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I'm working on a paper that compares the original Shakespeare play, Macbeth, to the version on the Gargoyles show. If you are okay with it, I would love to get a quote from you to use in the paper. My question is this: Are there any plots/subject matter that you wouldn't have tackled in Gargoyles if it weren't animated? If yes, which ones and why?
I'm thinking that any paper you were working on back in November might be a bit moot here in March.
And I'll be honest, you have so many double negatives, I'm not quite sure what you're asking...?
If this isn't too late, and you still want a quote from me, I'd advise reaching out to me (and clarifying your question) on Twitter. (Wednesdays or Thursdays, generally.) Otherwise, you'll be waiting even longer for a response. My handle is @Greg_Weisman
Having said all that, I'll take a guess here and say, "There's nothing we were afraid to tackle in animation. There were certain things they wouldn't let us tackle back in the day, such as objectively showing LGB relationships. (We weren't even thinking about TQ+ issues back then. Or at least, I wasn't, sad to say - or admit.)"
Are we ever going to see a gradual LGBT teenage romance in the vein of Conner and M'gann or Wally and Artemis? I love Kaldur and Wynnde, as well as the representation of Halo, but I really want to see that slow burn romance that's kind of an arc in and of itself. Especially with LGBT male characters, we tend to be represented in the adult characters and already in relationships. It'd be so cool to see a S1 Wally/Artemis dynamic between two guys, especially if they're still figuring out their sexuality.
Sorry, NO SPOILERS.
But I hear you.
This comment, posted on ASK GREG, was brought to my attention today, and I thought I should respond sooner rather than later...
Question received on Wed, February 02, 2022 12:26:33 AM
I'm not really a fan of how you've increasingly used GLAAD and MPAC to shield yourself from criticism from fans. I've seen you use their support to say the criticism isn't a monolith more than once. Yeah of course it's not a monolith, but that doesn't mean the criticism isn't valid. It comes off a little -i can't be racist i have a black friend- Not to mention that these Hollywood institutions are often out of touch with everyday people, so you should listen to your fans as much as you listen to them. And as a cis white straight man, you dont ever have the right to tell someone who is LGBT or a POC that they're wrong. Just log off Twitter and stop responding. People are allowed to have their own opinions.
This is clearly a response to the following Twitter exchange:
Stop misrepresenting Islam and Muslims in your cartoons. The bare minimum is to educate yourself about the topic. Being a Muslim magician is oxymoronic the 2 are not compatible. Performing magic takes one out of Islam. One cannot be both like Khalid claims.
5:56 PM Â· Jan 28, 2022Â·Twitter Web App
We ran everything on that episode, which was written by @nidachowdhry and performed by @UsmanAlly, by @SueObeidi and the folks at @mpac_national. And they were happy with it. So perhaps - just perhaps - you should consider that not every Muslim agrees with you.
First off, I agree that people are allowed to have their opinions. I never said otherwise. I NEVER said that Xaar was "wrong". I clearly wrote that perhaps not every Muslim viewer agrees with him, her or them, and I clearly have evidence to back that statement up. Yet, you seem to have no problem mischaracterizing what I wrote. Likewise, you seem to have no problem disrespecting me, and by implication disrespecting the Muslim writer of the episode, disrespecting the Muslim actor who performed the role of Khalid, and disrespecting the Muslim organization that works daily to improve how Muslims are depicted in the media. (And for no particular reason, disrespecting GLAAD while you were at it.)
Meanwhile, as a pragmatic matter, I'm not exactly sure what alternative you're preaching.
Let's say, for the sake of argument, that you are right about MPAC and GLAAD being "Hollywood institutions" that "are often out of touch with everyday people." [And to be clear, I disagree with that statement strongly. I even take some umbrage at the notion that MPAC's Sue Obedi is not "everyday people," or the implication that I'm not.] But again, for the sake of argument, who else should I be consulting when I and the rest of the YJ crew make a concerted effort to accurately and respectfully depict Muslims? The fans? How would that work in advance of us making something for the fans to see. Should I poll a random selection of fans? And would that make everyone happy? As it currently stands, I've received complaints on this point from only two "fans". The relatively anonymous "Xaar" and the completely anonymous you (and that's assuming that you yourself are not Xaar, i.e. that you are not the same person slamming me twice on two separate forums). The dozen or so other comments I've received from self-stated Muslim fans have all been highly positive. So do I need 100% agreement in order to do ANYTHING? Or can I go with the prevailing sentiment expressed by most fans (a.k.a. everyday people), MPAC, the writer and the actor?
See, the thing is I'm not hiding behind MPAC or GLAAD. But I am respecting their opinions - and relating those opinions to you and the rest of the fandom, because I think its pertinent information.
Mostly, as a self-admitted "cis white straight [animist Jewish] man," I'm admitting I'm NOT an expert on being a cis biracial straight Muslim man. So instead, I WENT to experts. That's how this works. And I don't see how else it could work. Or are you suggesting that I should only write about cis white straight [animist Jewish] male characters, and never attempt to add diversity to the projects I work on? Cuz, frankly, that's not going to happen, and I don't really think anyone wants that - unless what they really want is a DIFFERENT "crime" with which to hammer me.
As for logging off Twitter, there are days (like today) when I want nothing more. But (a) I feel the need to promote the projects I've worked on, both for the sake of my own career and for the other people who've worked so hard on those projects, and (b) if, as you say, people are entitled to their opinions, then I figure I'm also entitled to mine. So I'm not going to allow you or anyone like you to chase me off. Certainly not over the sin of YOU misquoting ME.
seeing "his, her or their" on the first episode of Phantoms made me happy. i even hugged my dog and told him: THEY SUPPORT ME! THEY SUPPORT ME! (simon's such a good friend :D)
this may sound a little cringe, but that's what i felt about the scene.
i'm a fan of YJ for 10 years now (i'm 15 - almost 16) and i found out that i'm a trans girl a couple of years ago. it wasn't easy, of course. i spent years rejecting myself, so seeing you guys saying trans rights(!!!!) is super special to me.
ps: i know halo is non-binary, but she's a mother box, she's not really a person. as much as i love halo (LOVE!!!), she isn't a good representation. but, hey, you're trying :)
and sorry for any mistake. i'm from brazil.
I'm glad you liked the scene. But I take issue with you saying that Halo is not a real person. She's as real as Miss Martian or Tigress or any of the others. What difference does her origin make? Now, she's a living, breathing person - with super-powers, sure - but in every other way, she's currently a human being.
Hello Greg! After just watching the first two episodes of YJ Phantoms on HBO Max, I just want to say that I thoroughly enjoyed it! I'm so excited to see where the Mars storyline takes us, and meeting M'gann's family has been quite the surreal experience. M'gann's attitude and confidence was a sight to behold whenever she (unfortunately) had to deal with the Green Martians' prejudice and outright assault. I love to see it! Anyways, here are some questions:
01 | Did Roy go back to school after being rescued from the Light? It's assumed that Will was the one that finished his education in Roy's place, so was Roy homeschooled after the fact or did he go back to attending public/private school? Was he not schooled at all? Or was Roy (pre-frozen) homeschooled from the get-go and, as such, so was Will?
02 | In the tie-in comics, it's apparent that Dick and Bette hooked up on the eve of his birthday. Given the retcon (if that's the appropriate word) of the Wayne/Kane family relations in the comics, as well as on the show (with the addition of Batwoman and your confirmation that Bette and Martha Wayne are related), would it be safe to say that neither Dick nor Bette knew that they were distant cousins to some degree?
03 | While I assume it was for budgetary reasons, was there a specific reason you guys chose to use Talia's whitewashed design with the same overtly sensualized/sexualized outfit from the recent DC Animated Movies instead of the more appropriately Arabic and regal design Christopher Jones gave her in the tie-in comics?
04 | A lot of stuff has changed very recently in the comics regarding character sexuality, what with Tim Drake and Jon Kent both being confirmed bisexual (though, as of this writing, I don't think Tim's put a label on it one way or another). Whether or not you were privy to such a development isn't what I'm asking about, per say, but you've stated in earlier posts that you'd never take away an LGBTQ+ character's sexuality away (the question was in reference to Renee Montoya's sexuality in the show), so even though I highly doubt it would effect S4 at all, would the change be taken into consideration in later seasons? I'm not asking about Tim and/or Jon specifically, by the way, just the notion itself. Would a previously perceived straight character getting recently confirmed/retconned as another sexuality impact your interpretation of that character? Just for example, Alan Scott has been gay in the comics for quite a few years now, same with Wonder Woman and her bisexuality. Given that you make histories and timelines regarding most of the characters on your shows, I assume you've done the same with these two back in S1 when they were first introduced, but back when in the comics they were straight. Has the retcon changed things for you guys, or is it largely a non-issue?
05 | Not really a question, just more love for Phantoms! The poster alone was phenomenal, and I'm so stoked for what's to come, especially given the trailer, the first two episodes, and the new opening! I'm so glad Raquel is (seemingly) taking a bigger spotlight this season, hopefully we can finally find out who she married!
1. I honestly haven't thought about these issues.
2. Dick's not blood-related to Bette, either way.
3. She's still Arabic in my mind. Phil chose which design to use, but I don't believe we colored her white.
4. As a rule, I wouldn't change an LGBTQ+ character into a heteronormative character. But being with a partner of one sex doesn't preclude someone being bi, obviously. And even, say, with a character like Alan Scott, given the environment and era he grew up in, he could be gay - not bi - and still have been with women in his past. I have contemporaries much younger than Alan who didn't self-acknowledge their sexuality until long after they were adults in adult relationships with members of the opposite sex.
5. I LOVE those posters! All props to Brandon, Chris and Jason for their work on them.
This is my first time writing in, so I just wanted to say thanks for having this website up! I can't imagine the amount of time it takes to answer everything. It's truly appreciated. I picked up YJ not long after the third season wrapped up, and I'm delighted I got into it when I did.
I especially have to thank you (and the rest of the YJ crew, of course) for Artemis. I was in a bit of a rough patch when I watched it first, and I saw a lot of myself in her. Watching her overcome her fears, especially in the first season, was a reassuring inspiration. There's been more than a few times when I found myself thinking of her as I braved through things. She means a lot to me, and I'm thrilled to see her still working things out now, even though she's been through so much. (I was beyond excited when we found out she's leading the Team now! I can't wait to see that!)
Anyway, I've had these lying around for a bit, so here we go.
1) You recently mentioned some of the organizations youâve reached out to for help with YJâs characters of color, cultures youâre unfamiliar with, and the LGBTQ+ community. Itâs wonderful to hear that youâre working with them! Which other groups have you worked with (both today and during the first and second seasons) and how does that relationship work?
2) What does a day in the life look like in the YJ acting booth? (I have to imagine itâs pretty fun with that particular group of actors and directors!) Any idea when youâll be able to record in person again?
3) From what I understand about acting (both voice and âregularâ), itâs incredibly important for actors to be able to play off of each other. How does that work with recording during the pandemic? Do actors record lines individually and then play off those recordings, or are Zoom meetings used to imitate the booth as much as possible?
4) One last question about voice acting: how much influence do your actors have over the characters' personalities? Are their ideas about the characters integrated into the writing?
5) Iâve always loved the glimpses weâve seen of YJâs interpretation of Atlantis. Many of the versions Iâve seen are basically just a very large underwater city with little oceanic inspiration. YJâs version seems to have been created with a lot of thought toward how the structure of the seafloor and plant life interact with it, as well as the intense influence of magic. The colors also often feel particularly vibrant and ocean-like. Given that youâre not one of the artists, Iâd guess you may not know much about how it was designed, but is there any insight you could give to choices made regarding Atlantisâs design and culture?
I've just seen the first episode of Phantoms, and it's looking spectacular so far. Good luck with finishing up post-production, and thank you again for your hard work!
1. I'm going to hold off answering which other organizations we've worked with for now, as I think revealing the organizations would by default reveal content. I'd be happy to answer this after the season's over. But I've already stated that we've been working with GLAAD and OUT and MPAC (Hollywood Division). Plus, we've run every single outline and script by Dr. Janina Scarlet (superhero-therapy.com and @shadowQuill on Twitter). She's helped us with psychological and therapeutic details, while also generally acting as a sensitivity reader for our work. And there's also Warner Bros' own DEI department, who've been very helpful. There are more organizations, but the rest will have to wait for now. As for process, it can differ slightly. But generally, we discuss the stuff we were thinking about doing with them and get their feedback. Then we show them our outlines. Then our scripts. Sometimes even animatics or animation. At each step, we listen, take their notes and make sure everyone feels good about what we're doing before we take the next step in the process. We don't do anything that doesn't work for our story and characters. But we admit to ignorance on many fronts and many levels, and we like educating ourselves and allowing that education to be reflected in the work.
2. Well, it is fun! (Or, you know, most of the time. Nothing's perfect.) But pre-pandemic, we'd bring a majority of any episode's cast in together. (Although our casts are SO big, that sometimes we might split that cast into two shifts, trying to get folks who have scenes together to record together.) Jamie usually has them do a first run through without much direction. Then he might dive in and nuance an exchange or a line. Or even a certain phrase. We like to have options, but we want to make sure we get at least one version that hits the nail on the head. And we also make sure that we have at least two versions of every line. Post-pandemic, everyone was recording alone. Which is still great but not quite as much fun. There's a lot of playing back what one actor did for the other actor. (Whomever went first, kinda gets to set the tone for any scene, in these cases.) As for when we'll get back to recording in person, I don't know. Not on Season Four. That's all fully recorded.
3. See above.
4. After an episode or two, we definitely begin to incorporate their performances into their characters. With regulars or our long time recurring actors, we often sit down and talk to the actors about their characters, and I'm not at all adverse to listening to their takes on their own characters and importing those ideas into future episodes.
5. We wanted to fully bring their culture and milleu to life. To see Posiedonis - which is all you've seen of Atlantis so far - as its inhabitants see it.
Thank you for watching!
Hello! I'm keeping my name anonymous because I don't like exposing it on a public forum like this. I hope you understand.
Anyway, onto the question!
Greg, I know you personally don't have any ill intent, but why won't you listen to your LGBT+ or Muslim fans when they tell you how you handled Halo? You seem like such a decent guy outside of that, but for some reason this particular area is a blind spot of yours.
I may not be Muslim, but surely the massive outcry from Muslim fans when you had Halo publicly denounce her Muslimhood while still having her wear a religiously significant garb specific to Muslims must have meant SOMETHING to you?
I'm an out and proud member of the LGBT+ community (at least online), so seeing you dismiss all the people you hurt and refuse to actually, GENUINELY apologize for it (no, I don't count "sorry you're so offended" as an apology, that's just condescending), and to see you continue on the path that you now KNOW hurts us as if the characters you control are somehow out of your hands...that hurts, Greg. That hurts more than you can POSSIBLY imagine. I was so excited for Young Justice season 3. I was so excited hearing that you'd have an explicitly nonbinary character in the show. And then you did what you did. You really hurt your fans in the LGBT+ community, Greg.
I'm categorically not claiming that the destinies of these characters are completely out of my hands. But...
1. We can't make changes to already made episodes in response to recently aired episodes. It's just not possible for me to, for example, change episodes 319-326 as a result of what fans say about 318. So even if I agreed with the response, it's too late to make that kind of change, which many people seemed - at the time - to be demanding. And I readily admit that in hindsight I got defensive about that. We HAVE listened, however, and it did affect how we handled things in Season Four.
2. Whether you like it or not, I simply do NOT have complete control over these characters. I do not own these characters. It is ABSOLUTELY TRUE that even in 2021, TPTB have not given Brandon and myself a completely free hand with every single LGBTQ+ character on these issues. Things are a lot better than they were in 2010. A lot better. But we still do not have 100% autonomy. We just flat-out don't. Certain things we had planned for Season Three were rejected by TPTB at a relatively late date, and I do believe those choices hurt the overall balance of the series on these issues.
3. I don't know where you heard that we'd explicitly have a nonbinary character on the show in advance of Halo's reveal. Not from me. I can't - or won't - be held responsible for rumors. Now, of course, Halo stated she's nonbinary in one of our episodes, but we viewed that statement as the first step in her journey, and we'd appreciate some patience. You are, of course, not obligated to be patient with us. Maybe we've already lost your trust. And that's understandable. And I am sorry for that. But trust would sure be appreciated if you can manage to suspend your opinion for a while longer.
4. We've been working with MPAC (the Muslim Public Affairs Council), GLAAD and OUT on these plotlines. They are aware of our long term plans for Halo and have been extremely supportive. This suggests to me that the response you speak of isn't monolithic. So I'll admit it has been hard for me to apologize for things, which I believe, in the long term, will be appreciated by the Muslim and LGBTQ+ communities. Now, I may be wrong about that, but I'm trying to be honest here. I believe in what we're doing, and our advisors do, as well. In the end, we may indeed get it wrong, but we are trying really hard to get it right. And contrary to what seems to be everyone's assumption, we are not and have never been operating in a vacuum, assuming that we knew best and that we didn't need to listen to the LGBTQ+ community. We are listening, we have been listening, and we will continue to listen. What we've found is that opinions clearly vary within that community. It's admittedly hard to please everyone, but believe it or not, we are actually trying.
5. It sincerely makes me feel awful that I've "hurt my fans in the LGBT+ community". I AM truly sorry about that. But I know for a fact that I didn't hurt ALL my fans in that community. Because I've talked to a bunch of them. Not on Twitter or on ASK GREG but in real life. Some of them weren't thrilled with what we've aired up to this point. Some of them were just fine with what we did. And most (in both categories) have - once told where we were going - been actually pretty happy with it all. Now, you don't have the advantage of that inside information and most of our fans don't either. But please don't think I don't care, that we don't care. The YJ crew and I care very, very much. And I definitely apologize for being condescending and defensive in the past. That's not me at my best. I can only ask for forgiveness.
6. I've always tried to be an ally. I have very good reasons to try to be an ally, (a) because it's the right thing to do, and (b) because many, many, many people I love and hold close to my heart are a part of the LGBTQ+ community.
So I AM sorry for past mistakes. But if you give us a little more rope, I don't think we'll hang ourselves. I believe our good intentions will not only amount to good intentions. I think they'll prove out. And if I'm wrong about that, I will truly endeavor to apologize again.
1. Were there any hints to Kaldur's sexuality you put in the previous two seasons? IF not, was there a moment you wanted to? If so, what was it?
2. Has Wyynde labeled his sexuality? Or does he, like Kaldur, not identify with a label?
1. I don't think there were any legit hints in Seasons One or Two. There was behavior that originally suggested the idea of him being non-hetero-normative to me, specifically his fixation on someone out of reach. That's not definitive, by any means. But it's nevertheless what put the idea into my head. Otherwise, we did what we wanted to do on this front.
2. In my mind, Wyynde considers himself to be gay. But I haven't discussed labeling with Brandon recently. So I reserve the right for the two of us to collectively de-label him at a later date.
Hello Mr. Weisman,
I'm not going to ask about any specific character, as that would be a spoiler. Nor am I going to phrase it as a general question, for the same reason. From what I've read, it appears that the reason you couldn't depict any LGBT characters or relationship on-screen during the first two seasons of ''Young Justice'' is because Cartoon Network wouldn't allow it. Now, as I said earlier, I'm not going to ask if XYZ character is LGBT, or whether the third season will include any LGBT representation. But I am curious, if you wanted to include LGBT characters / representation in any future seasons of the show, and depict it on-screen, ''could'' you? Or has DC Universe, similarly to Cartoon Network, enforced a "gay embargo" preventing you from doing so?
P.S. I hope the italics work.
We were allowed to, for the most part. Though there was one character that we were not allowed to depict as LGBT+.
Big fan of your work. Not really a question, but I felt the need to clarify after seeing your response to another question regarding queer-baiting.
In your response, you (respectfully) provide some push-back against the concept, while expressing a willingness to learn more. I had a few quick responses to your comments I wanted to share.
You talk about some of the examples given in the Wikipedia entry for queer-baiting to be unfair, citing Sherlock Holmes and John Watson as an example. To be clear, in both the Wikipedia article and in popular usage of this example, people refer to Holmes and Watson as they are depicted in the BBC series, "Sherlock", and not (necessarily) in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's original stories or other adaptations.
Queer-baiting refers to creators of media actively misleading a fan-base with hints or indications of "queerness" without any intent of follow-through. NOT -- as you indicated in your prior comment -- a fan-base misinterpreting close same-sex friendships and sexual. "Sherlock" (the BBC series) is a famous example of queer-baiting, as the series very often hints at homoerotic attraction between the two leads in the series' writing, the performances of the lead actors, and in the ways that other characters in series refer to their relationship. I won't go into specific details and examples from the series, but if you are interested in examples there are scores of them documented and easily locateable on the internet.
The key aspect of queer-baiting is the attempt to take advantage of queer fans by providing the bare minimum of queer(ish) interactions, without ever following through for fear of alienating a non-queer audience. This is very different from both presenting close same-sex friendships without any romantic or sexual relationship developing between the two characters, and the presentation of queer characters without the ability to actively show examples of their queerness due to external factors, such as network interference (such as Lexington in "Gargoyles" or Korra in "The Legend of Korra"). These are non-malicious and do not seek to mislead a queer audience.
To be clear, I don't think you have been guilty of queer-baiting in any of your work. I simply wanted to clarify the concept a bit more so that you can hopefully understand where the concern of the initial comment came from. Looking forward to "Young Justice" season three!
I get the concern. I do.
And my response probably shows my (relative) queer blindness. I've seen every episode of "Sherlock," and never noticed any significant difference between how John and Sherlock are depicted here than in other versions.
I don't want to be defensive; I want to be open. But as you indicated, I've never intentionally queer-baited. Lex was gay to the extent allowed at the time (which was not at all). Some fans read a homo-erotic charge into the Dick/Wally relationship and the Bart/Jaime relationship, but that was never our intention - and I sincerely don't think we were trying to fool anyone. (Though one of those four characters is gay, in our minds, at least. But not in the minds of TPTB, even though TPTB did allow us to be objective about other characters on the show, starting with Season Three.)
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