Comic Review: Gargoyles Clan Building Volume 1

Gargoyles

Publisher: Slave Labor Graphics

Writer: Greg Weisman

Pencillers: David Hedgecock. Greg Guler, Nir Paniry, Karine Charlebois and Gordon Purcell

Colourists:  Penciller(s) Will Terrell, Dustin Evans and Stephanie Lostimolo

Disney’s Gargoyles is a special kind of show to me at least and so I am probably going to talk a lot about the cartoon as well as the comic in this review because this was my childhood and when it aired back in 1994, it was one cartoon that was rather different, one that no one would have expected from Disney to produce; another cartoon that you can compare it to is Batman: The Animated series, serious stuff was going on in the show, things that kids wouldn’t really take to heart, or get overly emotional about, but this show…  This show had so much going for it.

The premise for the whole show is that these gargoyles were alive in the year 994 in Scotland where the most dangerous enemy they had were the Vikings.  The gargoyle clan – the Wyvern Clan – had sworn to protect the human’s who lived in the castle, they protected them during the night while the human’s watched over them while they slept.  Until they were betrayed and destroyed, leaving only a handful of them left who were frozen in stone by a magic spell, which was lifted in 1994 by Billionaire David Xanatos.  Many adventures happened for the clan, they made enemies, friends and even were separated from their leader Goliath for a few month’s, but the final hardship was the gargoyles of Manhatten – former Wyvern clan – being revealed to the world, and the world doesn’t like what is different, and the gargoyles are very different.

Gargoyles finished in 1997, although many fans don’t consider the Goliath Chronicles to be canon – as stated by Greg Weisman who only considers the first episode of session 3 to be canon, because he wrote it and through out the past two sessions he worked on the show along with many other writers to create his vision of what the show was to portray.

Gargoyles: Clan Building Volume 1 was released in 2006 until 2009, releasing 8 issues in total, with the remainder being released in Volume 2 after Disney increased it’s license cost.  The comic was released bi-monthly, with many fans speculating that was the reason why Slave Labor Graphics couldn’t afford to pay the license cost – considering the comic also won  a Ursa Major Award for Best Comic Book in 2007, that might not be the main reason, but probably one of them.

For those of you who have never seen Gargoyles, if you were to look through this comic you wouldn’t really understand the whole dynamics of what is going on with this clan of gargoyles, why one seems rather angsty and pining after someone he can’t have, or wondering about the relationship between the gargoyle leader Goliath and the human Elisa Maza.  Best thing to do is watch the show, even the first 5 episodes to see how you like it, but the series helps develop these characters far more than reading them on a page.

With Greg Weisman at the helm again and with that cover art, I was hoping to read something amazing, something that would take me back to the time when Gargoyles was on TV.  I was so wrong.

The first two issues in this volume are basically session 3 The Journey, but really badly done.

Gargoyles01pg04

The art takes away the story here, the example above shows how much the art just isn’t as in keeping as what you would think it would with the cover art, Goliath – the purple gargoyle –  essentially capes his wings around himself, his whole body is covered apart from then he brings his arms out, they never go over his shoulders.  Another grip in regards to wings is Brooklyn – the gargoyle with the beak – his wings are under his arms, he only did that once, which was in session 1, whenever he capes his wings they are over his shoulders.  We also have in panel 2 Brooklyn lacking a neck of any kind and Hudson having lost his wings completely.

The art doesn’t really get any better in this volume, and when you go onto the comic Wikipedia you can see why, there was no consistent artists staying with the comic long enough to make their own mark on it, no one was sticking to the comic and developing their artist skills in regards to these characters and in this comic you can really feel the lack of passion from the arts because of the lacklustre art.

The stories in each issue though are brilliant, it’s clear that Weisman had a clear idea of where he wants this to go, why he wants it to go their and how he is going to develop all these characters that he has created.  Even the minor characters who are only in for a handful of episodes get some kind of development, and I can only imagine what these stories would look like if they were on TV.  The romance between Goliath and Elisa is still to be resolves, the tensions coming from the Quarrymen, the plotting that Thailog is up to is well written and enjoyable to read.

If you were a fan of the show in the 90’s, you should look this comic up for a download – you can’t buy physical copies any more, or you can but they are expensive! – and see what you think.

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