Quoth The Raven…

I think she forgot for a while that she throws stuff into the Sun.

I had wanted to do a more vertical composition, but that didn’t happen. Sometimes things go that way. I was thinking about the weekend post, and more and more I came back to the idea that it would be fun to have Cap bicker with Poe, and then just chuck a vampire into the Sun. So we got that.

The vampire clearly transforms between panels into that giant bat like creature. If I was going to fight someone with A-List Silver Age Powers, I would probably transform into my most intimidating, combat oriented form as well. Fat lot of good it does, when some mean lady just tosses you into the Sun. That last panel was really fun to draw, actually, and given the “sketch style” nature of the four panels, this came together really, really quickly.

Lets say that the vampire creature can survive mach level speeds…that’s sensible, since the prior strip called them “supersonic” vampires. That might suggest to a reader that the vampire might be able to steer, or control it’s flight, or something silly like that. Cap would have to hurl that vampire bat dragon creature at seven miles per second or greater to hit escape velocity and get to the Sun (or the Moon), so it’s safe to say that withstanding supersonic speeds is not a real help. That guy is gone.

In fact, this strip, from the first of the year, was instructive on that front, and more vertical…so I get that compositional diversity through the repost/flashback:

That bagel was established to be moving at relativistic speeds.

Initially, my thoughts on the bagel being hurled with great force looked like this:

“Cap, however, is hurling a bagel, possibly her lunch, with great force. Considering that she can throw things to the Moon or into the Sun, that bagel could easily be moving at a speed of 5 to 7 miles per second, which would be a pretty devastating impact with anything nearby. It’s clearly not a salt bagel, which might be a part of why she is throwing it. I know at least one long time reader will enjoy Cap giving a bad guy a bagel, because “back in the day”, it was our term for a shutout. When I was considering what to have her throwing (Iceman is throwing a snowball in the original composition), at first I considered a brick, and then a rock.”

Seemed sensible, but then I consulted actual authorities on that kind of high velocity physics. They had a different story.

Let’s look at my summary of that from a few days later:

“Randall Munroe had a pretty succinct answer, weighing in at three typed pages, with diagrams. Prof. Monroe suggested that the bagel would be traveling at relativistic speeds, and really would be something else. The most important thing is that the bagel would be traveling at about 600 million miles and hour, but air only vibrates at say, a few hundred miles per hour, per molecule. As far as the bagel (or wine glass, above) is concerned, the air molecules are just hanging there in place.

That really means that the air molecules would smack so hard into the surface of the bagel (or wine glass, above) that they would actually fuse atoms. That’s not great…makes a bunch of gamma rays and scattered particles. Gamma rays and debris would expand out from the bagel at the speed of light, and destructively, just slightly ahead of the bagel itself.

This constant thermonuclear event at the front of the bagel would actually slow it down, like a retro rocket…expect that being thrown that hard, the constant nuclear detonations are just a drop in the bucket. That bagel WILL keep moving. However, the bagel will also start to fall apart, causing a chain reaction of thermonuclear events in its wake.

The key here is…what happens to the Impossible Man?

It’s not good. The bagel will reach him in nanoseconds, as an expanding thermonuclear debris cloud…still moving at a very significant portion of lightspeed. That’s going to scoop him up in a mess of momentum, force, and radiation, that should disintegrate him rapidly. That shell of gamma rays, x-rays, and superheated plasma would expand outward and upward, exactly as you expect. At that point, it’s just a pretty ordinary nuclear blast.

Which Cap, having Silver Age Nigh Invulnerability, should be able to ride out. Heck…the Impossible man can survive ridiculous transformations and forces, so he might even ride it out. I’m imagining that Sue put the force field around the Impossible Man in order to hold the blast in, not to contain him…but really, that’s just me retconning the image to fit the physics.”

The Impossible Man, first off, is WAY tougher than a vampire, so that establishes an important guarantee for that vampire being DONE. However…in today’s art, Cap is throwing the vampire himself…so the nuclear holocaust should be happening to him, on his own surface, as he leaves Earth’s atmosphere. In other words, the physics of the situation is actually worse than the relativistic bagel, which is a bit scary.

Obviously, Edgar Allan Poe would be impressed, knowing nothing about the physics involved.

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Meanwhile, Back In The Badlands…

I think she has Edgar Allan Poe as some kind of expert in graveyard stuff? Sure.

It is Friday, and I am exhausted. Despite the day off for Yom Kippur, it has been a long week for me, and many of the parts of it kind of beat me up a little bit. I drew this sketch quickly on Thursday night, while nursing a bit of a migraine headache. I like how it weirdly came together as a result.

This week has had educational high points for me, despite the Mega Tool status of school leadership. That probably has a whole lot to do with my presentation of a number of Edgar Allan Poe short stories over the past two weeks. We have acted them out in class, which is unintentionally hilarious, and the content has been high interest to my students. I’ve had students asking me what else to read by Poe, or just for good things to read in general. That’s pretty @#$%ing great.

I actually posted some short comic adaptations of Poe stories to the Schoology LMS that runs my class. Among those were a Bernie Wrightson adaptation of “Black Cat” for Creepy, and a Denny O’Neil adaptation of “Tell-Tale Heart.” Students have actually looked at those, and enjoyed them, as well as the black and white adaptation of “Cask of Amontillado” that I just posted today. So…add to the love of excellent literature the idea that I’ve exposed students to excellent comic creators…and I feel pretty good about what I’m doing.

Obviously, that’s how Cap and Sunset wound up teamed up with Poe here. I liked the idea that Cap would be overconfident, and Poe super nervous. I wanted some sort of crazy sky effect, and decided that they idea of something cosmic in the background with speedlines would be awesome, and that produced the idea in my mind of supersonic vampires.

I might even draw a subsequent “action panel” of dealing with those vampires, but I’m not sure. Cap is pretty @#$%ing mean, she would mostly clothesline them or trip them at superspeeds. She doesn’t really have to do any of that though…she’s rolling out with Sunset Shimmer, her Solar Unicorn friend. She just needs to light up, and even supersonic vampires will burst into dust.

Maybe Poe would be less nervous if Cap told him all that.

Still…this is the real productivity that happens in the Badlands, far from Councils and Edu-Lords. That’s the way I like it, True Believers.

A Return To Bad Decision Making.

This pretty much actually happened.

First off…I just love the Dark Lord’s new outfit. Seriously, it really lends itself to the idea that he is a mega-tool in a way that makes me happy each and every time that I see or draw it.There’s not really any subtlety to it, and the now ubiquitous martini glass lends to the idea of schmoozing instead of working.

In most schools now, there are two bodies that exist that are in concert with the Principal, and act as a sort of congressional style “check and balance” on the Principal’s ability to make decisions. These bodies are called “Shared Decision Making” and “School site Council,” and major budgetary shifts or changes to policy need to go be ore them in order to take place. Decisions that are not great can be “checked” by these groups, if the groups have strong opinions, know what they are talking about, or don’t just generally agree with Principals.

Our Shared Decision Making Council met at lunch on Tuesday, for an emergency meeting. This meeting had everything to do with the simple fact that we are behind on producing our various WASC documents. Despite the fact that any and all after school planning time has been hijacked for the express purpose of doing just that, I might add. It really doesn’t matter how much time you give to a problem, if there is no real direction or focus for the use of that time.

In order to stay ahead of the impending WASC deadlines, the proposal was made to make the first THREE Fridays in October “minimum days,” with the time not in class spent on completing the WASC tasks. To be clear…that will create three half day Fridays, with no real educational purpose. One of my friends is on the Shared Decision Making Council, and he was very upset with the proposal. It’s not his way to vote against the Principal, so he abstained…refusing to vote at all.

At this point…with WASC having taken over so much of our time, most classes are being planned on an almost Day to Day basis. There is no educational universe where this would be an appropriate use of Common Planning Time, but our Union Rep has stayed silent. He got his extra prep period, and has his duffel bag filled with two dollar bills, so I suppose he thinks everything is just fine.

WASC isn’t the only problem for our besieged Principal. He’s not the best planner, so I can see where he might not realize that he has given time to one problem, if only to magnify another.

You see, our school doesn’t have the best attendance. Not for students, and not for staff.

Let me rephrase that more honestly: in both categories, we rank the lowest in our local district region.

Why is that a thing that matters? Because minimum day Fridays invariably cause attendance drop offs, both for students and for teachers. Everyone knows that the days aren’t that educationally viable, and as a result, students and teachers tend to take three day weekends. Staff might be encouraged to not do so, but students are a much harder matter to consider. When you bear in mind that the local supervisors have been on the school about attendance, it seems to be a bad call.

When you add to that the continued lack of planning educationally, and the reduction of class time due to the minimum days…it seems like an incredibly poor idea.

Thankfully, I’m no longer on all (or any) of these committees. Day to Day school operations are no longer a consideration of mine. I’m quite certain I would have lost my mind if I was in such a meeting. Hearing about it was cranky making enough.

Three Steps And A Jump.

A quick posture study for today.

I rarely draw Cap running toward the point of view, mainly because the perspective is really hard to get right. Having the day off (It’s Yom Kippur) I thought that for part of the day I’d engage in a productive posture study. I think the sketch would make a great seventies/eighties style Marvel Cover Symbol, and I’m really quite happy with it.

Running is hard to get right. You have to provide the idea of motion, without being able to actually show it. A figure running toward you is even harder, because of two things: you can’t see all of the parts of the body, but it has to look like they are all present, and you need to get the perspective right. It’s a worthwhile thing to practice, because it makes for excellent covers (in comics, or course) and action panels. I definitely need to practice it more.

I imagine this is how Cap launches into flight, actually. She’s not good at it, so instead of just gracefully rising into flight (like the modern Superman or Supergirl), I have always thought she takes three steps or so at super speed, and then just jumps. That certainly would provide the more wild, awkward locomotion that I’ve always envisioned.

There’s not much more to today’s brief post. I’m not always super wordy, just most of the time.

Compulsory Contributions.

The ongoing WASC drama continues today….

Today is a Professional Development Tuesday, which means that the students get out of school early, and I am supposed to go to trainings or “common planning time.” Instead of normal “planning time” we are once again sitting down to deal with committee driven meetings that have the intention of creating these WASC documents.

I’m not going to talk for too long about them, because quite frankly, I don’t really want to think about them. The short form is that we as a staff are compelled to do these things, regardless of the fact that there is almost no educational value. The deadline for the initial round of documents looms large (next week) and the Suits are pretty agitated about it.

I’m mostly agitated about losing instructional time and not being able to plan future instructional time. There’s a ton of things that administration wants us to do, like have common assessments for student skills, but the time that’s allocated to do that is now re-tasked to bureaucratic WASC business. There’s always the offer of additional “after hours” pay to get the remainder of the (necessary) work done, but honestly…I come in early and leave late already.

I’ve wanted to draw the “skull in a jar” lady for a while. She makes a pretty intimidating henchman, even if she only carries some sort of gun. It’s not everyone that carries around their head in a jar full of some kind of fluid. with that said…if you’re not using your head, you can clearly keep it in a jar.

Panel two was the real thing that drove the content though. The Dark Lord in his usual Fake Friendly post, but with his new duds, and Cap her usual confused self on that. Cap is wearing a new jacket that we will probably NEVER see again…I can definitely see remastering the panel. Still…with there being a whole lot of Ravnica talk at my Magic: The Gathering Club at lunch, it seemed like she should be wearing a jacket reflecting the sensibilities of the upcoming release. The asymmetric patterns are very much like Jace’s Ravnica-wear, which seemed on point, but I really don’t want to keep drawing.

I’ll make it through the meeting…I fully intend to mentally opt out. In my opinion, I have already contributed much more to a bureaucratic function that I never volunteered for than I had ever meant to. With Yom Kippur looming ahead, it seems like I can more or less take a bit of breather from unwanted tasks to save the principal’s @#$.

After all, he did tell me that “no one here owes anything to anyone.” I’m just paying attention.

Put A Ring On It!

No one in this picture looks happy, except the creepy Puppet Master.

Marvel announced, complete with fancy “wedding invitations,” that the Thing and Alicia Masters (his blind girlfriend) will finally be getting married in comics, I believe in December. The proposal was in Fantastic Four No. 1 (a month ago) and the hype machine has started on the “event.”

I put that in quotes because it’s a pretty weak “event.”

Ben and Alicia break up CONSTANTLY. At one point, Ben stayed on an alien planet because of his insecurities in the relationship, and she got involved with Johnny. And she MARRIED him. That was later retconned out to being an alien imposter, but…it had to be retconned. That’s the point. She left earth to fly through space with the Silver Surfer when she was on the outs with Ben. It’s not all that great or romantic a relationship. In fact, it seems kind of co-dependent.

It doesn’t seem like such a “fantastic” relationship.

Reed and Sue got married when Kirby was still drawing Fantastic Four. Lois Lane and Clark Kent got married already, and Spider-Man (who met Mary Jane way later than Ben meeting Alicia) has already had a marriage annulled by the DEVIL. In short…the “event” status is well past it’s sell by date.

Especially considering that Johnny (Ben’s buddy) pretty much already married her, and had the marriage annulled by alien intervention. That’s a big deal, and seems to suggest that the relationship peaked about…twenty five years ago in non-comic book time.

That creepy looking guy in the background? He’s her DAD, Phillip Masters, also called the Puppet Master. He has radioactive clay, and anyone that he has a figure of, he can make do what he wants. Clearly, from the image he is forcing Ben Grimm to be the best man. We can’t really be sure if he’s made little figures of the other, because we can’t see them, and honestly…I don’t know how specific his powers are. Like…does he just have to have a sculpture of you, or does he need to be holding it? Or thinking about it? I’m not all that sure, but I think its just that he needs to have the sculpture. I thought that if he wasn’t paying attention to it, you just sort of…waited for him to tell you what to do.

Which I guess explains the image? I didn’t think it out that much. In fact, I originally thought that it would just be a jerk move on Cap’s part to marry Alicia Masters FIRST, before Ben, just to be a jerk. That then expanded into the idea of “What if Ben was so unlikable, that her dad, a super villain, would actually SET UP the marriage to Cap?” And thus….today’s art.

It’s not like Cap hasn’t had a shotgun wedding of sorts before, that needed to be annulled. Check this repost:

In this case, Cap is attempting to fly away…

I guess that lends credence to the way the Puppet Master’s power works, since Cap isn’t trying to fly away. Or maybe Cap likes Alicia Masters, we don’t really know. There’s no back story or context here, perhaps on purpose.

That’s my main problem with Dan Slott’s Fantastic Four so far. He’s so concerned telling us the backstory of what has been happening, that he hasn’t told any kind of real forward moving story at all. I suppose that’s what I’m trying to do, in the most Cheap Shot driven way possible.

In all fairness, the FF hasn’t been very nice to Cap, who loves being on the team.

Marvel Sketch Cover Madness: “Bag-Man” Edition!

An homage to Amazing Spider-Man No. 300, an amazingly famous cover by Todd McFarlane.

That was super fun to draw. It dawned on mt that a lot of the time, Cap’s locomotion while flying is kind of wild and out of control, much like Spider-Man’s swinging is presented in films these days. That idea of a sort of awkward, barely controlled flight was part of the inspiration for drawing this, which was super fun.

Eagle eyed fans might note that she has a sign on her back that says “Kick Me.” I’ll get to that in a bit.

“Amazing Spider-Man” No. 300 sort of slipped back into my thought process twice in the last week or so, making me think about the composition. For one thing, a version of the art was used as the cover for the newest “Epic collection” of Spider-Man stuff by Marvel Comics. I’m thinking about giving that a look. In addition to that, at my Local Comics Shop, an eagle eyed employee noticed that somehow a copy of Spider-Man 300 had made it into the dollar bins. The book isn’t a crazy amount of money (it’s not Action No. 1, or Amazing Fantasy No. 15), but it definitely carries WAY more than a dollar in value. this became a funny story at the shop, and ironically, it moved when repriced closer to its actual value.

So…I’d been thinking about the art of Todd McFarlane.

Also, a new Spider-Man game has come out, and love for it is all over the internet, and was heavily discussed at my Local Comic Shop. When it came up that you can have various Spider-Man costumes, I asked, “Can you get the Bag-Man outfit?”

Answer: No.

This made me not so upset that I have no machine capable of playing the game. It also made me happy about having the Bag-Man in both Marvel Puzzle Quest, and the Ultimate Spider-Man “infinite runner” tablet game that I have. I at least, can play in the “Bag-Man” suit.

If you are wondering what I’m talking about, I’ll explain now. And I will TRY to be brief.

Once Spider-Man discovered that his black costume was actually an alien being, and kind of threatening, he went to the Fantastic Four to help him get rid of it. He knows them, and Reed Richards is the Smartest Man in the world. They succeed in getting the costume off of him, and that alien being later escapes and joins with another person to become Venom. Spider-man, in that moment however, has no clothes.

Reed and Johnny (the Human Torch) give him an old Fantastic four uniform, and a paper bag with holes in it to wear on his head on the way home. The FF doesn’t have masks, you see. He also puts a sign on Spidey’s back that says “kick me.” He has to intervene on a few minor crimes on the way home, and as a result, the Bombastic Bag-man is born!

It’s funny, and I love it.

The art cropped from the cover treatment.

Cap doesn’t even get the old uniform, just the “kick me” sign. It was super fun to draw such a dynamic pose and such a strange angle for her background. I did both together, with none of the “foreground first, background later” process that I have been using later. I like her expression…even though she’s terrible at flying, you can see that she kind of likes it.

The “kick me” sign is my nod to the idea that the FF are probably jerks to everyone. They are often referred to as Marvel Comic’s royalty, sort of the Kennedys of the superhero social set. I’m figuring that her days with the team are numbered, what with the book being back in print, so I’m getting in my last Fantastic Four jokes (probably for some time) while I can.