Hi everyone! I’m back writing for the ANTiFanboys and this time I was thinking of taking a broader look at pop culture! I will still blog about comics of course, but I would love to start talking more about some of my other loves like TV, movies, games, and books. You know, blog about a few things I don’t think a lot of blogs are talking enough about.
So with that said I would love to just jump right in and talk about one of my favorite cartoons: Gargoyles. Anyone who is familiar with TV tropes might know one thing or another about this show; especially the Xanatos Gambit, which I’ll talk about in a minute.
I decided to write about Gargoyles, because we have all been overwhelmed with all of this new news that came from SDCC that I thought it might be fun to write about something old that got me into being a nerd, and also something that is over and can be watched completely on youtube. I did do a re-watch of it the other day and I forgot what a great cartoon it was. Like, one of those shows where you have your head involved with two different projects and you take a minute to look up and go, ‘that was pretty amazing’.
Gargoyles begins with the Gargoyle background in Scotland 994 AD. This is a time frame that the show returns to a lot in order to fill in gaps that occur between 994 and 1994. Although, a Gargoyle’s nature is to protect, the princess and subjects of the castle that the Gargoyles are in charge of fear and loathe them as monsters. Eventually betrayal leads to a massacre of most of the Gargoyle population and magic leads the remaining six Gargoyles to remain forever in stone until the castle “rises above the clouds”. A thousand years later, multibillionaire and evil Tony Stark, David Xanatos takes the castle brick by brick to his home in Manhattan which is built to overlook the entire city. Once the Gargoyles are there, they all reawaken to a brand new world of technology and a new population of people to protect.
This leads to the trope; Xanatos Gambit. As a kid there were no tropes. That’s right, there was really no internet or outside information on anything that I was reading and watching. Of course as a kid though and as an adult I was well aware that Xanatos is a character who prepares for anything. If he loses one thing he gains another. The Xanatos Gambit is essentially the no lose scenario. You unknowingly compare him to many villains because villains who don’t have numerous back ups to their back ups look like utter failures. He is also voiced by Jonathan Frakes, aka Commander William T. Riker.
As Xanatos represents a great foe, Goliath, voiced by Keith David, who you may know from a little video game called Mass Effect, the leader of the Gargoyles represents everything you want from a hero. Goliath is strong but his heart will sometimes get in the way of his decisions, he’s smart and well educated but flawed when it comes to acts of revenge, and he has empathy for the rest of his clan especially the younger ones; naming themselves Broadway, Brooklyn, and Lexington, who want nothing better than to reveal themselves to the twentieth century race of New Yorkers. As leader, he is forced to make hard decisions and is sometimes stubborn once making them. He seeks council in elder Gargoyle, Hudson, and police detective Elisa Maza, who he trusts over David Xanatos, including allowing her to establish them a new home away from the castle and over the police station instead.
Once the Gargoyles have come to be accustomed to their new home of Manhattan, they become the island’s protectors. They face many enemies in order to keep their home safe including; Xanatos, other gargoyles, gargoyle hunters, humans, Illuminati, cyborgs, robots, immortals, fairies, wizards, and many characters that are inspired by Shakespeare, including a gun toting Macbeth, the weird sisters, Puck, and Oberon. I could probably do an entire blog on just the Shakespearean connotations in the series. They also deal with time travel on several occasions and travel to magical worlds such as Avalon.
This was a really important series for me as a kid due to a lot of the thematic elements. At the root of all great cartoons, there isn’t just a great story with great characters, but also underling themes like loyalty, heroism, friendship, love, humility, and leadership.
I hope I have sold some of you on this great cartoon and feel free to throw me back some feedback.
I’m going to try and post something new every Friday! Thanks for reading! Cheers!