Top 10 Gargoyles / TMNT similarities

I’ve mentioned before that part of the reason why I began this blog in the first place was due to the large amount of similarities between both Gargoyles and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoons–more so, even, than you would expect from show designed for similar audiences and which had a couple of writers in common. Since I’m still working on the big Monsters of NY project, I thought I’d do something simple for today’s update, so lo an behold, a list listing what exactly those similarities are.  Most can’t be considered anything but coincidence, others would seem to be a result of shared writers,

Note that this list does not include  elements which one would expect to see in an action cartoon–for example, the fact that both teams include a resident genius isn’t notable at all.  These are things that are eerily similar, even when placed under a microscope.

The Element Gargoyles TMNT (2003) Ian has some ’xplaining to do.
Skyscrapers aren’t enough. The Eyrie Building, a skyscraper with a castle atop it. The Foot Tower, a skyscraper with a pagoda atop it. Of all the elements in this list, this is the one I have the most problem classifying as coincidence.  While I don’t really know whosd idea was it to design Foot Tower in this manner–was it a character designer, the writers, a showrunner, or even Peter Laird?–depending on who it was, the possibility that the Aeirie Building provided some direct inspiration goes from “far-fetched” to “quite plausible”.
Evicted The ‘goyles lose their home in the pilot, although they don’t leave until ep. 9. The turtles lose their first lair in the pilot, and finding and establishing a new home is a priority in the first few episodes. While the loss of a home is a common starting for fictional stories (see “Krypton, Planet”), this a bit more specific than that.   While being driven out of their homes is a standard part of most TMNT adaptations, the series played considerably more emphasis on its loss and in the seearch for a new home.  And of course, the slow loss of the gargs castle home drives the first half of season 1.
Sentient nanomachine colonies are the new black. Matrix Nano Granted, nanomachinery is currently hot, and this particular iteration is well on its way to being a standard action cartoon trope, but there is a crucial element that makes these two characters more than different takes on a common trope: the fact that both started as misguided destructive forces, only see the light and join a secondary good-guy team (The Redemption Squad and the Justice Force, respectively).
The Great Helicopter Heist In “Her Brother’s Keeper”, the Trio take The Pack’s Helicopter as their own. The TMNT take helicopters belonging to the Foot and the E.P.F. There’s really nothing I can say about this, except that it may end up being my new standard: your show may be good—maybe even great—but it won’t be balls-to-the wall awesome until your characters steal a helicopter.
The Future Doesn’t Look Good at All “Future Tense” “Same as it Never Was” Two cartoons with  “bad future” plots? Not surprising at all.  Two cartoons with “bad future” plots which involve the on-screen deaths of most of the cast, heel face turns, and some very similar imagery and staging?   Okay, now we’re getting weird.
Woobies Coldstone/Othello Leatherhead This one is sort of a stretch: the similarities between characters aren’t obvious, but they’re definitively there.  Both characters are more-or-less consider kin to the protagonists (Coldstone is clan; Leatherhead came to be via the same process as the turtles); both are initially made to believe that the protagonists are evil in their initial appearance; both are believed dead at the end of their initial appearance.  Then, once they are reunited with their kin, they’re prevented from joining them because of their mental instability (Coldstone’s multiple personalities, Leatherhead’s anger).
Hey, why don’t we ditch our supporting cast and setting for a while? The Avalon World Tour Fast Forward While the storylines weren’t similar, its effects sure were: extended storyarcs downplaying the established supporting cast (who, while not entirely gone, appeared much more rarely) and setting, establishing a bunch of new ones, and resulting in a permanent addition to the cast upon the storyline’s end, which came not long after each arc’s end.
There’s something different about you dude…just like the last ten times. Coyote, the ever-upgraded robot who gets a new design with every successive version. Baxter Stockman, the cyborg who gets a new body every couple of episodes. Cartoons usually try to stick to one design per character, so when a series makes a point of periodically changing the character’s appearance, it gets noticed.  Coyote changes looks more frequently, but Stockman, thanks to his greater prominence, has more.
And we shall become men of business. Lexington will eventually help create Lexington-Xanatos Corporation. Donatello will eventually help create O’Neil Tech. This is another weird one, since it doesn’t seem to stem from any storytelling trends, and because they’re both events that we know will happen, but haven’t actually gotten to see, or even know much about.
Engagement jewels are bad news. Xanatos and Fox get engaged; Eye of Odin turns Fox into a savage fox-woman. Casey and April get engaged; Ring of Yin turns April into a demon-woman. This one would totally feel like a stock plot, except that engagements (and subsequently, weddings) are rather rare in western action cartoons, which makes these shared plots seem less coincidental than they could be.
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4 Responses to Top 10 Gargoyles / TMNT similarities

  1. Pingback: “Bad Future” « Monsters of New York

  2. Loudo says:

    About the Foot Tower, I think its design might have been inspired from the tower of the Hattori family that appears in the Mirage comics.

  3. Ian says:

    You know, I always forget about that particular detail. 🙂 It’s certainly more plausible than direct inspiration from Gargoyles, although I’d be stoked if the latter were actually true.

  4. Johnathan Maygarden says:

    It’s seems same universe to me

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