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POSTINGS 2008-01 (Jan)

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This day in Gargoyles' Universe History....

January 20th...

Demona attempts to poison Elisa Maza in order to lure Goliath to his doom. Knowing it's a trap, Goliath and Hudson take the bait in the hope they can reason with Demona. Demona shoots Goliath, and Hudson struggles to keep him alive and protect him from Demona until sunrise.

Halcyon Renard puts his own soul inside the Golem's body, and his newfound power quickly goes to his head. Ultimately, however, he is made to see the error of his ways, and he returns the Golem to Max Loew, who uses it against Tomas Brod. Renard offers to take the travelers back to New York. But Goliath has concluded that there is a purpose to their travels. They return to Avalon to continue their odyssey.

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This day in Gargoyles' Universe History....

January 19th...

The travelers depart Avalon and arrive in Prague, where Halcyon Renard has made a devil's agreement with gangster Tomas Brod to acquire the Golem. Elisa Maza encounters Max Loew, who attempts to waken the Golem. But before he can, it is stolen by Brod, who turns it over to Renard.

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This day in Gargoyles' Universe History....

January 18th...

Angela, Bronx, Elisa Maza and Goliath sink the mini-sub, and return to Avalon.

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Ed Reynolds writes...


Amazing issue.

I love how jam-packed each of these comics are. Some comics you've got all there is to get first read-through; this gets better and better with each successive reading. The non-linear structure flummoxed me first off, but now I'm completely in love. It's got a rhythm completely of its own. (Piecing together the Ask Greg clues to work out where the missing parts of the story are made it doubly fun so thanks for that 'Easter Egg'!). I'm really curious about the inspiration for this. Obviously in literature there are plenty of books which disassemble time but usually to mirror consciousness. 'Memento' is the only film I can recall which is this fragmented, but again there's a strict order. (Sometime, not while the story's still running necessarily, but eventually, I'd be interested to read about the thought processes behind this structure.)

Here, we're really dotting around but it gives the impression of a patchwork of themes: sibling rivalries (Jacob/Esau, Brooklyn/Broadway, Othello/Iago) particularly stand out. Perhaps also lineage -- never has the interconnectedness of man been so apparent than seeing the links from Egypt to Portugal to Ireland; and in modern times, we have the Maza family expanding into new boundaries, with Elisa & Goliath and Talon & Maggie's child. And of course, we have all these dark mirrors to our leads: Xanatos and Coyote, the ColdTrio and the Angela triangle, Lex/Brentwood, and as has been mentioned, Thailog/Shari who look very Goliath/Elisa in some panels.

I love the scene of Thailog & Shari playing chess though -- more Fox & David. I wonder if the bathtub scene is meant to suggest how Sevarius would like to spend his nights. Shari is by far my favourite new character so far. She's utterly fascinating. And while we have no evidence there's anything between them, they certainly seem pretty intimate. And whatever their relationship is, it fits that while Goliath & Elisa's life is based on protecting and serving, Thailog & Shari's seems to be about knowledge and power.

Although this is another story on a huge scale, I'm really glad the clan is proactive at the centre this time. I love, adore, the big, eclectic 'Gargoyles' cast, but more than that, I love our core guys. And Macbeth. Broadway and Angela seemed kind of mean to Brooklyn -- I hope this is in aid of them intervening to resolve their issues. Lex and Hudson taking centre stage fills me with joy.

(Oddly, I was in central London in November 1996. My brother was in Great Ormond Street getting his cochlear implant and it was around this time that we'd recently discovered 'Gargoyles'. I know he watched 'A Lighthouse in the Sea of Time' on television with his ward; and also I remember looking for 'Gargoyles' figurines in a London toy shop and coming out with a Lexington one for his Christmas. It's one of my most vivid memories, but it gives me a real kick to think that the 'real' Macbeth and Lexington would have been running around about the same time only a few miles away.)

The cover -- bit of a quiet one. I don't mind covers that don't reflect the inside too well (#1 and #3 are probably my favourites to date and have no real relevance to the interior), but this one attempts to find a hook from inside and comes up with something pretty mild. I still love Greg Guler's covers though. Will be very interested to see David Hedgecock on #8 but I hope Greg sticks around.

The art -- Really gorgeous. David Hedgecock has received some flak for his model work, but I have to say... I grew up on lisenced books. Spidey and X-Men were all too convoluted to get into, but Turtles, Sonic, Bucky O'Hare -- this stuff I knew where I was. And I know being 'off-model' is considered a pretty heinous crime by people who read these kinds of books. But my favourite artists, and often the most popular artists, were never the most on-model. Often the artists who tacked closest to the models produced characters who looked just a little plastic, a little too perfect, a little dead behind the eyes. David's model work is decent given the scores of characters he has to master each issue, but more than that, we really get a sense of the characters' intelligence and purpose, of momentum and fluidity. It's good, compelling art and I'm so glad he's having a good run at it. (My only hope is that if it is necessary to switch artists for a future issue that we can have the same person working on a sequence of stories -- this was what felt a little jarring about #3-5, though it was for entirely understandable reasons).

The colours -- Rich, atmospheric, true to the original, but really dramatic and bold as well. I particularly appreciate London on the last page looking like the late 20th century and not the late 19th -- alive with light. Often I'll see American presentations of London -- including in 'M.I.A.' where admittedly there was probably pressure to reuse the same backdrops for the 1940s and 1990s sections -- where it feels somehow dated. And of course, parts of it are historic. But growing up in London, all this seemed normal to me and so presentations which really honed in on the ancient aspects always startled me a bit. The Shari/Thailog colours are especially splendid. (Although -- being ultra-pernickety -- stars can't turn up in front of the shadowy portion on a crescent moon!).

I'm thrilled King Arthur is turning up, the London clan look amazing, and the details about the history of the stone and the naming of Portugal really stand out for me. I'm completely psyched to see where this goes next.

Big thanks to Greg, David, Robby, Greg G and the guys at SLG!

Greg responds...

Scripting issues #7-9, my guiding principle was to reveal info not in the order it happens but rather on a "need-to-know" basis for the reader, indeed emphasizing the connectivity of all that was taking place.

Response recorded on January 17, 2008

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Ed Reynolds writes...

Hiya Greg. The comics take a while to reach me and I don't always manage to get the reviews in before the queue closes, but the comic's really going from strength to strength. Anyway, my BG #1 review...


'Bad Guys' doesn't instantly grab me. I love the universe and I trust the creators, but I don't yet feel close to the characters. I care about Hudson and Demona and Macbeth because we've been through so much with them, and with these guys we've known them for a long time but relatively shallowly. I'm really excited for the comic to peel back the layers on the characters in the same way the original series has done with the 'Gargoyles' leads. Glad to see Dingo used as a starting point for this reason; he's already the most familiar, and the most intriguing (though my favourite is Fang!). The Harry Monmouth tease is lovely. I got into 'Gargoyles' first off because of the 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' characters so I can't wait to see this angle developed.

I'd be lying if I said it didn't take a while to adjust to the lack of colour. Nothing against B&W as a form, I'm all for it; but colour, to me, is in the DNA of this universe. But the art's really great. The beautiful Sydney panorama, the exquisite fight scenes and the lovely stuff of Dingo in flight. Oh, love the logo too. The paper actually feels a bit more solid than the parent title, if less glossy. There seems to be an errant red dot in the middle of the cover but perhaps that's just my copy.

So the story. I love the structure here. The opening section reminded me of 'Awakening', although it's a standard thing with television pilots (and a few comic #1s) to start in the middle and flash back. Often, I don't like the effect. Occasionally it works really well, but sometimes it feels like an in-story trailer. But that final panel of the flash-forward -- "redemption" metaphorically and literally dead in the water -- is fantastic. Same with the "redemption taking off" image at the end. And then there's the music. Threw me at first, but it actually gives the thing a real linking thread and a sense of pace. I've found a clip of part of it on youtube but by now I prefer to run my own music to it in my head -- truth be told I always like to score things I read (and write) in my head anyway as I go. The explosion panel is particularly powerful contrasting with the music. It's an interesting experiment. Not sure it would work too often, but I think it sets the tone quite effectively. And I just like innovation with the narrative.

There are plenty of great moments as always. The helicopter gag was the funniest; Matrix's spine-insertation the creepiest.

One thing nags me though. The masked supervillain -- concept and execution. Concept-wise, it interests me how this guy was in a position to do something like this, and I love the idea of Dingo living this weird idealised hero v villain world. But in a period fast developing DNA testing and biometrics and CCTV, would anyone really go blowing up downtown Sydney and then walking around in a highly recognisable suit? In the Marvel universe, I wouldn't blink twice, but in 'Gargoyles' it seems startling. Not what I'd have expected.

One of the things I often have trouble tracking with the universe is what the perception of the man on the street is to everything that goes on in the stories. Yeah, the Vinnies and the Brendans are people who have had exceptional encounters. What about people who live in Oregon or Melborne or Cardiff -- nowhere that's a hotbed of activity in the universe (yet, anyway). How is their experience of the world different from ours? What's known about advances in technology on robots and cloning and artificial intelligence? And how astonished should they be at a guy in a mask blowing up a bank only to be accosted by an ex-con TV superstar in a metal suit which allows him to fly? Not very, is the impression I get from this comic. And that surprises me a little.

Overall, it's an enjoyable read, but hasn't yet got under my skin quite like the parent comic. And that's fine -- I'm not going anywhere and I have nothing but faith it's going somewhere amazing. I do suspect it's one of those I'll enjoy best in trade since we're only yet dipping a toe into the waters of 'Bad Guys'.

Thanks to everyone who worked on it -- Greg, Karine and David, as well as Greg & Stephanie and the SLG editorial people!

Greg responds...

Well, hopefully issue #2 will grab your interest more. But I'll admit, Bad Guys is designed as a slow build read, with each issue ramping up from the previous. Issue #3 definitely ups the ante on issue #2, and I'm writing #4 now and I'm thinking it's pretty darn breathless. By the time we get to #6, we should be "getting under your skin" just fine -- if not inserted into your spine. That's the plan, anyway.

Response recorded on January 17, 2008

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Anonymous writes...

I've always wondered, out of all the words out there, how did you ever come up with using and sticking with "jalapeña" as a catchphrase?

Greg responds...

That's a long story that I'm sure is in the archives and/or the FAQ. Check in at the s8 comment room and they can direct you there and/or TELL you the story, as it's been told and retold many times at the Gathering.

Response recorded on January 17, 2008

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Rebel writes...

Hi Greg, this is something I meant to ask in my earlier comment, but I forgot to. For the comic, how much direction do you give to your artists in coming up with the designs for new canon characters?

I am specifically referring to the two new London Gargoyles at the end of #7. I know you had mentioned before that the London gargs would look like unicorns, lions, or griffins. Did you change your mind recently, or had it always been your plan to make them look like other heraldry animals, and you were just teasing us? Did David Hedgecock talk you out of it? Did the two of you decide together what animals they would resemble, or had you already decided? If you chose beforehand, did you give him specific details about their appearance, or relatively vague details and let him come up with them himself? I would be interested to know any information you can tell me about this. I find the process of creating a character's look to be very interesting.

Also, feel free to volunteer information about the development of the designs of other new characters which have appeared in the comic. Shari, the Tasmanian tiger villain in Bad Guys, Coyote's new look, etc. Whatever comes to mind.

Greg responds...

Here's my description in the script of the two characters, minus a couple of personal details that I don't choose to reveal at this time:

• [New Male Gargoyle] - Biologically age 19. [New Male Gargoyle] is a gargoyle of the London Clan. His head is modeled off a large stag (i.e. male deer) with fairly magnificent silver antlers. He should have feathered white wings. And deer-like hooves for feet, but his hands should look like normal gargoyle hands. He should be tall (and feel even taller thanks to the antlers) and slim in build. Not so slim that he looks fragile, but he's definitely not the bulky type. This is a new character, but for inspiration take a look at UNA at http://lynativerse.artchicks.org/Screencaps/GL_Una.htm.
• [New Female Gargoyle] - Biologically age 19. [New Female Gargoyle] is another gargoyle of the London Clan, this one modeled off a wild boar or sow. She has a pig-snout and tusks. She is brown. Her wings are the more traditional bat-like wings we're familiar with. Normal gargoyle hands, more pig-like feet. She's medium-height, muscled and burly - nothing fragile about [New Female Gargoyle].

As you can see, the basic choices were mine, but I give Dave full credit for bringing them to life.

Here's my descriptions of the other characters you asked about (and some you didn't)...

• COYOTE 5.0 - This is only SORT OF a new character. Basically, there have been four Coyote robots that preceded this one. They all have a lot in common thematically, but they're all different too. And lucky you get to design the new one! To see Coyotes 1-4, check out: http://gargoyles.dracandros.com/Coyote_%28robot%29 or the episodes "Leader of the Pack" (for Coyote 1.0) and "Upgrade" (for Coyote 2.0) both on the Season Two, Volume One DVD. (Coyotes 3.0 & 4.0 aren't out on DVD yet.) Note the basic color scheme and the coyote-head motif. And the fact that all the later robots have a circular VID-SCREEN that displays an image of a robotic head. The head appears to be half-Xanatos and half-robot-skull. This version of the robot will have the large Coyote Diamond inside its chest cavity… with lasers shooting into it. We may want a transparent cover for that, so we can see the Diamond even after the cavity is closed. Or not. In either case, Coyote 5.0 should be BIG.
• SHARI - Arabic female, age 18. A pretty, goth-teen runaway type. She wears a lot of chains, necklaces, pendants, etc. around her neck. [Shari was also visually inspired by a real person, and I provided Dave with a photo as reference.]
• DETECTIVE CEDRIC HARRIS - African-American male.
• DETECTIVE TRI CHUNG - Chinese-Vietnamese male.
• TERRY CHUNG - Asian-American boy, age 12. He's wearing a GOLIATH Halloween costume.
• AMBASSADOR CHUNG - Terry's mother, age 42. She's a short Asian-American woman, wearing a white evening gown and carrying a white, feathered mask on a stick.
• QUINCY HEMINGS - He appears to be about 60. African-American. Gray hair, trim build. He's dressed in a white tuxedo jacket with epaulets and gold buttons. White gloves, a red bow tie, black pants. He has for decades been the "Chief Steward" at the White House, a job loosely based on the job of Chief Usher. See http://www.whitehousehistory.org/06/subs/06_a07.html for info on Chief Ushers.
• TASMANIAN TIGER - (Age 24.) The Tasmanian Tiger is a somewhat clichéd costumed super-villain. His garb is inspired by the extinct Tasmanian Tiger (a.k.a. the Thylacine), and he's flanked by two actual (cloned) THYLACINES (Benjamin & Natasha). (See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thylacine.) His costume is largely form fitting with black tiger stripes and a cowl with Tiger ears and clawed gauntlets. On his chest is a symbol with two interlocking letter Ts. (Similar to the interlocking Ds on Daredevil's costume: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Daredevil41.jpg.) The Tasmanian Tiger also carries a large blaster weapon.
• BENJAMIN - A male Thylacine, one of Tasmanian Tiger's trained pets. To see how wide a thylacine's jaw can open, check out http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Tasmanian_tiger.gif.
• NATASHA - A female Thylacine; the Tiger's other trained pet.

As you can see, sometimes I gave quite a bit of detail, sometime I pretty much left nearly the entire design to Dave or Karine or Nir's imagination. Usually, the artist does a design and sends it to me. We might do a bit of back and forth on it... but honestly, looking at the above list, with the exception of Quincy (who started out looking a bit too old and jowly for my tastes), I feel like the artists hit all of these characters on the first time out.

Response recorded on January 17, 2008

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Diego González V. writes...

Hi Greg,

First, I want to thank you very much for give us a great, gorgeous show!!!

So now, my question... Any plans to do an international release of the SLG comic? I would like so much to see the comic in my local comic shop. I know this is more an SLG business than yours, btw, I want to know if you know something about this :)

I mean, it would be just great to read the comic in my native language, spanish (more accurately, "en chileno", hehehe)

Greetings from Chile, South America.
Diego González V., a fan who learned a lot of english thanks to Gargoyles and fanart about the show! So again, thank you :D

Greg responds...

I have no information on this, but if I had to guess, I'd say sales would have to be upped considerably on the English version to make taking a chance on a Spanish version worthwhile.

And I guess this is as good a time as any to issue ... a concern.

Sales on the book have dropped with every issue, which is depressing enough in and of itself. But if the trend continues, then SLG will have no choice but to let the license go when it next comes up for renewal. We're still one of their best-selling books (if not THE best), but most SLG books don't come with a massive license fee draining money away. We should be good finishing out Clan-Building (i.e. issue #12) and Redemption (i.e. Bad Guys issue #6), but there's no guarantee we'll continue beyond that if sales don't pick up -- or at the very least level off.

This is NOT me saying that all of you need to go out and buy multiple copies and/or spend money you don't have. As usual, this is me saying don't be complacent about SPREADING THE WORD!!!! Please.

Response recorded on January 17, 2008

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This day in Gargoyles' Universe History....

January 17th...

Edger Blosa dies in Prague.

Angela is imprisoned alongside Nessie, a Loch Ness Monster. That day Elisa Maza spots members of David Xanatos' Security Team resupplying in town. She follows them to Anton Sevarius' secret submarine dock. After nightfall, she returns with Goliath and Bronx, but all three are captured. Sevarius, who has informed Angela that she is Goliath's daughter, takes her along as he attempts to use Nessie to capture her mate Big Daddy in the Loch. Goliath and the others escape, and use a mini-submarine to foil Sevarius' plans. The monster-sub sinks along with every member of the Security Team, except their leader Bruno. The Loch Ness Monsters are reunited and set free.

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Rebel writes...

This isn't really a question as it is a review/comment/whatever. Anyway, I just wanted to say THANK YOU for deciding to have the London Gargoyles resemble more animals than just lions, unicorns, and griffins. For the last ten years or so, I had always assumed that the London clan gargoyles would resemble other animals of heraldry as well, such as bears, boars, wolves, foxes, stags, rams, bats, etc., and when I read in the wiki a few months ago that they would all look like unicorns, griffins, and lions, I was SO disappointed. I am so glad that this is not the case. The two new gargoyles are beautiful and I am looking forward to learning more about them in the next two issues, and possibly seeing some other London Clan members as well. Once again THANKS!

Also, I just wanted to mention that Hedgecock's art is greatly improving and is really, really good in this issue. There are still a few things that seem a little off, like for instance he often seems to make the characters' heads a little too big which makes them seem cartoony, and they sometimes look really angular instead of organic. But overall he's doing a great job. He's really good with facial expressions. I LOVE the look on Lex's face when they first wake up with jetlag! Also the pages where Shari is telling Thailog those stories are all really great. Of course the final page is beautiful as well. And he does a really awesome job with mechanical characters; the page with Coldsteel and Coyote is awesome! Anyway kudos to Hedgecock!

Overall #7 was a great issue. The non-linear format was great (incidentally, although I miss the cartoon it's worth noting that this non-linear format likely would not have worked as well on the TV show). Thanks for all you do.

Greg responds...

The non-linear thing -- especially to the extent I did it in issues #7-9 -- would not have worked AT ALL on television. Snippets so brief, they would barely register. Not enough time for visual cues, and without the captions to indicate date and time, impossible. But if you left an image on screen long enough for a chyron to register, you'd blow the rhythm of the whole thing. I definitely WOULD have told this story, but it would not have been in this format at all.

Thanks for the kind words, and I've passed on to Dave that he seems to be winning some people over with his latest stuff.

Response recorded on January 16, 2008

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