Friday, June 23, 2006
Slave Labor Graphics has launched a new comic book series based on Disney's hit cartoon Gargoyles. The series, written by the creator of Gargoyles, Greg Weisman himself, takes place following the second season of the cartoon, but dismisses The Goliath Chronicles, which he doesn't consider cannon as these comics intend to be, as he did not work on that season. Art on the book is provided by David Hedgecock, Will Terrell, Greg Guler and Stephanie Lostimolo, Guler being the man who actually originally designed many of the characters that appear in the Gargoyles universe. Gargoyles is really a cartoon that stands up years later if you watch the DVDs (the second half of the second season is not available yet, nor are The Goliath Chronicles, but with any luck this comic may spurn a demand for at least the rest of the second season to become available), and the series has quite a fan base, with conventions and costume contests and the like dedicated exclusively for it. It's really amazing, but not surprising given the high quality of the storytelling and the amazing characterization witnessed from episode to episode, not to mention the intricate stroylines and subtle character-defining moments. But I'm here to review the comic book, not to gush on about its roots in animation. If you were a fan of the show, the first issue may seem familiar. That's because Greg Weisman did work on the first story for The Goliath Chronicles, and since those stories aren't to be considered canon, it rehashes particular events that occurred in the initial cartoons of the third season. I distinctly remembered many of the things I read in the comic occurring directly from my memory of the show, which really says a lot about the show's quality that it's resonated so, but also really made the whole comic kind of flow better for it because the action was already depicted live for me once. It was really a smart way to begin the comic series since the first episode of a new season is a great jumping-on point anyway, rehashing things you need to know to follow the story and characters, introducing Goliath, Elisa, Bronx and the rest of the cast, as well as the world that they live in. It's meant for new viewers, and here, for new readers or for readers who hadn't seen the show since it went off the air, or even for new readers in general. And just as it was back then, it's still a great comment on humanity and how they're willing (or unwilling) to share a world with others, and illuminating the actions that showcase who the monsters really are, and what drives them to perform certain acts. The cool thing about the Gargoyles at this time of their story is that the world knows that they exist and they fear them for their differences, for not understanding what they are, just like with the X-Men, and as such, they can stand for any number of metaphors: gays, nerds, minorities or pretty much anybody who feels like an outcast and misunderstood. The antagonists of this particular story can be interpretted as gay bashers or any number of hate groups or bullies, and that's something that transcends the comic its depicted in to real world ideas. The people that join this particular hate group are in for different reasons, some are hesitant about the violence associated with it...it just sheds light on any number of prejudices and weak reasons people lean on to do the things they do. Now, Greg Weisman has asked to give him until issue three to hook you on the series, simply because that's where he begins the new material and we'll start to see those seeds of intricate and ingenius storylines that the cartoon is beloved for. This series has a lot of potential, and while the art wasn't everything I could have dreamed for the book, it got the job done and it was a lot of fun to read. Check this book out.