.) Then we drove to Boston, where Beth dropped me off at Logan Airport before heading back to Nantucket to join the kids and her folks. I bought a Dunkin Donut at the airport, reviewed the outline for the 11th episode of Spidey, listened to audio for the second and third episodes, began the Kandell book and flew to Washington Dulles, where I ate a bag of my Cape Cod chips. Got on the plane to Knoxville, and slept uncomfortably through most of the flight. Landed in Knoxville, where I was picked up by Kathy Pogge, who drove me to Pigeon Forge. Got to the Grand Hotel and into my room. NO INTERNET SIGNAL in the room. Crap. (I'm currently down in the lobby typing this.) Had to spend a lot of time on the phone long distance to Spidey folk, which held up the staff dinner. (Apologies.) Finally, I made it downstairs, and fifteen of us... (me, Kathy, Jennifer, Nikki, Karine, Thom, Samuel, Susan, Patrick, Tony, Andrea, Jenn, Lynati and... and... ugh, forgetting, sorry) went across the street to the Japanese (bennihana-esque) restaurant. Great food. Sushi, steak, shrimp, lobster, veggies, salad, soup.) Fun. Yep, the Gathering has *un*officially started! Back to the hotel. I'd love to just hang out, but I have so much work still to do this week.

MORE TO COME...


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A-Fan writes...

What are the chances of a crossover between Spider-Man and Batman for the two cartoons?

Greg responds...

Zero.

Response recorded on June 20, 2007

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Gathering 2007 - Insta-Journal

As always, I'm hoping that all of you who attend the Gathering this coming week in Pigeon Forge, TN, will post Gathering Journals (of any length) here at ASK GREG. This is useful, as it provides one location for me to refer various PTB types when they want to learn more about the Gathering. The more journals we get here, the more FAN PRESENCE we seem to have. One of these days, I'd like to see 100% journalling, but then again one of these days I'd like to see a Gathering attended by thousands of people...

Anyway, can't ask you to do what I'm not willing to do myself. ASK GREG will open for submissions the day before the Gathering and stay open at minimum through the end of July. But in the meantime, I'll be posting about my own trip...

FRIDAY, JUNE 15th, 2007
Got up early, because I had a VERY busy day ahead of me. First off, a "The Spectacular Spider-Man" voice recording. We had to quickly finish off Spidey's lines for our second episode (which had largely recorded the week before), because we had an editing session that afternoon. When that was done, we had to record nearly all of our third episode with most of our cast. We started out by getting the actors who only had a few lines each (less than ten) out of the way. Then we brought in the rest of the cast for the bulk of the episode. We had done a couple of the actors the day before, and nevertheless we still nearly ran out of time. ARRGGHH. We just made it in under the wire. But I'm hoping that starting with our fourth episode (after I get back) things'll be less crazy, and we'll start recording one complete episode at one session and NOT run out of time.

After the recording, Supervising Director and Producer Vic Cook -- a former Gathering attendee -- and I crossed the street for our edit session. Terry, our editor, had quickly cut in the lines we had recorded that morning, and we completed our natural pause edit with him, often tightening and overlapping lines to make the dialogue play both more naturally -- thus NATURAL pause -- and punchier.

All this took much longer than I had hoped. I was really hoping to get a haircut on Friday, but didn't get the chance. I might try to get one on Cape Cod, but if not, I may be looking pretty scruffy at the Gathering.

I also got a bit of scheduling news on the project that meant that I basically will have to work through my entire vacation. It's a bit of a bummer, as only a day before I was told I didn't have to. But that's life, when you're the"boss" on a show that has a lot of bosses over the "boss". I'm thrilled to have the gig, but it can definitely be exhausting sometimes.

Went home. Checked e-mail as quickly as I could, as I had been at the recording studio all day and not at the office. Packed. Had a grilled cheese sandwich. Raced to Larchmont Village to deposit my paycheck and throw some bills in a mailbox. Raced home. Got in the car with Beth, Erin and Benny and headed for the airport.

We arrived in plenty of time, which is a relief. We all had carry-on baggage only, so that saved us a step too. The kids and I got smoothies, and we waited.

Red-Eye to Boston. Slept some -- through Wild Hogs apparently. Read the revised writer's outline to the seventh episode of Spider-Man. Watched what seemed to be a heavily edited version of "Shooter" and a very funny "The Office" episode. Landed in Boston.

SATURDAY, JUNE 16th, 2007
Ate breakfast at Johnny Rockets. Boarded our flight to Nantucket. Read the revised writer's outline to the eight episode of Spider-Man. Landed in Nantucket. Beth's father picked us up at the airport and drove us to my in-laws' home. Unpacked. Went for a little walk with Beth, the kids and Beth's mom. Had lunch. And took a six hour nap. Got up for dinner. Skirt steak, salad, corn, homemade Banana ice cream (made by my father-in-law and the kids while I slept). Then went to work, checking e-mail again... and editing the Record Draft for the fourth episode of Spidey. Was going to start editing the outline to the sixth episode, but I was sleepy, so I went to bed at midnight, which is stunning for me --- even if you DON'T take into account that by L.A. standards it was really only 9pm. Since I've routinely been going to bed over the last few weeks between 4 and 6 am, this was amazing.

SUNDAY, JUNE 17th, 2007
Woke up early -- also amazing for me -- had a bit of breakfast. Read the outline for the ninth episode of Spidey. So far all these outlines have been in pretty darn good shape, which is always nice. Benny and I went for a walk into town. Came back, and I napped for about an hour. Got up for a Father's day brunch, with Beth, the kids and my in-laws. Had a wonderful Lobster Salad and Lobster Bisque. (Can you tell I'm in New England?) Came back to the house and opened father's day cards. Also called my own dad to wish him a happy father's day. He and my mom had only just returned from the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. I'm jealous, but there's no time this year. Hope to take the kids next year. Took ANOTHER nap. I think weeks of averaging three hours of sleep a night, plus all the walking and the fresh air -- the weather is gorgeous -- are wiping me out. But this is a good time to sleep.

We got up for a 4pm concert -- a choral performance by the Nantucket Choir. It was lovely. I was familiar with quite a few of the songs, as my son's choir sang them... at Carnegie Hall last month. From there, Beth and the kids and I went to dinner at the Brotherhood of Thieves. Burger and Clam Chowder. Then Ice Cream at the Juice Bar: one scoop of Crantucket with hot fudge. We walked some more and then went home.

More to come...


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Jurgan writes...

A couple Spider-man (the one you're working on) questions for you:

1: You said in an interview that there was "one villain" who is off-limits to you for legal reasons. I remember hearing a while ago that the Kingpin is exclusively attached to Daredevil, whose rights are owned by Fox, not Sony, so am I right to assume that the Kingpin is the villain whom you cannot use? Kingpin got enough use in the 90's cartoon, and he was always more interesting in Daredevil than Spider-man anyway, so that'd work for me.

2: In that same interview, you were asked if you'd use movie villains, and you said you'd definitely use the Goblin, Doc Ock, and the Sandman. I notice you didn't mention Venom. Are you planning to leave him out? I'd be thrilled with that decision, since I think he's a terribly dull character, and I know he came after your formative years with comics. I wonder, though, if the execs might eventually insist on your using him, as they did with Sam Raimi.

I can't wait to see what you've got planned.

Greg responds...

1. Then I guess you're happy. Me, not so much. But I'll survive.

2. I'm not responding to this. Probably gave away too much in the interview as it is. Our big Spidey presentation will be at San Diego ComicCon, I'm told.

Response recorded on May 22, 2007


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