Remember that awesome cartoon called Gargoyles? If you grew up in the 90s, chances are you saw this absolute gem while you were watching your Saturday morning cartoons. It really left a strong impression, and even though it was cancelled after just three seasons it’s still extremely talked about today. The show has developed a huge cult following, and fans all over the world love to obsess over this show and watch the episodes again and again and again.
The reason this cartoon was so loved is simple: it was actually a really cool cartoon. There were so many factors that made this show very unique and engrossing. First of all, the tone of the cartoon was refreshingly dark, especially for a Disney program. It had more in common with gritty shows like Batman than anything Disney had created in the past. And people loved it for that. This was a show that held nothing back – it wasn’t afraid to show blood and violence, guns, and it even explored shady conspiracies like the Illuminati. And remember, this was supposed to be a kid’s show… Maybe that’s why it got cancelled…
Even if you’re a die-hard Gargoyles fan, and you think you know everything there is to know about this awesome cartoon, we’re sure there are a few facts here that even you’re not aware of. And if you barely remember it? Just sit back, relax, and prepare for some pure, cozy, nostalgia. So let me take you on a trip back to mid-90’s, when the internet was still gathering steam, Michael Jackson still looked relatively human, and a show called Gargoyles just got aired…
15. How They Became Gargoyles
The gargoyles had their start in Ancient Scotland. This “clan” of gargoyles was known as the Wyvern Clan, named after the castle called Wyvern Hill where they were hatched. In the year 994, they were betrayed and cursed to “sleep in stone until the castle rose above the clouds.” Before their curse, they were already in Gargoyle form, but were able to sleep in stone and then wake up when they desired. Now, they were trapped in stone forever. But exactly one thousand years later, a millionaire entrepreneur called David Xanatos saw the Wyvern Clan frozen in stone at Wyvern Hill. He saw these “gargoyles,” and not knowing their true nature, he arranged for them to be transported to one of his skyscrapers in Manhattan, the Eyrie Building. So, the prophecy of “the castle rising above the clouds” came true, as the gargoyles were lifted to the top of a huge skyscraper, and were finally able to awaken from their thousand year stone sleep.
14. All Of The Voice Actors Are From Star Trek
If you’re a huge Star Trek fan, you might recognize some of the voices on Gargoyles. That’s because almost all of the characters are voiced by famous Star Trek actors. The list is huge. The most notable two are Mariana Sitris and Jonathan Frakes, who played Deanna Troy and William Riker on Star Trek: The Next Generation. Mariana Sitris voiced the characters of Demona and Delilah in Gargoyles, while Jonathan Frakes voiced David Xanatos. Other Star Trek: The Next Generation actors that featured in Gargoyles include Michael Dorn, who played Worf, Brent Spiner, who played Data, Colm Meaney, who played Miles O’Brien, and LeVar Burton, who played Geordie La Forge. Also, there was Nichelle Nichols, who played Uhura in the original Star Trek series, Avery Brooks who played Benjamin Sisko in Deep Space Nine, and Kate Mulgrew, who played Katheryn Janeway in Star Trek: Voyager. Someone pulling the strings on this show must have been a massive Star Trek fan…
12. The Idea Was Hatched By An English Teacher
Greg Weisman, the mastermind behind Gargoyles, was actually an English teacher once upon a time. The craziest thing is even though he co-created the show, he was totally uncredited for his contribution. He obtained his Bachelor’s Degree from Stanford University, which enabled him to teach English composition and writing. While he was studying, he worked for the editorial staff at DC comics. He almost had a 4-part comic book series published when he was just 22, but the project was shelved by DC management. Later in his career, he started working for Disney, where he pitched the original idea for Gargoyles. Funnily enough, Greg Weisman initially wanted Gargoyles to be a comedy, but it later went through a huge transformation into a more dramatic cartoon. He later distanced himself from the Gargoyles franchise, as he felt it wasn’t what he had envisioned, especially during the third and final season. Later, he started to work on the Gargoyles graphic novel series, expanding on the story and making Gargoyles into something he wanted it to be.
11. One Episode Was Banned
Gargoyles quickly became famous as a cartoon that wasn’t afraid to touch on controversial issues, and the episode that really set the bar for that was “Deadly Force.” This episode was so dark and grim that it was actually banned temporarily. Remember people, this was supposed to be a kid’s show. It starts when one of the Gargoyles is watching an old western movie. He becomes obsessed with guns, and after finding one, he starts playing with it, pretending to be a cowboy. He ends up accidentally shooting one of the other main characters, and then tries to cover it up. As a result, the other protagonists try to hunt down other (innocent) criminals who they suspect of shooting the person. No one dies, but there is a lot of blood and tons of drama. It was actually an amazing episode because it bravely tackled issues of gun violence and ownership. Since it was originally aired, “Deadly Force” has been celebrated as one of the best Gargoyles episodes.
10. It Was Turned Into A Graphic Novel
After the series was cancelled, there were still tons of fans that were hungry for more Gargoyles goodness. The really wanted more of this amazing story that had been concocted by Greg Weisman and a lot of other talented individuals. Greg Weisman saw the potential for a new form of Gargoyle media, and since he was already working in the comic book industry, a graphic novel was the logical next step for Gargoyles. There was actually a few other comic book series that were published before the series were cancelled, but they never really gathered steam. These were done by Marvel and Disney, but the plug was pulled due to copyright issues. But in 2006, the torch was once again passed to Greg Weisman and he was able to take full control of the Gargoyles story with a new comic book series published by Slave Labor Graphics. Greg Weisman chose to continue the story where the first and second seasons had left off, ignoring the third season altogether. Once again, the series was cancelled in 2008 due to Disney copyright issues.
9. Gargoyles Has Developed A Cult Following
There are some seriously diehard Gargoyles fans out there. For a show that only went three seasons, it left a huge mark on a ton of people. There have been numerous fan-sites that started up to talk about all things Gargoyle-related, there have been many artists that have created fan-art, and there was even a string of Gargoyle conventions where fans met up and celebrated their love for this iconic television show together. It made IGN’s “Top 100 Animated Series Of All Time” list, placing 45th. Hollywood.com mentioned Gargoyles in their list of cartoons that should be made into movies. WatchMojo called the 4th best Disney animated series. Fans met up every year from 1997 to 2009, in an event called “Gathering of the Gargoyles.” The event took place in a different location each year, and Greg Weisman and many of the voice actors were always in attendance. Many of these fans dressed up in elaborate Gargoyle costumes, and there was even a radio show that anyone could audition for.
8. How Gargoyles Breed
Gargoyles are actually living creatures just like any other animal, and as such, they breed in order to reproduce. Gargoyles are classified as “gargates,” which is a species of animals that evolved before humans during the prehistoric times. Instead of giving birth, Gargoyles lay eggs. But a female Gargoyle can only lay one at a time. Additionally, Gargoyles can only lay an egg once every 20 years. So they reproduce extremely slowly in comparison to humans. Female Gargoyles lay eggs at age 50, 70 and 90. Once the egg is laid, it takes 10 years to hatch. Gargoyles also only breed in the breeding seasons, as established by the natural biorhythms of the earth. The only thing about Gargoyle reproduction that is faster than human reproduction is the duration of pregnancy, as Gargoyles are only pregnant for 6 months before giving birth. In addition, the eggs turn to stone during the day, in the same way as Gargoyles do. Gargoyles can breed for pleasure and not for reproductive purposes.
7. “Stone Sleep” Explained
One of the most defining characteristics of Gargoyles is their stone sleep ability. Simply put, Gargoyles turn to stone during the day, and come to life at night. But it’s much more complex than that. As soon as the sun rises, a Gargoyle’s skin is transformed into an organic layer that resembles stone. The Gargoyle then enters a period of stasis, much like hibernating bears or squirrels. The Gargoyle heals any wounds while it is in stone sleep. Dreaming also takes place. When the sun sets, the Gargoyle’s stone skin gradually gets thinner and thinner, until it’s just a brittle shell. Then, the Gargoyle breaks out of its stone sleep, and the shell shatters all around him as he or she awakens. An interesting fact is that although they are in stone form while sleeping, they are still somewhat vulnerable. If a Gargoyle’s head is cut off while in stone sleep, for example, the Gargoyle dies.
6. For A Disney Cartoon, It’s Incredibly Dark
One of the most defining features of Gargoyles was its dark tone. In fact, it was one of the darkest cartoons Disney ever produced. It involved blood, guns, violence, and adult themes, all over a backdrop of a very grim vision of New York City. As previously mentioned, it has more in common with Batman than anything Disney had ever created in the past. That was probably because Greg Weisman worked at DC before working at Disney, and brought some of those darker influences with him. As previously mentioned, one of the episodes was banned because it involved one of the female main characters getting shot in the stomach accidentally by one of the Gargoyles who was fooling around with a gun. Greg Weisman has stated that a lot of the episodes and the general theme of the show share influences with various Shakespearean plays. And if you’ve ever read Shakespeare, you know that some of his plays are seriously dark and twisted. There’s also the fact that the show frequently mentions the Illuminati as an evil and malevolent force…
5. The Illuminati Plays A Huge Role
One of the craziest and most surprising things about this show is that it actually makes frequent mention of the Illuminati. Now, there is some debate as to whether the Illuminati actually exists in real life, but whatever you want to call it, secret societies like the Illuminati are very real and are instrumental in influencing world events. The Bilderberg group for example is one semi-secret society that is very similar to the idea of the Illuminati. So the fact that Gargoyles, a children’s show, mentions the Illuminati and depicts them as an evil force against good is mind-blowing. I think many children watched this show and then decided to research the Illuminati on the internet, starting their path down “conspiracy theory” research. Maybe that’s a good thing. In the show, the Illuminati are depicted as a force which seeks to control the world, and to some degree already does. One of its members claims that they even control the US president during one of the episodes. The Illuminati hunted the Gargoyles in an attempt to control them and use them for their own purposes.
4. Gargoyle Battle Armor Is A Thing
One of the coolest things about the Gargoyles universe in Gargoyle battle armor. Basically it is an exo-frame of power armor constructed to mimic the Gargoyles, worn by humans. Someone who wears Gargoyle battle armor has much of the same abilities as a Gargoyle, namely flight and increased strength. The first battle armor suits were constructed by David Xanatos, and they did not actually have a human inside. Instead, they were fully functional robot Gargoyles, known as the “Steel Clan.” The next prototypes were worn by David Xanatos himself, enabling him to fight Gargoyles and other adversaries with increased fighting ability. This development came after David Xanatos decided to stop hiring people to fight the Gargoyles, and instead fight them directly. The suit is equipped with rocket boosters located on the back and in the feet, enabling high-speed flight. In terms of weaponry, the suit is armed with a particle beam cannon in the right arm, and an electromagnetic weapon mounted on the shoulder for disabling enemy robots. There are many other variants of exo-frames used by characters throughout the show. Some are small enough to fit under clothing, while others tower above small buildings.
3. The Mayan Clan
There are many other clans of Gargoyles that exist throughout the world, not just the “Manhattan Clan” that lives in New York. One of the most important clans in the world is the Mayan Clan. As the name implies, they are related to the ancient Mayan culture in the Yucatan Peninsula. This group of Gargoyles actually existed before humans had ever inhabited the area. The humans that created the pyramids of the Mayan civilization made a pact with the Gargoyles, and a human wizard created pendants that would enable the Gargoyles to protect the pyramids whether it was day or night. However, one day the pendants were moved from the pyramid, leaving it undefended while the Gargoyles were stuck in stone sleep. A group of thieves came and destroyed all of the sleeping Gargoyles. The last 4 members of the Clan, who were away from the pyramid, returned to find the rest of their family killed. Not only do they protect their pyramid, but they also stop humans from cutting down the rain forest. Some of these Gargoyles have snakelike body parts, unlike the more humanoid Manhattan clan.
2. There Is A Virus That Turns Humans Into Gargoyles
Part of the cartoon involves the creation of the “mutagenic formula,” a DNA-altering virus that can turn beings into Gargoyle-like creatures called mutates. This virus was of course created by the evil David Xanatos. Because Xanatos always wanted to control Gargoyles, but was continuously unsuccessful in this aim, he devised a different plan: Instruct his scientists to create creatures that were based on the general form of Gargoyles, creatures who he could then control. In order to recreate the Gargoyle creature, bat DNA was used to create wings on these mutates. In addition, large Cat DNA was used to increase speed and strength, and electric eel to give them electric energy reserves that aid in flight and serve as weaponry in the form of electronic energy bolts. The evil scientist who was the mastermind behind the mutates had his own plans. At one point, he almost released an airborne version of the virus that would turn all humans in New York into mutates.
1. The N’Kai And The Space Spawn
Aliens make a very major appearance in Gargoyles. There are actually two species of aliens that appear on the show: the N’kai and the Space Spawn. There is only one known member of the N’kai species, as he is the only one on Earth. His name is Nokkar, and he lives on Easter Island. He was sent there by his people to guard against possible attack by the space spawn, arch enemy of the N’kai. He was actually responsible in assisting the Easter Island people in assisting the construction of the famous stone heads. The space spawn are a whole different story. There is not much known about the space spawn, other than the fact that they were born “amidst the fury of an exploding star.” They quickly expanded throughout the galaxy, putting them in conflict with the N’Kai. They are ruled by a single leader, and have advanced biochemical technology. In the future, they will arrive on Earth, ally with the Illuminati, and attempt to take over the planet.