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Gargoyles, Vol. 1
posted February 2, 2009

imageCreators: Greg Weisman, Greg Guler, Will Terrell, Dustin Evans, Nir Paniry, Karine Charlebois, Gordon Purcell, Stephanie Lostimolo
Publishing Information: SLG, softcover, 168 pages, January 2008, $19.95
Ordering Numbers: 1593620969 (ISBN10), 9781593620967 (ISBN13)

One of the great things about movies like Transformers and GI Joe is that those of us in the 35-45 year old age group are now mostly retired from the "things in our childhood being refashioned in various ways for mass consumption" sweepstakes. It's the toys that our little brothers played with and the TV shows the kids we baby-sat watched that are the fuel for those kinds of entertainment now. That's the long way around way of saying I didn't watch Gargoyles as its natural audience, nor did it strike me as one of those things I should watch once or twice in order to appreciate its uniquely high level of craft or some striking story element. The only thing I remember about it is that it seemed to have a lot of Star Trek actors as voice talent, although I could be totally mistaken about that, too.

Devoid of the power that icons of one's childhood can have when marched through their paces in an authoritative way that breaks with our perception of them, Gargoyles Vol. 1 bored the heck out of me. The character designs are attractive, and there are hints at gothic romance that you don't see all that frequently in kids' cartoons, but not enough of either to keep me flipping a few pages ahead. I do like how the slick paper, close attention to the models and heavy computer coloring makes it look more like an animated show; as a little kid I hated comic book versions of cartoons I watched because they didn't look like cartoons. The overall look should please people who want a sumptuous experience close to the cartoons; they probably won't notice things like the odd way the books are cut that seems slightly lopsided or some of the visual moments where a character seems set against a background rather than placed into a scene. In terms of theme, there's a bit of the generic civics lesson that these cartoons often trot out, such as "don't pre-judge anyone based on their appearance" and "love conquers almost everything," but a lot of the individual plot points seem designed to give the regular readers moments where they do things like shout out, "Oh no, not [character X]!" If you don't care going in, you won't care going forward.