How Gargoyles Redefined Cartoon Villainy - IGN

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In the years since it first aired, Gargoyles has gained a cult following that has kept it near the top of the animation landscape of the 1990s. And much of that reputation is the result of how Gargoyles treated its villains… and how, in doing so, it helped to redefine cartoon villainy in the '90s.
IGN has officially been around for two and a half decades, and has borne witness to a lot of monumental shifts in video game and entertainment culture in that time. To celebrate our lengthy tenure on this earth, IGN's 25th Anniversary Feature series will hone in on these shifts, and the movies, video games and TV shows that helped define them. First up today, we're looking back at the beloved cartoon Gargoyles.

In the '70s and '80s, cartoon villains were mostly petty losers. Characters like Doctor Doom and Skeletor would be defeated by the end of the episode, only to shake their fist and grumble at their minions until their next episode rolled around... and things played out mostly the same all over again.

But Gargoyles co-creator, co-producer and writer Greg Weisman wanted to change that.

Gargoyles, which ran from 1994 to 1997, was a Disney show about ancient monsters that are -- as the opening credits put it -- "stone by day, warriors by night." But it would become much more than that, gaining a cult following in the years since it first aired that has kept it near the top of the animation landscape from that time period. And much of that reputation is the result of how Gargoyles treated its villains… and how, in doing so, it helped to redefine cartoon villainy in the '90s.

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Bruce Wayne With a Twist

Have you watched Gargoyles? YES NO

Weisman had worked with Cary Bates on the DC Comics series Captain Atom, where the series' antagonist, General Wade Eiling, always had plots within plots. When Weisman and Bates teamed up to write for Gargoyles, they designed their primary villain by taking that quality but stripping away Eiling's cruelty and intolerance, instead fusing him with another comic book character's traits — those of Bruce Wayne!

"Bruce Wayne in the comics I read growing up was charming and a guy that you'd admire," Weisman tells IGN. "What if you had a handsome villain who would say things like, 'Revenge is a sucker's game.' He wasn't into…
Samantha Nelson
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