Haunted Asteroid GK-20!

You KNOW those shrill space harpies are going to force Cap to ruin that Cosmic Taj Mahal, right?

My summer vacation is ending.

Phone calls as shrill as the wail of the Space Harpy are happening daily now, reminding me that I will soon have to haul my carcass to work like everybody else. It’s a return to a demanding reality, and to be honest, even though I’ve had a bunch of time off (two months), I’m not so sure how ready I am to re-embrace those responsibilities. Most of the time, I think about how excellent all of the vacation time teachers have is, and how much I benefit from it. This week, I find myself thinking that two months off is a serious disadvantage in some ways.

Other jobs don’t get to the point of “time off” where you actually start changing your basic habits. It’s not that hard to go back to work, because in reality, you are never really off the clock for all that much. In teaching, the opposite is true…you get enough time off, and possibly traveling, to make that into the “new normal.” This is especially true if you have started to become a bit worried about the current political state of affairs for your students, and really wondering to a large degree how things are going to work out.

Like that dome around Cosmic Taj Mahal, education is a bit of a glass house. Students are supposed to “buy in” to the system, and by doing so…by working hard and playing by the rules, they are supposed to succeed. Except, right now, the young people I serve as a teacher feel like that’s true, except for immigrants, LGBT students, and any number of categories. Honestly, given the way things look via any news media available, I’m hard pressed to tell them otherwise.

Enrollment is down at numerous schools in the district, as families just…leave. I heard via Space Harpy Scream today that my Old School has a massively down enrollment, and Pledge LA, the managing company, has had yet another massive personnel shake up. I have no idea yet what things are like at the Edu-Mountain, simply because I haven’t yet reached out to a credible source.

I’ve stayed apart from those credible sources on purpose. The moment that you start getting that kind of news, you descend back into that world, which is one of Serious Responsibility. Honestly, for at least another day or two, I’d like to stay away from Serious Responsibility, if I can.

Part of Cap being in space for the summer was about that. The plot device, so to speak, of the Planetary Shield from “Secret Empire” (thanks, Marvel!) made it very possible to put her in a new, weird summer context, with very few consequences. Unlike my usual summer content, which winds up being about the Comics Industry, and Education Politics, I followed Cap firmly into space, letting the Planetary Shield keep all of that stuff at arm’s length. That’s honestly because the current political climate, both in education and in comics, is a bit scary.

People are empowered now to say and do the @#$%iest things that they can come up with, and do so all of the time. With pervasive, even INVASIVE social media powers. Marvel is involved in a dystopian, heavy handed allegory about that…Image Comics had a fiasco with a creator who made serious errors in judgment…in short, comics are failing to be a shelter or an “escapist” hobby at this point. I think that’s why Roddenberry’s Star Trek resonates with me right now…it’s a future that has gotten past all of this pettiness towards each other, without being perfect.

I don’t know what school is going to “Look Like” in an environment of constant, unfettered vitriol. In a time of political extremes, with few (if any) moderates. I don’t know how that plays for young people, or even me, for that matter.

I can only meditate on the fundamental wisdom of Zardu Hasselfrau: “In these times of hardship, just remember—We. Are. Groot.”

That’s right, Zardu Hasselfrau. We are Groot.

Obviously, the art today is a mess of excellent Silver Age stuff. Cap and her friends are on a surface of human bones, mostly skulls, somehow looking up at both the Space Harpies, and a domed asteriod with a kind of Taj Mahal on it. In the Silver Age, stuff in space always had domes on it. When in doubt, slap a dome on it.

The Space Harpies seem like they will be a hassle. You can’t just punch them, after all…they seem ghostly and intangible. They probably involve some kind of riddle, or puzzle, or maybe a space exorcism. I didn’t really think it through.


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