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Peter writes...

Hey! Young Justice is my life. As of the time I'm sending this, Pride Month is almost over. I read over lots of the asks and replies you get on here and a fair amount are about something LGBT related, whether its about something thats akin to Fanfiction or borderline homophobic. I'm sure you might have come to dread those types of questions, but mines is a bit different.

I don't want you to think that I'm requesting this, i guess at the end of the day i am, but i mean so in the most respectful way possible. Please... If there's ever a time when you might include LGBT content or anything like it in YJ, please don't let it be queerbaiting. Its such a horrible thing to do to us. I don't think I'd be able to handle it from my favorite show. I don't think you'd ever let that happen, and i don't even think we'd get LGBT relationships in the show, but i just had to say it. For myself, just in case.

Greg responds...

I had to look up queerbaiting: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Queerbaiting

Some of the examples given on the wikipedia page seem unfair to me. (Though I'm happy to grant that as a straight male, I'm coming at this from a very different point of view.) For example, calling Holmes and Watson queerbaiting actually seems outrageous to me. Creators need to be able to present two male or two female best friends in a close but non-sexual relationship without being accused of trying to "bait" anyone.

I'm not going to address anything related to YJ, since that would involve spoilers, but I will bring up some Gargoyles stuff, as an example.

In our minds, Lexington is gay. But in those mid-nineties days when the series was originally on the air, there was absolutely no way Disney would let us objectively show this. Nevertheless, we strove to write the character to be consistent with his orientation. We thought we were doing the best possible alternative. So were we queerbaiting? And what would the alternative have been? Not depicting any LGBTQ characters at all?

I, personally, don't have the clout to make (successful) ultimatums to my employers. I could, of course, have insisted on being allowed to show Lexington kiss a guy. But if I had insisted that it's the kiss or I walk, Disney would have shrugged and waved goodbye to me. And my replacement would likely - if only to reassure his or her bosses - have made Lex objectively STRAIGHT. Is that better for anyone?

This kind of thing is simply a reality of the industry. It is getting better. There are plenty of series we can point to that demonstrate that. And I like to think I'm trying to help make things better still. But I'm going to - for my own mental health - reject the notion of queerbaiting almost entirely.

Maybe I'm not yet 'woke' enough. That's certainly possible. But I'm going to consistently push to depict what I can, to suggest what I cannot and to not for one second shy away from depicting two same sex characters having a close but platonic relationship, because (for example) one or both might be heterosexual. Because I write characters. I don't write agendas-masquerading-as-characters. I have agendas, but I don't write characters who are nothing but. I try to keep my characters consistent and true to themselves. But I'm not baiting anyone. And I'm certainly not trying to trick anyone with this sort of thing. Quite the reverse. I'm simply trying to do the best I can under occasionally hostile conditions.

Sorry if that's disappointing. But it's the best 2018 Greg Weisman can give you.

Response recorded on April 11, 2018

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Harry writes...

Hey Greg! I'm very, very happy that Young Justice is back! I wanted to ask your opinion on Male same-sex couples in media and why they don't seem very common. I've noticed that lots of cartoons, even shows in general, that dare delve into LGBT themes only take FEMALE same-sex couples seriously, never male ones, and if they do have any male gay couples, they are never seen, only alluded to, or as the butt of a joke. As a gay male I'm ECSTATIC that LGBT themes are now being explored EVERYWHERE, but I'm forced to wonder why it seems that only lesbian couples are ever fleshed out, or as fleshed out as it can be currently.

So since you work in the industry I'd like to know your opinion on the matter, and also any insight as to WHY male gay couples take a back seat on these things. My theory is that same sex female couples are less "threatening" then male ones, as to why... I guess that just speaks on us as a society.

Greg responds...

I'd tend to agree with your assessment.

Response recorded on April 28, 2017

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Anonymous writes...

Question about Artemis' outfit:
i noticed in one earlier question how you said the writers wanted to make the costumes for the Teams outfits as realistic as they should be - thus why none if the girls had heels or anything. i was wondering why they chose to give artemis a cropped top, or was it just an aesthetic thing? its something ive noticed with a lot of other female superheros and i dont really get it; i would assume it would be colder and make that region slightly more vulnerable.
side note: i think its cool how the team behind young justice to make artemis half asian; its nice to seem more minority representation in superhero shoes, especially as a half asian myself :)

Greg responds...

1. You'd have to ask Brandon Vietti and Phil Bourassa. Maybe in-universe it's a freedom of movement thing. But most likely it's an aesthetic choice. Artemis' and/or Brandon's and/or Phil's.

2. It's a priority for us, and for me particularly, to get more diversity in there.

Response recorded on October 19, 2016

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CONvergence 2016

I leave tomorrow for CONvergence 2016 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Okay, really Bloomington, MN, but close enough.) CONvergence is one of my favorite cons. And I have the honor of being their first fan-funded guest. Here's my schedule for the long weekend:

GUEST RECEPTION 07:00pm - 09:00pm
Atrium 4

"Why Gargoyles is Still Relevant" 12:30pm - 01:30pm
Atrium 6 w/Christopher Jones, Patrick Fisher, Alana Profit, Chandra Reyer.

RADIO PLAY AUDITIONS 02:00pm - 03:00pm
Plaza 3 w/Christopher Jones.

"Physics of Time Travel" 03:30pm - 04:30pm
Edina w/Renate Fiora (m), Dan Berliner, Melanie Galloway, Jim Kakalios.

"Fancy Bastard Pie Competition" 08:30pm - 09:30pm
Garden Court - Southwest w/GPS.

FRIDAY, JULY 01, 2016
SIGNING 11:00am - 12:00pm
Autograph Table B.

RADIO PLAY AUDITIONS 12:30pm - 01:30pm
Plaza 3 w/Christopher Jones, Khary Payton.

"Writing by Ear" 02:00pm - 03:00pm
Bloomington w/Patrick Marsh (m), Emma Bull, Aimee Kuzenski, Jim McDoniel.

"Don't Call Them Sidekicks: The Enduring Power of Teenage Superheroes" 03:30pm - 04:30pm
Bloomington w/ Christopher Jones, Jessa Markert, Khary Payton, Sylus Rademacher.

"Drawing with the Masters" 07:00pm - 08:00pm
Plaza 2 w/Christopher Jones, Ruth Thompson.

"Why Diversity Needs to be Deeper than Marketing" 08:30pm - 09:30pm
Edina w/ Trisha Lynn (m), Kate Norlander, Jonathan Palmer, Dirk Ykema.

"Xanadu Cinema Pleasure Dome Live Podcast" 10:00pm - 11:00pm
Edina w/Windy Bowlsby, Melissa Kaercher.

"Building Worlds for Fiction" 09:30am - 10:30am
Plaza 1 w/Michael Carus (m), J.M. Lee, Melissa Olson, Lynne M. Thomas.

"Why We Need Representation in Superheroes" 11:00am - 12:00pm
Edina w/ Christopher Jones, Bri Lopez Donovan, Khary Payton, Lynne M. Thomas.

RADIO PLAY REHEARSAL 12:30pm - 01:30pm
Atrium 6 w/ Christopher Jones, Jim Kakalios, Khary Payton and a cast of tens.

RADIO PLAY PERFORMANCE 02:00pm - 03:00pm
Atrium 6 w/ Christopher Jones, Jim Kakalios, Khary Payton and a cast of tens.

"Superficially Strong Female Characters" 05:00pm - 06:00pm
Edina w/ Crystal Huff (m), Kathryn Sullivan, Chrysoula Tzavelas, Joan Marie Verba.

"One on One with Christopher Jones" 07:00pm - 08:00pm
Edina (m) w/Christopher Jones.

ANIMATION BLUE 07:00pm - 08:00pm
Atrium 6 w/Christopher Jones, Lyda Morehouse, Khary Payton, Jenna Powers, Edmund Tsabard.

SUNDAY, JULY 03, 2016
YOUNG JUSTICE 09:30am - 10:30am
Atrium 6 w/Christopher Jones, Khary Payton.

SIGNING 11:00am - 12:00pm
Autograph Table B.

RAIN OF THE GHOSTS 12:30pm - 01:30pm

READING 02:00pm - 03:00pm
Rm 2201.

ONE ON ONE 07:00pm - 08:00pm
Atrium 6 w/Melissa Kaercher.

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thetavarse writes...

Not a question, so I apologize.

I recently purchased Gargoyles Season 2 Volume 2 from Amazon and all I can say is "thank you" to your former crew and cast for these episodes...for this series.

My family contains many different races; most predominant are Piscataway Native American and African American. To see my family…to see ME represented in animation was more than just enjoyable. It felt like a statement that we mattered…that we were worth watching as fictional characters…that we were more than just a series of catch phrases and racial quotas.

And as for the Gargoyles themselves…well…my parents and grandparents would tell me stories of their lives pre-civil rights movement and it was horrifying to hear that just because they may have been good people, did not mean others would still not vilify and dehumanize them. And, although you exhibited racial injustice in your program, you did not take the easy way out and show that all the characters were unaffected by this. You displayed that some characters harbored deep resentment, others carried life-long suspicion and the rest, had an ever-present optimism.

I watched the series on their original airdates as a tween and honestly thought it would lose some emotional impact as a thirty-something, but it definitely has not. So, again, thank you. Some may dismiss your work as just another silly cartoon, but you are showing kids across the country that just because someone does not look like you, does not mean that he or she does not have the same dreams, aspirations and desires for love like you.

Greg responds...

Wow. Thank YOU! This really made my day. We strove on Gargoyles to do all the things you cite above. I'm glad we succeeded.

Response recorded on May 02, 2016

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Phill writes...

Hi Greg, I'm a lifelong fan of your work since I watched Gargoyles all those years ago, and I couldn't help but notice

Throughout Gargoyles, (and even your other works such as Young Justice (such as the inclusion of Tye Longshadow) there is an Indigenous American influence in the way that Elisa Maza has Hopi ancestry, and there's other episodes that follow other Native American tribes such as Heritage, the Green, and Cloud Fathers...(which I enjoy because of the lack of representation of Native Americans within media).

I suppose the question to ask is,
1. Is it mere coincidence that you enjoy Native American characters in your work?
2. If not, where do you believe your interest in representing Native Americans on screen came from?
I apologize if this question is convoluted.

Greg responds...

1. I enjoy (and believe it's important) presenting a diverse set of characters and voices in my work. Not only Native American, but also African, Asian, and etc. This isn't some politically correct position (though it's nice that it works out that way). Rather it's completely selfish. Because otherwise... HOW BORING! Believe me, I like so-called Western Culture too, as anyone who looks at my work can see. But it's way more interesting to also include diverse points of view, diverse mythologies, etc. Plus, as a storyteller, I like my stories - no matter how fantastic - to be grounded in the real world. And the real world is a diverse place.

2. All cultures fascinate me. The great variety of Native American cultures, included.

Response recorded on April 20, 2016

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Club Jade Interview

Had a great time doing a panel and signing at Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore this past weekend. Also took some time out to do an interview about Rain of the Ghosts (mostly) with Jawa James at Club Jade. Here it is: http://clubjade.net/?p=58532.

Also talked a bit about the writing process and my thoughts on diversity.