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So I've been lurking a bit, and I see folks are questioning the accessibility of the Gargoyles comics.
And I know I shouldn't do this, but I'm going to defend my own work here instead of just letting it stand on its own.
I totally reject the notion that the comics aren't accessible to new readers, unfamiliar with the GARGOYLES property. Now, granted Clan-Building, Volume II is pretty inaccessible IF you haven't read Clan-Building, Volume I. But in fairness to me, the Clan-Building arc is published in two volumes for commercial reasons, not creative ones. It's not two six-issue arcs; it's one twelve issue arc. So if you read Clan-Building in it's entirety OR if you read Bad Guys in it's entirety, I think both these arcs are extremely ACCESSIBLE.
And, yes, I've seen the reviews that claim that they're not. But I notice that those reviews are written by people who ARE passingly familiar with the cartoon and are making the ASSUMPTION that the books would be inaccessible to new readers. But I don't buy it. I've been doing this for a LONG time. And I know how to fill in my reader and/or viewer, introduce new concepts, etc.
Every issue in sequence introduces all the necessary information to a new reader that said reader would need. Does a reader benefit if they know all the backstory? Of course. But they don't have to know that backstory to enjoy the comic.
Let me take a specific example -- one that a reviewer specifically brought up. At the very end of issue #2 of Bad Guys, Sevarius appears. The reviewer (who knew exactly who Sevarius was) thought that I was blowing off new readers, because I gave NO backstory or introduction to Sevarius in that issue. But I'd argue that no introduction was necessary at that point. We've seen a mysterious figure descend into the Labyrinth, taser a guard, shed a disguise and confront Fang, claiming to know his real name and stating that he is Fang's "maker". That's ALL you need to know at that point as a new reader. It's perfectly okay if you DON'T know who this guy is. It's intriguing enough on that level. And in the very next issue (or chapter if you're reading the trade) Hunter gives all the backstory on Sevarius that you need to appreciate his role in issues/chapters #3 and #4. Yes, a hardcore fan is going to get extra juice when Sevarius pulls off his disguise because they'll recognize him. But even if Sevarius had been a brand new character, I wouldn't have handled his introduction any differently.
Look at Tasmanian Tiger. He is a new character. I hope he's at least a little bit intriguing. But is a new reader lost because they DON'T know that this is his first appearance? Readers, whether they are hardcore Garg fans or complete newbies, know as much about TT as they need to know -- and no more.
Yes, there are resources on the web -- BUT I don't count on those AT ALL, with one exception. And that exception is if people wonder why I'm ignoring Goliath Chronicles. And a new reader isn't even going to KNOW about Goliath Chronicles, so it's NOT an exception to him or her.
Otherwise, I use the tools I have within the book to explain what an audience needs to know. Someone familiar with the property may THINK the reader needs to know more, but I flat-out think they're wrong. My proof is anecdotal but it exists. I know people who've read the books and enjoyed them even though they never saw the show. Has it interested them in finding out more about the original series? Yes. And that's good and fine. But there's a difference between a new reader being intrigued and WANTING to learn more and a new reader being confused and NEEDING to know more to get what's going on.
You don't need to KNOW Brooklyn's entire history to know he's hurting because he can't get a date, to know he's pining for Angela and to know he's trying to get away from Angela and Broadway before chapter 10 of Clan-Building comes along -- and he's thrust into the past. Everything you NEED to know about him is present in issues 1-9. One benefits from knowing more, but that doesn't make it necessary to know more.
Of course, the greatest blockade to accessibility is the non-linear structure of chapters 7-9. But that's not property-based or familiarity-based, that's me using a non-traditional structure, which I might have done on an issue of, say, Captain Atom or Spider-Man or whatever. Hopefully, if a reader has read the first six chapters, they're intrigued enough to want to follow along despite the difficult structure.
Remember, issues 1 & 2 are designed to introduce you to the world of Gargoyles and any relevant information about said world. I got slammed by one reviewer for opening the comic book series with that adaptation of "The Journey", but I thought it was essential for new readers. One could argue fairly that each succeeding issue isn't as accessible as those first two, but complications and characters were added gradually through those first six issues. Anyone reading the book in order would not have been lost for a minute. If we hadn't been plagued by delays and late deliveries (which I had no control over and did not anticipate) it wouldn't have been the same kind of problem.
Any comic book or animated series that employs serialization and continuity is subject to these difficulties. And the middle chapter of any story (including a twelve-part story like Clan-Building or a six-part story like Redemption) can be tough to follow without having read the first few chapters. But just as I feel you can enjoy, say, "Leader of the Pack" without ever having seen any episodes from Season One of Gargoyles, I think Clan-Building can be enjoyed without having seen ANY of the Gargoyles TV series. Is the same true for "Avalon, Part Two" or "Avalon, Part Three"? No. But I think it IS true for "Avalon, Part One" and/or the three-part "Avalon" series when considered as a single unit.
My point is, I'm very familiar with the dilemma, and I know how to compensate. Or in any case, I'm VERY aware of the need to compensate. One can argue that I failed, I suppose. It does become subjective at some point. But nothing I did was done without very conscious thought on my part vis-a-vis the needs of a new reader. So any reviewer who claims that I didn't care or didn't try to make the book accessible is just -- well, wrong. And I think they are making assumptions based on THEIR knowledge of the richness of the property. They get all these resonances and call-backs, etc., and ASSUME a new reader would be lost without them. But you know what they say about the word "ASSUME". The resonances and call-backs are gravy. (And if you don't know they exist you won't know you're missing anything.) The meat, in my opinion, is all right there on the page.