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Laura 'ad astra' Ackerman writes...

Lastly the hard one: I took a quick look through the waiting to be answered section, (mea culpa, I don't usually check that part, only the actually answered sections), and I saw a few questions about the recent terrorist attack and the Gargoyles universe. I too am wondering what your thoughts on it are. Forgive me for being presumptuous, but my gut reaction is that you would want to deal with it. Gargoyles never stayed away from difficult issue, and this one came to it. If and (hopefully) when the show continues in some form, and assuming Disney allows you to, how would you handle it? Until now you have said you are leaning to continuing the show post Journey and going through the intervening years at a quick pace. It wouldn't necessarily be obvious what year it is in the story, but the people who are interested would be able to fit it into place and know the time frame from the internet. Now the time frame will be obvious with the most cursory glance.

Aside from the logistics of fitting it in and when, is the issue of how. Gargoyles has it easier than your run of the mill superhero. First off, it happened in the morning, so there us no question of them having been there. (And the fact that so many characters in the show are cops puts us literally and figuratively at ground zero.) Second off, they are strong and they can glide, but they have no way of magically lifting building high stacks of rubble, or zeroing in on survivors under those stacks. They cannot teleport, or put trapped survivors in stasis until they can be reached. In short, they are little more than a few extra sets of extremely strong hands. Still, for a fictional story to save one more life than we have so desperately managed to save strikes me as somewhat offensive. With the heartache and heroism we have seen in the past few days, it is so hard to find the balance between doing disservice to a difficult issue by ignoring it, and doing disservice to that same issue by trivializing it. Not that it shouldn't be tried, In between the extremes is a major service art plays to humanity.

Personally the whole incident has been as bizarre as it is horrendous. Sometime in the middle of Rosh HaShanna I found myself praying I would turn the television after the holiday to hear they found even just one more survivor. I am sure many were doing the same thing, but I was praying that for the rescue workers, so that they would have something to help them go on. At the same time I still hadn't, haven't completely registered the event. The numbers are too big to compute. And yet, I saw the second tower fall from Christopher street, the closest the subway got to work, and knew I had to continue walking south to work to get to my non-telephone based e-mail to be sure I could contact the outside world and get word out I was fine and find out about all my friends who worked even further downtown than I, (not to mention getting word to cousins in Israel who are used to the calls going the other way). I was able to hear that all my friends got out unharmed by noon and began the long walk home. All along the way people had set up radios and televisions for everyone to huddle around and sort out what exactly had happened. I have always maintained New Yorkers are far more friendly and caring than we will admit, but now, it is obvious. By the time we reached the 12th street the people lined up to give blood filled avenues by Saint Vincent hospital. They had so many people asking to volunteer that we were told
to try again in several hours. My friend had chosen a bad day not to wear sensible shoes, and we were stopping into shoe stores all the way north to find her a pair of Keds without luck.

Of course, once I got back to my apartment, and later at friends, we watched amazing amounts of news. With exception of sabbeth and the holiday, I don't think I've gone more than 5 hours without checking it in one way or another. In the days before we were allowed to go back to work we switched off between the news and silly things. I saw The Princess Diaries, my boss admitted to a slightly more
serious movie, but not much more. Thursday the wind shifted and we could smell the smoke. The wind still mainly blows away from us, but every once in a while it turns north again and it smells as if the city decided to put all its ovens on self clean mode. But for the most part the weather had been bizarrely clear and lovely.

Since then we have heard stories of heroism and humanity. Instead of panic and everyman for himself, people were orderly as they made their long way down. Strangers helped, even carried, each other down the stairs. Hundreds of firemen, police and other rescue workers ran back in and up and most probably died in the collapse. Thousands are dead, but thousands were saved by human kindness at the most basic and heroic level. I have never been more proud to be a New Yorker. [And that isn't even dealing with all the people that flocked to NY to help, nor the war I feel we must fight and pray we are mature enough to handle as we have not been in the past.] Everyone here knows at least someone who lost someone. And you can't help but look out windows that used to see the towers, or just down the street, and see a surreal open skyline still full of smoke.

I can't see how any story set in this city at this time can ignore the events, yet I am still too close to know if it is possible to do it justice. I am a (supposed) adult who has had more exposure to terrorism
than most New Yorkers and have an ability 'get used' to new status quos quicker than many. You have repeatedly said that Gargoyles would remain child friendly, even if the topics became more mature. I cannot help but think that children are in even more need than adults to make sense of these events and how it changes us.

thanks for the answers, (and the chance to vent).


Greg responds...


I'm tempted not to respond at all. I'm not sure what I could say that would be even half as eloquent as what you just wrote. I know months have passed since you wrote those words, but today they have effected me deeply.

To answer your question... I just don't know. The plan to continue the series where we left off and speed through the years (keeping hard-core fans posted via the internet) made a ton of sense to me before September 11th. Now, of course, everything's changed. It's easy enough to simply NOT show the twin towers. If we're careful it just means we're not pointing the camera that way. And it could be before or after 9/11. But leaving it at that is something of a cop-out.

You've really hit the nail square on the head. How would I, would anyone really, deal with this topic respectfully in a fictional universe? On one level, I'd love to include it -- if for no other reason than to work out some of my own demons about that days events. As you said, the Gargoyles wouldn't even learn about it until sunset.

Then what? I don't think I'd have any of our regulars die in those events. It would seem to cheapen the sacrifices made by real flesh and blood people. Obviously, after the fact, I don't see how I could avoid having Elisa and the Gargs lend a hand. They wouldn't save anyone. How could I allow it? But just try to help.

But even that seems less than respectful. From my vantage in California, it's hard to see a way clear. Ultimately, this probably would never be a decision that would be left in my hands. But if it was, I'd have to take on a consultant (or two or ten). Representatives of all aspects of the event. People who were involved.

That's the best I can come up with now? It's all too hypothetical and painful to figure out in more detail.

But in the simplest terms if what you're asking me is whether or not the towers came down on 9-11-01 in the Gargoyle Universe, then the answer is yes.

Response recorded on May 09, 2002