Gargoyles is an animated show that ran for only three seasons, from 1994-1996, but in that time it gained a very loyal cult following who actually held an annual convention up until 2009. The reason is not too hard to see: the series was developed by Greg Weisman who put his all into it, with a detailed world, and generation spanning mythology very few animated shows have sustained. The story was unusually complex for a Disney Afternoon show: a tribe of “gargoyles” who turn to stone during the day are transported to modern day New York by a sinister millionaire and then become embroiled in all kinds of adventures, while their brooding leader, Goliath, enjoys a doomed dalliance with Eliza Maza, a tough NYPD cop. The story had mystery, romance, action, great character designs and lot of nuances.
The third season was kind of a mess though, and Weisman refused to put his name on it. Later on he’d continue it in a comic from Slave Labor that ran from 2006-2009, a welcome return for the Gargoyles fans who had been waiting. There’s been talk of a Gargoyles movie since then but…that would seem kinda unlikely at this point.
The Slave Labor book wasn’t the first Gargoyles comic book though. Marvel had a series while the show was on and shorter tales appeared in Disney Adventures magazine, And that’s where I come in. I edited the comics, working with some of my favorite people like Joe Staton and Michael Reeves. But there was a gig that came up that I felt I had to handle myself: a 3-page comic for the 1996 Halloween issue of TV Guide.
Yes, you see, once there was a small digest sized magazine called TV Guide that had a circulation of something like 3 million because it was the only thing that told you what Matlock was doing in which particular episode. TV Guide had been running mini comics in their Halloween issues for a while— I think they did the Simpsons the year before—but Gargoyles seemed appropriate for this issue.
Now, if there is one thing I am not in this world, it’s a frustrated comic book writer. I think that may be one of the things that made me (I hope) a good editor in that I generally let people do what they wanted. I’ve had a lot of opportunities to write comics, but it’s not for me and I’m not very good at it. But this time, as I recall, the deadline was something ridiculous so I said, heck, I’ll just write it myself. I got Joe Staton to do the art, John Costanza to do the letters, and Atomic Paintbrush, run by Dennis Calero and then one of the first computer coloring houses in NYC, to do the colors.
The result is by no stretch of the imagination a very good comic. But hey it’s Joe Staton—the guy can’t draw a bad line if he tried. And the Gargoyles and Halloween. And so, nearly unseen for 17 years, and © Walt Disney, here’s my most seen comic ever, and perhaps my literary masterpiece! (click to enbiggen)
PS: I’m sure I’ll have to take this down at some point, so if you want it for your Gargoyle files, you know what to do!
Oh yeah, here’s the cover of that issue of TV GUIDE
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.