Marvel Sketch Cover Madness: Labor Day!

Reaching into my big backlog of sketch variant covers.

Reaching into my big backlog of sketch variant covers.

Today is Labor Day, and more importantly, it is a day off from school. I gave our hero the weekend off, as you can tell, and now, it is time to discuss Civil War II.

As much as I hate to admit it, I seem to once again be on Tony Stark’s side, although resentfully so. “Civil War,” the original, was all about registering superheroes with the government, for some kind of oversight…because superheroes have a lot of power, and might be dangerous. Although the plotline was not very original (Marvel had already done the Mutant Registration Act in 1988) it did do a job of polarizing the superheroes. Although I’m all about the government not being too parent like…I’m also a public school teacher. That means that I had to go through a byzantine set of qualifications and background checks, just to have my job.

In effect, by doing so, I was agreeing with stark that there needs to be some kind of oversight.

In the film version of the same plot…the recent “Captain America: Civil War,” the plot is more about taking responsibility for what we do. When Stark is shown the photograph of a promising young man killed by the recklessness of the Avengers, he decides that yes…he needs someone to keep him in check. I recently had a “Back To School Night” which is full of parents…that’s the point. The thing is, that’s where the real accountability in my job lies…to the students and the parents. Negligence on my part would put me in the same sort of guilt ridden, soul searching position, so once again I find myself on the Tony Stark side of a Civil War Event.

This summer has seen Marvel Comics’ “Civil War II”, which I have discussed a bit on this blog. The idea is that there is a new Inhuman who can give reliable profiles of future events, in the form of visions…these are almost always visions of catastrophes. Some of the heroes want to roll out to prevent these catastrophes, which is a very real motive…it makes sense. However, in such a preventative sense, you are often punishing or detaining people who haven’t done anything yet, which Stark objects to.

In the text of the series, Bruce Banner was killed off because he might have turned into the Hulk (but didn’t), and a regular lady with an empty briefcase was detained by SHIELD, because Ulysses had a vision of the briefcase as a devastating weapon. In both cases, the sanctions are unacceptable, and the visions wrong. What makes the sanctions so unacceptable is that both characters didn’t DO anything.

As a teacher…I wasn’t sure if I was really going to wind up on Tony’s side with this one. I mean…a large part of classroom management is the idea that you are supposed to be able to accurately predict what might go wrong in the classroom, and stop it from happening. If a student is going to do something wrong, you do your best to prevent that action. If the rumor mill says that there will be a fight out front of the school, school employees go there at that time to prevent it.

It turns out…I’m on Tony’s side in this one too.

There was an incident at school…two girls arguing at lunchtime. A few of the football players were tangentially involved…nearby. By the time things were done, the nearby football players were accused of something that they had not done, and facing real legal repercussions, and the ENTIRE football team, including kids that weren’t there and didn’t know what had happened, were benched. I didn’t think this was fair in the least…punishing people who hadn’t done anything, and furthermore, didn’t even know about the incident.

In other words, people just like Bruce Banner and the lady with the briefcase. It turns out that whenever one of these Civil War Events happens, I shake out ideologically to the Iron Man side.

The art as a panel treatment, with our hero explaining things.

The art as a panel treatment, with our hero explaining things.

Even this weekend, with Marvel Puzzle Quest being “Civil War”, I was pretty much on Team Iron Man. It turns out that the characters that I have been recruiting are pretty much Team Iron Man, or neutral…I had very few of the characters needed to even participate on the Team Cap side. Once again, I found myself doing a Civil War event as practically an employee of Stark Enterprises.

Although the Marvel Puzzle Quest Civil War went okay, it really wasn’t as much fun as some of the other events have been. I think that fighting Mafia Men and Ninjas, teamed up, in venues like Greenland is just more interesting than a Superhero Civil War. In fact, that has been my issue with a lot of the Marvel movies and events lately…superheroes seem to have stopped fighting Bad Guys, and pretty much seem to squabble amongst each other, these days.

The pencils, separated from the cover treatment.

The pencils, separated from the cover treatment.

I wanted to be ambiguous with the artwork. Is that Tony’s shirt? Did she wake up there…it’s clearly a Tony Stark coffee mug. Or does she actually work for him, since she has a Stark Enterprises ID badge on the shirt? We don’t really know, but I liked the concept better than having her wearing some kind of Iron Man Suit, and inquiring if Tony just gave the things away for big Marvel Events. Even though that’s clever…it just wasn’t as much fun to draw.

Plus…drawing someone drinking coffee is deceptively hard to do. It’s all about posture and facial expression, shading and the idea of textures. Super hero equipment is actually generally much easier to draw than real objects…oddly enough. You would think it would be the other way around.

In a pseudo related point…the giant coffee mug is in the shape of a mug used by a history teacher upstairs from me. In a feedback form from administration, she got commentary attempting to regulate her use of the coffee mug, as a beverage container for water, during class. If there’s a kind of paranoid micromanagement for Team Cap to be worried about, that might be it.

I can’t even imagine a Dark World where teachers don’t have coffee at their disposal.

Enjoy Labor Day, True Believers!

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