Another Year Over…. (Thoughts At The End Of 2016)

I haven't done color in a while.

I haven’t done color in a while.

It was a bad year for good people, and a good year for bad people. That’s pretty much what I have to say about 2016, and I’m glad the year is on its way out.

Normally, having spent the overwhelming majority of my life in education in one form or another, I don’t really mark time by the coming and going of New Years’. This year is a stand out on that front, and not just because of the inevitable anniversary of the strip itself, which started on January 1st, some years ago. No…this year saw a rough time for the world. We lost many people who gave more to the world than they took from it, especially in the form of artists, musicians and actors. We saw an election that put the United States into a kind of turmoil, and we have literally seen Haters take to the streets. It’s a pretty unusual time.

Turning over the odometer on the year isn’t going to change that. There’s no “cause and effect” that’s going to bail us out. We kind of need to do that for ourselves, in whatever way that we can figure out.

Still…it is a milestone. It’s a milestone every year for this little web comic, and I feel like this year it’s a milestone for many of us. It’s a moment where we can sit back, say “Yeah…that happened,” and move forward. A change in attitude and outlook is sometimes the lever that it takes to change the world.

Hence today’s art. Cap dancing with an Inhuman in a fancy place, wearing a metal tuning fork tiara and a nice new suit. That fancy place is the Quiet Room…a real Marvel Comics location, but an idea that I just like. Imagine that…a Quiet Room, an escape from everything that seems to be going down the tubes so quickly. Even Superman puts on his glasses and slows down once in a while.

The Inhumans are being played up in comics as the new sci-fi “minority allegory.” You can make any point about discrimination that you want with the Inhumans, without offending anyone. I haven’t really loved Marvel’s handling of that as of yet, but its an important idea. Heck…Cap is well known to have had disputes with the Inhumans…but sometimes, you have to put that aside. That’s what Quiet Rooms are for.

Let’s not forget that this year had the Orlando “Pulse” shooting. With so many tragedies this year…it’s kind of hard to remember what happened when. That’s another reason I put the art together as such. DC Comics just did their “Love is Love” anthology to support the family members of those cut down that evening…and I feel like maybe I needed to do my own little bit (besides buying the book) to show my support. My support for diversity, as well as for the bereaved.

At the end of the day, there are tons of people still with us who could use a helping hand. One of those helping hands is Free Speech, which should be used constructively, respectfully. I hope that our current leadership gets a handle on that, and quickly.

The black and white "sketch variant."

The black and white “sketch variant.”

That’s really the deal here. Over the course of doing this strip, I’ve learned a whole lot about the value of free speech. Sometimes a post gets picked up and carried to a person that I never thought it would, someone who cares about the same issues as I do. Sometimes, it gets people involved, or raises money for something. It’s easy enough to take for granted the power inherent in free speech, and moreso the power of being able to reach a huge audience through the internet.

Today, I thought of having Cap, our beloved protagonist, just straight up punch the living @#$% out of Father Time, wearing a 2016 sash. I may still do that. However, When it came down to what I wanted to bust my @#$ drawing, inking, coloring, backgrounding, editing…I felt like I wanted to do something more positive. More grounded in an idea that might be helpful to everyone.

Find YOUR Quiet Room. A lot of the time, for me, it’s drawing. Find that thing that you can do that lets you put all of the crumminess of the universe aside, and just be beautiful, and yourself. I try to make sure that my students somehow have that, and really, I think it’s something I should share with everyone. Finding that Quiet Room is harder than you think.

As we all step up to the plate, and try to be the best people that we can to counteract the forces of evil…we need a Quiet Room. A place to “recharge”, to rest, to be at peace, so that we can keep on fighting the good fight.

I just liked the color art on it's own.

I just liked the color art on it’s own.

In fact, I’m fond enough of the art, and feel like I might need a reminder of the need for the Quiet Room, that I might go to Zazzle and have that made into a wristwatch. Something that I’ll need to look at regularly, and as a result, will remind me to keep things in perspective. I’m often not great at that.

True Believers…thanks for reading. I hope that things go well for you and yours in the coming year. This time, I’ll be wishing on that comet (seriously, there’s a comet tonight) that it’s a good year for good people, and a bad year for bad people.

Obviously, we are entering into another year of Tales of Adequacy, although this year was unusually hard to produce at time. The art has gotten much more complex, as have the tools and the process. In addition, time has been an issue, as well as struggling with both depression over the year, and not wishing to repeat a lot of content. It’s tough…sometimes I just don’t really know what to draw, and I’m staying just ahead of the “deadline.”

That said…it’s a meaningful project to me, that I’m definitely not closing up shop on just yet. Especially now, in our current environment, where it has somehow become okay to “hate” again…where the kinds of forces that we thought, perhaps wrongly, were defeated, are back. I think those kinds of groups are going to always exist…but a big part of keeping them at bay is attempting to stand up for better things, to speak freely about the topics before us.

As a result, Cap and the cast are here to stay for a bit. Maybe sometimes just commenting on Marvel and DC Comics, maybe other times being about a Meaningful Issue. Free speech is like a muscle, you have to keep using it…and to be honest, I don’t have such a giant soapbox that I can stay on top of it all the time.

I felt like dropping in the raw inks, since some of you like the "process" stuff.

I felt like dropping in the raw inks, since some of you like the “process” stuff.

And, with that, I’ll get off my soapbox for the moment. Have a good New Year, True Believers.

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