Thru Rose Colored Laser Vision Goggles…

She's fed up enough with monsterism that she dug up her laser vision goggles.

She’s fed up enough with monsterism that she dug up her laser vision goggles.

We haven’t seen those laser vision goggles for some time.

So, today’s wandering post is about some real anger and frustration I have with regard to the world we live in. Yeah, that’s a big one. Since Columbine, there has been an average of one Mass Shooting per month in the United States. Most of them are at schools. As a teacher, I’ve learned to sort of function at a “red alert” level, where any person could theoretically become a threat, for which I am a Mandatory Reporter. This year has seen more of those shootings, and more importantly a more regular departure from school environments.

Maybe today’s preachiness will get it out of my system, before the July 4th post. One can hope.

I’m going to start off talking about the art, and then move to what it’s all about. Most simply, I wanted to do an experiment in panel structure. Usually, if I do two panels, there is a clear “gutter” or space between the panels as a visual separator. Here…there’s just the line, the horizontal rule if you will, on the first “panel” sequence, to separate it visually and narratively from the second. I’m not exactly sure if I like the way it came out or worked, but it IS exactly what I was after. I’m not so sure of the best way to use it (if any) in future page compositions.

The alien monster was actually easier to draw than I thought it would be. Eagle eyed fans who recognized it as a Dire Wraith, created by Bill Mantlo and Al Milgrom for Rom No. 1 in 1979, give yourselves a No-Prize. Wraiths are alien invaders with super strength, they can change shape to duplicate people and blend in, and they have evil magic, to put the whole thing in a proverbial nutshell. The premise was that only Rom had the technology to see and detect the wraiths, and pretty much was the only guy that could thwart the invasion. Other superheroes were tough enough, but just had no idea who was an alien menace, and who was the shopkeeper down the street.

That’s pretty much the reason I chose this kind of alien to get beat down today. The concept of the “hidden agenda” among us is all too common, and all too dangerous today. Between the guy that just performed that mass shooting in Orlando, and the e-mail threat that shut down my school district, the shooting nearby in San Bernardino, and more recently at UCLA campus….we live in a world where people seem to spontaneously change into alien monsters. Or maybe more like the guy in Orlando, people somehow don’t notice that there is a monster in their midst, until way too late.

You can’t err on the side that some politicians want us to, where we decide in advance who is a threat, and who is not. Sure, if you’re right, you may have saved lives…but what would we be exchanging in the bargain? Due Process? Diversity? A whole bunch of our basic Civil Liberties? None of those sound too good to me, despite the need for safety. All it takes is getting one of those actions wrong, and you have a whole new problem to deal with.

For that matter, what’s pretty clear from the state of things is that we DON’T know who is a threat and who is not. which in some ways, is for the best.

There’s not a whole lot to do about that kind of thing. You can do what good people do, give blood for the injured, support charities that look after families caught up in the chaos…but it’s not like any one of us can in any real sense go out and “make sure this doesn’t happen.” Certain political candidates want to suggest that THEY can do that magic trick…but it just isn’t possible. During my lifetime, the world has come to a kind of scary Critical Mass, that we all need to navigate.

So besides time, and altruistic effort, there’s only one thing I can really do to cope. Take my anger and frustration that these kinds of things happen, and express it on paper. Take the wish for an Alien American super person with laser goggles to come down from the sky and make the monsters go away, and at least DRAW it. John Oliver said on his show that when you look at the people that lined up to give blood, to help, in Orlando, that it made one thing clear. Good people…good regular folks, VASTLY outnumber the violent radicals that we are all learning to be afraid of.

There are no excellent superheroes that stop terrible things before they happen. It would be cool if there were. Certainly, you look around right now, and you think, “If the world ever needed Superman, that time is now.”

Since there isn’t any Superman, you have to look at the smaller picture, and see the heroism there. The daily acts that push back against the forces of Monsterism. From little things that we forget…I saw a big friendly jock actually carry a very old lady’s groceries for her today….to bigger things that matter, like the Democratic Party grinding Congress to a halt in a sit in over Gun Control. It’s not like those Democrats got anything done today…but finally, they took a stand on an issue that is scaring the @#$% out of all of us.

Until Superman or some other alien American falls from the sky to save us from ourselves, I figure we should all do our best to be excellent to each other. Sometimes, even that is hard.

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