By Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)
Yes, I’m late in posting this information, but October 24th marked the official 20th anniversary of Disney’s Gargoyles on television. Can you blame me? Halloween was on my mind for more than a week, and I was getting ready to celebrate my most favourite time of the year that also included hunting for real life supernatural treats. When I’m a paranormal investigator, I can’t be stuck at the couch. However, I digress. As I write this tribute, I have the series playing on a second monitor.
In what I enjoyed from this animated series is the camaraderie and the thought put into this series design. As a literary enthusiast groomed by the myths and legends of the classical world and beyond, there was even more to like in season two! There’s a huge Shakespearean influence that shaped much of the series’ narrative. I’m amused to know that show-creator Greg Weisman’s favourite character is Edmund, my full name, from King Lear.
Either I watch too much television for my own good, or I’m just a keen observer. I believe Fox TV’s Sleepy Hollow is not too different from Gargoyles. When considering that Ichabod is much like Goliath — a person out of time — and he has feelings that he does not want to admit to Abbie aka Elisa Maza (both characters are of African if not First Nation heritage), I sense that the feelings they have for each other will never truly be expressed. These two even have matching personalities and occupation. Coincidence? I think not. Even Katrina, Crane’s wife from long ago, and Demona, Goliath’s first love, are similar. I’m suspecting that in upcoming episodes of Sleepy Hollow, Katrina will give in to her darker side and Crane will begin distancing himself from her even though he still has a deep love for her.
As I look to the future, I wonder if a chance at a new cartoon based in the Gargoyles world can happen for its 25th anniversary year. The chances are doubtful on the same level as if season three will ever get released — despite regular complaints that it’s a weaker part of the whole and discounted as part of the official canon. I really did not mind part of series three’s concept; I read into what happened by the Quarrymen as a reaction that’s similar in context to the historical witch-hunts that started from the Inquisition to the Salem Witch Trials. My only complaint was in how Maza’s archetypical role was changed.
Disney can prove fans wrong by releasing this third series just to get that skeleton out of the closet. Jack Skellington would be dancing merrily if that happened, and as I noted before, the 20th anniversary did not go unnoticed by The Mouse. They quietly released the second part of season two to select mass merchandise outlets, namely Walmart, in October, and a planned wider release scheduled for Jan 13, 2015.
Although this company seemed reluctant in the past, perhaps some movement can happen if Weisman has free time at least three years from now to revisit this fond classic. Even now, he helps keep interest strong in Gargoyles and his other current projects through Ask Greg? and his Twitter account. Although he’s moved on to craft better licensed material, namely Young Justice and Star Wars Rebels. His creativity is even more highly respected when compared to his early work, and Disney better not be remiss to not approach him to consider doing something, perhaps a one-shot, to test the waters just to see if fans want more Gargoyles.
Even an art book is better than nothing. Perhaps a rerelease of Slave Labour Graphics’ material or new content can help collectors fill in the blanks or rekindle interest. The comic shops I regularly visit never did get the trade paperback for Gargoyles: Bad Guys and I need to fill that missing gap in my collection. That story got abruptly ended due to rising licensing costs that was not renewed due to budget reasons, and I’d be hard pressed to find that paperback now since it fetches a high price on eBay and is not too easy to find at comic conventions where I’m forced to pay collector’s prices.
Even as I rewatch the last few episodes of season one, this animated product stands the test of time far better than some other cartoons from the same era, like X-men. On the programming front, Gargoyles direct competitor was Batman: The Animated Series but if I had to be given a choice of what to tune into, I’d rather be tortured by Demona instead!