Countdown to the End of Fourever: Enter…The Negative Zone!

Old school, Kirby Style ACTION!

Old school, Kirby Style ACTION!

On Monday, my co-teacher said, “I don’t like the head space that I’m in. It’s just too negative. I don’t like being immersed in all of this negativity.” That got me thinking, just before the onset of a migraine. Jack Kirby and Stan Lee created an entire universe, enterable through a Distortion Area, that is a Negative Zone filled to the brim with haters. Haters that left alone, will cheerfully war with one another, but every now and then the FF or other superheroes interfere with them.

You know…like my day job.

The very properties of the Negative Zone are different than our space. Time flows more quickly, gravity is weak. Oxygen is between planets, so anyone can fly anywhere, with no spacesuit needed. The Zone is composed of antimatter, so everything in it has to be transformed in the Distortion Area before coming to Earth, and vice versa. Finally, just being in the Negative Zone has a detrimental emotional effect of the sentient beings subjected to it.

Again…a whole lot like my workplace.

It’s unclear to me why Reed Richards would build a portal to such a hostile dimension in his house. By the same reasoning, it is also unclear to me why I commute to work on a day to day basis. Today was especially challenging, bringing this into a very, very sharp focus.

Still…the cover was fun to draw. Note the vortex of asteroids headed into some sort of antimatter black hole, with Annihilus, an impressively intimidating and inhuman Hater laughing at the whole thing. That’s an old school, easy to understand Vortex, not the recent Black Vortex, which was less directly dangerous our interesting. Sort of a Cosmic Sink Drain to oblivion, which is very, very much akin to the day to day feeling of the staff at school.

Today saw numerous busts of different kinds. My co-teacher and I witnessed a staff member being threatened, and things were so busy, that the threat won’t be dealt with until tomorrow. Adolescent marijuana use is apparently more rampant than I believed, and whole classes made simultaneous attempts at truancy. Add to that the systematic failure to provide vital mental health services for several students, and you see where the whole Cosmic Sink Drain/Vortex feeling comes from.

Still…this art has the look, and feel that I expect from a good Fantastic Four story. It wants you to pick it up. It asks you all kinds of questions, promising an answer if you get the story. It also seems fun. Something Marvel might do well to remember. It doesn’t matter that the protagonist can fly, and is nigh invulnerable. That LOOKS like trouble.

I’ve decided to have the protagonist teaming up with Pony Torch for this issue and the next issue. The reasoning is simple…the FF usually has some kind of Torch. By hauling around the Pony Torch, a very good pony, by the way, she brings the same powers to the table, plus her Generic Silver Age Super Powers.

See…I’ve had to think about school staffing positions and credentials a whole lot lately, and the idea of having the proper people in the right slots has been on my mind. It has bled into the selection of ponies for the strip…which is a bit crazy. Still…Pony Torch (who can also fly) doesn’t look too happy to be hanging onto the back of an asteroid. For that matter…I don’t think I would, either.

The current employment situation, with about fifteen teachers being displaced from my school, cutting the staff by at least a third…it has the feel of hanging onto space rubble.

Let’s look at that rubble without the logos, shall we? It draws more attention to the Epic Level Hater.

Without the Old School Marvel trade dress.

Without the Old School Marvel trade dress.

Next Issue: Helpless Against Haters in a Negative Zone!

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