Amongst the classics of 90s animation, Gargoyles stands heads above the rest as one of the pioneers of dramatic animation. It is as if Disney almost pre-empted the explosion of anime shows on our screens, by breaking the mould with this superb example of American storytelling. A simple premise of a clan of gargoyles awakening after a 1000 years stone sleep into a modern Manhattan, quickly accelerates into a rich tapestry of magic, intrigue and drama. The prominent influence of classical writers, such as Shakespeare, can easily be seen through the characterization of the characters and various levels of storytelling. Yet despite its strengths, Gargoyles suffered a premature end; after setting up many threads in the tapestry during season 2, Gargoyles was cancelled. A mediocre 3rd season, the Goliath Chronicles (TGC), was aired; due to the original writing staff having minimal involvement this was a lackluster continuation with all previous continuity being almost forgotten - these episodes are largely seen as apocryphal by fans.
Someone should have told Disney, that good storytelling doesn't stay hidden for long. To the joy of thousands of committed fans, Slave Labor Graphics announced a long awaited continuation of the show in comic form written by original series co-creator Greg Weisman.
The first twelve issues of the comics comprise the Clan Building arc and pick up where Hunter's Moon part 3 (end of season 2) left off; Greg Weisman wisely chose to ignore the disastrous 3rd season, Goliath Chronicles (TGC). This TPB is the first of two collections, bringing together the first six issues in the arc. Volume two is estimated for release around January 2009. Within this collection are the following titles;
2. The Journey
3. Invitation Only
#1 Nightwatch & #2 The Journey comprise the first story arc and deal largely with the immediate aftermath of the revelation of the gargoyles existence to the world.
New York is reeling from the revelation that these nocturnal gargoyle creatures are no longer myth or urban legend, but in fact real living creatures; previously the gargoyles have long stayed hidden from local inhabitants and the media (though not without close calls - often with precarious results) but are now thrown into the limelight as New Yorkers try to make sense of their new neighbors. And from the ashes of the feud with the gargoyle Hunters grows a new threat - the Quarrymen headed by ex-hunter John Castaway.
#3 Invitation only, #4 Masque & #5 Bash make up the next story arc. It's Halloween and Manhattan is reveling in the occasion; ironically the most popular Halloween costumes are gargoyles. So whilst Manhattan plays at dressing up as our favourite defenders of the night, the real gargoyles attend to their own bash. Billionaire David Xanatos is holding a masquerade ball atop the Eyrie Building; but old enemies always have a habit of crashing the party. Trick or Treat!
#6 Reunion is a stand alone issue, which fills in between the aftermath of the events of last arc and sets up events for the next arc.
On the whole this collection picks up many threads from the original season, whilst setting up many interesting ones for future issues. So far the Clan-Building arc has been a vast improvement over the mediocre third season Goliath Chronicles. Greg Weisman has managed to masterfully capture the original tone and drama of the series. This collection sets up events brilliantly making the wait for volume 2 all the more harder.
Though the pencils change from issue to issue, (#1-3 are done by David Hedgecock, #4 by Nir Paniry, #5 by Karine Charlebois & #6 by Gordon Purcell) each artist brings a unique take on the characters; however the change in artists can be slightly jarring to the flow of the story. On the whole the best artwork is in #5 with fan favorite Charlebois (who currently pencils spin-off series Bad Guys)
All this, plus an introduction by long-time fan, ElfQuest's own Wendy Pini!
If you remember the show, I highly recommend you pick up this comic.
For everyone who is not familiar with this show I suggest you check out Gargoyles - The Complete First Season (Special 10th Anniversary Edition) and Gargoyles - Season Two, Vol. 1.
Keep your eyes peeled for Clan Building Vol. 2 - In #7-9 The gargoyles and Macbeth join forces with King Arthur to protect the Stone of Destiny, and in #10 The Gate: forlorn Brooklyn is whisked away on a timeless journey that'll change his life forever.