A Station Eight Fan Web Site
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Let's see. I first discovered 'Gargoyles' when I was 11. I started posting at S8 when I was 13. And the first original material to be released since then was released on 28 March, which was my 23rd birthday. A great birthday present, though first I had to wait a week for it to cross the pond -- better than waiting 6-8 weeks from unreliable mail order companies like with #1 and #2 though. Now I've found a local comic trader, thankfully.
I didn't think a week would be too long to wait -- it's been eleven years since new material, right? I can wait 7 puny days, and I'd managed to keep quite cool waiting for #3 so far. But from the 28th, I was going out of my mind. Whenever I checked my e-mails I kept looking S8 up and crossing it out when I saw the words SPOILERS. I deleted S8 from my bookmarks and scrubbed my history so I couldn't be tempted to access it via the location bar. I found myself humming the theme tune. Real geekgasm.
So today, I went to the comic shop with my brother in tow (he was shopping for a card). I picked up my copy, handed it to my bro. He, of course, starts reading it and since he's got special needs spends roughly an hour engrossed in the comic, reading it at his own pace, digesting everything carefully, brow furrowed in deep concentration while I'm cursing myself for not ordering two copies. His conclusion is that "I really like Thailog!" (no spoiler, he's been saying that for the last decade) and he asked me "do you like that drawing?" (meaning the artwork) in such a way that suggests he's a little ambivalent about it. He's excited for #4 and more Demona, and he likes Matt Bluestone.
(On a personal note, it's the first time since we were kids that my bro and I have really been able to share this sort of thing. As kids, we used to watch the same cartoons, read the same comics, play the same games - and, of course, we watched 'Gargoyles' together. But obviously over the years we've drifted apart in that respect; a lot of the stuff I'm into these days goes over his head and a lot of the stuff he's into just doesn't excite me. Plus, he stopped wearing his hearing aid and cochlear implant a lot of the time as a teenager so striking up a conversation is a much more laboured effort. We just don't have that much to chat about these days. But we both love 'Gargoyles' and we had a really good geek-out chat about it earlier of the sort we haven't had for... well, years. His memory is actually much better than mine and he reminded me of a lot of things in "The Reckoning" I'd forgotten, not having seen the back half of S2 for many years. I told him about 'Bad Guys' and he's excited for it, though he hasn't quite grasped the concept. Thailog's the baddest guy in the universe, the comic's called 'Bad Guys', Thailog's got to be the star, right? Anyway, it's nice to have a genuine shared obsession, just like the old days and besides being delighted at the return of the comic as a fan, I'm particularly grateful for that.)
Anyway, cutting to the chase -- the issue is splendid. And only, like, 20% of that is pure bias. It's genuinely a good read -- especially considering it's the equivalent to the first act of an episode, the set-up.
- My absolute favourite bit: Xanatos's plan to have the great and good mix with gargoyles so they can't then deny their sentience! That is GENIUS -- vintage Xanatos. Man, you've kept that up your sleeve for a long time (and I'm glad you did).
- I love the news report at the start pointing out that gargoyles can't speak so you don't have anything to worry about from ones that do. It's interesting because it gives the Quarrymen a genuine reason to feel vindicated -- they know (or are told) that the gargoyles are sentient, and malevolent to boot.
- Cedric Harris, Tri Chung, Phil Travanti, nameless Labyrinth girl -- pretty awesome to get some new characters. Even more awesome when they have lines. Guess I'm going to have to voice cast them myself. Nifty that Travanti's featured before. One of the things that particularly excited me about the comic was that I knew that soon I'd be able to rewatch my DVDs with a new perspective on things. And already that's the case - I'll be able to identify and name one character. Lovely! Interesting to see the make-up of the Task Force. I'm sure Margot's not going to like the way it's being run. Hard to argue that it doesn't seem like the NYPD exactly have it as their top priority.
- 36/32 makes a great linking element -- a really simple way of establishing what the Illuminati are (without even getting bogged down even with what they're called). But what's the significance? I thought it was their own ID numbers at first, but obviously not. Some way of recognising each other, but do the numbers have greater significance? And how often do they change? I have a really cool thought for what it might be... but it might qualify as an idea so I'm not going to mention it here!
- I love Angela. She's still the one who can look at people's behaviour from an outside angle and ask the question "is this a good thing?" And poor old Brooklyn. I love that two issues in a row he's been knocked back without him ever really being a consideration. Lex is the only beat in the comic that feels slightly wasted - partly because I can't quite imagine anyone actually saying "no poisonous stickpins" without feeling very silly and mainly because it feels like the same scene we had between these characters last issue.
- Castaway's so much fun. The character's reputation is sort of maligned by his TGC characterisation, but he's cautious as well as scary. Also? I LOVE that you used the word "clouting". Clouting! I don't hear that word enough. I must use it more often in day to day conversation.
- Man, I love Hacker. I was always sad he was one of the few characters from the pre-Avalon stories not to return later in Season 2. Duskrider Q nailed it a few questions ago when he described him as "unimposing but charismatic". His playing one side off against the other is too much fun and very well done. All this is stuff that's been spilt on Ask Greg but I still got a real buzz out of it playing out. I took from the issue that none of the motives are entirely genuine. I have to wonder how much Xanatos already knows, or guesses, about Hacker's double-dealing.
- The distinction between a "husband" and a "mate" is really good. Really sharp: not just a species thing, it suggests a lot of cultural issues to me. A husband implies a whole range of issues -- legal, social, economic -- while a mate seems to represent something much simpler in some ways, or at least more specific to the gargoyles' way of life.
- The 'distanced' page does feel a little bit jarring in pacing, and while I can't begrudge David Hedgecock the time saved doing two versions of the same panel to link scenes, I would have liked to have seen a slightly different angle. I appreciate you wanted to make the continuity between the two scenes clear though. The conversation is good and the issues are interesting. Some people seem to think that Elisa's being cold with all this, but I think it all feels quite realistic. Painful, but truthful.
- The Elisa/Morgan stuff I liked. This is where I sort of miss Keith David and Salli Richardson to give us added spin on the lines: does he believe her? Is he taking it as kind of a contrived excuse for a knock-back? It feels to me like Elisa is worried that's how he's taken it. I really like Elisa and Morgan together. As I said in the comment room during the debate about whether you'd go for Jason or Morgan in this story, I kind of hoped you'd go with Morgan because he represents a genuine shot at normalcy for her.
- Demona returns to St. Damien's. A big surprise: I hadn't expected to see it again. But there's something inside the Praying Gargoyle. I feel like this has been spilt before but luckily I don't recall the details.
- The promise Jason demands of Elisa is what nudges her to talk to Goliath. But I feel like Jason knew (or guessed) what he was doing to her there and masked that by talking about himself. I still think he's kind of a jerk. But maybe I'm being too hard on him. Maybe he was just being selfless. Great character. Well, they all are.
- A lot of characters here. I'd kind of expected the cast to settle down immediately after "The Journey", as with "Vendettas" and "Turf" after "The Gathering". I'm in two minds really. I like meeting everyone again, and it's a great call for the first story back, but it also means it feels more like a buffet than a proper meal. I can't wait to dig deep into some characters, flashbacks and all. I expect the moment you do something very tight and narrowly focused I'm going to be whining "but we haven't seen X, Y and Z for five months!!"
- The exposition pages are a necessary evil I suppose, but they do break the flow a bit. Have you considered replacing them with some kind of introductory page separate from the comic, akin to the "Previously on Gargoyles..." segment? I know you did this a few times ("The Cage" for one) but it all seems to slow the narrative down. Also, boiling it down that much doesn't really do justice to the thing. Oh well.
- I'm kind of curious about Al's friend. Their last exchange makes me think there's more to that plot that meets the eye... "It's not that..." ... but what? Hmmmmmm.
- Thailog! Well, I was spoilt by the #4 press releases for that much. The character's marvellous, but he's never captured my heart to quite the degree that many of the other antagonists on the show did so I'm probably not quite as excited as others. I didn't notice until I read Matt's review the 'trick or treat' mirroring device at the top and tail of the issue. So cool.
Anyway, the issue is fantastic. The writing is wonderful. It's lean but jam-packed with great character moments and things to speculate about. Magnificent.
Only thing I'm not looking forward to is that torturous wait after the next issue release but before it arrives in the UK. Have you considered making the comic available online like some of SLG's other comics? No replacement for the real paper issues but it would be so lovely to be able to read the comics along with others in the fandom, and I know other people have trouble getting hold of them. I realise there are all sorts of reasons why this might not be advisable, particularly if it dents off-the-shelf sales. At any rate, I guess it's a good test of my willpower.
Many thanks for your benevolent labours, Greg, and to all your co-conspirators on the comic. Keep up the fantastic work.
Thanks, Ed. As for releasing the comic on-line, I guess I'd suggest you raise the question directly with SLG.