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The Phoenix Gate

Greg's Latest Responses

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Time for a Breather


I've been trying to answer at least five questions a day here, every weekday, for quite a few months running. I'm still nowhere near coming close to emptying the queue.

But, as I'm certain some of you have noticed, the questions are, well, starting to grind on me. To get on my nerves. To tick me off.

Sometimes it's folks asking questions that are clearly answered by the material itself. On screen or on the page.

Sometimes it's folks asking for story spoilers, when that's clearly something I'm not going to reveal.

Sometimes it's folks ascribing motives for what I do that they can't possibly know.

Sometimes it's folks demanding that I acknowledge that my show sucks, with intense explanations for why I should do that. I'm okay with people not liking my stuff - wish they did, but you can't please everyone, all the time - but I resent people trying to convince ME that my stuff is bad. Maybe it's all in the phrasing, but it is, frankly, infuriating. Besides, I like my stuff.


I don't know if I've just hit a bad batch recently, but I think what's more likely is that I'm just burned out on it. That I'm reading negativity into perfectly innocent or at least neutral questions and statements. It's very possible I'm over-reacting.

Either way, my responses recently have been ire-filled, and I don't like that. It's not what I want ASK GREG to be. It's not, generally, what I think it's been for the last couple decades plus. (Give or take a tirade or smart-ass response, here and there.)

I took a few days off, posting Hercules premises, and thought that might help. And it did, a little. But clearly not enough. So I'm going to take an extensive break.

I'm tempted to close the question asking function for a time. But Young Justice: Targets is still coming out. And the new Gargoyles comic launches in December, and I want folks to be able to respond to those. So I've decided to leave the function alone for now. I realize that means that the backlog is going to continue to grow. But such is life, I guess.

I'm hoping that in a month or two, I'll be ready to come back. But for now, I need a break. Thanks and sorry.

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Anonymous writes...

if you only intended for there to be a handful of characters that are leads, why didn't you keep the cast small like season 1 instead of adding a bunch of characters you have no intention of focusing on? that way, people could have focused on the mains without being distracted by the characters who are background. can you really blame people for being disappointed when their favorite character shows up, only for the show to do nothing with them and move onto someone else?

Greg responds...

I don't blame people.

Why are you blaming me for making the show I want to make? (Or more accurately, the show that Brandon and I want to make, and which many, many, many fans seem to enjoy?)

I've already answered over and over again why we have always continued to expand our cast. Why some characters are leads in a given season. Why some are supporting. Why some are cameos. Why our spotlight moves around as it does. Feel free to go through the ASK GREG archives and get the lowdown. I'm definitely not in the mood to repeat myself.

But I will make these points:

Blue Beetle was a lead in Season Two. In Season Three he was supporting. In Season Three he only cameod. But should we have NEVER introduced him, just because we didn't make him a lead EVERY season?

Zatanna was supporting in seasons one, two and three. She became a lead for a chunk of Season Four. Should we never have introduced her either?

And if, for example, we made Wonder Girl a lead in Season Five (assuming we get a season five and assuming that's in our gameplan), should we have waited UNTIL Season Five to introduce her? Or might not her Season Five characterization BENEFIT from her having been introduced earlier and us having watched her grow at least a little from a Wonder Woman fangirl in Season Two, to the leader of the Outsiders in Season Four, leading up to whatever might be depicted in Five? And if we then dropped her back down to Supporting in Season Six, would that mean we should never have made her a lead in Season Five?

Different fans might disagree about their specific favorites, but I'd bet anything that NO FAN wanted us to have six heroes and NEVER introduce any more ever. It's a big DC Universe out there. And nearly every fan is frickin' greedy for their favorites to appear.

Response recorded on October 04, 2022

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Hayden Philyaw writes...

Hello I have another question!

I remember reading something about how there was some unused ideas for Young Justice Invasion! What were those unused ideas?

Greg responds...

There weren't unused ideas specifically for Invasion. Brandon and I simply have a TON of unused ideas for Young Justice and Earth-16, in general. But I'm not going to tell you what they are. Cuz I don't give out spoilers.

Response recorded on October 04, 2022

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Anonymous writes...

Notice how in season 1, no one felt the need to bring up the fact that Aqualad is black? He just is, and he was a well-developed character. Same with Jaime in season 2 - he's clearly Latino by his name and appearance and sprinkles Spanish into his speech, other than that his character had a compelling storyline that had nothing to do with his race. That's how you do diverse representation properly.

Whereas with Halo and Khalid, the audience is outright told that they're Muslim instead of shown, and it's a big part of both of their arcs. YJ is a superhero show with an ensemble cast that doesn't go super deep into the character's personal lives, and religion is personal - that's why we don't know the majority of the characters' religion.

To harp on it so much with the two Muslim characters reinforces this idea that Muslims are "others," that we're not "normal" like white Christians and that we're all extremely conservative and ultra religious. It would have been nice to have a character that's visibly Muslim (Halo's hijab) or shown to be Muslim in subtle ways (like by saying certain Arabic phrases or mention celebrating a holiday) and just let them be a normal character with a compelling storyline.

You guys had representation down perfectly in the first two seasons, I don't know why you've changed the approach?

Greg responds...

Wow, I disagree with just about EVERYTHING you've written above.

For starters, you're not TOLD Halo is Muslim. You're shown that they're exploring whether Islam might hold some meaning for them. You're not TOLD Khalid is Muslim, you're shown what his Muslim heritage means to him.

And I think both characters have extremely compelling storylines. You don't have to agree, of course. But I don't have to agree with you, either. And I think you're just WRONG.

And we sometimes do go into religion for other characters. Zatara immediately springs to mind since we showed his faith in the very same episode in which we explored Khalid's religion - and in the one that follows.

I don't think either Khalid or Halo are presented as ultra religious, either. Certainly, Halo's not. They're not even certain they want to be Muslim yet. (They're exploring!) I don't even think Khalid's mother is presented as ultra religious, really, though I'll admit you could make that argument about her. And Gabrielle's mother is talking about religion ONLY because Violet asked her about it. She's not proslytizing.

Zatara's the only guy, actually, whom we see kneeling in church and praying. Why doesn't THAT bother you? Is he suddenly "other" and not "normal".

I mean, sure, he is. That's the point. WE ARE ALL OUTSIDERS. Everyone is different. With different needs and different wants. Faith being one of many, many, many variables worth exploring.

And we have other Muslim characters who NEVER mention their faith at all. Queen Bee and Noor Harjavti, to name a couple. One's a villain, and one's pretty minor. But my point is that we don't have any rules. We're doing what we think is right for each of our characters individually.

And I don't think we have "changed the approach." I think we've evolved it. We're going deeper. (Cuz, you know, we're in our fourth season.) Deeper in TONS of ways. Deeper into Beast Boy's mental health. Deeper into Artemis and Jade's difficult childhood. Deeper into Halo's sexuality. Why should religion be off-limits? Especially, since EVERY single Muslim we consulted with and who worked on the season liked what we were doing and helped us get there. This has a positive meaning to many people. I know cuz they've told me that. And again, that doesn't mean YOU have to like it. It just means you can't possibly claim to be speaking for everyone. Not even for every Muslim.

And while I'm at it, I wouldn't be shy about going into Jaime's Mexican heritage. Hasn't come up yet. But I'm not saying it won't. It could become a big issue, if and when we go deeper into his character. Might hit on his Catholicism. Might not. But I wouldn't shy away from it.

Kaldur's blackness is pretty much a non-issue in Atlantis, but we have dealt with his lack of "purity" to certain racist Atlanteans in our companion comics. It's a metaphor. And not a subtle one. So you are OBJECTIVELY WRONG when you say we didn't deal with race. We did. IN DEPTH.

But my real issue, is that I really, REALLY don't like you trying to rein us in and tell us what is and isn't worthy of our attention. It grates on me that you're speaking in absolutes, as if there's only ONE GOOD WAY TO MAKE A SHOW. And, again, I disagree. Strongly. (Or was that not clear?)

Response recorded on October 04, 2022

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Paul writes...

Hi Greg!

1) Is there any particular reason why Troia and Sergeant Marvel have their hair tied back? I ask because I don’t think this is the case in the comics, and because other superheroines in YJ do not have their hair tied back (Miss Martian, Zatanna, Wonder Girl). (I suppose maybe Artemis and Batgirl did though and I’m just not remembering that fact for some reason.)

2) How does Sergeant Marvel compare in terms of strength to Superboy, Troia, and Wonder Girl?

Greg responds...

1. Artemis did as Artemis. She doesn't as Tigress.

Out of Universe, it's a design choice, made in a three-way discussion between our character designer(s), Brandon and myself. In universe, chalk it up to each character's personal choice.

2. I've never liked these kind of comparisons, but of the four, Superboy is the strongest. The other three are all pretty close to equal. Although, everything is situational.

Response recorded on October 04, 2022

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Secret writes...

Questions about the Memorial Holograms
1. How long does it take for them to display the memorial hologram when a hero has died?
2. Do they do it immediately or wait sometime until it’s ready?
3. Who came up with the idea to display the holograms in the first place?
4. Who is responsible for setting them when they are ready?
5. When exactly did the Team display Wally, Conner and Tula’s holograms? Specially day and month!

Greg responds...

1. I'm not clear on what your asking. Like how long does it take to prep a hologram? Not long.

2. How could they do it before it's ready? It would be fairly soon after the funeral, I suppose.

3. No spoilers.

4. I dunno. I guess ultimately it is the responsibility of the League Chair. The buck stops with them. Doesn't mean they do it personally.

5. Again, it would have been shortly after the funeral. I haven't fixed a specific date for it.

Response recorded on October 04, 2022

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Freya writes...

Are Arsenal and Arrowette public heroes in Star City ?

Greg responds...

No. Not particularly.

Response recorded on October 03, 2022

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Anonymous writes...

Why have there been multiple episodes where tim drake is involved in a scene but doesn't speak? In the season 2 episode before the dawn, he is on alpha squad with Barbara, but she is the only one who talks to nightwing and he just pulls faces the whole time. Same goes for that infamous season 3 episode antisocial pathologies where once again, only Barbara talks and he makes faces. Even when Beast Boy addresses him directly.

This isn't just due to him being a supporting character - Barbara is a supporting character too and she's allowed to speak. Even Stephanie Brown got a line in before the dawn, and she wasn't spoiler yet. These are scenes in which he's featured and it would make sense for him to at least say a few words. It looks awkward when he doesn't, it's almost like you're going out of your way to ensure he gets no lines.

Tim is the only Robin that has never been in an animated movie or series (the DCAU version doesn't count, it was Jason with Tim's name) but his traits are constantly stolen and given to the others. I was so excited to finally see him in YJ. I can accept that he's not a main character, but the way he's treated in the show is bizzare and to be honest, feels borderline disrespectful to the character and his fans.

Greg responds...


So, there's this thing. It's called a BUDGET. It forces us to make hard choices ALL THE TIME. And, I will admit that poor Tim has taken the brunt of that a few more times than I would like. But that's the reality. There's no disrespect intended toward either the character or his fans. I do feel bad for Cameron Bowen, who is immensely talented and does a great job playing Tim/Robin. And I'd love to give him more work as the character. But the fact is that him speaking isn't always essential to our story, and we do not have an unlimited voice budget.

But let me try to spell a few things out.

1. Stephanie Brown is voiced by the same actor who plays Wonder Girl. So if we're using Cassie in an episode, we get Stephanie for free. So why not give her a line or two? Note that, like Tim, we also didn't give Virgil a line in that episode, cuz we didn't have the budget for it.

2. We felt, in "Antisocial Pathologies," that we NEEDED Barbara to speak. She had a scene with Bruce that required her to speak. On the other hand, we felt we could get away with Tim not speaking in the episode. I'll admit it's a little awkward, but the audience still gets the gist of the thing. And by the way, neither Conner or M'gann spoke in that episode either. We'd have liked all three of them to speak, but the budget wouldn't allow it.

3. When Tim does have a significant role, such as in "Triptich," then of course we bring Cameron in, gladly, and give Tim lines. And if you look at that episode there are other characters who appear who do NOT get to speak. Because we chose to spend our budget on Tim and the other characters that did speak.

Now, with that out of the way, let's talk for a moment about disrespect. About the ASSUMPTION that just because you don't like something or it doesn't live up to your pre-conceived expectations, that characters and fans are being disrespected. Because I find that incredibly grating. You don't have to like my stuff - but PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE stop assigning MOTIVES to me. THAT is disrespectful.

Response recorded on October 03, 2022

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Anonymous writes...

Hi Greg, you previously answered that you needed to keep Halo's origin of Gabrielle being dead because that's built into the character in the comics: https://www.s8.org/gargoyles/askgreg/search.php?qid=24738

I have trouble accepting this reason, because you already changed the character's entire race and background from the comics. Moreover, you've changed the origins of Beast Boy and Oracle, and I get the sense you may have created a different story behind Jason Todd's death. You created an entirely different version of Aqualad. These characters are far more well-known than Halo, and you weren't afraid to change key things about them.

You could've easily made it so that the Motherbox resurrected Gabrielle instead of killing a teenage Muslim refugee and reanimating her corpse. You chose not to. Why?

Greg responds...

Agreed. We chose not to. We liked the basics of Halo's origins from the comics and wanted to keep it. I'm not disowning that. Why should I?

Response recorded on October 03, 2022

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Verdragon writes...

What's the hardest casting choice you've had to make in your showrunner career?

Greg responds...

Hardest casting choice?

Not sure what that means in context. Like we had two people and couldn't decide which one to pick? I can't even think of an example of that.

We've had some roles that were hard to cast. Goliath and Elisa come to mind, but once we found Keith and Salli, respectively, the decision was easy.

There have been roles where my first choice was over-ridden by TPTB, but it's always worked out pretty darn well, anyway.

Response recorded on October 03, 2022

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