A Station Eight Fan Web Site
Let me just start by saying what a great writer you are. When I found out you were going to write a book I was elated. When I heard of your AudioPlay, I was ecstatic. Which is why I was so heartbroken when I read your comments about the Kickstarter experience and how jaded you were about it. More so because that basically means we won't get an AudioPlay for Book 2.
I'm really sorry it didn't work out like you were hoping. I haven't lost hope of you releasing Book 3, however.
A sincere thank you.
I haven't lost hope of producing an AudioPlay for Book 2 or of writing Book 3: Masque of Bones. It's not going to happen in the near future, but someday. Just not through Kickstarter.
Hi Greg, just bought your audio story of Rain Of The Ghosts, fantastic original story, and not to mention love hearing our favorite voice actors in your story, and it was amazing, gonna go find the second book and read it.
I also wanted to ask, Timedancer is one of my most favorite spinoff ideas based onto Gargoyles, and the sheer idea of Brooklyn Time traveling is awesome! I wanted to know, just like you did with Rain Of The ghost Audio story, would you be able to do Timedancer like that? Bring in the old voice actors (Jeff and Thomas ect) and bring in new ones to voice the new characters that would have been in Timedancer?
Thanks for the kind words about Rain.
To answer your question, I'd love to do an AudioPlay of Timedancer, but I don't own Gargoyles or TimeDancer, so that's not an option at this time.
What's the status on Rain of the Ghosts? Are you going to do an AudioPlay for Spirits? Have you put Masque of Bones on hiatus?
For financial reasons, I've had to put both the AudioPlay of SPIRITS OF ASH AND FOAM and the writing of MASQUE OF BONES on hold. Unfortunately, we didn't sell enough copies of RAIN OF THE GHOSTS and SPIRITS (in either paperback or ebook form) and we didn't sell nearly enough e-copies of the AudioPlay for RAIN. I can't afford the time to work on this project right now, which kills me. But I will someday.
I wanted to tell you how much I've enjoyed Young Justice, Spectacular Spider-Man and the first two books of the Rain of the Ghosts series. Your writing helped inspire me to try my hand at fiction writing and, after a couple of years, I now have my first novel published. So I wanted to thank you for being one of those people who inspired me to try my hand at it.
Looking forward to Young Justice 3 and best of luck with it!
Thank you. And thanks for posting this. It's very gratifying!
1) I haven't seen Greg on Twitter for ages...what happened to him?
2) What is with "Masque of Bones"? Is there any hope left for the Rain of the Ghosts series? They were some of the best books I ever read and I would be so disappointed if the project just died...
1. I took a break from social media.
2. I'll get to it eventually, but it may be a LONG eventually. I'm afraid that neither book in the series sold well enough for my publisher to want to publish the third book. I was hoping that the audioplay version of Rain would generate some interest, both in itself, and the series as a whole. But that hasn't happened. So I will get back to Rain - and self-publish, if necessary. But right now, I need to pay the bills, with projects like World of Warcraft: Traveler.
Simple question what are you currently working on as it is hard to follow sometimes and if you can talk or more specifically write about it what will you be working on that you know? Ohh and where can we watch it , or if read it when is it coming out or where can we find it I know you were writing a comic for Marvel I could never find it in several comic book stores.
Right now, I am working on two things. The third season of YOUNG JUSTICE and the second novel in the WORLD OF WARCRAFT: TRAVELER series.
We don't yet know where Season Three of YJ will air, but you can view Seasons One and Two on Netflix, on iTunes or on DVD or BluRay.
The second WARCRAFT book should come out in bookstores (including online bookstores) next November.
Prior to that, I was working on the second and third seasons of SHIMMER AND SHINE. Season Two is currently airing on Nick Jr.
I also wrote the first book in the WORLD OF WARCRAFT: TRAVELER series, which is currently available at bookstores (and online bookstores).
There's also my two novels RAIN OF THE GHOSTS and SPIRITS OF ASH AND FOAM, both of which are currently available at bookstores and online bookstores.
Then there's the AudioPlay version of RAIN OF THE GHOSTS, which is currently available for download at Gumroad.com/RainoftheGhosts.
I recently co-plotted a CAPTAIN ATOM miniseries with Cary Bates, illustrated by Will Conrad. It will be available this January, 2017 from anyplace that sells comic books, including the DC Comics App, Comixology and iTunes.
Last year, I wrote the twelve issue STAR WARS KANAN series for Lucasfilm and Marvel. Those are available either as single issues, as two trades (STAR WARS KANAN: THE LAST PADAWAN and STAR WARS KANAN: FIRST BLOOD) or as an omnibus, again at Bookstores, online Bookstores, comic book stores and from the Marvel Comics App, Comixology or iTunes.
Finally, I also wrote the six issue STARBRAND AND NIGHTMASK for Marvel Comics, available as single issues or as one trade (STARBRAND AND NIGHTMASK: ETERNITY'S CHILDREN [Attend University]), which AGAIN is available at bookstores, online bookstores, comic book stores, the Marvel Comics App, Comixology or iTunes.
Whew! I think that's it! Thanks for asking!
I have really enjoyed the Rain of the Ghosts series and I anxiously await for Book 3 to come out. My question for you though is this: As you write the Rain of the Ghosts series, do you already have an idea of how you want the series to ultimately end, or is the story more fluid with ideas coming to you as you write?
I try to keep myself open to ideas that come to me or to characters who assert themselves, like Renée and Cash did in SPIRITS. But I know pretty much exactly where the story is going.
Heading off to yet another convention. This time it's...
LONG BEACH COMIC CON
Long Beach Convention Center
300 East Ocean Blvd.
Long Beach, CA 90802
I'm there this Saturday and Sunday. Here's my schedule:
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 17, 2016
09:30am - 03:00pm - I'll be at my table, which is "ANIMATION ISLAND 13". (Well, the con opens at 9:30am, but I'll be driving down that morning to Long Beach from Los Angeles, so I'll get there as close to 9:30am as I can manage it.) I'll be signing and selling copies of my novels RAIN OF THE GHOSTS and SPIRITS OF ASH AND FOAM for $10 each. If you buy both, you get a free RAIN OF THE GHOSTS art print, illustrated by Christopher Jones. I'll also be selling CD sets of the RAIN OF THE GHOSTS AudioPlay for $30 This is an unabridged four hour production with 20 actors (including Brent Spiner, Marina Sirtis, Ed Asner, Vanessa Marshall, Jim Cummings, Steve Blum, Thom Adcox and more), a full original musical score (by the composers of YOUNG JUSTICE and THE SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN) and sound effects. It's like a four hour movie in your head! Buy the CD set and you also receive a free print. If you ONLY want the print, it's $20. Plus I'll also be selling original Christopher Jones art prints of YOUNG JUSTICE and GARGOYLES for $20 each. Finally, I'll be selling copies of my animation scripts (from series including GARGOYLES, THE SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN, YOUNG JUSTICE, STAR WARS REBELS and many others) for $20 each. All transactions are cash only. Signatures - if you bring something of your own for me to sign - are FREE!
03:00pm - 04:00pm - The Star Wars Perspectives
Join Greg Weisman (Star Wars Rebels), Craig Miller (Director of Fan Relations for Lucasfilm from 1977-1980), Brian Miller (Star Wars artist), and Mike Mayhew (Star Wars comic book artist) as they discuss the different aspects of Star Wars that they have been involved in. Unique perspectives and experiences are brought to the table in this can't-miss panel! Moderated by Blair Marnell, Q&A to follow.
04:00pm - 07:00pm - I'll be back, signing & selling, at my ANIMATION ISLAND 13 table.
SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 18, 2016
10:00am - 01:00pm - Signing & Selling at ANIMATION ISLAND 13.
01:00pm - 02:00pm - Young Justice: Panels to Pixels
Greg Weisman, Peter David, Todd Nauck and Kevin Hopps discuss everything Young Justice from the comics to the animation. Moderated by Ken Rolow, Q&A to follow!
02:00pm - 05:00pm - Signing & Selling at ANIMATION ISLAND 13.
Hope to see you there!
I wondered this a while ago but only remembered to ask just now.
Being what seems like one of the few fans who enjoys both Gargoyles and Power Rangers (it's never seemed too contradictory to me to enjoy both a fun, Shakespearean adventure romp and a serialized MST3K movie), it's always felt rather bittersweet that one of my childhood loves contributed to the downfall of another. I can't blame your, heavily implied if not often directly stated, reservations about the show.
But I don't really want to confront you about that as much as I wanted to ask: given the history, it really stuck out to me that Aicaya was directly described in Spirits of Ash and Foam as a "Mighty Morphin' manatee." It's not jarring in the book's isolated context, but does seem odd coming from you. Not bad, exactly, quite the opposite: I thought it was amusing that Opie would adopt something like Power Rangers into his shorthand and was a really fun instance of characterization.
But because I feel like asking questions only I could reasonably care about,
1. Does Opie like Power Rangers, or was his word choice based more on the influence that might come from reading the thoughts of Rain, Charlie, et al.?
2. If he does, what about it do you think appealed to Opie?
3. Was Maq's Batman joke an intentional correlation to Opie's reference, them sharing some shared affection for superheroes as some characterization point, or were they both just coincidental larks?
1. I think it would amuse him.
2. The goofiness.
3. Two separate references.
May I say that your shows are amazing Mr. Greg :) My best friend got introduced to all of them :)
And my question is that in your book series would you like it to be something in the lines of a comic book?
I'd be happy to adapt it to a comic book. But first and foremost it's a series of novels. And an AudioPlay.
I'm Viennas (Austria) biggest fan of Gargoyles and want to thank you first of all for all the fun and inspiration it has given me! I really love it.
Your novel series "Rain of the ghosts" is just as brilliant and I can't wait to get my hands on "Masque of bones". Is it by now possible to say when it will be approximately released?
Thank you and good luck with your projects!
No, I haven't started writing Masque of Bones yet, because - to be perfectly honest - I needed to earn some money. So instead I wrote the World of Warcraft: Traveler novel, which will be out in November of 2016. And I just started working on the second Traveler novel.
I will get back to Masque eventually. But in the meantime, have you read the sequel to Rain of the Ghosts: SPIRITS OF ASH AND FOAM, which is available at bookstores or websites like Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Spirits-Ash-Foam-Ghosts-Novel/dp/1250029821 ?
And have you heard our RAIN OF THE GHOSTS AudioPlay, which is currently available for download at Gumroad.com/RainoftheGhosts ?
Okay, first of all, I am really looking forward to Masque of Bones. I was more ambiguous on Rain of the Ghosts, but Spirits of Ash and Foam has really, really got me interested. Congratulations on your story and on the audioplay!
Second, a Star Wars Rebels question. Were there any LGBT+ characters that were slipped past the radar? Sure, general animation has been doing it since the 90s, but there's been a lot more attention to it recently and I was curious.
I don't feel I can answer that, as Lucasfilm controls those characters, and I'm not even on the series anymore. Plus, I signed an N.D.A. I have my own opinions, but they may or may not be shared by Lucasfilm.
You answered this question recently,
And I'm here to respond to your question. I actually had NOT suspected Renee, and here's why (minor Spirits spoilers, I guess?):
It's not the first time for your work to feature important, lead characters who're advertised right up front to not actually appear until later: Artemis, after all. It essentially occurs again when Miranda features heavily in the synopsis for Rain of the Ghosts but is really a small, supporting piece of worldbuilding to pay off later. So it didn't seem odd to me that Renee would be introduced in, and become important during, book two while reasonably being a lead who was planned to feature from the very beginning.
Cash makes more immediate sense, and I'd at least suspected him. But my other guess was actually a small cheat: the three Kimlets as a singular unit.
The Kimlets themselves are very episodically important, but are spoken of in a way that feels pretty thematically important to the direction the series seems to be going. I'd wondered if you, often describing them in the book as a singular unit, had given them some more thought to take them even more in line with the (speculated) importance they may have to the wider series arc.
It feels like we're talking about two slightly different points.
The ORIGINAL point was that there were two characters in the book, who - when I broke the story originally - each had very minor roles. Two characters, who separately asserted themselves into more substantial supporting roles that will continue to play out as the book series progresses. The Kimlets do NOT fit this particular bill, as they pretty much played exactly the role (in the final draft) that I intended them to play when I first broke the story.
You seem to be making a separate point about what's thematically important to the book. I won't deny their thematic importance. But it wasn't a surprise to me.
I just wrapped up Spirits of Ash and Foam. I thought the first book was decent, but the second one was fantastic. By the end of the book, I felt as into the book as I did when I thought Goliath had just let Elisa fall to her death. It was a slow build, but well worth it.
When are you going to release the third book?
Well, I kinda have to write it first. And my free time has been taken up recently writing World of Warcraft: Traveler for Scholastic Books and Blizzard Entertainment.
It's an original novel set in Azeroth, i.e. the world of World of Warcraft. And it's totally canon.
For more info on it, look here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QESzTP6_in4
But trust me, I WILL get back to the Rain of the Ghosts series and its third book, Masque of Bones, as soon as I can.
Meanwhile, if you need a Rain fix, check out the Rain of the Ghosts AudioPlay at Gumroad.com/RainoftheGhosts !
(If only I didn't have to earn a darn living!)
I recently got Spirits of Ash and Foam and ALL of the Gargoyles DVDs. All of it was perfection. Thank you for being awesome.
While combing through the archives, I discovered the names of some of the gargoyles of the Avalon Clan: Archangel, Azrael, Michael, Raphael, and Uriel. What I could not find was a reference as to what name went with which gargoyle. So my question is this: are any of the names assigned to a particular garg from Avalon? Or were these just names chosen without a face?
PS. It hits me now that I'm proofreading that it sounds like I'm trying to get on your good side before I asked my question. Not my intent. But whatever.
But I'm glad you liked the stuff, especially Spirits.
Hi Greg. Hope you're well. I'm working through my to-read pile, but I have both Rain of Ghost novels on my desk waiting. I'm glad you decided to put books out. Xanatos, Macbeth, & Puck/Owen are my favorite characters from any medium, and I recently found out my dad loves the Star Wars Rebels series. He never watches cartoons. I haven't seen it yet, but he said he enjoys it because the characters were written really well. I wasn't surprised to hear that.
Had some more domestic, trivia-type question regarding Macbeth during his retirement from the world around 2198 & earlier (pre-Invasion). Couldn't find anything in the Archives.
1. How is Macbeth occupying his time by this point? Activities, interests, etc. I'm very interested in this sort of thing because I feel it adds dimensions to characters.
2. Secondly, was there something specific that caused him to want to withdraw from the world?
3. What was it, if you're willing to share?
Respect & Appreciation,
1. No spoilers.
2. No spoilers.
3. No spoilers.
Toonami Squad podcast here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZV9GjwtrQpI
Hello again, Mr. Weisman.
I recently re-read Spirits of Ash and Foam (all the while suggesting others read it) and I noticed something. In each of the stories when Guanayoa coerces the soldiers into killing each other, you included the line "Aycayia was one of only ten witnesses to the crime." I would assume that 8 of the 10 witnesses are Guanayoa herself, Acayia, and the latter's six sisters.
1. Is this assumption correct? (I don't know why it wouldn't be. But still.)
2. Would it be correct to assume that Opie the omniscient dog is the ninth witness?
3. Would Opie have witnessed this in canine, or from afar?
4. If Opie saw it in canine, would Maq have been the tenth witness along with him?
5. Or is this all one massive spoiler?
Thanks for your time.
2 - 5. NO SPOILERS. But you're on the right track.
WOW, I LOVE getting Rain/Spirits questions!! Thanks!
Here's my schedule for this weekend's Long Beach Comic Expo at the Long Beach Convention Center:
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 20, 2016
11:30am - 12:30pm
DOWN TO NERD: INVADER ZIM AND GARGOYLES: CONQUEROR VS PROTECTOR
Thunderdome (Seaside Pre-Function) w/RuthAnn Thompson (moderator), Dave Crosland, Greg Weisman.
Description: Some come from another time to protect, another from a different planet to conquer- but both hold a special place in our hearts! Gargoyles VS Invader Zim. We will focus on the first 5 episodes of the TV series Gargoyles with writer/creator Greg Weisman and the first 5 issues of the Invader Zim comic books with Dave Crosland. What are the differences and similarities do these creatures out of space and time have? How will they fit in on modern day earth? Casual Fans and Hard Core Nerds alike join host RuthAnn Thompson and be "Down To Nerd"!
01:00pm - 02:00pm
THE ART OF STAR WARS & THE FANDOM BEHIND IT
Danger Room (S1) w/Ben Paddon (moderator), Terry Dodson, Craig Miller, Cat Staggs, Greg Weisman.
Description: Cat Staggs has been working for the Star Wars / LUCASFILM family since 2004, for which she has illustrated short fiction for starwars.com, produced sketch and trading cards, exclusive prints for Star Wars Celebrations III, IV, Europe, Celebration V, and Celebration VI. Terry Dodson is an American comic book artist who penciled the Dark Force Rising comic series in 1997. He has also provided art for Mark Waid's Princess Leia limited series. Moreover, Dodson has drawn the Books-A-Million variant cover to the first issue of the Shattered Empire miniseries, and the CBLDF variant to Star Wars: Vader Down, Part I. Greg Weisman is the writer for Star Wars Rebels - "The Machine in the Ghost", "Art Attack", "Droids in Distress", "Breaking Ranks", "Gathering Forces" and Star Wars: Kanan: The Last Padawan. Craig Miller was Director of Fan Relations for Lucasfilm from 1977-1980. He created and oversaw the Official Star Wars Fan Club as well as having edited and written virtually all of the first two years of Bantha Tracks. He was the producer of the Star Wars Sesame Street episodes in addition to operating R2-D2's head in the episodes, as well as being Producer for Lucasfilm on commercials such as the ones for licensee Underoos.. He was also responsible for creating the 800-number telephone hotline for The Empire Strikes Back that allowed fans to call up to receive more information about the movies and characters.
02:30pm - 03:30pm
DWAYNE MCDUFFIE AWARDS
Creator's Lab (S5)
Description: Long Beach Comic Con is proud to announce the commencement of the Second Annual Dwayne McDuffie Award. This one of a kind award will be granted on February 20, 2016 to an American comics work, published in print or digitally in 2015, deemed by the Selection Committee to promote diversity. In the spirit of Dwayne McDuffie, "promoting diversity" can be judged as either broadening the range of characters portrayed in comics, or adding to the variety of creators contributing to the medium.
04:00pm - 05:00pm
THE SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN PANEL
Danger Room (S1) w/Greg Weisman (moderator), Victor Cook, Kevin Hopps, Kelly Hu, Josh Keaton, Pamela Long.
Description: In 2008, a new version of everybody's favorite friendly neighborhood Web-Slinger - dedicated to recreating the feel of the original Stan Lee & Steve Ditko and Stan Lee & John Romita, Sr. comics - hit the air. Come hear the creative talents behind The Spectacular Spider-Man talk about what went in to making this classic take on a classic character. Panelists include Victor Cook (Director-Producer), Kevin Hopps (Writer), Kelly Hu (voice of Sha Shan Nguyen), Josh Keaton (voice of Peter Parker/The Spectacular Spider-Man), Pamela Long (Color Stylist) and Greg Weisman (Writer-Producer)!
06:00pm - 07:00pm
GETTING ANIMATED WITH TOP ANIMATION EXPERTS
Rumble Room (S4B) w/Ray-Anthony Height (moderator), Chris Copeland, Greg Weisman, Dean Yeagle.
Description: Top animation experts Greg Weisman (Gargoyles, Spectacular Spider-Man), Dean Yeagle (Caged Beagle Productions), and Chris Copeland (Marvel/Disney Animation) discuss how they broke into animation, their work and a Q&A with the audience!
I'll also have a table a on the show floor, specifically table AN-11 in "ANIMATION ISLAND" between Ellen Jin Over and Amy Mebberson, and near Dino Andrade, Michael Bell, Keith Coogan, Chris Copeland, Matt Doherty, Loren Lester, Tiffanie Mang, Joey McCormick, Chuck Patton, Peter Paul, Sara Richards and Aaron Sparrow. I'll be there between panels on Saturday and all Sunday morning until noon. (Not as sure about Sunday afternoon. We'll have to see.)
I'll sign and personalize anything you put in front of me, but I will also be selling copies of my two novels, RAIN OF THE GHOSTS and SPIRITS OF ASH AND FOAM ($10 each), CD sets of the RAIN OF THE GHOSTS AudioPlay ($30 each) and RAIN OF THE GHOSTS prints, drawn by artist Christopher Jones ($10 each, but free with a purchase of the AudioPlay and/or both RAIN and SPIRITS). In addition, I'll be selling animation scripts from series including GARGOYLES, W.I.T.C.H., THE SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN, YOUNG JUSTICE, STAR WARS REBELS and others, ($20 each). Finally, I'll be selling script copies of a couple of the special one-off convention radio plays we did, i.e. THE SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN MEETS GARGOYLES and GARGOYLES MEETS THE SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN MEETS YOUNG JUSTICE ($20 each). All purchases are cash only.
I hope to see you there!
Hi! I've been a fan of Spectacular Spider-Man, Gargoyles, and Young Justice, but now it's time to ask about the latest show you worked on: Star Wars Rebels.
1) What was it like working on the production team? After all, many of the creative team on Rebels worked together on The Clone Wars, but there's some new blood like you.
2) Related- how much creative input did you have compared to other projects? Obviously you had less than you did in your books, given the dichotomy of working with a team versus working on a novel, but compared to other animated series and adaptations you did, was it more, less, or the same?
3) Now that you've left the production team for season 2 onwards(if that is just a rumor, my apologies for propagating it), what are you looking to doing?
Obviously, it's not a lot because at this time only the first three episodes have aired and asking questions about the season's progression would be like asking for plot points of a movie that's currently running. However, chances are I will be back with more questions after the season. Have a good day!
1. It was a lot of pressure, but it was also a lot of fun.
2. It's hard to measure this stuff quantitatively. I had two producing partners (Simon Kinberg and Dave Filoni) on the first season (as opposed to one on most of the series I've done), and there's no doubt that Dave was the senior partner, i.e. the guy that George passed the torch to on the animation side. Plus the Lucasfilm Story Group was very involved and Disney XD had input. So I was less autonomous, certainly. But that's not to imply anything negative. It was a grand collaboration, and the writing staff was great too.
3. Earn a living, mostly. :)
But if you haven't already, check out my novels RAIN OF THE GHOSTS and SPIRITS OF ASH AND FOAM. You can also download and purchase the RAIN OF THE GHOSTS full-cast unabridged AudioPlay at Gumroad.com/RainoftheGhosts. Vanessa Marshall (Hera) and Steve Blum (Zeb) are both featured among a stellar cast that includes many actors from Spectacular Spider-Man, Gargoyles and Young Justice.
Just got done reading your first book and really enjoyed it. Just got the second book on kindle and will start reading it soon. I hope you are able to turn this into a movie or animated program at some point.The first book would make an awesome movie In my opinion.THis book seems to have Guillermo del Toro written all over it.
I was wondering what type of advertising you are doing for the book and what have found to be the most useful in getting the word out?
I was wondering about the possibility of you ever doing any gargoyles novels.I can not wait to see the story line continued in some form or other. I felt like I was just reading the tip of the ice berg or cool stories. I do not know how feasible that would be,but I would love to read more gargoyles related stories from you in any format.
I'm glad you like Rain of the Ghosts. A short review on Amazon would help me out, I'm told.
Let me know what you think of Spirits of Ash and Foam, once you've read it.
I'd love to do a movie or show based on the Rain series, but so far no one has been interested.
I've used social media and done multiple, multiple interviews (print, online, even good old radio) to promote the book. I can't say anything has been all that effective, unfortunately.
Perhaps the Rain of the Ghosts AudioPlay (currently available for purchase and download at Gumroad.com/RainoftheGhosts) will bring more attention to the property as a whole.
I'd also love to do Gargoyles' novels. But that's not up to me. I don't own Gargoyles.
SPIRITS OF ASH AND FOAM
"Rain walked along Windward Bar as the coast curved around into Windward Strand. A dense fog drifted in from the water, but Rain could see Mrs. Kim cut off from the sand by a strange line of dancing crabs and gulls. Suddenly, Rain felt a sense of urgency. She ran into the fog and immediately lost her bearings. She heard music - no, not music: singing. And the song was beautiful. The song was entrancing. She slowed down to listen, to attempt to make out the words…
But the words hardly seemed to matter. She wandered through the fog, searching for the source of the beautiful song…"
In my review of the first book in this series, RAIN OF THE GHOSTS, I stated that if I had to put my impressions of it into one word, it would be "intriguing." It was a novel with a ton of promise, yet at times it still felt like the television pilot that it used to be; tons of great setup and foreshadowing, but not a whole lot of payoff.
Thankfully, SPIRITS more than makes up for it in this regard, improving on its predecessor in every conceivable fashion.
A central theme of Greg Weisman's works has always been repercussions, and SPIRITS is no exception. Picking up one day after the conclusion of the last book, it becomes immediately clear that Rain's inaugural adventure has changed her deeply, and much of the early parts of the novel are spent exploring the consequences of the quest she has now undertaken.
Rain herself is the biggest point of change, and it's a welcome one. While in the previous book she certainly had a unique and entertaining "voice," she was also impulsive and immature enough to erode reader sympathy at times. It's clear that she still has a lot of growing up to do, but a sense of purpose and real responsibilities have done much to temper her more negative qualities.
I can certainly say I was "rooting" for her a lot more strongly in this story, both in her personal life and in her greater quest, than I was in the last. Especially in light of a particular conversation she has with her father toward the end of the novel, which demonstrates some rather keen character growth.
Charlie, too, really comes into his own in this book. My one complaint of any substance regarding RAIN was that I thought that Charlie came off as a little bland and generic - but there was potential there, and I hoped that later novels might coax it out. SPIRITS certainly delivers on that score.
No longer defined solely by his relationship toward Rain (although one particularly amusing passage toward the beginning has him agonizing over whether he fits the term "sidekick"), Charlie gets to shine through as a calm and cool-headed planner, with the patience of a saint and a sardonic wit that enables him to take the supernatural world he's just been introduced to in stride.
Oh, and he gets nearly all the best lines, too.
'Bastian was my favorite main character in RAIN, and he remains one of this series' true gems; it's not like "dead grandfather of the protagonist who looks like he's in his 20s" is a very common character type in young adult fiction, after all.
Since he still doesn't know exactly why he came back as a ghost, or how long he'll be sticking around - although all three certainly spend some time speculating - his attempts to take things as they come rings true, and leads to some of the novel's standout scenes. A few of them were genuine tearjerkers.
The shared theme, for both of our male leads' initial character arcs, appears to be impotence. Charlie's lack of connection to the supernatural leads him to feel increasingly left out of Rain's quest, despite his obvious willingness to help her out, while 'Bastian literally can't interact with most anything in the world save for Rain herself.
It's a theme that's explored in a number of diverse and creative ways, and it's a bold one; in the current culture of violence as the primary method of conflict resolution, feelings of helplessness aren't often depicted so frankly as they are SPIRITS…particularly in its climax.
Greg really does a great job of conveying the feeling of being unable to act, and it makes for an extremely emotionally resonant work. One scene involving 'Bastian and his daughter (Rain's mother) is absolutely heartbreaking in this regard.
The big surprise out of this book's cast, however, is Miranda Guerrero. A minor character in the first book, she rises here to become the fourth lead, and easily my favorite. The isolated but kindhearted daughter of the Ghosts' largest private employer, Miranda proves especially effective as a foil for Rain: studious and responsible where Rain most decidedly isn't, and intensely insecure in contrast to Rain's boundless (over-) confidence.
SPIRITS succeeds magnificently at properly introducing her to this world, and in the space of the novel fleshing out her first big character arc. By the end she feels every bit a part of the main group as Rain, Charlie, and 'Bastian do, and I very much look forward to seeing how they interact on future adventures.
The supporting characters also feel a lot more "real" in this installment; with the brunt of the work done establishing the setting and the basic relationships in the first book, Greg makes great effort to allow them all to breathe and shine on their own merits here.
Iris and Alonso Cacique, seen predominately in the first book only through the VERY thirteen-year-old eyes of their daughter, get to show off a lot more of themselves as business associates, partners, and human beings, as opposed to just being "mom and dad."
Meanwhile, new details have begun to trickle out regarding Miranda's silent bodyguard Ariel, strangely alluring traveler Judith Vendaval, and especially our nigh-omniscient canine narrator Opie and his equally enigmatic companion Maq. Each one clearly has plenty of their own secrets left to tell, with just enough hints provided here to make some educated guesses.
Most notable among those joining this colorful cast for the first time is Renée Jackson, who spends so much time interacting with the main plot that she's arguably closer to a lead than a supporting character. One can't help but be impressed by the sheer depths to which she pursues the pettiest of revenges, approaching her role as "school bitch" with such dedicated professionalism that she ends up twisting said role in quite a few interesting directions.
And finally, we have our villains: the returning Australian mercenary Callahan and his faceless employer "Mr. Setebos," in addition to a handful of characters, old and new, who have a more…mystic bent to them.
That's another thing that's notably different about SPIRITS in comparison to RAIN - while the indigenous Taino culture was always an undercurrent of the story, it was distinctly at the background of the first book, focused as it was both on Rain's initial character arc and in putting away the ghosts (both literal and figurative) of World War II.
Not so with SPIRITS, which goes full-haul on the tragically underused history and mythology of the Caribbean in order to craft something that feels truly unique. There may be a million versions of Thor or Horus out there, but this is the first work to introduce me to figures like Aycayia.
Greg even goes so far as to craft his own fables as part of the narrative - each one directly inspired by various myths of the region, but blended together and twisted in unexpected directions in a style that fans of his animated series ("Gargoyles" in particular) will be eminently familiar with.
It's his unique mix of thorough research, respect for the original myths, and willingness to apply bountiful creativity to make them cohere into a single, brilliant tapestry that makes these sections a real highlight of the book. I must especially commend what he does with the concept of the "hupia," drawing from various sources in order to craft a monster both refreshingly original and utterly terrifying.
SPIRITS OF ASH AND FOAM is a book about a lot of things: Rain learning to accept her new destiny as the Searcher and the Healer, coming to grips with how that responsibility meshes with her more mundane life as a daughter and a student (fans of Greg's previous work on superhero series like "The Spectacular Spider-Man" and "Young Justice" may find a lot of resonance on this particular point), and setting to rest one more wound of the past, even as numerous others begin to appear on her horizon.
But ultimately, what it's really about is family - another perennial favorite theme, like repercussions, of a Greg Weisman story. Rain's grander destiny is a legacy of her birth family, and it becomes increasingly clear as the plot of SPIRITS unfolds that reconnecting with both them and with the new family she is gathering (Charlie, Miranda…maybe even Renée, with a little more growing up on both sides) is going to be key to unlocking the mystery of the Ghosts.
On the whole, there really is very little I can think to criticize about SPIRITS. Whereas I enjoyed but was never overwhelmingly excited about RAIN, its sequel was an engrossing page-turner from beginning to end; the only reason it took me so long to finish it was that I deliberately dragged out the experience to maximize my enjoyment.
The jokes all landed perfectly without ruining the overall mood, the action scenes - particularly the climactic one - played out with a palpable sense of tension, the dialogue felt crisp and dynamic, and the emotional beats had me genuinely empathizing with the cast.
In short, it really and truly did everything right.
Without question, SPIRITS succeeded in getting me fully invested in seeing Rain's journey play out over the planned nine-book series. And I hope that, if anyone reading this review was on the fence about trying these novels out, that I got you to feel the same way.
If you enjoyed Greg's previous work on any series from "Gargoyles" to "Young Justice" - or hell, if you're simply looking for a good story with strong characters and a solid grounding in an oft-overlooked mythology - then you owe it to yourself to try out RAIN and SPIRITS.
I guarantee that you will not be disappointed.
Thanks for all the kind words. I'm so glad it's working for you!!
This is definitely overdue, but better late than never!
I picked up Rain of the Ghosts the day it came out with the simple struggle in figuring out just how fast I wanted to turn the page to know what happened next when I quickly realized that I would eventually have to wait a fair heap of time for the next installment, thanks to the knowledge previously revealed on AskGreg that Rain was intended to be a series. In short, I wanted to cherish the ride that I had been waiting to get on. But now that the ride has finally started, I can finally say I don't ever want to get off!
Without getting into the details that makes most of these reviews sound all too similar (and to minimize any spoilers), let me just take the time to point out some of the strongest (and/or favorite) aspects of the story that stood out to me. As someone who has enjoyed a lifetime of reading books (and well aware I've not read enough) and watching more than a few shows with Greg Weisman at the helm, this book almost felt like the long awaited cosmic alignment that I've only just realized I should have been anticipating, lol.
Moments I liked (***POTENTIAL SPOILERS!!!***):
-- This was brought up at CONvergence for Gargoyles and Young Justice (ConJournals on the way I promise!), but I LOVE that Rain of the Ghosts is also dedicated to the realism so as to make the fantastic pop . . . from the Spanish to the slow track of time, it really does flesh it out. Such attention to detail - detail that's far more engaging than encyclopedic - makes the first novel feel like a diary for the entire Ghost Keys (at the least, the personal diary of the native omniscient narrator).
-- 'Bastian's nickname for Rain, and happy we'll be hearing it for at least a little longer :)
-- I enjoyed the magicked-scenes where Rain and Charlie (and whoever else) sees and hears different things. Especially since we actually get a lot of detail on what the folks who don't see *are* in fact seeing. If it played on television, I'd imagine it'd feel very familiar to the Weird Sisters in "City of Stone."
-- I was actually lulled into a false sense of security when Rain had snuck out of Callahan's window . . . not so much that I didn't think Callahan was clever enough to put two and two together (I do think I give him a touch more credit than Rain currently does), but I guess I didn't anticipate them having a row with each other so soon.
-- Appreciate the subtle and conscious effort to demonstrate how Rain's parents handled raising a kid with guests. Even when things got heated, there was a delicate approach to show how Alonso and Iris needed to check Rain's antics, taking her skeleton key but giving her a break. Tough - but fair.
-- I enjoyed the notable paces set by the various uses of commas, ands, and ellipses (among other tools in the syntax) in the exposition . . . whenever I noticed a pattern, or even a notable pause, it got me visualizing not only the scene but also the theoretical direction and use of the camera (transitions and cuts and everything), which, now that I'm thinking about it, would be (more often than not) from the point of view from Opie, right?
-- On that note, I remembered reading a line when a character paused for nine seconds (it even emphasizes that it was exactly nine seconds). Lines like those had me going back and trying to read the sentence in the allotted time. With the nine seconds line, I do remember its length and beat actually made it quite feasible. :)
-- Oddly enough, all the mouth wordplay . . . Alonso pushing his tongue against his cheeks, Charlie biting his cheeks, Old Joe licking his lips, Rain sticking her tongue out at Charlie . . . the visuals just seem like signatures for each character, lol.
-- And of course, finally meeting our native omniscient narrator, Opie, lol.
Overall, it's a great story with a ton of heart (Rain's experience with a death in the family is so relatable that you absolutely feel for her the minute she realizes she's pushed away the ghost she most desperately wants to see), with probably a ton more other stories to tease out. Needless to say I'm looking forward to each and every one of them!
**POTENTIAL SPOILERS END***
Thanks! All the things you mentioned were quite intentional, so I'm glad they registered - as long as they didn't interfere with experiencing the story.
Hope by now you've also read SPIRITS OF ASH AND FOAM and are looking forward to the AudioPlay version of RAIN.
And I'm told positive reviews on Amazon help a lot!
A few questions about Spirits of Ash and Foam (which I loved, by the way).
1. Who were the two characters who demanded a bigger presence as you were writing Spirits of Ash and Foam?
2. Ghosts have a similar affinity for the night that gargoyles do (in that day is pretty much a no go for them). Do you have your own affinity for the night, or do you see a bit of thematic overlap between ghosts and gargoyles?
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Renée and Cash. (Did you guess this? Was it who you thought?)
2. I am nocturnal, but otherwise, I think this is mostly coincidental. The gargoyles night/day thing came from us extrapolating on the (very limited) legends associated with gargoyles, and in any case we came up with it years before Rain was even a glimmer in my eye. The ghost night/day thing in Rain and Spirits comes directly from Taino mythology, which had very specific rules for ghosts that I'm trying to honor in these stories.