The Last Days.
Since Comics Ink, the old clubhouse closed (the owner retired), my friends and I have been picking up comics on Wednesday nights at Cool Cats Comics, pretty often. It’s a nice shop, with good guys behind the counter. They have a selection of Warhammer 40k figurines, in addition to comics. The Figurines are a bit apart from their marketplace, and I’ve never been into them. You have to paint them yourself with tiny brushes, and then use them to play a game that seems to involve a large amount of Algebra.
The figurines are often Space Marines of different kinds, with huge armored uniforms that dwarf the men inside. As I drew this iteration of the Negative Zone Anti-Hater Suit…I felt very much that it drew a good deal of its proportions and tone from both the art design of the Space Marines and also from the grim, apocalyptic future of Warhammer 40K. The implied wasteland of a background, which has recently been on fire, for instance. That’s a subtle clue.
The day of this post will be the last day with students on campus, and a shortened day. The week has been entirely one of closing up, as I indicated in earlier posts. At the time of this writing, most of my gear for school is in boxes. A huge amount of trash has been thrown away. Tomorrow I will address my desk, and other things behind it…but in the end, the gear that comes with me will probably only be one load in the bed of my friend’s pickup truck. In the end, with all the detritus that might be built up over four years on a campus, startlingly little will be leaving with me.
Every teacher needs to take their gear home, it is after all, District Policy. A number of teachers are losing their minds over this, having taken the school as a sort of storage unit for School Things. Ultimately, it’s not that big a deal…because really, there is very little you should be storing at school that you aren’t comfortable having stolen in the first place. Still…there’s a “Pupil Free Day” on Friday, so one doesn’t want to go Too Quickly with the Boxing Up, or there will be absolutely nothing to do on Friday. My gear won’t be able to leave school until the following week as it is.
Large numbers of teachers are picking up with never returning in mind. Some are moving on, some are moving their homes…some a combination of the two.
The art is about the sadness and anger attached to the whole thing, in a way that I haven’t had before. The Big Suit is damaged…maybe not keeping as much at bay as it should. My friend the Art Therapist would have a field day with that. In the final days, I’m still enforcing a kind of Order, and have seen students be taken off campus by police for drugs, for fighting, for things that shouldn’t happen at school. It’s a microcosm of why things are the way they are, why what was at the start of this webcomic a thing full of promise…isn’t anymore.
Going in to deal with it, a final time today, without the emotional support that I’ve been accustomed to…that’s central to the themes in the art…the feeling of isolation, the need to keep things OUT. At least Pony is ever vigilant.
Thankfully, I have a boring spreadsheet to review, and physical labor to do. That should take some of the sting off, and add some distance as well. Again, as I do those things, I wonder about what we leave behind. Project 42 has been proposed, so in my wake, I’m leaving behind a system of containment, a way of dealing with the most egregious of Haters. Like any plan, it is nothing but potential unless someone actually uses it.