Epilogue Based Courage (or…”Retroactive Invasion”).

This was an actual discussion.  Well, some of it.

This was an actual discussion. Well, some of it.

First…I need to give some credit where credit is due. Our school site’s Union Rep is the most patient person I have ever seen. She listens, patiently and attentively, to all of the diverse viewpoints of the staff. Some viewpoints are based on untruths or misunderstandings, others are realistic, and still others are just plain cray-cray. She writes them all down, and addresses them equally and even handedly, in a way that I never would be able to.

We had a Union meeting on Tuesday, after the Staff Training time. The Union meeting was interesting, and by interesting, I mean it had an unreal, slippery, Salvador Dali like quality to it. most of the staff stayed for it, which is a direct byproduct of the trials of the past semester. That’s a good thing, I suppose.

The first order of business was looking into the Union Leadership, and whether they were actually going to lend a hand with the things that they said they would. This put me momentarily on familiar ground. I’m quite used to UTLA Officers and Area Reps NOT representing me, or my interests, so I was pretty easily able to slide into the old habits of holding people that draw salary off of my paycheck accountable. Easy peasy.

Quickly, though, things slid to shifting footing. A few teachers seemed insistent on writing a really rough “letter from the staff” about the Principal that had just departed. Like…really rough. The same group wanted to somehow make the same staff letter go after Pledge LA, in order to hold them “accountable.” It was puzzling…because Pledge LA suddenly is taking a real interest in the campus, and taking matters very seriously…AND the principal no longer works at our site.

Meaning…if you loved him, or if you didn’t…it just doesn’t matter anymore. What does matter is doing the job at hand. I’m not sure at all that adding acrimony and hostility to the set of issues, somewhat after the fact, will do any good to anyone. This from the person who has a site advertising “heavy handed satire.”

It’s like a major exchange of pieces has just happened in a chess game. To an extent, you need to look at the board, and decide what to do in the new environment.

Obviously, some people feel empowered in this exact moment. Like the Skrulls in Marvel Comics, they have fluidly changed their shape, in order to adapt to the situation. Sensing an advantage, a lot of these people are adopting the role of “Serious Rascals,” as if they were charter members of the organization…and asking for more actions, in a relatively risk free zone.

It bugs me.

About the art…this relates to an early Fantastic Four plot that I LOVE beating up. I never get tired of it, because it is so completely off the wall. Follow me here…

A quartet of Skrulls posed as the Fantastic Four and publicly wreaked destruction and havoc in order to force the real Fantastic Four to fall out of favor with their government and be eliminated, leaving Earth open for invasion. This is Fantastic Four No. 2, True Believers, and the Skrulls are these guys:

These guys.  Keep Track.

These guys. Keep Track.

On the run from the military, the real Fantastic Four were able to trick the Skrulls into revealing their hideout as well as their master plan. Leaving them subdued, Reed, Sue, Johnny, and Ben traveled to their mother-ship via their Water Tower Ship. There, Reed used clippings from “Strange Tales” and “Journey into Mystery” to fool the scout Captain into believing the planet was too fortified by giant monsters for an invasion to be successful. Pretending to ‘sacrifice their lives’ so that the mother-ship could return home while leaving him behind, Reed was given the Skrulls’ highest medal of bravery before the invasion forces left.

So…that’s serious chutzpah. Drive off aliens by lying to them, a LOT, and accept their Congressional Medal of Honor for doing it. Reed Richards, you are off the chain. And that’s not the most moxie he shows in that same issue. Not even close.

Back on Earth, the government still saw the Fantastic Four as a threat and sent police with them back to the Skrull quartet’s hideout. There, three of the four had broken free of their bindings and attacked, shape-shifting into different monsters in front of the police and proving they had been posing as the Fantastic Four. The police chief left the aliens in the care of Mister Fantastic since they couldn’t be held in any normal prison anyway. That seems sensible…leave them with the Smartest Man in the World, and his three other superhero buddies. Let THEM figure it out.

That’s where Reed shines, Readers.

Reed then hypnotized three of the Skrulls into believing that they were cows, and he sent them off to graze in the fields of King’s Crossing. Instead of imprisoning them, he turns them into farm animals. In fact, he brainwashes them into being farm animals.


Don’t believe me…read the page.

Right?  Whoa.

Right? Whoa.

The crazy part is…this is something Reed does again, while TRAVELING THROUGH TIME.

The first recorded instance of Skrulls being turned into cows incidentally was the result of time travel. In the year 1776, a group of Skrull subversives came to the planet Earth during a period of time in which the United States of America was seeking its independence from British rule. A Skrull spy was sent to pose as Thomas Jefferson to ensure passages about slavery remained in the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights. The intent was that if the human race was accustomed to slavery, then it would be easier for the Skrulls to enslave them. However this plan was thwarted by the Fantastic Four, heroes from the 21st Century, who had travelled back in time to this era to locate Chrono-Anchor that was lost in this era. Their leader Reed Richards uncovered the Skrulls, and used hypnosis to make them believe they were cows.


This is just a Thing Reed Richards Does To Deal With Skrulls.

This is the comic I'm talking about...in 2013.  52 years later in publication.

This is the comic I’m talking about…in 2013. 52 years later in publication.

Also note…he does it again, full well knowing the danger of drinking Skrull Milk (see Fantastic Four Annual No. 17) and the problems of eating Skrull Meat (Skrull Kill Krew Vol. 1). Secret Invasion has happened, as well as the Kree Skrull War. In short…he KNOWS this is a bad solution.

He does it anyway. Because it is a Thing Reed Does.

That’s why it’s reasonable for the protagonist to call him up and ask him to do it. Sure, she’s holding the Ultimate Nullifier in panel two. That’s too much force. You can just call Reed, who is sponging off you anyway, and have him deal with it.

Why a chicken? A bunch of reasons, but lets go with this list:

1. I wanted chicken tacos for dinner when I drew it.
2. Chickens are commonly associated with cowardice, just like someone who suddenly decides they have a cause when the risk is over.
3. You could keep a chicken around easier, kind of keep an eye on it.
4. My friend is terrified of a Chicken Uprising, and if there were shapeshifting chicken aliens, that would lend his fear legitimacy.
5. I want chicken tacos as I’m writing this post.
6. I’d rather have a chicken as a new character, although I considered introducing Skrull Cows.

So…that’s where the punchline comes from.

Still…I have no intention of taking up any big “cause” right now, short of teaching English and keeping the kids safe. So far, we have had three peaceful, quiet, excellent educational days since our return. My entire point is to preserve that.

I definitely DON’T need to rock the boat more than it has already been rocked. I’m hoping that my colleagues realize that as well. There needs to be some calm…it can’t all be storm.

Next Issue: Old Friends.


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