Comics That Never Happened: Oath of the Narglewatch!

The single best part of my day on Monday was getting together at lunch.

The single best part of my day on Monday was getting together at lunch.

For the past week, a young man who recently immigrated to the United States has been coming by to the Magic:the Gathering tournament. He hadn’t played the game, but was very interested in it, and painfully self conscious about his skills in English. A very polite young man, the group of young people that was present and playing took a liking to him immediately, just as I did. The fact is, his English is nowhere as bad as he thinks it is, and furthermore, he clearly has a love of the same kind of strategy game that we do.

Over the weekend, I cooked up a very straightforward, but pretty effective “beginner deck” for him from cards I had around the house but wasn’t using. Monday, at lunch, he played his first game…a giant multiplayer game with like half of the club, because we all like this guy. He did great, but more importantly, he has a whole mess of friends at this point, from playing along with us. Love of the game, for him and for us, made a good thing happen for a fellow that was completely uprooted from his life, and is uncomfortable with the very language of where he lives now.

It’s kind of cool being a part of that. When you are a teacher, if you’re involved, you get to be a part of that kind of thing pretty often, and that’s the best part of the job, really.

The art, of course, relates to that. while I was cooking up his deck, I put together a pretty odd blue colored deck, that is completely at odds with the way that I usually play the game. It’s mostly about drawing more cards, and fiddling with the probabilities of the cards you might draw at any time, to attempt to maximize your ability to draw cards that might be useful in some way. What it isn’t is very aggressive…it just sort of chugs about, oddly looking at itself and doing what it does. As a result, it seemed thematically on point with the Harry Potter character of Luna Lovegood, who is depicted teaming up with our hero, Zebra Pony, and the Quislet.

My usual deck for the tournament seemed too “aggro” for a group game with this newer young man…I wanted to put something together for casual play, with an odd variety of effects. The Luna Lovegood Deck, as it were, did a fine job on that front, and will continue to see non-MODOK tourney play alongside the now “famous” (at school at least) “Let My People Grow” Deck.

The Marvel Sketch Variant, which was done digitally.

The Marvel Sketch Variant, which was done digitally.

Yes…done digitally. That’s mostly because of the art process for the final image, which I led with, which I’m going to bore all of you with during the post. Hopefully, there are interesting things along the way to keep your attention. See…the lead picture is actually a background and a foreground done and scanned in separately, and then digitally merged to give a better background than if I drew “through” the figures themselves as I usually do. Since the foreground is a cutout for those purposes, it was easy enough to get the blank cover, and merge the two digitally. Obviously, the speech balloons are my continued experiment in digital lettering.

What’s the “Last Days of Magic?” Good question! Its the upcoming Dr. Strange plotline, where THE EMPIRIKUL, led by The Imperator, are destroying all magic and magic users in the Marvel Universe. So…the Marvel Magic-Users stand against the evil magic-eaters….which sounds a lot like the “Battle for Zendikar/Oath of the Gatewatch” plot from the current Magic release. As a result, I thought the variant was in order.

Most interestingly? The “Last Days of Magic” logo is a digital construct, not part of the initial logo work. It came out pretty well.

My friend Mitch, who passed away last year, loved Doctor Strange…so it seemed like a cool idea to have the cast of Adequacy guest star on Strange’s cover. It makes me sad that he won’t ever see the movie, with that Cumberbatch guy…he would have been mental for it.

As a panel treatment, instead of a cover treatment.

As a panel treatment, instead of a cover treatment.

So…what are these Nargles that Luna is so @#$%ing suspicious of? The Nargle is a creature that Luna Lovegood and her dad, Xenophilius Lovegood believe exists, though many others believe them to not exist or to be extinct. The Nargle is supposed to infest mistletoe and to be a mischievous thief. Luna Lovegood claims that her Butterbeer cork necklace and her Dirigible plum earrings keep the Nargles away and that her papers and shoes were taken by Nargles. I find a whole lot of things hard to find, and lose stuff often, only to find it later…so I think she might be onto something with those Nargles.

Luna is presented as intelligent…very intelligent, but odd. In fact, she is described in the text like this: “The girl gave off an aura of distinct dottiness. Perhaps it was the fact that she had stuck her wand behind her left ear for safekeeping, or that she had chosen to wear a necklace of Butterbeer caps, or that she was reading a magazine upside down.” Her dad publishes a British Tabloid about witches and wizards, that she considers to be investigative journalism. He funky shades are in fact “Spectre Specs.”

Spectre specs were large, colorful spectacles that were given away free in an issue of The Quibbler in 1996. They were described as making their wearer look like a “demented, multicolored owl.” They make wrackspurts, (invisible creatures that floats through one’s ears causing their brain to go fuzzy), visible to the wizarding eye, according to Luna.

So…in short, Luna is a bit player, but all kinds of awesome. It’s why the deck I made uses her as it’s inspiration…a whole slew of the cards let you see the unseen cards in your deck, and fuss with them.

Earlier in the process, sans text.

Earlier in the process, sans text.

This week, I feel a bit like Luna, to be honest. There are tons of little bits of paperwork to get done, that are constantly getting underfoot. Little bits of oddness keep creeping up…a student that was suspended for some time, and needs an assignment for the week. A student checking out. A student who is sick, and has been with a serious illnesss…but I get messages through a student instead of the counseling office. Class coverage having to happen for a lengthy IEP instead of me getting time to work on grades.

The cancellation of the Junior Ball, over failure to sell tickets.

All kinds of small oddness, for which Nargles could easily be responsible.

And finally, the original pencils, with no background art.

And finally, the original pencils, with no background art.

That’s where I started today, drawing that. The background had been something I’d been working on in the hopper for a while, as I’ve begun using this “merge/collage” process somewhat more. I like the effect, but in many ways, I’m fond of the foreground pencils on their own. The characters are more expressive than usual. Well…Zebra Pony is always expressive. I mean the others.

Next Issue…School Spirit In The Sky!

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