Issue 45: The Gargoyle
Updated: Dec 12, 2022
Jessika: This was not the series we wanted, nor was it what we deserved. Hello and welcome to Ten Cent Takes, the podcast where we carelessly release demon statues which may or may not destroy the world. Oops. One issue at a time. My name is Jessika Fraser, and I'm joined by my co host, the Studious Statue, Mike Thompson.
Mike: I mean, I am wearing my glasses tonight, so kind of fits.
Jessika: It really does. Well, the purpose of this podcast is to study comic books in ways that are both fun and informative. We want to look at their coolest, weirdest, and silliest moments, as well as examine how they're woven into the larger fabric of pop culture and history. If you're enjoying the show so far and want to help us grow, it'd be a huge help if you'd rate and or review us on Apple podcasts, because that really helps with Discoverability. This week, we're going to be discussing a character who is about as interesting as he is soft Marvel's gargoyle. We're going to be looking at the history of the character, where he appeared in comics and other media outlets, and we may even dredge up other obscure figures for Marvel's past. But before we fly into that topic, Mike, what is one cool thing that you've read or watched lately?
Mike: Oh, man. Okay. I have been consuming all sorts of media across various platforms. Just today, I watched Morbius on Netflix. Um, it was not good. In fact, it was easily the worst superhero movie that I've watched in the last decade. I'm saying that as someone who went and saw Fan Four stick in the theaters. I have also been playing a lot of Marvel Snap, which is the new mobile card game that just came out, and it's from the director of Hearthstone, I guess, which is the digital card game that Blizzard put out a while ago. This is great. It's really fast and it's really chaotic, and it's a card game that basically has Marvel characters as the cards and matches are, like, maybe five minutes. It's a lot of fun.
Jessika: Oh, that's fun.
Mike: There's no social mechanics yet, but once there are, I'm going to encourage everybody to download it and be my friend. But the one cool thing I want to talk about, though, is this new comic that just came out from Boom, and so it's a new series that just dropped, and it's called Damn Them All. And it's written by Simon Spurier, it's illustrated by Charlie Adlard, it's colored by Sophie Dodgson and Shane Hannakuy, and it's lettered by Jim Campbell. And the first issue just came out like this week as we're recording. So it'll be one week delayed. When this episode drops, it introduces this woman named Ellie Hawthorne, who's described as an occultist for hire. And so we're introduced to her, and she's trained in magic by her uncle. And then basically, the story starts when her uncle dies, and then she learns that a bunch of demons have been set free from the infernal realms when one crashes his wake. And so she sets out on a mission to damn them right back down below. And so as a result, you've got this story that's a bunch of different parts. There's the mystery of who set the demons free. There's the action of this occultist who's got connections to the British criminal underworld. Like, we even get to see her use a claw hammer in combat in the first issue. And there's this really neat twist at the end of the first issue that I'm not going to spoil, but it was something that really made me sit down and go, oh, that's really cool. Spurry is a really good writer. I've read a bunch of his stuff over the years. He's done a bunch of Judge Dread stuff. He wrote the recent Hellblazer series that came out under DC's Black Label imprint. And then there's this really good, like, kind of dark fantasy mystery that he wrote a while ago for Boom called The Spire. And this feels very much like one of his stories. It's basically a gender swap Tailblazer. And then it's got some, like, Guy Richie movie vibes, like adding some spice. It's got that kind of, like, gritty mobbed up style vibe.
Mike: So, yeah, uh, it's cool. Check it out.
Jessika: Yeah, no, I definitely will have to. That sounds like, interesting. That's wild. I just started reading the life and times of Martha Washington in the 21st century. And that's by Frank Miller and Dave Gibbons. Have you heard of this?
Mike: I think so. This was like a 90s series from, like, Dark Horse, right?
Jessika: So I don't know if it's from the 90s. It goes into the 2000s, so it may even be later than that. But it's really good.
Mike: I feel like I have seen ads for this, like, in comics over the years and I've never read it. But it's this woman with, like a buzz haircut, I think, right?
Jessika: Yeah. So this thing is a beefy motherfucker. It's like 560 pages long, like, the comic itself. And then it has like, a little bit of bonus stuff at the end. I'm only 20 pages in. I'm just going to preface it with I'm 20 pages in, but I'm borrowing it from my really good friend Matt. And so I was like, I got to start reading this so I can give this back to him at some point in my life. But it's really good so far. It's set in this very Dystopian, like, extreme Reagan kind of I mean, the president even looks a little bit like Reagan, but with just completely white hair and is like Rexol. And yeah.
Mike: That'S very Frank Miller of the era. Um, because ah, Frank Miller, around the same time was Skewering Reagan in The Dark Knight Returns. Yeah, I am almost positive that this is the same thing. Is Martha Washington Black.
Jessika: Yeah, she is.
Mike: Yeah. Okay, so this is the same thing. I remember seeing ads for this. She's like black and she's got, like, blonde hair.
Jessika: Uh, I don't know if she has blonde hair in this, but at this point, she's still a child. It literally goes through her life and it says, like, where she was born and shows not tells, but this whole you see her being born in the hospital and the mom, and it goes through her struggle of childhood. And there's a point where she's walking around with a doll and it's snatched up by someone and leaves the doll lying in the street. I'm like, wow, what an analogy for her childhood being left behind. So it's that kind of stuff. It's really heavy because it's a really harsh world. And you're seeing her basically traumatizing her way, growing through it.
Mike: What a shock that the man who gave us Sin City and The Dark Knight Returns and 300 would give us another brutal story oh, uh, God, yeah.
Jessika: Where we torture the hell of a black woman. Don't think that I didn't see that, that I'm not seeing that with my eyes full open. I'm like, yeah, I mean, there are things like that where I'm just like, some of that feels a little weird, a little gross. And I just have to kind of take it as like everything else we read for the time it was written in, who it was written by, and et cetera, et cetera.
Mike: Yeah. Probably still better than that issue of Lois Lane where she turns herself into a black woman.
Jessika: Absolutely better.
Mike: We're going to have to talk about that at some point. We're going to do an episode on it. And they really don't want to.
Jessika: I know you don't, but it probably has to happen because oh, uh, god, our soapboxes are too at the ready to not talk about the things we know. Mike then, uh, that's the burden that we bear. It's not a burden. I love this shit. Just burn it all down. What?
Mike: I didn't hear anything.
Jessika: What do you say we swoop into our main topic?
Mike: Do we have to?
Jessika: Sorry, guys. It's going to be another real short episode onto our brain wrinkles.
Mike: All right. Yeah, I guess. Sure, why not?
Jessika: So this week's main topic is a stoic and stony miser. We are going to be looking at Marvel's gargoyle, specifically the four issue limited series from the 80s featuring character Isaac Christians at the top, resources Wikipedia, Marvel fandom.com ComicVine gamespot.com, marvel.com, Marveldirectory.com, all articles about, you guessed it, the Gargoyle man.
Mike: You described him as stoic. And I cannot think of a more appropriate term, especially these days where stoicism is getting this rebrand yes.
Jessika: And fully take it with that rebrand.
Mike: Especially among the intel community.
Jessika: Yes. No, for sure. He may have even made the incels. I don't know. Did he create the notes?
Mike: I have a whole section of notes on it.
Jessika: Oh, um perfect. Oh, I was hoping. I was hoping.
Jessika: So before we move on to that character, we need to discuss another one because Gasp Isaac Christians was not, in fact, Marvel's first character named The Gargoyle. In May of 1962, a character by the name of Yuri Topilov appeared in The Incredible Hulk Number One, which was created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. Yuri Topilov was the Hulk's first foe, and his character really has not aged well. Uh, from the entry I found on Wikipedia, he is described as a, quote, grotesque but large headed dwarf, which absolutely no. Absolutely, full stop no.
Mike: I'm looking at the photos of him on Google right now.
Jessika: It's a no for me.
Mike: Dog good.
Jessika: Yeah, it's a, uh, no for me.
Mike: I say we swipe left on all of this.
Jessika: It's Horrendous. It is horrendous. So don't worry. I'm not going to focus on him very long.
Mike: Yeah. Around this, there was also a character I think called the Gray Gargoyle. Like a completely different character, but yeah.
Jessika: There was another Gargoyle. There were other Gargoyle esques. Just know that he is none of them. We are also not talking about The Gargoyles, the Disney animated series and related comic series that is completely unrelated.
Mike: I mean, I wish we were. Those are much more fun.
Jessika: I wish we were. You know what? Let's promise our viewers the better Gargoyles experience. We should do this episode. But Disney's the gargoyles.
Mike: Yeah, man. Like, I would love to do that at some point. That's a whole interesting story.
Jessika: Way more fun.
Jessika: So back to this motherfucker, though. So top of love, right? Blop. His powers are elevated intelligence, which are described as superhuman genius, as well as he is well versed in science, just generally, I guess, I don't know. And mechanical theory.
Mike: That's part of that. Uh, the comic books back in the 60s, it was like they were for little kids. And so, like, I remember when when like, I was a kid growing up, and I'm like, always a scientist, and it's just general science, just science.
Jessika: Just gonna be a scientist. Like but but here's, all scientists wear.
Mike: Lab coats and and have beakers and and test tubes and shit like that. And it's how it works.
Jessika: Exactly. But here's the best part, because he also has a Will Sapping pellet gun.
Jessika: It didn't sound great.
Mike: I love Stanley. I love Jack. Kirby. I love the stuff that they created and what they've evolved into. They had a lot of bullshit too, man. There are a lot of characters and storylines that just do not hold up.
Jessika: Yep. Yep. It's true. It's almost like it was, you know god, how long ago was that? I can't I'm not going to do the math.
Mike: That would have been 50 to 60 years ago.
Jessika: God fucking damn it. I was going to say that, but then I was hoping my math was off. Holy shit. Yeah. Long ass time ago.
Mike: There was a Twitter thread today about like, what's the oldest comic in your collection? And I have two from 1965. Yeah, it was one of those things of oh, okay. So those are almost 60 years old. Okay.
Jessika: Yeah, I've got a few older ones that I kind of stumbled across in, uh, estate sales and things. So yeah. Um, it's weird to think about.
Jessika: M so Topalov is also affiliated with the KGB and appeared in Rampaging Hulk Number One, where he really only showed up in one of Beret's techno art films. And it feels very much just like a callback. These two appearances somehow landed him enough infamy to game Topple off an entry into Marvel Universe's Deluxe Edition Number 17. I don't know. How.
Mike: Are you talking about like the character guides that they were putting out?
Jessika: Yeah, it just said Deluxe Edition number 17. And it said an entry for so I'm guessing it was their character their character guides.
Mike: Yeah. Art from Alphabet Flight, I think has been going through those as Time Goes On, where he reads through entries and it's just they're just jammed with every character they have. And so sometimes it's a real short entry. But yeah, if you're, uh, curious about that, go check out Alphabet Flight. Mhm sorry, I keep on diverting things or derail.
Jessika: No, that's totally fine. Like, uh, I said, really, once we get through this, we're just going to yell for a while and it'll be fine. Yeah, but enough about that. Fucker. That's not the gargoyle we came here to hear about. Isaac Christians, who, like many Marvel characters, had his introduction in another series, the Defenders Volume One, issue number 94, titled Beware the sixfingered Hand, which was released by Marvel in April 1981. He was created by J-M-M di Mateus and Don Perlin. And Perlin's character design was actually inspired by a sequence in a Prince Valiant comic where the prince disguises himself as a gargoyle.
Jessika: Christian's backstory was interwoven with that of the plotline of that issue, revealing the connection with the hand in relation to his stony exterior. But hold tide on that will square up on Christian's Backstory, as it is further explained in the focal comic series of this episode. Gargoyle went on to appear throughout and to the end of the Defender series, and also appeared as the costar of Marvel Team Up number 119, written by Dame Matthias. And he later described that particular issue as one of his favorite favorite stories.
Mike: I had no idea that The Defenders was as long lasting as it was because that's not a comic that most people remember these days. But it has over 150 issues.
Jessika: I had heard of it, but only through studying stuff not just out in the wild.
Mike: Yeah, currently there's the MCU connection, but it's like a totally different group of heroes. Yeah, the Defender series in the 80s was pretty wild. It was just kind of a bunch of very, I don't know, uh, not exactly delist superheroes, but just kind of a bunch of heroes that most people haven't heard of today.
Jessika: Huh. But feels like butt feels like yeah, it's okay. We can get our superheroes off wish every once in a while. That's fine, right? Is that sustainable?
Mike: Oh, man.
Jessika: Uh, the four issue limited series was created by Don Perlin and JM. M. Dematteus, who had this to say about the reason behind the creation of the Gargoyle limited series.
Mike: I'd always wanted to do that character the right way. We'd had him in Defenders for years, and Don Perlin and I, we came to like him so much as a person. This M was a classic case of the character coming alive for us. We came to like Isaac Christians, this little old man inside the gargoyle's body so much that it began to mellow out the way we portrayed the outer shell, the gargoyle aspect. And before you know it, he's this cute little funny animal, which he was never intended to be.
Jessika: Yeah, he was hilarious, I was going to say. I guess.
Mike: Um, we got some feelings on that one.
Jessika: Good Lord, we certainly do. So I think there may be a little bit of a loss in translation, ski perspective here, from artists to like person viewing. So in a 2013 interview, D Mate said that Gargoyle is a character I still have tremendous fondness for, which is sweet but fascinating.
Mike: I had some notes about this and we'll talk about it later on. It kind of validates some thoughts I had.
Jessika: Also fascinating. Love this. So the series was written by J-M-M di mateus. Can you tell this was his baby?
Mike: Oh, yeah.
Jessika: Art by Mark Badger, lettered by Ken Bruzanak, colored by Bob Shireti, with Karl Potts as editor and Jim Shooter as editor in chief. So the first issue, subtitled Love and Death, was released in April of 1985 and begins with our introduction to our main character, an actual gargoyle that one might see adorning a building's facade. And he's in a funeral home, standing over the body of an old woman in a casket, mourning and monologuing loudly enough to have caught the attention of the worker. And for some reason, in this instance, the police show up, like instantly, teleportation, devices unknown. So he flies out of there after scaring the crap out of two police officers and flies off to Mope Solo and heads to the church in the town he had abandoned.
Mike: It was like a town that, like, his father had helped found or something like that, or his his family had helped found, I can't remember. But there is a connection. And like, they had family money tied up in it and whatever.
Jessika: And we'll get into it, but for some reason, they make it seem like one person is responsible for the livelihood of this town. And because he keeps dipping out the town's doing awful. And I'm like, that's not how towns work.
Mike: No, it doesn't make any sense.
Jessika: That's not how that works. He's like, I've been gone so long, the town is in shambles. This is my fault. I'm like, no, it's not. It's the city council's fault. Do we have elected officials?
Mike: What's really weird about that town is also it's drawn in an almost European way. Like, the church is like a tiny cathedral. Like, I'm pretty sure I remember buttressing in the architecture, I think.
Jessika: Sure was stained glass. The nine yards. Yeah.
Jessika: So we find out that this dead woman, Elaine, was an unrequited love. This dude basically never made a move and then was upset when when his friend went after her instead.
Mike: Yeah. He also confessed his love to her, like, right before right before his friend was like, shipping out to World War One. Isn't that right?
Jessika: But you don't get to do that because he and the because she and the friend were already a thing.
Mike: Yeah. He was like, I was shooting my shot. I'm like, that's okay, that's not how that works.
Jessika: So then he's just mopey about it.
Mike: Yeah, it's just like everything that you're reading about this one sided love story, you're just like, this feels really problematic these days.
Jessika: Yeah, because furthermore, throughout the years, he creepily keeps tabs on her.
Jessika: And we also learn how this mess came to be, which is, again, uh, it amounted to him neglecting the town that was seemingly his responsibility by staying inside with his nose and books and I have no idea what that's like. No clue. I don't have a sink full of dishes as I was reading, trying to read through as much as I could of a 500 page comic when I got home.
Mike: Living the dream, Jessika.
Jessika: I'm an adult and I get to make choices about how I spend my time. Also, no one's invited over. We don't host here. And so once this guy is like, late seventies and finally pulls himself from his literature, he finds that his town is the next stop on the struggle bus on the brink of collapse. So he makes a deal, which of course was to his detriment it's with a group called the Six Fingered Hand. Christians is tricked and he finds himself trapped and then in the body of a gargoyle without the ability to die. Oh, no.
Mike: Oh no.
Jessika: So he's got all this kind of backstory, which, by the way, the exposition was fierce. It was aggressive in its exposition.
Mike: Mhm. I have thoughts again, all of this stuff is stuff that we're going to talk about.
Jessika: That's okay. Just making a point. Um, we could draw upon that later.
Mike: I'm making a lot of faces right now on the video.
Jessika: You sure are. It's really too bad that Mike will never let this be a visual medium. Sorry, folks. Maybe if you ask really nicely if we ever got a patreon. Mike's glaring at me so hard.
Mike: Maybe. I don't know. We need to get my office space set up so it's not just my bedroom.
Jessika: I love that quilt, though.
Mike: Uh, feel like I need neon signs in the background too.
Jessika: Yes, you do. I also am not prepared for something of that nature. I was going to say, as I point to my mismatched comforters that are surrounding my person at this point. We're living the, uh, dream.
Mike: Live in the dream. Live in the dream.
Jessika: Let's see. Oh, good Lord, this is so boring. Hold on. Um, he made a deal. He's trapped without the ability to die. Okay. Boom. Okay, so we're out of the exposition of the past at this point because the fire suddenly erupts in the church in real life. And he breaks through a stained glass window because of course he does. And is followed by a female, specifically female group of spectres. So not only is he grieving and having a personal crisis, he's also being harassed by ghosts, one of whom looks like Elaine. And he is fighting for his life against the mob of ghosts. That was actually pretty funny. Um, when a figure comes out of the shadows and plot twist, the gargoyle is staring into his own human eyes. The figure says he will explain, but he has someone to show him. And it's a young Elaine in the flesh. The plot twists were just Shyamalan esque.
Mike: They don't make sense.
Jessika: They don't make any sense. I was so confused when I got to the end of this one issue because I was like, wait, isn't that the guy? But wait, why is the guy here? The guy is a gargoyle. Right? And then I had to flip to the very beginning and do like, a comparison. And then I understood. I was just like, this is weird.
Mike: Yeah, I, uh, was very confused too, because I didn't really grasp it either. I had to go back.
Mike: So did you read the physical issues?
Jessika: Well, yeah, because, um, I bought them as dollar bins. Yeah. So that whole series cost me $4. So I guess I don't give a fuck.
Mike: I had the physical issues years ago. I found it at a local comic shop. It was a bundle. And I was so bored reading through the first that I realized I gave up on it halfway through. I didn't even make it more than like halfway at most. And the thing is, I read it this time on Marvel Unlimited. Because for some reason, this fucking thing is on Marvel Unlimited. Not a bunch of other better stuff, but what this? Good Lord Christopher is not on Marvel unlimited. And I think Crystal is much more interesting than this. It's problematic, but it's much more interesting.
Jessika: I was going to say it's much more interesting, but yeah, no, for sure. Uh, weird.
Mike: Yeah, man. M. I had to sit there and flip all the way back to the first couple of pages too. I'm like, oh, is that supposed to be him? Because it's not really well explained at the end of the first issue.
Jessika: No, he just says, it's me, Isaac Christians. I was like, no, that's Isaac Christians, what are you talking about?
Mike: Um, side note, I had a first date with someone who was talking about how much she loved M. Night Shyamalan movies. There are many other signs that it was not going to work out, but that was one that really stood out to me where I'm like, this feels like we would not get along because I make a point of making fun of his movies a lot.
Jessika: I shy malone to myself in a dream one time, mhm. And I'm going to have to do a TikTok about it now because it deserves a fuller story.
Mike: Everyone go follow Jessika on TikTok.
Jessika: Yes. Jessika with a k. Jessika with a Jessika spelled with a k. Um, all.
Mike: Right, back to issue two.
Jessika: Oh, God, I hate this. I hate everything about it. So issue two was published in May 1985, just one year before I was born and was subtitled burning bright the Gargoyle's Tale. As you can probably guess. We find out the backstory this issue to how Christians came to inhabit the gargoyle's body. The reader is advised that the Gargoyle has been enjoying the pleasures of the flesh, as it were. And the phantoms that were attacking him last issue were actually made just for, you know, bow wow, which ugg, we will get into that.
Mike: Also, he describes them as semi human harlots. And I'm just like, oh, that's not a good description, that sounds problematic. I screenshot of that because I was like, I want to talk about this.
Jessika: Yeah, there were some problematic art choices for sure. One of the pictures definitely had his hand on a butt.
Jessika: So we also find out that he himself was not great about expressing his feelings. So after his friend married the woman he fancied homeboy ran off to France to get away and instead of actually doing work on himself, found a woman who looked almost exactly like Elaine, who was a sex worker. And because he doesn't have healthy boundaries or communication skills and because heaven forbid we have some emotional maturity, he spends all of his money and then some paying for her company as a surrogate for Elaine. We get the backstory for the Gargoyles creation where basically the vibes of the old gods were trapped in statues once Christianity came around. Cue actual picture of Christ on the cross. Close up now, folks. But were later let loose by a wizard telling them to go get revenge. But apparently this wizard had no idea what he was doing because these gargoyles started causing legit destruction, murderizing everyone. And there were some really gross implications that there were other unspeakable acts happening there.
Mike: There is like one of the poses.
Jessika: That they have graphic.
Mike: Yeah, it's like it is and it isn't because it's like the comics code, but there's one where one of the gargoyles or the demons, whatever they are, it's grabbing a woman. And it is very implied that there's some non consensual stuff going on there.
Jessika: And you're like, yes, that's exactly it. And I was, like, looking at it for the longest time, hoping that I wasn't seeing what I was saying. I was like, can I interpret this in any other way? And I'm like, I really fucking can't. Because there was a second one, uh, that was doing the exact almost same thing. Like there were two of them. And I was like, wow, so not only did you do it once, but you did it twice. That's wild. Okay, so me as a woman seeing that, that was super cool. So the wizard traps them again, but couldn't get all of them because their will was just too strong, apparently. So some of them were still wreaking havoc. Main gargoyles sticks around in society being a nuisance until he gets trapped again by the six fingered hand. And then when Christians also got captured by the group, the gargoyle took the opportunity to switch places and then that caused them both to escape the trap, but very much Freaky Fridayed. So Christians tries to run off but is taken down by more gargoyles. That's the plot twist here. There's always a fucking plot twist towards the end. And he's told by the body snatcher that they can switch back, but he just needs consent to do so. And Elaine says that she can stay, but only if they do the switcheroo. Oh, no. So Christians knows this is a terrible idea. He even really marginally knows that he's being manipulated. But the man can only think about how he wants to get his dick wet. So he agrees. And once they're switched, of course, another plot twist. She's not Elaine. She's the other woman from Fence who happens to have a rhyming name germain.
Mike: Okay, so the thing is, uh, it's such a weird tone shift because she's sitting there and she's like, oh, I can stay with you and don't you want to be with me? And blah, blah, blah. And then afterwards she's like, you're an idiot. You need to fix this.
Jessika: Um, she like, hits him in the face. She literally punches him.
Mike: And I was just like, what is it? There's also in the flashbacks, it shows him, like, literally kissing her feet. It is implied that there is some sort of dominant subjective relationship there. It sounds like there might be some financial combination going on with her and him.
Jessika: I don't know. I would think so, because he does talk about how he literally went through all of his money and then he was asking for loans and then he's like, I don't know. He was in all kinds of crazy shit. For money. So that's the end of the second issue. We're halfway through, kids. And here's the thing, guys. I boiled it down as far as I could to get the plot across because if I didn't tell you any one of these facts, like, literally none of the next part would make sense because this comic is just wild.
Mike: It is so dense and so weirdly non linear and nonsensical. I found myself getting really frustrated while I was reading this.
Jessika: I was confused when I was trying to read it. And then I was like, well, I have to write a freaking synopsis of this. Sometimes Mike and I will do this thing where we will ask each other to recap the comic that we're reading. And I was like, I'm not doing that to Mike.
Mike: I was really worried you were going to ask me to do that. And I was prepared.
Jessika: No, um, I was like, what am I going to say? This is his entire backstory. I'll have no content. Oh. Issue three was published in June 1985 and is subtitled lost Souls the Druids Tale. We pick up Bright fucking where we left off with the Gargoyles joining up with their leader who just got his hard bod back, and with Christians unable to do any of the cool Gargoyle shit that he had been able to do before because Duh, he's just an old man again. And Germaine is mocking him something fierce and he's having another breakdown in the church when Mr. Wizard himself comes along, heals the cut on his face he'd somehow sustained in the Gargoyle mania. And the wizard, who introduces himself as Durwidden duraidan is that it's awful. It's a terrible name. I'm saying Derwydden because that's what honestly, uh, it said nothing in my brain when I first saw it. I just looked at it and went, that's a name, and kept moving. But no voices were saying anything for that name. They were like, yeah, you're on your own for this one. So Darwin squares up to ask Germaine some questions. Meanwhile, the Gargoyles are having an amazing time tearing shit up. And then we go back to more exposition about the Druids. Lots of info about how magic worked in that part of the world back way. When and his own backstory and trials he drowned at one point was found and saved by sea sprites who put him to sleep for a long last time before he awoke, uh, on the beach to find a totally different world than the one he'd seemingly just been in. We then get even more backstory about Christians's personal journey because he had to go on his own Eat, Pray, Love journey to the east. Gestures vaguely, he studies and whatever for a long time, but is called home because, again, he's been super neglectful to this town, which is apparently needing to be cared for as you would a child. But okay, so Derwydden is like, Bro, we got to stop these guys. And Christians like, how, bro. I'm almost 80 and I'm just a dude and I'm freaking out right now. But Derwent gives him a motivational speech and apparently rolled really high in persuasion because Christians is amped by the end of the speech.
Mike: Yeah, that's exactly how I summarize my head anyway.
Jessika: I was like, it wasn't even that good of a speech. But okay, go with it. I don't know. And Jermaine is still just kicking around in the background doing literally absolutely nothing. The last couple of scenes are, uh, the Gargoyles calling even more Gargoyles, and the other group leaving to find them and square off. That's it. That's all that happens in that one. So don't worry because we're at the end. And this is the shortest paragraph yet that tells you anything. So issue four was released in July 1985 and is subtitled Battlefield. There is an exclamation point, which is why I had to say it that way. The last issue really is just a battle back and forth. The Gargoyles look like they're overtaking Derwooden at one point, that he blasts them off. But he also runs out of power. And Christians is just being a coward. And Derwyn looks like he's going to die, but he's saved by the power of Christ.
Mike: I still don't quite understand that. But that was my take. There's a lot of Christian.
Jessika: Yeah, we, uh, already talked about the whole ass Jesus on the cross that we saw on, um, issue one, which.
Mike: Was an interesting thing. And I'll talk about that on one of my notes.
Jessika: But I guess two.
Mike: Yeah, I don't know. It was just one of those things where I'm like, I don't know. Okay, whatever. I'm not sticking around to really examine this in depth because I don't care enough about this comic.
Jessika: No, yeah, you can fine shoehorn in White Jesus. That's fine. Like, whatever you're going to do.
Mike: Yeah. When we do see Christ on the cross, it's very much White Jesus.
Jessika: Oh, it's white. Jesus. Of course it is. Uh, and then Derwydden and Christians join forces and they send the Gargoyles back to Inanimacy, except for Main Brog Oil, who ends up in a hand to hand fight with Christians, who somehow sacrifices himself and switches back with the Gargoyle.
Mike: It's extremely vague. They basically crash together. And then all of a sudden there's like a flash of light. It really does not make sense.
Jessika: Think the cloud that Tom and Jerry make when they're fighting in a cartoon. And that's how it felt. And then they were switched again. Then Elaine really shows up and says she loves him what the fuck ever, and then disappears. So he gets his fucking closure. The fucker did not deserve any kind of closure with that.
Jessika: And he walks off into the sunset with his own dead body, which is actually pretty fucking metal.
Mike: I did like that scene, but yeah. And the thing is that after they switch bodies, he basically I think he slashed the throat of gargoyle, uh, spirit in his body, and he's like, you're.
Jessika: Just an old man, Bob.
Mike: So you see the gargoyle spirit, like, float out of his dead body. And that was kind of cool.
Jessika: Yeah. But it was still like, what? Okay, fine. So that's it, folks. That's it. That's where we leave our gargoyle friend. Apparently just going back to hang out with the defenders. No closure on Germaine, by the way. Beach dubs.
Mike: Yeah. Vanished. And then I wasn't sure if Elaine took over her body or what. It was not explained to her.
Jessika: It was just made out of mud, so I'm not sure.
Mike: Yeah. Uh, she was supposed to be a clay golem.
Jessika: Yeah. So I don't know that she probably just turned back into clay.
Mike: Yeah, probably.
Jessika: But again, why bother to resolve that? She's just a woman. Um mike, let's fucking discuss this thing. Uh, what did you like about it?
Mike: Not much. Um right. This is not the worst thing that I have ever read, but I cannot remember disliking a comic this much in recent memory. This was not a good series. And again, I don't like to sit there and trash art that people worked hard on and put out, and they did it. They were published. This was a thing that was made, and so I don't want to take that away from them, but I really did not enjoy this comic. Things I liked I liked the bit about the mythology showing how magic and gods weren't like static in the marvel universe. There's a bit talking about how christianity and monotheistic religions are just basically the latest pantheons to hold power, and they kind of forced out the old gods, which I thought was interesting.
Jessika: Yeah, they could have gone different directions with it, but I did think that was interesting too.
Mike: Yeah. I will say I really liked all the covers for every one of the issues. They are beautiful works of art that promised us something far more dynamic and exciting and interesting than we got. I kind of like the general theme. I think it's an interesting one. It's got whiffs of the immortal hulk series that came out recently. In terms of our human and monstrous sides, I think the concept had some really interesting potential. It clearly did not deliver something that I wanted, but I think the groundwork was there to play out really nicely if they had gone in a different direction. But that leads me into the things I didn't like. I really did not like the incel vibes, especially in issue two, where christians is remembering his relationship with Germane in France, and when she leaves him, his very strong sense of entitlement and codependency and everything. It just it really was m uncomfortable to read. The constant flashbacks drove me bonkers. Like, yes, everyone gets a flashback like mhm germaine gets a flashback. The gargoyle gets a flashback. The demon inhabiting Isaac Christian's body gets a flashback.
Jessika: Fucking whiplash.
Mike: Yeah, exactly. Der Widden gets a substantial flashback. And they take up a lot of space in each of these books. And it's always like, well, let me tell you how this happened. Remember how in our episode for Machine Teen where I was talking about how it's all telling? It's not showing every time. They're like, well, let me give you this crucial backstory. I'm like, I don't know. Stop it. I don't care.
Jessika: I skimmed a lot of that shit, especially the druid shit. I was like, I can just tell that I don't need to know any of this. I can just tell.
Mike: Yeah, the other problem is that none of these are characters that we care about.
Mike: They're all plot devices to further the story. Even the Gargoyle, even Christians himself. They're all very flat, like two dimensional characters. And then we're we're basically told we need to understand their backstory. And it's like, but we don't care about them as characters. Like, who the fuck is Der Witten when he shows up? I don't know. He's a Merlin stand in. And then he, let me tell you my back story. And I'm like, I don't care.
Jessika: You've already told us you make poor choices. Like, why are we listening to you?
Mike: Yeah, exactly. And then the Gargoyle is just such a whiny motherfucker and he whines so much internally and I was just over it. I think that's why I gave up when I actually bought the Issues X number of years ago. But he never stops whining and moping and it got on my nerves real quick. And then it's really dull. The miniseries just has this very dull tone, both in terms of art and narration. It all feels very passive. Even the bits where we do get action, which first of all, they're very few and far between. They're drawn in this way that just doesn't feel very dramatic or exciting. Even the bits towards the end of the series where the Gargoyles are like, terrorizing the town, it's constantly the same sort of shot with the same angles and there's very little detail. It felt very rushed and not finished in a lot of ways. Yeah, I was reading it in Marvel Unlimited where they had remastered the colors and everything. So there's a lot of contrast and you can look at it up close. If I had been reading this on the actual physical issues, which they were printed on cheap pulpy newsprint at the time, um, uh, comics from that era, the colors don't hold up unless they were printed on a really nice glossy paper. And I remember sitting there and being like, god, I can't tell what's going on because it's really dark and everything's really blown out. And I can only imagine that it kept on going that way.
Jessika: Yeah. And my copies of my Issues are in stellar condition. They're in amazing condition. And the colors on that thing, you god damn, you can tell it aged for sure.
Mike: Yeah. And, um, the final thing that I really wasn't wild about was actually the general vibe of this character. I didn't know that he came from Prince Valiant, but it really kind of struck me as a knock off of Echrigen the demon from DC Comics.
Jessika: M yeah.
Mike: Where again, there's the duality of humanity and the demon nature sharing the same body, sort of, because that's the whole thing with Etrigan. Is he shares the body of Jason Blood, where they have to switch off. But yeah, there was a lot that I didn't like about this comic and not much I liked.
Jessika: Yeah, me too. Okay, so I did like the design of the Gargoyles in some of the instances, and especially the one wearing a sweatband on his head. It was very eighty s of them.
Jessika: And I think they could have done so much more with this than they did had they chosen to go in different directions with it. It was really heavy on the Jesus Saves vibes for my taste.
Mike: It was very heavy on it, um, reminded me a little bit of those Thomas Nelson comics from the 90s that we talked about in episode number eight, where we were talking about the second life of Marvel's Christian comics way back in episode eight. I know.
Mike: I don't know. It's very strange. Everything about the series that strange, dark, fantasy, occultism, but then also m it almost feels heavy handed with its vibes for like, pro Christianity, supernatural elements.
Jessika: Mhm. Yeah. So let's roll into my dislikes. Let's start off with the fact that this shit was super boring. And like you said, there was way too much exposition.
Mike: I just remember you and I did not talk much about this ahead of time, but you were like, it's so boring. I'm like, oh, thank God. I thought that I was the only one who thought this.
Jessika: I still hadn't read it as of yesterday. And I was like, I need to do the research before I read this because very truly, I cannot get through this right now.
Mike: You were very gung ho about this originally. We were like, it's the gargoyle. And it was and I was like, okay. I think I remember. And I was like, oh, okay.
Jessika: It looks so damn cool on the COVID That's why I picked it up.
Mike: I know.
Jessika: God, what a fucking letdown. Good Lord, this is like somebody told me they were going to give me a puppy at Christmas, right? And then they hand me a stuffed animal. That's what this feels like. Yeah, that's how this feels. But the puppy also has a needle in it.
Mike: It's not even a brand name. Pound puppy. No, it's like the knock off that your aunt sewed together.
Jessika: Well, yeah, and she accidentally left a pin in it. Yeah, and it cuts you on Christmas.
Mike: Um, what we're saying is that this comic did not deliver what we were promised on the covers.
Jessika: Did not.
Mike: In case we were being too subtle for you.
Jessika: I fell asleep reading it. Yeah, I fell asleep three times I tried I fell asleep three different times trying to read it. This was the first issue, like you said, I also really just dislike Christians as a character. Yeah, he's insufferable and he's selfish legit the entire series until he sacrifices himself m, quote unquote. And that's somehow supposed to just what? What? Wash away his prior sins? Okay. Obvious Jesus analogy. She's slap m me in the face with it another time. And uh, finally, my biggest point of outrage, which is that women were absolutely props, they outright said so. Oh yeah, like, again, literally conjuring women from beyond the grave to fuck. It was so gross. And they definitely didn't have a say in any of that situation either coming back or any of that. And I hated that Christians continued to narrate to Elaine throughout his entire ordeal. Like in his head, that's who he was talking to the whole time and it's just like god, uh, just have an internal monologue like the rest of us. Jesus Christ. And I was even more pissed off when she suddenly had feelings for him after dying. It was so gross.
Mike: It made no sense.
Jessika: It made no sense. My voice is just going a higher and higher pitch. The fact that Jermaine was so in the background for so much of it and really only acting as the quote, unquote, emotional woman who is letting her emotions get the better of her when she lashes out a couple of times. And I would say I would like to make the statement right now that overall, it just feels like nobody on staff had ever met a woman before.
Mike: Everything about the attitude towards Elaine and Germain, it felt like I was listening to some kid who was maybe 18 telling me about the great loves of his life, mhm and I was just.
Jessika: Like, okay, it's like, it goes beyond this guy having a type, but did their damn names have to rhyme? Come on.
Mike: Well, and the other thing is, like, he found Germaine and like, France, and he thought that she was Elaine, but she had slight differences in appearance and I'm like, okay, whatever.
Jessika: The only difference was like, her hair color and that she was more confident and, and, and what was wild about that is that the confidence correlated to oh, well, it's because she's a sex worker. You're only confident if you're, uh, a ho, which I very much respect sex work and it's a real profession, it's a real fucking job. It is fucking work. And it really bothers me when sex workers are portrayed in ways like this because she did, she was portrayed to look like a manipulative individual. She was portrayed to look money grubbing. Here's the deal. Fuckers if that's her job. Yeah. She's trying to get your money, just like my job is under no delusion that I'm there to get money from them. That's how that works. That's how jobs work as I kick over my soapbox. Well, outside of comics Isaac Christians, the Gargoyle has made no appearances that I can dig up, which fine, rip.
Mike: I don't have a problem with any of this.
Jessika: Nor do I. Erie topilov however, Gargoyle numero uno appeared in the Hulk segment of the Marvel superheroes television show, but he was called Gorgon, and he also appeared in name and form as a recurring comic relief character in the 1996 Incredible Hulk series, voiced by Mark Hamill, which is an interesting factoid.
Mike: Yeah, that's not surprising.
Mike: Marvel at that point in time was doing a lot of animated series, and I don't remember much of the Hulk series, but I don't remember it being very good.
Jessika: And I have to say that Mark Hamill has to, like, voice act while he's sleeping as well as while he's awake because he has so many different characters. I don't know how he has time for all of them.
Mike: Yeah, the other funny thing, though, is that, uh, this was right around the time that he was actually coming into prominence as a voice actor, because it was not long after he had started doing the Joker for Batman The Animated.
Jessika: Series, which, by the way, Mark Hamill hit us up.
Mike: Seriously, we would love to have you on and talk about whatever you want. You don't have to talk about the Joker. We can just we can talk about your favorite comic books. He's, like, a really avid comic collector, if I remember right, too.
Jessika: Oh, that would be fun. Please call us, email us.
Mike: He seems lovely.
Jessika: We don't have our numbers online. If you call us, they'll be a little weirded out because I wonder how you got my number. Toplov also appears in the video game Lego Marvel's Avengers, which features over 200 Marvel characters.
Mike: Yeah, so that makes sense.
Jessika: Yeah. Any final thoughts on this limited series, Mike?
Mike: I didn't like it.
Mike: The only other thing is that you can tell that Dematteus really had a story that he wanted to tell, but I think he was also limited in terms of either budget or time for the number of issues that he could put out for this character. It feels like a very earnest story, like, kind of reading between the lines and I don't know, man, it doesn't mean it's good. But yeah, I feel bad. I feel like he had a better story that he wanted to tell, maybe. And I feel like readers deserved a better story. So that's where I am on it.
Jessika: Yeah. I'm very much in the same boat. I won't tack on too much more than that. I've kind of peppered in my own vibes throughout well, what do you say that we roll, uh, on through to our brain wrinkles?
Mike: Yeah, let's bounce.
Jessika: And we have reached our brain wrinkles, which is that one thing, comics or comics adjacent that has been rolling around in our noggins since the last time we chatted. Mike, why don't you start us off?
Mike: I have been thinking about Twitter and Elon Musk. Yeah. We are in the final week of when the acquisition is supposed to go through, and it's been this very turbulent affair. I don't know, who knows if it's actually going to happen. Like, there's a possibility that it might blow up or it might go through on Friday. But based on the stories that have been coming out about what he's told investors, it sounds like he wants to make it actively a much more toxic place to be under the guise of his definition of free speech. And that just makes me really sad. There's also a lot of anxiety about the wider implications for, like, democracy in general and easing the spread of misinformation and propaganda and general data security since he's apparently planning to lay off, like, three, four of the company. Mhm twitter has gone from a pretty hellish social media platform to over the last few years, becoming one that feels relatively safe and curated. And if all of this comes about, I feel like it's going to likely mean the return of toxic fandoms and harassment and doxing. And I'm not sure how much of a presence we're going to have on there in the long term after that because I don't want to expose you or me or our families to harassment if that comes about. Like, if we piss off the wrong group of fans, they could easily come after us and mhm. I don't know. It makes me really sad because we built up a lot of friendships on the platform and I'm not sure what we should do or where we should go if the acquisition goes through on Friday because there's not really an equivalent platform out there right now.
Jessika: Yeah, I hear you. And that is the challenge. It's like having all of these things kind of taken away from us in a way by, um, people who have all the power. In this case, it's billionaires, which is why I fucking hate a billionaire story. Looking at you, Bruce Wayne. Don't call us.
Mike: What about you? Uh, hopefully you've been thinking about something a little bit more uplifting.
Jessika: No, because it got me thinking about women in comics again. I know it's a whole problem, but it's like anywhere I turn, it's getting better. It's getting better. It's helpful that a more diverse group of people are writing comics and being listened to at this point in time. But we still have media that's really putting Whiteness in the forefront and Maleness in the forefront. And it still feels really toxic a lot of the time. And it's really disappointing because I feel like in a lot of ways, we're going backwards in some of the ways that we are interacting with fans, especially. So, I don't know, it's just something that I've been thinking about and I don't know, I'm pretty cynical to begin with, so this isn't much of a shock, probably, to anybody. But it's also just really disappointing to have those cynical viewpoints validated. Just looking out in media and then trying to talk myself out of being gasoline about it. That's a fun little mental gymnastics game we have to play, but it is what it is, I suppose that's, um, it so any Hoodle.
Mike: Yeah, sorry, folks, it's, uh, a lot of doom and gloom today.
Jessika: Yeah, but that's because we read the gargoyle. Well, thank you again for listening, folks. It's, uh, been an episode. Join us next week for another dollar bin discovery, and until then, we'll see you in the stacks.
Mike: Thanks for listening to Ten Cent Takes. Accessibility is important to us, so text transcriptions of each of our published episodes can be found on our website.
Jessika: This episode was hosted by Jessika Fraser and Mike Thompson. Written by Jessika Fraser and edited By Mike Thompson. Our intro theme was written and performed by Jared Emerson Johnson of Bay Area Sound. Our credits and transition music is Pursuit of Life by Evan McDonald and was purchased with a standard license from Premium Beat. Our banner graphics were designed by Sarah Frank, who's at lookmomdraws. Uh.com, if you'd like to get in.
Mike: Touch with us, ask us questions or tell us about how we got something wrong, please head over to Tencent Takes.com or shoot an email to Tencent email@example.com. You can also find us on Twitter official podcast account. Is ten cent takes all. One word. Jessika is Jessika Witha and Jessika is Bubble Decay and Mike is Van. Zou V-A-N-S-A-U.
Jessika: If you'd like to support us, be sure to download, rate and review wherever you listen. Stay safe out there and support your local comic shop.