Earlier this year we got to see behind the Ravensburger curtain. Not only did we get confirmation of all 4 set releases this year, along with the announcement of a special 2-player starter product. We all know that Into the Inklands is coming at the end of February. But the other 3 sets will hit shelves on May 17th, August 9th, and November 15th. We've already hit the classic and most popular Disney animation franchises, and with Inklands we're digging into some of the cult classics and lesser loved features like Atlantis: The Lost Empire and Treasure Planet as well as some Disney animated television series like Ducktales. This opens the door to similar lesser-known franchises that could bring some interesting characters to the forefront, and the fans that enjoy those.
One of the most promising of those franchises is Gargoyles, an IP oft forgotten in the Disney stable. It's certainly underutilized compared to other franchises - but busting at the seams with fun characters, worldbuilding, and conflicts. Gargoyles are mythological creatures with wings (and sometimes beaks) that turn to stone during the day, taking the form of a statue. With skin that tough there's a place for Resist and Evasive with their ability to fly.
Gargoyles aired for 3 seasons from 1994 to 1997, produced by Walt Disney Television Animation. It follows a small group of gargoyles, who come to call themselves the Manhattan clan, waking up from their cursed petrification after a thousand years. Over those thousand years the gargoyles were moved from their home in medieval Scotland to New York City. The show featured prominent voice actors like Keith David (who voiced the leader of the Gargoyles, Goliath), Marina Sitris (who voiced Demona, a gargoyle consumed by her hatred for humans) and Jonathan Frakes (who voiced Xanatos, leader of the Illuminati) that led the show towards success.
The TV show also spawned several spin-offs in other media, including a video game and on-going comic series in various forms starting in 1997 from Marvel. In 2006 CreatureComics began writing Gargoyles comics, but it was short lived when Disney increased their licensing fees in 2008. In 2022 Dynamite Entertainment announced they would take over the Gargoyles line, and even announced that they would reprint old Marvel comics. The Dynamite era is still going strong today, 2 years later. On top of all of that in 2023 James Wan announced a live-action Gargoyles show, maintaining the characters' relevance almost 30 years after it aired. Disney also includes Gargoyles characters in some of their mobile games including Disney Heroes: Battle Mode and Disney Sorcerer's Arena where Goliath and Demona are both playable characters. But the most critical sign of getting Gargoyles in Lorcana is a mass market board game Ravensburger published in 2021 called Disney Gargoyles: Awakening.
There are plenty of themes and narratives that could take us to the near-future urban jungle of Gargoyles' New York City. Or we might even see them in a set themed around the night accompanied by Darkwing Duck.
It's easy to see Resist and Evasive on the titular characters, but what about a transformation mechanism? We've already seen conditional keywords in the "Hunter" mechanic as seen on Jafar - Royal Vizier and Simba - Returned King. Something like this could be repurposed to show the duality of the Manhattan clan being stone during the day. While I won't speculate out loud, I trust the Ravensburger team to give us some fun, unique designs.
Designing the Manhattan clan is its own challenge, with plenty of opportunity to show off the different personalities of the team. The villains and other characters represent an entirely different challenge of mixing urban fantasy magic with Xanatos technology. David Xanatos himself goes through a few changes in the series, experimenting with various technologies to capture the gargoyles - including an Iron Man style mech suit. Exploring this through Sapphire ink, with the specialization of Items we've already seen from intelligent characters like Belle - Inventive Engineer and Maurice - World-Famous Inventor. Xanatos and his employees could fit into a similar category.
Not only that but there's a crossover in this magic/science Venn diagram with the character Coldstone; an ancient Wyvern clan gargoyle resurrected into a cyborg body. That's just the tip of the Gargoyles iceberg. There are characters from other clans still alive all over the world; the London clan, the Mayan clan, Clan Ishimura, and many more. All of these bring another three or more characters to the roster to choose from over the course of Lorcana's lifecycle allowing us to explore Gargoyles from several different angles, as well as over the course of many sets - just like we're seeing with the most prominent Disney licenses.
With the addition of Locations as a new card type, we can also explore the strange places in the lore of Gargoyles. Castle Wyvern is a strange place where many of the heroes and their allies gather - and it needs protecting from Xanatos. The magical kingdom of Avalon incorporates the story of Arthur Pendragon, based on the tales of King Arthur. We could even see New Olympus, the modern home to Greek mythological characters. And if we don't see Xanatos' subsidies like Scarab Robotics or Pack Media Studios we'll surely get to see the foreboding Xanatos Enterprises itself.
Gargoyles is an easy win for nostalgic millennial gamers, and with the live action series coming out it's the perfect time to introduce these characters to a younger generation. Given all the comics, there's plenty of content to go around - including locations and items. The only downside being that Gargoyles isn't a musical like the other animated series which means we won't see any songs. But there's plenty of other content.