Marvel Sketch Cover Madness: #Love Wins. (A Secret Wars Tie In)

The guy dressed like Satan?  I think he's one of the four that voted AGAINST the state treating everyone fairly.

The guy dressed like Satan? I think he’s one of the four that voted AGAINST the state treating everyone fairly.

Sorry this took a few days…I have to DRAW these things. That’s hard. It takes time.

It’s not hard to tell what this Marvel Variant Cover is about, is it True Believers? The fact is, I was actually surprised that the government of the United States actually saw that it was committing a massive transgression against the civil rights of a portion of its population. A very politically active portion of the population at that. apparently, last Friday when the decision was made, the most common Google search was “What does the Bible say about Gay marriage?”

That scares me a bit.

News flash…it doesn’t say anything. Neither does the Constitution for that matter. The fact is though…the state cannot fail to recognize the unions of a portion of its populace, and for that matter, can’t deny any portion a state service. That’s a no brainer. As for the Bible…gay marriage wasn’t really even an idea in that time period. Using a two thousand year old book as a policy guide on modern affairs like gay marriage and stem cell research (to name a few things) is akin to using the shop manual for a Model T to repair your new Lexus. The Model T was a great car, and the shop manual is excellent. I needed the Model T to get here….but Henry Ford couldn’t predict, say…anti lock brakes.

Necessarily, we need to consult reason, and more modern thought to fix the Lexus, and to navigate the political issues of our time.

I want to note…that’s not a cheap shot at the Bible. Tons of western culture is based on it, and I don’t get HUNDREDS of pieces of art and literature without it as the inspiration. As a work of art itself, it’s an incredible achievement in writing. History in the west is dependent on it. That is a very important book, with countless useful contributions to navigating modern ethics and moral behavior.

It’s just not the book I want to consult when trying to treat the LGBT community fairly. It’s not equipped…although the Bible as it were, and Jesus himself have startlingly little to say on the matter, despite the concerns expressed by the American religious right.

So…unless you have been under a rock for a few days…states (like say, Mississippi) cannot keep same-sex couples from marrying and must recognize their unions, according to the Supreme Court in a ruling that for months has been the focus of speculation. The decision was 5-4.

About damn time.

To me, this is a simple civil rights issue that has been a long time coming. There has been a ton of hypocrisy about it, and foolish policy delays. At last though, this matter is resolved. Living in Los Angeles, it’s pretty amazing to see the relief in the LGBT community, really at being treated fairly in such a public forum. It doesn’t happen as often as it should, that.

I put some good effort into the sketch cover, as a result. I chose the “Renew Your Vows” variant, because it is the part of Secret Wars that has me most “opting out.” It references a plotline in Marvel’s continuity called “One More Day,” which J. Michael Straczynski wanted to take his name off of in protest. “One More Day” is a four-part, 2007 comic book crossover storyline, connecting the three main Spider-Man series concurrently published by Marvel Comics at the time….in 2007 at the end of “Civil War.”

So…the plot. After his Aunt May has been shot, Spider-Man seeks help to save her life. He encounters the demon Mephisto (basically Satan), who offers to save her life if Spider-Man gives him his marriage. Spider-Man and his wife Mary Jane Watson agree (wait, what?), and this part of their history is erased so that, effectively, they have never been married. Additionally, the demon erases the world’s collective memory of Spider-Man’s secret identity, which had been exposed in Civil War No. 2.

The decision to abruptly end Peter Parker and Mary Jane’s marriage and the events of “One More Day” were heavily criticized upon the series’ conclusion. I mean…I’m amazed here at the plotline. First, it’s a massive “reset button.” Second…doesn’t a major superhero’s decision to collateralize his marriage in a deal with Satan undermine the institution of marriage completely? Was the religious right, or the “Million Moms” organization just taking a nap on that one?

So the art is based on the famous Spider-Man wedding issue, of course. Both MJ and the Black Cat have been @#$% around with in relationships with Peter Parker so much, it seemed pretty easy to make the art choice. Note the cast of Adequacy, and Supreme Court Satan in the Background. The original cover art, which is GORGEOUS, is here:

You of the most famous Marvel Covers EVER?

You know…one of the most famous Marvel Covers EVER?

I edited out the Secret Wars logo at the bottom digitally to have more room for the art. Also, I did a lot of digital clean up, for image clarity…it was an endeavour, but it seemed pretty important. I wanted the image to look good, and be on actual Marvel trade dress. The effort was important, and brought home by reading some of Justice Kennedy’s commentary.

Justice Anthony Kennedy, seen as a pivotal swing vote in the case, wrote the majority opinion. All four justices who voted against the ruling wrote their own dissenting opinions: Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito. Just so we know who is on what side, the scorecard is up there.

Anyway…”They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law,” Kennedy wrote of same-sex couples in the case. “The Constitution grants them that right.”

That’s what the whole thing is about…equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The idea that the whole state isn’t organized against you. I look at students who struggle with gender identity and sexuality in schools all the time, and they feel like everything is arrayed against them, everyone is judging. I’m hoping that this giant step is a step in the right direction.


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