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I wrote this up on my blog last Christmas (a bit of a gift to myself there) and thought I'd share it here.
For every hero, or group of heroes, there must be villains. The villains test the hero, the villains make the hero. In the realm of superhero lore, Batman and Spider-Man have been cited as having the greatest rogues' galleries in comics. And I do not disagree. Sadly, other heroes or teams seem to come up lacking. Sure they may have one or two great villains, but the rest seem to be meh. The FF have Dr. Doom and Galactus, sure. The X-Men have Magneto and the Sentinels, Green Lantern has Sinestro, but the rest of their rogues galleries have always seemed, at least to me, to be okay at best. I know some will contest this opinion, but it's my opinion and as far as this blog goes, that's the one you're stuck with. Personally, I always thought the Third Great Rogues' Gallery belonged to "Gargoyles." So, let's honor them.
First of all, here's who didn't make the list and why:
Wolf - Nothing against Wolf, he's fun. He's a big dumb thug, but he's fun. But, as of yet, I haven't found him to be very interesting on his own. And I always thought his teammates were more interesting and fun to watch.
Tony Dracon - I like him a lot more than a lot of other "Gargoyles" fans seem to. He's usually fun, but he didn't quite have enough to make this list.
Oberon - I never thought of him as a villain, and I still don't. Even when he was trying to kidnap Alex. Did I agree with him? Not at all, but I don't think he was in the "legal" wrong either.
Robyn Canmore, Dingo, Matrix, Yama, and Fang - If you don't know why, shame on you.
Second of all, here's who I hope to add to the list some time:
Queen Mab - Come on Disney, let Greg do it!
Morgana le Fay - Ditto.
With that out of the way, let's dive into list.
20. Duval and Peredur fab Ragnal
At present, we've seen too little of these two to know much about them. But what we have seen has been enough to give us an intriguing mystery, especially if you've been following ASK GREG for the past fourteen years. They are the guiding hands of the Illuminati Society, which was created a century after the Fall of Camelot, by Sir Percival to "set things right." Which of these two men is Sir Percival? Well, I have my theories on that. Peredur fab Ragnal is the Welsh name for Percival, and Duval sounds like a modern alias for Percival as well. In fact, for years Greg Weisman told us that Percival was Duval, and then when the comic comes out we get Peredur. Following that, he said nothing changed from his original plan? So, who is Sir Percival, and what's the deal with the other guy? Again, I have my theories.
But I imagine that should new material ever come our way, one or both of these guys will shoot up on this list.
I also enjoy the idea of Duval being cybernetic, but I think he needs a bit of a re-design. Especially in what he wears.
19. The Banshee/Molly
The Banshee may have only been in one episode (with a cameo appearance in another), but damn did she leave an impression. Everything about this character was executed flawlessly. The character model, the animation, the voice, the effects! I loved how ghoulish she appeared, you could see the background through her.
It also helps that "The Hound of Ulster" is one of the best World Tour episodes. The script is tight, the animation is gorgeous, and a lot of the character actions are subtle and over the top when they need to be. Look at Molly's brief, brief exchange with Rory's father for the subtly, which contrasts the wonderful over the top performance as the Banshee.
This guy was a jerk. I mean, really. A paranoid tyrant who thought the world was out to get him. Well, not the world so much as his cousin, Macbeth. I suppose I can understand seeing Macbeth as a threat to the throne, but he just seemed to go out of his way to make Macbeth miserable. He reveled in it. When he died, we were all happy to see him bite it.
Batman has Joe Chill, and Spider-Man has the Burglar. Goliath has this Viking chieftain who massacred his clan. Well, Hakon may not have acted alone, but with the swing of his mace, the series really began. Like his descendant, Wolf, he's pretty one-note. But he plays that note masterfully.
But perhaps the better story isn't even the one where he shattered the clan, but the one where his vengeful spirit attempted to drive Goliath insane. That episode was the perfect send off for Hakon, even more so than falling off a cliff to his death. His angry, vengeful spirit was trapped alone at the bottom of a cavern for all of eternity without anyone or anything to hate. At least that's where I think he should have stayed. Hakon might have ranked higher if he didn't come back one last time in an episode that I thought was one of the show's only misfires. But hey, sixty-five episodes, eighteen comics, and only one misfire. You're still golden.
Now this guy is fun. I love his design, both as a gargoyle and as a robot. I love his Doc Ock-esque tentacles, and I loved Xander Berkeley in the role. Coldsteel is a manipulative jerk, and it's fun to watch him work. His favorite victim is usually Coldstone, and his goal remains unchanging… possess Coldfire. In a nutshell, he's a creepy stalker.
What's also fun is that he's had three voice actors, and not because Berkeley was unavailable. When he controlled Coldstone's body, he was played by Michael Dorn. When he possessed Brooklyn, he was voiced by Jeff Bennett. And they both did it without talking like their regular characters. Watch "Possession" again and listen to "Brooklyn" speak. It's obvious who is in the driver's seat.
I also enjoyed his appearance in the comics, working for Xanatos to distract our heroes from the theft of the Stone of Destiny. Where will he go from here? I'm not sure. I tend to think he works better when he's teaming up with other villains than acting on his own. Well, he did see potential in the Coyote robot, so maybe that's not over; one could see him working with Thailog too; perhaps even re-team with his rookery sister, Demona… they did get along quite well in "High Noon."
15. Constantine III
What can I say about this guy? He follows a long tradition of Disney tyrants, and is just as fun to watch as any of them. Sometimes I think the tenth and eleventh century villains are even more vicious than the modern day villains, and Contantine sums that up.
When we first meet this guy, he uses Finella, the woman who loves him, to lure King Kenneth (who is in love with her) out just so he can murder him in cold blood and take his crown. Then he casts her aside so he can marry Princess Katharine and better secure his claim to the throne. And he tries to keep in control with barely veiled threats against her charges. Harsh.
But even better than that is his return in the "Gargoyles" comic book where he's hunting down and murdering every gargoyle clan he can find, and trying to find Katharine and her friends. By now, he's been in power for two years and rules with an iron fist… which leads to a civil war. This guy is such a jerk that he even kills the messenger that the army of the Three Brothers sends. You never kill the messenger.
And then there was his rather creepy relationship with his new protégé, Gillecomgain, which led to the two inspiring each other in a very twisted ways. Constantine is inspired by Gillecomgain's scars to wear them as war paint in battle, and in turn, Constantine inspires Gillecomgain to become the Hunter. As if Gillecomgain needed any more inspiration. Which brings me to…
Let's face it, even as a kid, Gillecomgain had issues. Obviously there was a lot of darkness instilled in him by his father, who himself had some very understandable issues also. What did these issues lead to? One rogue gargoyle was going through their barn, and Gillecomgain pointed a pitchfork into the shadows to scare a thief only to get slashed across the face. What did THAT lead to? Arguably the events of the entire series.
Gillecomgain's life didn't get better. Constantine III took an interest in him which set him on the path of becoming a masked political assassin, not to mention his continued hunt for the demon that scarred him. Like dominos, this led to events that made Macbeth the man he is today, the Canmore clan what they became, and set the tone for centuries of hatred and pain. And all because of one scratch in a barn.
As a character himself, Gillecomgain stacks up well. There is a moment after his arranged marriage to Gruoch, who obviously doesn't love him, where you almost wonder if you should feel bad for a man whose wife obviously despises him. Then he crushes her rose underfoot. What does this mean? Here's a hint, Luach might not have been Macbeth's son. Powerful stuff.
13. Falstaff/John Oldcastle
Okay, this guy is fun. Him and his gang of LARPers gone bad. They appeared only in the final two issues of "Gargoyles: Bad Guys" but they made an impression. I loved the buildup Falstaff received. We see him take a young Harry Monmouth (who would grow up to become Dingo) under his wing. Train him to be a thief, and take pity on the poor boy after his mother ran out on him. Only for that shocker of a final page where we see Oldcastle with his hands wrapped around the throat of her already dead body.
I really love his gang. At first glance, they seem super human, but are in fact incredibly skilled. And I love that Oldcastle, maybe the world's greatest thief, named himself after Shakespeare's king of thieves. He looked the part, and just seemed to take so much joy in everything he did, and that helped make it a joy to watch him do it.
I hope we get more at some point, because I want to know more about him. Why did he murder Dingo's mom? And when did the Illuminati recruit him? Does he have any other responsibilities for the Society other than guarding their giant vault? Well, until next time, and I believe there will be a next time.
Of all the new characters introduced in the comic books, the most intriguing has to be Shari. Is she Thailog's new executive assistant, or does she own him? So far it seems to be a little bit of both. But I'm sure it's far more one than the other.
I love the narrative device of her storytelling, and I wonder where her knowledge comes from. Sure, she's a very high member of the Illuminati Society, but there are some things she just shouldn't know. And yet, she does. Like I said, she's intriguing. Now, I have my theories on who she really is, in fact I think it's so obvious, I almost wonder what the point of not revealing it was, aside from the fact that I can't see a place in the stories released to do it.
And as a final bit of trivia, Shari's look and basic design was inspired by stage actress and long time "Gargoyles" fan, Zehra Fazal. I've seen her perform on stage, and she is brilliant. She definitely deserved to be immortalized in "Gargoyles" canon in such a way.
11. The Archmage
Who would have thunk it? A one-shot villain if "Gargoyles" ever had one. You watch "Long Way to Morning" again, and you'd never think this guy would have become so important in the grand scheme of the series. Well, let's just say that David Warner kicks ass.
While I do write off his appearance in "Long Way to Morning" as 'obvious one shot villain,' he's still fun, even there. But I think what everybody remembers most is his turn as the villain in the "Avalon" triptych. I loved "Avalon Part Two." I thought the script was brilliant. I thought David Warner's dialogue with himself was tremendous. The entire endeavor was just wonderful.
Do I agree with the decision to kill him off? Absolutely. I don't think he would have had any staying power in the modern day material. The guy is a clichéd sorcerer, even if he's a very fun one. However, that doesn't mean I think the character is done entirely. There is plenty for him to do in a certain spin-off that takes place during the "Dark Ages." Or maybe even something to do if one were to TimeDance and have an encounter with him.
What can I say, I have a soft spot for this glorified toaster oven. At first glance he may seem like Ultron wearing half of Xanatos's skin, but the influence from Xanatos is evident. This robot has a sense of humor, sometimes even a perverse one. Granted it's not sentient or self-aware, but it almost seems close enough to fool you.
I love all the designs he goes through. They're all different, while at the same time reminding you of who you're looking at. But my favorite will always be the first one. I loved the look, I loved his perception-warping weapon the most. I wish he'd used it more often.
What's next for this character? Well, Greg has kept extremely tight-lipped. We know more upgrades are on the horizon, but come "Gargoyles 2198" … well, let's just say I think I know what the Xanatos of "Future Tense" was actually foreshadowing.
9. Jackal and Hyena
The "Gargoyles Universe" is well known for their complex, complicated villains. But sometimes, it's nice to just cut loose. Enter the sociopathic Jackal; and his twin sister, the psychotic Hyena and we're in for a good time whenever they show up. These two will crack you up one moment and then make you sick the next.
The first time they appeared, they didn't seem THAT bad. Then, come their second appearance, you have Hyena nearly slicing a fan's face up, and smiling when she gets arrested. Following that, we have Hyena falling in love with a robot. And then, after that, the two volunteer to trade in their body parts for cybernetic implants. Frankly, it's rather sick.
Jackal almost seems normal when you compare him to Hyena. "Normal" being very relative, until we get to "Grief" where he becomes the avatar of Anubis, giving him power over life and death, and what does he do? He decides he wants to end all life on Earth. Yeah….
I'm glad these two are close siblings, because they deserve each other. Still, whatever else they are, they're very fun bad guys. Hell, even a friend of mine named his gold colored Aztek after Hyena.
8. Anton Sevarius
Dr. Anton Sevarius earns points for being the creepiest villain we have encountered so far. He's even creepier than Jackal and Hyena! Sure, he's pretty much a hired gun, but the guy enjoys it. He revels in it. I can sum up Sevarius with one quote. After he was asked why he was doing this:
"For science, which as my associate Fang indicated, must ever move forward. Plus there's the money… and I do love the drama!"
This guy is only slightly more ethical than Dr. Mengele! And I also need to give a ton of credit to Tim Curry for really bringing this guy to life. Apparently, Brent Spiner was the first choice to voice Sevarius, but Curry got the role, and Spiner was cast as Puck. Thank god for those decisions.
Another moment that really stands out was when he was all over Angela in "Monsters." Does he have a sexual interest in her? I don't know, probably not. I think he just took pleasure in making her as uncomfortable as possible.
I think my other favorite Sevarius moment comes from "Double Jeopardy" where he thinks he's taking part in a Machiavellian scheme of Xanatos's and decides to act the part… very badly, I might add. So much fun, even when he makes you scream.
7. The Weird Sisters
Okay, let's get this out of the way. Silver haired Luna is the Sister of Fate; Raven haired Selene is the Sister of Vengeance; and Golden haired Phoebe is the Sister of Grace.
The Weird Sisters are, for the most part, a complete mystery. They have plans within plans that stretch through the centuries, after all what is time to them? They could even give Xanatos a run for his money. What is their agenda? Only they know. We've seen two thirds of the story, with Luna ascendant during "City of Stone" and Selene ascendant during "Avalon." But there is a missing piece, where does grace fall in their plans for Demona and Macbeth? Hopefully time will tell.
These three are great fun to watch. I love how they can be both nowhere and everywhere. And I love how they can and will take on different forms depending on who is looking at them at any given moment. Where do their loyalties lie? Well, it seems to be with Oberon, but I've long suspected there is something bigger at play with these three.
It would be easy to say they were plucked straight out of the Scottish Play, but in several folklores and mythologies, the Weird Sisters are present in some form. There is just something elemental and primeval about them. And that's part of what makes them a great element of the series.
Any woman who David Xanatos would marry would have to be cut from the same cloth he is, because anyone else would be beneath him. Fox is that woman. Hell, sometimes she gets the better of him, whether they're sparring in the dojo, or playing chess. And he doesn't resent this; it's just further proof that he's found the love of his life.
It's weird to watch her in "The Thrill of the Hunt" at times, because Wolf, Jackal, Hyena, and Dingo just seem so far beneath her, she almost seems out of place there. And yet, at the same time, the more we learn about her, the more it makes sense. When we meet Halcyon Renard, a huge piece of the puzzle is put into place. She was never a daddy's girl, in fact, quite the opposite. She was clearly motivated, for years, by just annoying her father. Maybe her mother too.
And I think it was just as much of a shock to her that she loved David. But I wonder what their relationship was like before her prison sentence? Obviously Xanatos made her a television star, but what else was going on there?
She was his lover and employee. And a trained mercenary, let's not forget that.
Like her husband, she grew and developed as the series progressed, and is every bit as interesting a character as he is. In fact, in an alternate universe, I wonder how the series would have played if Fox was in Xanatos's role from the get go.
Ah, the prodigal son… and he's a bastard. Literally.
I love this guy, he's just a hoot. Thailog is as powerful as Goliath, as brilliant and amoral as Xanatos, and as hammy and immoral as Sevarius. All at once. And it shows. In every single appearance, it shows. The guy is a walking Oedipus complex, what with his desire to prove his superiority to his fathers. I suppose one might say that he's already gotten the better of Sevarius, since he has the good doctor on his payroll. And while he outsmarted Xanatos once, I don't think he's done. Turning Nightstone Unlimited into a powerhouse to rival Xanatos Enterprises is obviously a means to this end. But what next?
I think my favorite thing about Thailog is that while he is a clone of Goliath, that's the last thing that comes to mind when I think about him. He's a fully developed character in his own right, and not simply Goliath's evil twin. On that note, I'm happy his coloring is different, because the last thing this show needs is an entire episode where the gargoyles try to figure out which one is the real Goliath.
And how can anyone not find that maniacal laugh of his to be anything but endearing?
4. John Castaway
John Castaway is a fascinating character, hell to crack the top five, he has to be. Castaway is a weak man, and at the heart of everything, a frightened child. Too weak to stand up to his brother and say "this is wrong" and too weak to admit he was wrong when he pulls the trigger and everything goes to Hell. I think the only thing that has changed is his support system.
Now that the gargoyles have been revealed to the world, Castaway represents a political movement who are moving against them. And it's rather frightening. Not for being a group of hooded thugs, they are not, but for being like a cross between the neighborhood watch, and a support group. Oh, there is a violent wing of the Quarrymen, we know that. But with Castaway's shrewdness, and the Illuminati's backing, I don't think he would do something stupid like fire anti-aircraft cannons in Manhattan, or hijack a train. No… because that would make Castaway much less difficult to defeat than he is. And even then, who says that happens? The Quarrymen are destined to be a problem for at least the next two hundred years, and like the Hunters before them, his descendents will lead the organization.
Keep in mind, we can all trace this back to a scratch in a barn in the tenth century.
Well, where do I start? Well, I suppose I will start by saying that I almost feel bad for putting him on this list at all. He has a strong sense of honor, if skewed. He's worked against our protagonists and with them. But, in the end I think the only side he's on is his own. While he is more of an ally now, that doesn't mean he hasn't been part of the problem before and won't be part of the problem again.
His story is terrific. Rather than follow the Scottish Play, the story we got was a loose adaptation of the true history of Macbeth and his reign over Scotland. Yes, we had Demona and gargoyles, and the Weird Sisters and sorcery, but we also had a history lesson unfolding, even if we didn't know it at the time. And it's terrific. To this day, it's my favorite tale in the entire mythos.
When we first meet him, the centuries have certainly taken their toll. He is not above attacking the gargoyles, taking hostages, and committing grand theft. And yet, we never once think of him as evil, despite doing some pretty unethical and amoral things. That changes with "City of Stone" when we learn his story and feel sorry for him. But at the same time, I think the perception among many fans has swung around too far. Yes, we understand him more now. But that wasn't his redemption. Far from it.
I think the tail end of "Sanctuary" and "Pendragon" is where the change begins, and I stress this, begins. In the former, he learned that he is still capable of love. In the latter, while some didn't quite get why he competed so violently against King Arthur for Excalibur, well, it always made sense to me. This is a man who has suffered so much, who viewed his existence as sad and endless, that he was looking for something to give it meaning and maybe justify every terrible thing that has ever happened to him. Being the new Once and Future King would serve that purpose, wouldn't it? Well, it doesn't quite work out for him, but over the course of the series we have seen this man go from suicidal renegade to a man who doesn't think life is completely worth living, and now seeks purpose in his existence. Did he look like a fool clutching that broken sword? Well, he was a broken man. And once you hit rock bottom, the healing can begin.
2. David Xanatos
He was designed to be a heroic character, and he was cast as the villain of the piece. That, right there, is what makes this character so brilliant. He has so many positive qualities, so many admirable traits. He's smart, he's cool, he's suave, he's practical, he knows his priorities, he doesn't sweat the small stuff, he doesn't hold a grudge; the titled heroes have more personality flaws than he does! But he is also incredibly ruthless, and while he's not evil, he is incredibly amoral. He seems to be the walking personification of Frederick Nietzsche's ubermensch when one stops to think about it. And he is awesome.
I am actually struggling here, what more can be said about David Xanatos that hasn't already been said? He's designed many tropes all by himself. There was never a villain like him in animation before, and even after he's left, there still has never been anyone quite like him. He doesn't surround himself with dimwitted henchmen and beat them up and scream when they fail. No, quite the opposite, he is always surrounded by incredibly competent people. His assistant and majordomo, Owen Burnett comes to mind. And he so rarely loses. In sixty-five episodes, and eighteen comics, I can count the number of actual losses on one hand. Aside from that, he always comes out on top. Always. But when he doesn't, he doesn't throw a fit and scream, he shrugs it off and moves on to the next plan. There are always contingencies. This guy is the coolest guy in the series.
His character arc throughout the series is brilliant. I love his rivalry with Goliath, and I love how he doesn't hate or even dislike Goliath. He likes Goliath a lot, admires him, and regards him with what I can best call a mix of interest and benign amusement. That's far more interesting than Megatron's hatred for Optimus Prime. And I really love how Goliath would often use the word "evil" to describe Xanatos. Sure, Xanatos has done some evil things, but Goliath's view of him for the longest time was very two-dimensional. It almost represents how most audiences, especially in animation, were trained to view the villain. No, Xanatos wasn't a Dark Lord, or a diabolical evil. He was simply a trickster. A human trickster.
While Xanatos and Goliath seem to have made some form of peace, that still didn't make Xanatos one of the good guys! I love that! In a way, he's still the enemy, and now the gargoyles are living with him, and they know it! He still has plans and schemes, and while he likes the gargoyles and helps them out, that doesn't stop him from manipulating them to his own ends, or even working against them. And best of all, as far as Xanatos is concerned: it's nothing personal.
I also have to give a ton of credit to the performance of Jonathan Frakes. He made Xanatos sound so sophisticated, fun, and erudite.
David Xanatos, he should run a seminar on villainy. Often imitated, never duplicated.
Demona is the clear number one on this list, for reasons both grounded and very esoteric at the same time. At the most minimal of glances, she seems very typical. We've seen genocidal human haters before. But scratch the surface, even a little, and we get the deepest creation of not only the series, but one of the deepest creations in the realm of fiction. I'm going to say this now, and roll your eyes all you want, but Demona would not be the slightest bit out of place in Russian literature. Or William Shakespeare's for that matter. I love this character.
Let's start with the surface elements first. She's got a terrific character design, and was so very well animated. Marina Sirtis deserves a tremendous amount of credit for the work she did bringing her to life. She embodied that character so completely that I never want to hear anyone else ever voice Demona on any animated project. No one can do it. Period. Hearing Marina Sirtis voice Demona was just as much of a revelation as hearing Mark Hamill's Joker. And I will stand by that statement even under threat of torture. She is also just such a badass! An intimidating warrior, an immortal, a sorceress, and she transforms into a human during the day! Hell, in both forms, she's pretty hot.
Now, for the esoteric. She has a guilt complex that makes Peter Parker's look tame by comparison, but she spreads it around to everyone else rather than internalize it. And considering how much she has to feel guilty over, this makes her arguably the most dangerous character in the series. She cannot accept her own culpability for the terrible things that happened to her, and for all intents and purposes, murdering her clan. She may not have swung the mace, but her ambition, her bigotry, and her cowardice put them in front of it.
Her favorite scapegoats are humanity as a whole, who make an easy and convenient target for her to project her guilt and self-loathing on. Now, does she have a point? Yes. Let's face it, humans can be bastards. We've done terrible things as a species. But, just as you cannot blame every Muslim for the attacks on September 11th, or every German for the Holocaust, Demona is wrong to blame every human for the terrible actions of a few. And at the end of the day, she was either directly or indirectly responsible for those actions. She betrayed her clan, and caused the massacre; she created the Hunter, and betrayed Macbeth. Demona created her own pain, and she intends to wipe out every man, woman, and child on the face of the Earth just to justify every damned stupid choice she ever made.
Despite all of that, she is an eternally conflicted character. She is not a one-dimensional cut-out. Deep inside, she knows she's wrong, she knows what she did. But she cannot and will not acknowledge that. And that's what makes her hatred for Elisa Maza so interesting. The one human she hates most is the one that has been a true friend to the gargoyles, because Elisa is living proof of just how wrong Demona really is. And the fact that Elisa and Goliath are now in love doesn't help considering Demona's lingering feelings of jealousy.
Of course, there is Demona's biological daughter, Angela. She is probably the one person Demona cares about in the world. My single biggest regret about the cancelation of the comic book is that we didn't get to see the two of them interact again. I am beyond curious to see where this goes. But one thing I am confident of, it's not heading towards a hysterically easy redemption. Nope, if we take the plan for the "Gargoyles 2198" spin-off seriously, and I most certainly do, Demona is still plotting against humanity long after Angela has died. Is it sad? Yes. Is it tragic? Yes. Is it Demona? Absolutely.
I also love how she is a walking mess of contradictions. Her belief system is based so much on lies she tells herself, that she will rationalize anything she can to fit her world view. Why? Because the alternative is admitting she is wrong, and right now, she will not do that. Cannot do that. Sadly for both her and Angela, I see tragedy in their future.
Demona's through line is one of the main reasons I am so desperate for "Gargoyles 2198" to be produced. I want to see how her story ends, and if it's going to end anywhere, it's in that spinoff. This is a story I am dying to see, and if Disney never produces it, well… one way or another I intend to find out what happens to her. What her ultimate fate is going to be. We know she'll have an epiphany of some kind. How does it happen? Why does it happen? What's the fallout? How does her story end?
Demona is an endlessly fascinating character. We've never seen anything like her in the realm of western animation before her debut, and I don't think she's been replicated since. Why? I don't know. But lightning has been caught in a bottle, and I am rather happy that no one has attempted to imitate this unique and perfectly conceived character but tragically flawed person.
What? No love for Bruno?
Nine years ago (has it been that long?) there was an Arthurian survivors contest here at "Ask Greg". With the recent "Stone of Destiny" storyline in which Percival seems to have been split into Duval and Peredur, I'm wondering if what change have occurred on the list of Arthurian survivors.
Just to refresh your memory (and for those who don't remember it at all), here's the list as of nine years ago:
1. King Arthur Pendragon. Slept under a spell in the Hollow Hill.
2. Merlin. Son of Oberon by a mortal woman. Imprisoned in the Crystal Cave.
3. The Lady of the Lake. One of the Oberati.
4. Sir Percival. The Fisher King. Mr. Duval. Founder of the Illuminati. Spends a lot of time in Castle Carbonek, a sort of mini-traveling-Avalon, where time passes differently. Also uses the Holy Grail to maintain his youth, though at a very real physical cost, due to his, shall we say, sins.
5. Lady Blanchefleur. Percival's wife. Queen of Castle Carbonek. She lives there and uses the Grail. The only cost being her estrangement from Percival.
6. Morgana le Fay. A changling in the old-fashioned sense.
7. Nimue. A sorceress with connections to Merlin, the Oberati and Morgana. (Think about it.)
8. The Green Knight. An Oberati.
So what, if anything, has changed in the past decade? Are there still only eight survivors? If we replace "Percival" with "Peredur" and take out the reference to Mr Duval is the list still accurate?
(By the way, I loved both Gargoyles: Clan-Building and Bad Guys: Redemption, and I'm looking forward to more in the future!)
I thought Duval and Percival were the same person but after reading Gargoyles Clan-Building Volume Two, I just learned that Duval is a Illuminati member one rank below Percival (named Peredur in the comic, Peredur being Welsh version of Percival's name).
1. Didn't you mention or hint at some point before that Duval would be the name Percival uses in modern times?
2. If you answered yes to question 1:
2.a. Did you change your mind and decide to make Duval and Percival seperate characters?
2.b. Did you decide you liked the name Peredur better than Duval and then recycled the name Duval for a new character?
1. Check the Ask Greg Archives.
2. I didn't.
You've established that you mentally cast actors for some of the new characters in the Gargoyles comics, such as Quincy Hemmings played by Morgan Freeman (or someone who can sound like him i.e. Kevin Michael Richardson). Anyway, do you have any voices in mind for some of the Illuminati figures (Percival, Duval, Shari, et al.)? What about Katana and Tachi and some of the characters from the Phoenix Gate arc?
Generally, I don't "cast" until the characters have actual speaking parts. So neither Katana nor Tachi have been cast yet.
As I believe I've mentioned, Peredur "is" Jude Law, and Shari "is" Zehra Fazal, who played her in the Radio Play this past summer.
Duval "is" Eddie Marsan.
Just imagine if King Arthur's sword was called Caledfwlch in the TV show:
Arthur: You have awakened me early. I have neither my knights, nor MOUTHFUL OF WELSH.
Katherine: Too bad you don't have your sword, Excalibur.
Arthur: My what?
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And now I realize I was a bit unfair to Duval. He IS creepy, but he isn't necessarily ill-tempered. Anyone might get angry if somebody told them to "Bugger off."
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G2009 Radio Play - Act Three
Norman Osborn was a fool. So obsessed with the power of science, he kept the Crown of Thorns in this vault as if it was just another souvenir â" albeit an expensive one â" to hang upon his wall. But with the Crown and the Spear of Destiny together, I now have the power to force all of humanity to its knees.
These are Christian icons, Demona. Not every human being is a Christian.
Not every human being speaks Latin, but that didnât stop me from using a Latin spell to turn a city-full of humans to stone. The magic I wield is potent beyond measure. Mine is the Kingdom and the Power and the Glory. No human may resist. No human will be spared. None will be spared who oppose me. Just look at this foolâ¦
Her name is Obsidiana.
Of course it is. For she wears the mystic Obsidian pendant fashioned by human sorcerers. Even that is enough to put her in my thrall. She has relinquished her gargoyle birthright.
I have relinquished nothing.
Demona waves the Spear of Destiny, and Electro rises and blasts Goliath back into the wall.
Yes, Iâm surprised youâre unaffectedâ¦ since you reek of humanity. The stink of your human whore is in your hair, on your lips, everywhere. And nothing in this world will give me more pleasure, Goliath, than watching your detective on her knees to me, as she draws her service revolver and thanks me with tears of joy in her eyesâ¦ before gratefully blowing out her own brains.
That will never be.
No? My power expands with every second. I doubt sheâs far away.
You will not harm Elisa.
Goliath advances on Demona. Electro blasts away, but Goliath will not be stoppedâ¦
No one ever said you werenât persistent, Goliath. But what do you hope to gain?
(through gritted teeth)
I will turn these forces back upon you.
Impossible. I am the last true gargoyle left on this world. The Crownâs magicks cannot touch me.
So you believe. But I am not the only one who reeks of humanity. Am Iâ¦ Dominique?!
Goliath grasps the crown. The thorns bite into his hands, drawing blood. They struggle for control of the immense powerâ¦
691. GOLIATH, DEMONA
<roaring to the heavens>
Goliathâs intervention â" and his complete immunity to the Crownâs effects â" creates the smallest of fluctuation in Demonaâs control. In a haze, Spider-Man lifts his armâ¦
He shoots off a web, yanking the bloody crown from Demonaâs head.
There is a massive explosion of mystic energy and light! Demona, Goliath and Electro collapse.
The Spearâ¦ the Crownâ¦
Gone. I think theyâ¦ blew up. Calypsoâs gone too. But Iâm betting thatâs just a talent of hers. And Iâd guess sheâs taken Kraven and the pussycat with her.
But the Big Badâs still hereâ¦
Leaving behind, as always, nothing but a handful of thornsâ¦
Goliath, Spider-Man and Demona sit. Jonah, Elisa, Matt and George STAND.
While Goliath helps Obsidiana, Spidey webs up Demona, Electro and Ock. In the outer vault, Zafiro and the Trio recover, finding only an unconscious and de-venomed Eddie Brock. Outside, the bad guys have all been beaten. Goblin and Vulture, their tech badly damaged, barely manage to fly away. Carnage and Jupiter are once again Cletus and John.
Iâm here, Johnny. Your old Popâs hereâ¦
Call an ambulance, Elisa. Old Man Dracon said something about seeing a light. Then he collapsed. A stroke or something. Iâve been giving him C.P.R.
Mattâ¦ Matt! You can stop. Stop. Heâs gone.
Youâre gargoyles are flying off, Detective.
Really? Not sure I see âem myself. But is that Spidey web-slinging away?
You think? I must have missed him?
Are you all blind?! Theyâre right over there!
714. GEORGE, MATT, ELISA (UNISON)
Oh, give it a rest, Margotâ¦
Elisa, Matt, George, Margot and Jonah sit. Peter, May, Harry and Gwen STAND.
Back at the busâ¦
Iâm back. And not a single decent picture to show for my efforts.
Well, you tried your best, Peter. Iâm sure Mr. Jameson will appreciate that.
Oh, yeah. Heâs a sweetheart that way.
Emily Osborn watches as her son finally emerges from the bathroom.
Hey, Gwen. I feel much better.
Harry, Gwen, Peter and May sit. Jonah and Robbie STAND.
Later that night, at The Bugleâ¦
Whaddayou mean I canât publish it?! How else can I make them all pay for what they did to Johnny!
You canât publish because the authorities refuse to comment. We have no pictures or statements to corroborate a story that includes gargoyles, a dead Green Goblin and everything except the kitchen sink. No one will believe it. I was there, and I donât believe it! Print this, Jonah, and The Bugle becomes the next Daily Tattler.
Ms. Brant, call the bomb squad. BECAUSE IâM ABOUT TO EXPLODE!!
Jonah and Robbie sit. Gwen, Peter, Kong, Curt, Harry, EMILY OSBORN and Mary Jane STAND.
Later still, aboard OsCorpâs private jet en route to Miamiâ¦
I still canât believe we ran into you in the airport parking lot, Doctor Connors.
Yeah, and weâre so sorry you got mugged.
Dude, they took your shoes?! Thatâs hilarious! <laughs>
Yes, well, I just really appreciate the ride back to Floridaâ¦
Anytime, Doctor C. Anytime.
Harry, could I have a momentâ¦ in your fatherâs office?
Uh, sure, Mom.
Curt, Kong and Gwen sit.
734. MARY JANE
736. MARY JANE
Tiny. Cute enough, but itâs like talking to a tree stump.
Tried to warn you.
738. MARY JANE
Just say weâll spend the week as a threesome, okay, Tiger.
740. MARY JANE
Not that kind of threesome.
Mary Jane and Peter sit.
Meanwhile, Harry follows his mother Emily into the jetâs private office.
I know you were playing at being the Goblin, Harry.
What?! Mom, thatâs crazy! I was in the bathroomâ¦
Donât lie to me, baby. You hired the worst chauffer in the city to delay our progress. You had a secret hatch installed in the bus bathroom, so you could slip in and out undetected. And you left a pre-recorded âvomit tapeâ with voice recognition software. All very impressive for a sixteen-year-old. But you need to understandâ¦ the Green Goblin is not what your father wanted for you.
I have no idea what Dad wanted for meâ¦
Then let him tell youâ¦
She slips a DVD into the computer and Norman Osborn appears on screenâ¦
NORMAN OSBORN STANDS.
Harry, my son. If you are watching this, then I am dead. And I have instructionsâ¦
Norman, Emily and Harry sit. Big Man, Blackie and SHARI STAND.
Meanwhile at the Big Manâs office, he and Blackie Gaxton are visited by Shari, a young woman wearing a pendant depicting an eye atop a pyramidâ¦
750. BIG MAN
Nine. Any problems?
753. BIG MAN
Not particularly. Ms. Destine was ready to believe I could find Dracon and the others useful.
And that faux Goblin was happy to believe Iâd been fooled into thinking he was the real thing.
Blackie removes his false face, revealing that he is actually the Chameleon in disguise.
Just as he was happy to believe I was the real Blackie Gaxton. But Iâm still not sure why the Society wanted all thisâ¦?
Isnât it enough to know the Illuminati appreciates your efforts?
CHAMELEON and Big Man sit. THAILOG, BRENTWOOD, Homunculus #1, Homunculus #2 And Homunculus #3 STAND.
Shari leaves Lincolnâs office and pulls out her cellphoneâ¦
Dial Nightstone Unlimited.
The Spear? The Crown?
Waiting for you to send to Duval.
Brentwood capture little robot. Use it to control other little robots. When bright light shine, robots take spear and crown.
What should we do with the Homunculi?
Set them free. Maybe theyâll get their own series some day.
767. HOMUNCULUS #1
Free, free, set them freeâ¦
768. HOMUNCULUS #2
On basic cable and DVDâ¦
769. HOMUNCULUS #3
Homunculus #3, Homunculus #2, Homunculus #1, Shari, Thailog and Brentwood sit. Elisa and Goliath STAND.
At the castle, Elisaâs cell rings.
Mazaâ¦ Yeah, Captain Stacy said you might call. Sure, heâs right here.
She hands the phone to Goliath, who doesnât quite know how to hold it. She takes it back and puts the call on speaker.
Hey, Goliath. Itâs your Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man.
You protect yourâ¦ neighborhood.
Just like you do the super-hero thing without the tights.
Spider-Man, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
Hey, I was just gonna say that. You saw that movie too?
God, I love youâ¦ <kiss>
Elisa, Goliath and Spider-Man sit. Kafka STANDS.
And finally â" yes, finally â" we end where we began. In the offices of Dr. Ashley Kafka at Ravencroft. Sheâs on the phone to her Board of Directors.
After all that tsuris, little has changed. Otto and Eddie are still disassociative. Max still needs a cure, and John still wants power. Cletus? He just keeps repeating, âI got a taste now,â over and over. Yes, we lost Dominic, Iâm afraid. But we do have a new patientâ¦
783. KAFKA (CONT)
Just wait until the sun goes downâ¦
Dominique and Kafka sit.
NEXT: I finally get back to answering questions...
G2008 Radio Play (Chapter IX)
12:18AM. LANTERN OF THE ABBEY. Arthur opens the transport container to look upon the Stone of Destiny. Chapter Nine: Rock of Ages. 1:06AM GMT. Arthur listens to the glowing Stone.
â¦Pointless, Arthur Pendragon, to waste time protecting any particular stoneâ¦
1:31AM. VICTORIA TOWER. Arthur, Macbeth, Hudson, Lex, Amp, Griff, Coco, Coldstone and Coldfire confer.
Perhapsâ¦ perhaps this is all unnecessary. I donât think we need to guard the stone.
Macbeth, Arthur, Hudson, Lexington, Amp, Coco, Griff, Coldstone & Coldfire sit. Coldsteel & Coyote STAND.
NOVEMBER 15, 6:16AM. LEITH. Coyote and Coldsteel stand side-by-side inside a warehouse.
No, I am not programmed for free willâ¦
Pity. You have potentialâ¦
COLDSTREAM GUARD, Macbeth, Xanatos, Coldstone & Coldfire STAND.
NOVEMBER 15, 10:02AM. A Coldstream Guard holds up a hand to stop a transport convoy from driving onto Coldstream Bridge.
245. COLDSTREAM GUARD
Get the bomb unit! Now!!
Macbeth to Coldstone: convoyâs stopped, and Xanatos is here.
Well, itâs a momentous occasionâ¦ and such a lovely dayâ¦
Safe to say heâs up to something.
Yes, safe to say.
Coldstone and Coldfire intercept Coldsteel and Coyote heading for the Bridge.
Coldsteelâs tentacles grab Coldfire, forcing her arms up so that she nearly FRIES Coldstone.
As you see, Iâve had time to mend my ways. Well, my appendagesâ¦
Release her! <pain cry>
Coldstoneâs back is raked by Coyoteâs buzzsaw-arm.
Now that weâre machines, donât you love these exhilarating daytime battlesâ¦? No nasty organic gargoyles to even the oddsâ¦
Coldfire HEAD BUTTS Coldsteel violently. His tentacles release her.
Consider the odds evened.
A t-t-temporary s-s-setbackâ¦
Then letâs make it permanent.
Out of Davidâs respect for Goliath, I am programmed to inflict only as much damage as necessary to reach our objective. But I define the parameters of ânecessaryâ.
Coldstoneâs fist SHATTERS the half-Xanatos/half-robot skull image on Coyoteâs screen. Coldstone shoves his forearm cannon down Coyoteâs âthroatâ and fires. Coyote EXPLODES! The dented Coldsteel watches the wreckage of Coyote fall toward the RIVER TWEED below.
P-p-pity. He had p-p-potentialâ¦
Coldsteel POWER-DIVES down into the river. Coldstone follows but can find no sign of Coldsteel.
Coyote & Coldsteel sit.
10:12AM GMT. COLDSTREAM BRIDGE. Xanatos stands between Macbeth and Arthur. A Marching Band plays. Xanatos presses a small one-button remote. Inside the Land Rover, the Stoneâs metal transport container is strapped to the floor of the cargo space â" which FLIPS over, so that the real container is replaced by a DUPLICATE (with a duplicate stone inside).
268. COLDSTREAM GUARD
Hold it down! The Bomb Squadâs at work!
10:38AM GMT. The Guard signals the convoy forward.
270. COLDSTREAM GUARD
Right, weâre clear. Not a bomb. Just an empty shoebox.
Coldstone to Macbeth. Weâve lost Coldsteel.
Just stay on the alertâ¦
273. COLDSTREAM GUARD
Letâs go! Weâre behind schedule!
The Stoneâs on the move again.
Coldstream Guard, Macbeth, Xanatos, Coldfire & Coldstone sit. Thailog & Shari STAND.
NOVEMBER 15, 5:43AM EST. NIGHTSTONE UNLIMITED.
The story is told â" though who can say if it be true â" that on a clear Christmas night, a band of Scottish patriots broke into Westminster Abbey to steal the Stone and in the process broke it in two!
Thailog & Shari sit. Arthur & Macbeth STAND.
NOVEMBER 15, 12:00PM GMT. EDINBURGH CASTLE.
The Stoneâs back where it belongs! Well, it belongs in Scone, but at least itâs back in Scotland.
Macbeth & Arthur sit. Stone & Xanatos STAND.
A land rover from the convoy drives past Macbeth and Arthur. 12:36PM. LEITH. The Land Rover pulls into a non-descript warehouse and stops in front of a smiling Xanatos. 1:06PM. Xanatos listens to the glowing Stone.
â¦Pointless, David Xanatos, to substitute yet another stone to fool the Illuminatiâ¦
Stone sits. Coldsteel STANDS.
2:23PM. Coldsteel dumps pieces of Coyote shrapnel on the floor.
Thereâs whatâs left of your boyâ¦ and hereâs your rock.
Coldsteel tosses the Coyote Diamond to Xanatos.
Oh, Iâm just its minder.
I believe that completes our bargainâ¦
Indeed. Consider your tracking device deactivated.
Pleasure doing business with you.
Coldsteel sits. FLEUR STANDS.
Three. <pause> Any problems?
Only finding a duplicate on such short notice.
4:04PM. Behind the wheel of the Land Rover, Fleur drives through Leith. Fog rises, until the street is barely visible. The fog forms into Castle Carbonek. The Land Rover drives across the drawbridge into a large cobblestone courtyard.
I still outrank you, milady. I wonât tolerateâ"
Couldnât you both try to get along? Since you are, after all, the two people I love most in this world?
I brought the Stone.
Fleur, Duval & Peredur sit. Macbeth, Griff, Amp, LUNETTE, Coldstone & Hudson STAND.
NOVEMBER 15, 8:13PM. KNIGHTâS SPUR.
I know it doesnât matter, but Iâm glad the Stoneâs back in Scotland.
You lot should stay a while. Get to know the clanâ¦
Yeah, mates, stay!
But Coldsteel is still out thereâ¦
Aye, lad, but itâs a mighty big world, and even the banished and the badduns eventually return to the clan.
Macbeth, Griff, Amp, Lunette, Coldstone & Hudson sit. Stone, Peredur & GRAIL STAND.
NOVEMBER 16, 1:06AM. CASTLE CARBONEK. A frowning Peredur listens to the glowing stone.
â¦Pointless, Peredur fab Ragnal, to have gone to such extremes merely to possessâ¦ a rock.
On APRIL 11, 1951, 1:07AM at ARBROATH ABBEY, on NOVEMBER 15, 1:07PM in a warehouse in LEITH, on NOVEMBER 15, 1:07AM in the LANTERN OF THE ABBEY, and on NOVEMBER 16, 1:07AM inside CASTLE CARBONEK, Macbeth, Xanatos, Arthur and Peredur listen to the glowing Stone of Destiny.
Do you think the Spirit of Destiny can be contained in one vessel? I am the Fatal Stone. The Lia FÃ¡il. The Stone of Bethel and Jerusalem, of Egypt, Samothrace and Portugalâ¦ The Stone at Tara and of Mora, at Iona and of Scone, in London and in Edinburghâ¦ I am the Blarney Stone, the Coronation Stone, the Hero Stoneâ¦ I am the Pillar Stone, the Stone of the Sword, the Stone of the Waters, Clach-na-Cinneamhainâ¦ The Tanist Stone, the Philosopherâs Stone, the Standing Stone, the Cornerstoneâ¦ The Foundation Stone, the Megalith Dance, the Burden of Sisyphusâ¦ I am the Rock of Gibraltar, the Pillar of Hercules, Uluru, Clach SgÃ inâ¦ Jacobâs Pillow, the Rosetta Stone, the Rune Stone, Sire of the Wyrdâ¦ I AM THE MANTLE OF FATEâ¦ I AM THE STONE OF DESTINYâ¦ I AM THE ROCK OF AGES! Do not dream of possessing me, mortal.
NOVEMBER 16, 1:07AM. CASTLE CARBONEK. Behind Peredur, Fleur listens from the doorway.
Besides, Peredur, donât you have more important matters of concernâ¦ now that your Master has awakened?
What?! King Arthur cannot be awake?!
Awake and returned. I have twice conversed with him.
But we did not expect him for another two hundred years! Everything we planned--
I must contact the Upper Echelons immediately!
Peredur exits. Fleur is no longer in the doorway. The Stone is left alone with the Holy Grail.
Peredur, Stone & Grail sit. Thailog & Shari STAND.
NOVEMBER 16, 5:44AM EST. NIGHTSTONE UNLIMITED.
Very good. Should I continue?
The story is told â" though who can say if it be true â" that the Stone was repaired and recovered. Some say a replica was reinstalled at Westminster; others disagree. Either way, the Stone remained undisturbed until yesterday, when it was transported to Edinburgh without incidentâ¦
And thatâs all you know of the Stone of Destiny?
Well, one last story is told--
As the sun sets, Owen Burnett and Macbeth wait for Goliath to wakeâ¦
--Though who can say if it be true?
Thailog & Shari sit.
I was recently rereading Roger Lancelyn Green's retelling of the Arthurian cycle (it was the January 2009 book for an Arthurian book club that I recently joined), and found this passage at the end of the section on the Quest for the Holy Grail:
"But when the last battle had been fought and the realm of Logres was no more, Percivale's kingdom made still a little light in the darkness of a Britain conquered and laid waste by the barbarians." (p. 248 of the old Puffin Books edition I bought as a boy).
Was this passage the inspiration (or at least, *an* inspiration) for your idea of Percival/Duval founding the Illuminati?
Approximately ten years passed between your resignation from "Gargoyles" and your return to it for the comic book. You've indicated that during those ten years, your ideas about the Gargoyles Universe have undergone some alterations, and new ideas have come along.
The three new stories that have come out in the comic book series so far are the Double Date with Goliath and Elisa (Gargoyles #3-5), the encounter with Coldstone in Tibet (Gargoyles #6) and the formation of the Redemption Squad (begun in Bad Guys #1). We know that you'd planned all three of those (in their basic forms) by the time that you resigned from "Gargoyles". What I'm curious about is: which of the following characters or elements had you come up by the time you left the television series, and which did you come up with afterwards?
1. Quincy Hemings
3. Brentwood deciding to team up with Thailog
4. The reason for Duval's phone call to Xanatos in "The Journey" being the mission that Quincy gives Xanatos in #5
5. The Tazmanian Tiger and his thylacines.
You're really determined to peek behind the curtain, aren't you?
1. I had the character, not the name.
4. Not all the details, but the basics, yeah.
5. The Tiger then. The thylacines since.
This day in Gargoyles' Universe History....
Tony Dracon, Dominic Dracon and their men are taken into custody. Martin Hacker calls to see if Matt's all right. Matt asks Hacker to find the whereabouts of Mace Malone's stepson Jack Dane. Later, Elisa helps Broadway order a new Detective costume for Halloween to replace the one destroyed during the Silver Falcon case.
At midnight, Travis Marshall begins to broadcast Nightwatch on WVRN in New York - in part as a response to the revelation that gargoyles truly exist. Vinnie Grigori and Gargoyles Taskforce leader Matt Bluestone, among others, are interviewed. Meanwhile, the gargoyles try to readjust to life back at the castle with Xanatos. Goliath departs to see Elisa. He turns to stone outside her apartment. John Castaway recruits Vinnie and other citizens into the Quarrymen. That morning, Taro, having seen Vinnie on Nightwatch, offers him a security job in Japan. Just before sunrise, Banquo and Fleance spot Goliath on Elisa's balcony. They contact Castaway who convinces Vinnie to join the hunt. Elisa manages to protect Goliath until sundown when he awakens. Goliath and Elisa flee. The Quarrymen give chase and injure Goliath's wing. Goliath and Elisa are forced to take to the rooftops of Manhattan in order to make their way back to the relative safety of the castle. At the castle, Hudson watches a special early edition of Nightwatch, with Travis Marshall moderating a debate between anti-gargoyle Assistant District Attorney Margot Yale and pro-gargoyle medieval scholar Lennox Macduff (actually Macbeth). Lex bonds with Alexander and declares a truce between himself and Fox. Mr. Duval of the Illuminati Society contacts Xanatos. David declines to take Duval's call. Angela and Broadway share they're first kiss, and Brooklyn realizes that he has no chance with Angela now. The Quarrymen pursue Elisa and Goliath to the ruined Clock Tower. Elisa and Goliath take most of the Quarrymen out one by one. But Castaway nearly succeeds in killing them both. At a crucial moment, Vinnie switches sides, giving Goliath time to recover. Castaway is forced to flee. Goliath and Elisa return to the castle.
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