|Comics and Stories|
Chronological Place in Series
Big Blue is the first comic chapter in the series, however it is not the first story. That distinction belongs to Channing's story, School, which takes place two months earlier, in September. However, unlike the following stories, the creators recommend treating her tale as more of a prequel, and suggest reading it sometime after the character introduction scenes in Big Blue.
All of the Mains and Shadows attend Mrs. Hambridge's class, as it establishes their bonds.
Teacher: Mrs. Hambridge
Additionally, Jocelyn Greaux is enrolled in this class, but does not appear for medical reasons.
Modern Lad and Remnant
Modern Lad is seen being dropped off by his Mom at the front of Widow's Perch Elementary, on November 2nd, 2015 (the launch date of the comic itself). They give each other a thumbs up, and he heads inside, walking past words scratched into the exterior brick at the front of the school that read 'Dad mising' [sic].
We open on Ethan brushing his teeth in the upstairs bathroom, with Karmen waiting for him to finish. After grabbing his backpack and saying goodbye to his army men, he heads downstairs and waits on the living couch while Karmen gets his dad out of bed. She then ties Ethan's shoes for him when she comes back, and tells him that they're having breakfast at the table today.
Over an Eggo waffle, with his dad barely awake, Karmen reminds him that Ethan is meeting a special teacher today, for the upcoming school play. Ethan hugs his dad, and Karmen takes him to school under rainy weather, commenting a little about growing up here herself and how the new development should really make the town a more livable place. Once he arrives at Widow's Perch Elementary.
In class, Mrs. Hambridge teaches the kids the gentrified, standard lesson about the Pilgrims and the Indians, though she at least knows that it's more to correct to call them Native Americans when Indira, who is from India, inquires about it. She then takes the class to the cafeteria, where Ms. Goodwin, a young, hotblooded play director is waiting for them, with Mr. Foster keeping a watch on everyone. To introduce nearly all of the series Mains and Shadows (Jocelyn being the exception) to herself and to the reader, she has them share their names and say something about themselves. Tom did this same play the previous year. After Ethan embarrasses himself by exclaiming that he needs to use the bathroom, she takes him aside (and ignores Prissy entirely) and before he knows it, she's made him the star and lead Pilgrim of the Thanksgiving Play. Ethan hates this idea.
At school pickup, he is shoved and belittled by Joshua, who wanted to be the star. Ethan walks around with Aubrey some, crushing leaves and acorns underfoot, until Aubrey goes with his dad and Ethan is alone, at which point Ms. Goodwin approaches him and offers him a ride home. He promises that he's about to be picked up and she leaves, but after waiting around a few more moments, he begins walking home. Karmen finally comes shortly after and scolds him for not waiting at school. That night at dinner, while watching TV and after Karmen goes out to spend some time with her friends, Ethan's Dad talks (or rants) to him about Native Americans and the truth about their first interactions with Europeans, but he is really still too young to comprehend what it all means.
The next day in class, during a math lesson where counting bears are being used, Ethan awkwardly makes contact with Aubrey by asking him if Native Americans also have math. He isn't sure what to say. At lunch, after Tom bumps into him and call hims a geek, Ethan sits near Aubrey and makes a second attempt at friendship, which actually goes over pretty easily (he just asks if they want to be friends). There's also some talk about lunches from home from Indira and her adopted brother Demyan, and after overhearing about Tom having to repeat first grade from Candace, Yolanda begins spreading the news by first telling Mike. At the following recess, while Ethan and Aubrey wander around, they stop and watch a group of kids led by Prissy making fun of Margaret, by calling her "Maggot". After Cody arrives to break it up, tells Prissy she's being mean, and Margaret runs off, Ethan and Aubrey are approached by Cody as well. Remembering the time she bit him in kindergarten, Ethan urges his new friend that they should get away from her.
We then transition to the first Thanksgiving play rehearsal, where Ms. Goodwin watches as some of the class, the pilgrims at the moment, say their lines on stage with less than stellar results. Prissy asks to have a role other than the turkey, which Adrian now wants to be, and she is assigned as the turnip (still not giving her a speaking part). After Adrian demonstrates his turkey chops on stage, Mrs. Hambridge comes to pick up the class and Ms. Goodwin offers Ethan a creepy wink.
The students are brought to the media center (the recent evolution of the school library), where Ms. Farthing ushers them into the new computer lab. It's a new and strange experience at first for Ethan, but he quickly becomes fascinated with the machines. Sitting next to Aubrey, they watch an introduction video to computers on the room's television. Ethan then opens a typing program, garnering the attention of several other students near him. Taking to the old IBM systems like a fish to water, he asserts himself and asks Aubrey what floppy disk he has; it's Oregon Trail, which they likely play next.
That night, Ethan types on his father's typewriter (fairly well given that he's still new to typing), but doesn't find it nearly as fun as using a computer. Karmen shoos him away to the living room, where his father and "Uncle" Lyle are talking about recent events. After trying to share some details about his day and frightening the two adults when sharing his experience with computers, Ethan gets to talk to his older half-sister Gemma on the phone after his dad and Karmen head out, who assures him that their shared father will see his play. Ethan then responsibly hangs the phone up as Lyle, supposed to be watching him, falls asleep in his chair.
On a following day, while he's practicing his lines with Aubrey at a play rehearsal, he watches in stunned silence as Aubrey's Dad bursts in with the principal, who tries to calm him down. He gets into a conflict with Ms. Goodwin about his son's position in the play (and more or less, the play in its entirety) and promptly removes him from it. As Arlo steps in to take Aubrey's place, Ethan wonders if he'll even see his new friend again. The next morning, Ethan is seen panicking his room as he searches for something for that day's show and tell. But nothing seems "cool" enough to him, so he settles on his box of memories. His dad, however, tells him that kids won't want to hear about sad things, which the box's connection Ethan's mom will lead to. He lets Ethan show off his old pair of military binoculars instead and calls him a strong little guy.
At school, Aubrey is late, and since he was worried to begin with that he'd never see him again, he assumes that the "bastards" his dad always seems to talk about "got him." But Aubrey does show up, being led in by the school secretary Ms. Patterson. Aubrey seems a little down and angry, likely with his dad, and threw away his lunch—but Ethan offers to share some of his. Aubrey is up for it, so long as it's within his strict dietary restrictions. Later that day, during show and tell, Ethan is the last to go. He shows off his dad's binoculars, and states that he used them to "find helicopters." Back at the group table, Aubrey remarks that he was impressed by his presentation.