A Station Eight Fan Web Site
Did you find it spooky that Disney bought Marvel so soon after you wrote and put on the Gargoyles/Spectacular Spider-Man crossover Radio Play for the Gathering? I know that it was just a coincidence, but I still found the timing a bit eerie.
Eh... few things (in this business) truly surprise me these days. Which is NOT to say I saw this coming, because I did not. But hearing about it, I was hardly shocked.
In the latest move by The Walt Disney Corporation in acquiring Marvel, Disney has shown a renewed interest in comic book and superhero literature.
Can you see this as beneficial to getting Gargoyles back as an active property? Id Disney sell-able on making a now lateral pass of the Gargoyles property as a new Marvel entity? Given your stint writing for Spider-man, could you foresee a world in which The Manhattan Clan was a full member of the Marvel Pantheon?
2. I have no idea.
Hi, I'm posting on Disney/Marvel Merger Day and I'm looking for some historical perspective. Someone in the comment room says "I recall Greg once saying that back in the 90s Disney was interested in buying Marvel, but instead decided to create their own universe with Gargoyles." I've found this on the New Olympians episode ramble:
Well, the Greek Myths of course. But that's not really what I'm talking about. As many of you know, The New Olympians was a concept -- originally created by Bob Kline -- that we began developing at Disney TV Animation even BEFORE Gargoyles. It was definitely a concept that evolved, but it was also a concept that we felt fit nicely into the Gargoyles Universe. So this episode was created as a backdoor pilot. At the time we had big plans for the Gargoyles Universe. Hopes that it would eventually evolve into Disney's equivalent of the Marvel or DC Universe. The World Tour expanded our Universe in many ways -- mostly for the sake of the Gargoyles series itself. But also to demonstrate that our universe had the "chops" to go the distance."
Could you elaborate?
1) Is it true that Disney considered buying Marvel in the 90s?
2) Did the Disney higher-ups want a Gargoyles Universe to rival Marvel/DCU, if briefly, or was that your idea?
3) How heady were the days of season 2? Was Gargoyles being positioned as a significant face of Disney? I remember the Anaheim Gargoyles baseball team memo is from around that time too.
2. It was my suggestion, but it was a suggestion that my bosses, including Michael Eisner liked. At least for one meeting.
3. They weren't all that heady. There was a lot of potential in the property, but the schedule was also both long and brutal, and we were still producing episodes into May of 1996, even though the season had premiered in September or October of 1995. By January it was pretty clear that reruns, preemptions, the O.J. Simpson trial and Power Rangers had combined to severely damage our momentum. In addition, the death of Frank Wells and the departures of Jeffrey Katzenberg, Rich Frank, Gary Krisel and Bruce Cranston, i.e. some of the people who had been such great backers of the property, hurt too. As did Eisner's decision to step back from the hands-on decision making he had done vis-a-vis Disney T.V. Animation. It left us quite at sea. New people came in who had no affinity for the property, long before we were even done producing Season Two.
So does this mean that Gargoyles is part Marvel?
What do you think about the Disney Marvel merger? Do you think it will change anything for you(or in other words you're struggle to get more episodes of Gargoyles made)? Do you think we will see you're gargoyles comics published by Marvel in the future?
1. I'm withholding judgement.
2. I don't know.
I see there are two other questions about Disney buying Marvel - but I'm going to ask two other related questions:
(1) Were you aware ahead of time that Disney would be purchasing Marvel?
(2) I'm sure the legal complexities involved in this transaction are very... well, complex... as they interface with your show. However, to your knowledge, how does Disney's purchase of Marvel impact the possibilities of using previous off-limits characters on Spectacular Spider-Man? (Especially Kingpin, but also other characters you said you wanted to use on rare occasion, such as Human Torch.)
2. No idea.
Now that Disney is buying Marvel, do you think will affect, positively or negatively, The Spectacular Spider-Man's future?
I really don't know.
Will Disney buying Marvel Comics mean anything for the Gargoyles comic book series?
I don't think so, but I don't know.
I've always wondered how building a writing team works exactly. Obviously Sony liked your pitch for Spectacular (and I'm very glad they did)and we wound up with great efforts from Matt Wayne, Kevin Hopps, Andrew Robinson and Randy Jandt. But did you hand pick these people or were they provided for you by Sony? Or did they have their own takes on Spidey that convinced you that they, out of the many people who must have been vying for a spot on the show, had the right stuff for the series? And you guys had a pretty solid rotation system, so how does whatever selection process used differ from freelancing for a show?
Hmmm.... the order of things...
I think it started with Randy, who had been my script coordinator on many previous series. We offered him the job of apprentice writer, a union position that would allow him to be a script coordinator but also take the next step up and write one script per season.
My next hire was Kevin Hopps, who was brought on as a staff writer. Kevin and I go way back to my Disney days. He's given me work; I've given him work. He's great and someone I can count on.
The rest of the "staff" was in fact freelance. Andrew Robinson was an obvious choice. He had done great work for me on W.I.T.C.H. I didn't know Matt Wayne, but my boss Michael Vogel was big on Matt's stuff... so I gave him a try (with great results).
Having chosen these writers, we did start something of a rotation.
I wrote the pilot and reserved the twelfth (origin) episode for myself. Then staff writer Kevin, was followed by freelancers Matt and Andrew for episodes 2-4 and 5-7. Randy took episode 8, a middle episode that would give him a chance to get acclimated on the series. 9-11 were taken by the "rotation". I did twelve. Kevin did 13.
For season two, I added Nicole Dubuc (another W.I.T.C.H. success story) as a freelancer to give us a another voice. While Nicole got acclimated, we began with the same Kevin, Matt, Andrew rotation for episodes 14-16. Randy did 17. Then we had planned to start the rotation again, with Nicole added in. (So the PLAN was to have 18-21 be Kevin, Matt, Andrew, Nicole). But by this time, Matt was getting pretty busy on other series. So Nicole also jumped in and took Matt's spot in the rotation, and 18-21 became Kevin, Nicole, Andrew, Nicole. We then started a new rotation without Matt. And Kevin, Andrew and Nicole took 22-24. I had reserved 25 for myself. And Kevin again finished out the season with 26.
That's the way I like to work. Have a small "staff" (mostly freelancers for budgetary reasons) that do multiple episodes. That way the writers really learn the show. We all break episodes together, helping each other out pre-outline. It really becomes a team.
My brothers and I are impressed by the fluid animation in Spectacular Spider-Man. We imagine it must be very expensive. How much does it cost to do those cool action scenes?
I can't spit out a number for the action scenes in a vacuum. SpecSpidey had a fairly standard "per episode" TV Animation budget. We tried to get as much bang for our buck as possible.