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Zeke Hero writes...


First of all, I'd like to say I'm a huge fan of your work since Gargoyles made my young mind snap from "short attention span" to "give me more character-driven serial fiction!" during the Disney Afternoon days (jeez, I'm old...). When I heard you were doing Spectacular Spider-Man, I knew I was going to be in for a treat and while the show only got two seasons, DAMN were they exactly what I needed out of a Spider-Man show.

I've read the questions posted and have sat here making sure I won't ask an *eye-roll*-worthy one or something that will inspire the "no comment"-of doom, so here goes:

Gargoyles and Young Justice both have a family quality to the teams of characters that are our protagonists. We're introduced to a small band of 6-7 heroes by the writers and over the course of adventure after adventure we the viewer comes to feel as much as a part of that "family" as they do with each other. My question is (and I am in NO WAY fishing for spoilers or hints or what have you) what are your feelings on shows that expand these bases down the line? I remember, for example, that when Avatar added Toph her initial episodes didn't seem to gel with the audience I was viewing the show with and it felt like (to us) that the character didn't fit into a narrative we'd become accustomed to, yet by the end of the season (and this was our fault for not trusting the writers), Toph was a great piece of a larger cast that grew organically. Do you feel that adding, say, Angela as a new member of the Gargoyle family can hurt the narrative established with an audience burned time after time by artificial 90's cartoon storylines or does the idea of getting to add, say, the Wonder Twins (again, not fishing hence why I use these guys) offer up an opportunity to you as a writer for a left turn in the plot that you get to have a "trust us, we know what we're doing" stance with your audience?

(man that was a huge run-on senence...)

second question

When you and Brandon were mapping out the season (I saw the great behind the scenes video from SDCC), what was the best ah-ha moment (related to something we've already seen, not a spoiler or fishing trip) that you as a team came up with? Mostly I'm just looking for an anecdote about working as a team, you could even be vague and pronouny.

Third and final quesiton

You've now gotten to work on Marvel's Spider-verse, and the entire DC universe. I've noticed that in both cases you've gotten to go your own way on certain characters you've gotten to use (e.g. Silver Sable was a villain on Spider-Man with a relationship to Silvermane). Which comes first in cases where this occurs? Do you riff on story ideas and go, "we need a psychic badass" and then go, "let's use Psimon, but let's tweak him a little" or do you (or someone on the team) say, "Man, we REALLY need to use Abra Kadabra and I think I know how we could do that!" Since both shows have shown you dipping into a huge pool of characters, what about a character makes them a "semi-blank canvas" character that you can take as an opportunity to fit within your storybeats versus a character that you feel is fully-formed and just needs an artistic tweak to fit your plot?

Again, thank you so much for this board, your time, and this show. You've contributed so much to quality animation and, I hope you see the compliment here, but when I and my friends push Gargoyles on to newbies, we usually describe it as, "It's like the Wire, but with Shakespere, monsters, and the NYPD"

Greg responds...

1. I don't see how expanding the cast ORGANICALLY hurts the narrative.

2. I don't know that we had a single "Ah ha!" moment on YJ. But when things are working, they just begin to come together.

3. We've worked it from both directions. Ultimately, we ALWAYS try to be true to the spirit of the character - though sometimes we are intentionally introducing the character at a pre-classic stage. Silver Sable is a perfect example. We had long term plans for her that would have eventually brought her closer to the Sable from the comics. But we liked this backstory for her - and connecting her to Silvermane helped preserve the coherence of our universe.

Response recorded on August 09, 2011