You might remember me making the geek-tacularly passionate case that Disney's Gargoyles, cult-classic animated series from the '90s totally deserves its own movie. After all, a lot of you agreed. There are a lot of ways to adapt the story of our stone-by-day warriors-by-night heroes, and make it amazing.
Live-action would obviously rock (pun absolutely intended) as would traditional animation, in the same style as the original, just kicked up a few notches and given a full big-screen budget (original voice cast perfection, please!). Another awesome choice is the CGI technology that has to seem like magic to anyone who might suddenly find themselves transported here from 1994.
Well, we still don't have a movie, but if the powers that be ever decide that it's time to answer our cries, I found some outstanding fan-made concept art they can use as a starting point. Check out these amazing renditions of our beloved Defenders of the Night, courtesy of UK-based concept art student Angela Acquah. The exclamation "Jalapeña!" is tossed around so much nowadays, but really, feast your eyes on these, and tell me they wouldn't look amazing on the big screen.
Original TV series designs above, Amazing art we all needed in our lives below!
Our Clan Leader's design isn't changed all that much — and it doesn't have to be. There's not much that could be improved from the original. Everything here is just more detailed. Check the texture of his skin (it almost looks like dragon scales) and added leather bracers. Also, I love the claws.
We weren't able to get this level of definition in the animated TV series. Also, it might have been a little scary for a younger audience - even for kids who dug this kind of thing. But given the right budget, and the wonders of the 21st century, a movie could pull out every stop and give Goliath the big-screen adaptation he deserves.
Here's another relatively unchanged design, because honestly, why mess with perfection? I mostly just really like seeing details we don't get in the show but know are there, like the red jacket that actually looks like something you could pick up and wear, and the realistic hair color. (I knew her hair probably wasn't actually blue-ish, because of the whole comic-book coloring convention, but you never really know - and I'd be here for punk Elisa.)
Here's where we start to deviate just a little from the original designs. Check out the tartan pattern on her clothes, which actually look a little more functional than what she wears in the show, and more likely to stay on in fights in the air. But I'm really digging the adapted wing shape and talons. I also just really love how Demona looks subtly more monstrous. She's a primary antagonist in the show, and meant to be terrifying. Sexy, sure, but she's also an ancient nightmare. Let her be frightening and then tragic, multidimensional and complex, because this is something else Gargoyles is known for — its complicated and amazing villains and female characters. And when they combine? Yes.
It is a rare fan who didn't have a crush on Brooklyn at some point. He seemed to be the conventional pretty boy of the Manhattan clan, which is pretty interesting since he's also probably the least humanoid of the main cast. (Chicks dug the beak. Some dudes did too.) And I dig the daring redesign.
The animalistic elements give him much more of a feeling of being an entirely different species, conjuring up an otherworldly impression while still remaining totally recognizable. I also love the longer "mane" of hair, and Scottish woad designs — very Braveheart. I have to think he'd approve, especially once he finds out what the movie version of Braveheart is about.
This is another outstanding variation, and this one looks actually a ton more practical than the one we know and love. He can wear pants a lot more easily for one thing. (If you don't know what I'm talking about, Original Lex's wings are shaped like a flying squirrel's, with flaps of skin attached to his arms/legs/sides. They look like they're pierced so he can wear a loincloth and appear on daytime television, but they would make things like human-style clothes pretty tricky.) I also love his enlarged ears, added horns and wicked wing-tip hooks. Lex is a cutie, but he can get pretty dangerous too. Also — five fingers. Took me long enough to get that, too. (They have four in the show!)
There's the puppy! Look at those fangs. Look at those big, pretty, prehistoric-looking fangs and entirely believable facial structure, rhino-like musculature, subtly scaly skin tone and vertebral spike detail! Who's going to get a belly rub for looking so good? This boy!
I know, no Hudson or Broadway (or Xanatos) we've got more than enough extra material to make up for it. (And I trust that whenever they show up, they'll look amazing.)
Have some background and setting art! The world of Gargoyles is gorgeous and atmospheric, and this artist is going to make it look as glorious as its characters.
Castle Wyvern and Environmental Concepts
Excuse me while I fan-flail wildly. Holy Scottish Moor mise en scène, Batman! Castle Wyvern has never looked so gothic, dramatic, misty and atmospheric.
But that's not all, because we have to take night and day into consideration. That's kind of important in a show like this, where the action rises and falls with the sun.
By Day, By Night
But, as we'll soon find, Castle Wyvern and the gorgeously rendered 10th-century is ancient history. You know, so to speak. Because we've got a whole 'nother time and place to explore: the 20th century. (Or 21st, if we're giving the franchise a true modern-day reboot.) It's a whole new world. And this one has skyscrapers.
Xanatos's Eyrie Building With Transported Castle
With Empire State shown for scale. No, Xanatos has no ego. None.
Welcome to the New Age
Lastly, here are two pieces that just made me freak out a little. (In a good way!)
Look at that above image. Look how it perfectly captures the feeling of disorientation and the overwhelming wonder of looking at an entirely new world, so unfamiliar that it might as well be your first step out into an alien landscape. It's perfect. It's dizzying. Also, it communicates the sheer, bone-shaking chill of winter so well that it actually makes me a little bit angry. (Or the closest emotional equivalent. Art-feelings are weird.) Have you ever experienced that? Art so good that it's somehow upsetting? Well, now you have. It's that painting of Lexington looking up at the wintery city. It's making me feel things. Welcome to New York, little guy. This city is gonna hate you, but you're gonna save it anyway.
Like the one above, this piece is really making me feel things. All good art does. That is one safe city. I'd feel safer if he were here in real life. This is very much an age of darkness and a world of fear that we're living in right now. I think many of us feel a lot like Lex up there, for a lot of reasons. And like Goliath said (in what might still be the best opening monologue ever), we could use some more defenders of the night instead of superstition and the sword. Gargoyles did that for us when we were kids, and in times like these, we really could use them again.
Of course, it's also making me feel like: "Gosh, I want a Gargoyles movie, and I want it based on this amazing concept art, or something like it. It's really about time."
What do you think? Show some love in the comments!
Just remember to keep all commentary respectful. This talented artist is a human like you, giving us their work on their own time, for the love of the art and the characters. Rock on, and see you again real soon!