Storm Arcana

Heroic Tarot & Arcana Academy

Storm Sunday: “No, Scott, I Am Terrified! But I Shall Cope.”

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“That’s the spirit.”

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Once upon a time, Marvel and DC Comics used to play well together (or at least well enough to produce some amazing comics).  One of the comics they made together showcased the X-Men and the Teen Titans in a crossover that made history!  The Uncanny X-Men and the New Teen Titans was written by X-scribe Chris Claremont, drawn by Walt Simonson (a page of his excellent linework is above) and inked by Terry Austin.  Both titles were in their prime, being very popular at the time due to their excellent scripting and artwork.  The parallels between the two teams was amazing!  Both teams had cool level-headed leaders (Cyclops and Robin), larger than life women with big hair (Storm and Starfire) and young naive members (Kitty Pryde and Changeling).  The story combined the best that both comic companies had to offer and the stakes were high for both teams.

The plot consisted of Darkseid resurrecting Dark Phoenix for his own nefarioys power-hungry purposes and the team-up between comicdom’s most popular heroes (well, at least at the time) is a milestone for the ages.  I love the panel between Storm and Cyclops in which Scott asks about Ororo’s claustrophobia.  I loved it so much I made it today’s subject heading.  The line speaks to me because I am seeing many people around me right now looking truly terrified (myself included) and yet, I see them working with their challenges as best as they can.  This is a time to anticipate challenge rather than avoid it.  It is a time for heroes and the universe is asking for nothing less than our best.  This page celebrates the nature of Storm being able to move ahead in a strenuous time and rise above her fears.  We can do no less.

Today we look at the original artwork of many artists, including Rick Leonardi, Leinil Francis Yu, Chris Bachalo, Salvador Larroca, Phil Jimenez, Sal Buscema and more!

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Rick Leonardi drew a few issues of the Uncanny X-Men during their Australian Outback era (I am unsure of which issue this is).  This is one of my favorite iterations of X-Men rosters, featuring Storm, Wolverine, Psylocke, Rogue, Dazzler, Longshot, Colossus, and Havok.  The top panel of this page depicting the X-Men falling out of a teleportational portal is full of grace and action and the closeup of Wolverine’s face in panel two is striking as well, but in a more personable manner.  Leonardi gives a great sense of place and character in this page.  I like how quickly things happen in just four panels.  Leonardi’s rounded style is sparse but contains the essential linework to convey the story.

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Salvador Larroca’s tenure as artist on X-treme X-Men does not rank high on my list of favorite eras (through no fault of his own; it was Chris Claremont’s stories from this time that underwhelmed me), but I did enjoy his costume creations for Storm’s team.  Here we see Rogue (doing goddess only knows what on the bed), Storm and Gambit (staring at the viewer).  I don’t recollect where this image comes from, but it seems that our heroes are being targeted or some such of technological naughtiness is at work here.  I love the fluidity of Storm’s ponytail and cape and I appreciate the details of the clothing.

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Phil Jimenez’s cover to New X-Men #140 is a great lesson on how to make the faces of characters look unique.  It seems that male characters usually have more differentiated looks than female ones, but Jimenez finds subtle ways to convey each character’s personality.  The only character I cannot identify here is the woman to the upper right of Nightcrawler (and under Rogue).  Anyone have a guess?   UPDATE:  Thanks to Christian for pointing out that the woman in question is Paige Guthrie, aka Husk.

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Alan Kupperberg drew this farcical page (79) for Crazy #82.  It’s a silly thing about how to write a comic, featuring the X-Men roster at the time (early 1980s).  Storm looks a bit metallic to me and boy did Wolverine have a growth spurt or what?  He’s as tall as Cyclops in that last panel!  I enjoy the shades of grey used in this artwork, however, and Nightcrawler looks very Dave Cockrum influenced.

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Leinil Francis Yu brings the double page spread with this issue of The Uncanny X-Men (again, I have no idea what issue #).  Storm looks incredibly powerful and I enjoy Yu’s depiction of Gambit.  It is nice to see Jean Grey fighting alongside Colossus, but seeing all the the heroes dog-piling on a giant Apocalypse head?  Not especially inspiring IMHO.

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Chris Bachalo brings some kinetic storytelling to The Uncanny X-Men #205 in which the X-Men fight Mr. Sinister’s Marauders.  If you look carefully at the super-rendered page, you can see Storm in the lower right corner wielding a spear(!) against Mr. Sinister himself.  Angel (upper right) looks simply stunning with his giant wingspan.

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Bachalo also drew this double spread for X-Men #200.  Although Storm does not appear in this part of the story, I find Bachalo’s interpretations of Iceman, Kitty Pryde, Rogue and Mystique to be especially inspiring.

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Bachalo also did this image of Storm but it is not as recent as the two above.  I had this image as a cardboard standup many years ago.  Bachalo tends to give his heroines very youthful faces.  I think his style has matured, but he still draws very immature female faces.

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Brent Anderson drew this page from Storm’s time as a thrall of Dracula.  In this page, Storm does not remember the details of her attack, and is trying to go about business as usual, utilizing her powers for renewal.  Anderson’s realistic style serves to augment this human and haunting storyline.

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Storm and Angel are my two favorite X-Men and Paco Diaz accentuates their superheroic anatomy on this page.  Storm has the unfortunate fate to still be wearing her Simone Bianchi designed costume, and Angel’s wings look a bit stripped down, but I love the look of intensity that Diaz gives to both of their faces.  The annoyed Emma Frost in the lower right corner is a nice touch as well.

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John Bolton’s backup stories in Classic X-Men had a great influence on me as  youngster.  His versions of the X-Men are so clean, so fluid, and yet solid, simultaneously human and heroic.  His layouts are beautiful in their simplicity, somehow making less is more look easy.  A true master craftsman.

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I leave you today with this first page of the first annual of Marvel Team Up starring Spider-Man and the X-Men.  Drawn by Sal Buscema, this piece is pure nostalgia, depicting the All-New, All-Different X-Men in their original line-up and togs.  I cannot help but crack up every time I look at this and see Phoenix running like the other non-flyers on the team.  She should totally be in the sky with Storm and Banshee.

Thanks for checking out this eclectic mix of art with me today and I will see you next week for another Storm Sunday!

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9 Comments

  1. Christian

    Hey STORM! Me again. I gotta say that I am in LOVE with Storm Sundays; which is possibly the only thing I look forward to on Sundays.
    And your choices for the artwork here is pure love!

    For this post, I wanna give you another hand; the woman in question for the Phil Jimenez piece from New X-Men? I’m pretty sure that’s supposed to be Paige Guthrie aka Husk. It took me a while to figure out who that was too, but the giveaway was her hairstyle; if you look at the way artist Kia Asamiya drew Miss Guthrie from New X-Men, you’ll notice the similarities 😉

    Also, I was a little confused as per which woman you were referring to, to be honest. In the post, you noted the woman in the upper LEFT – Emma Frost, I’m sure you knew 😉 – of Nightcrawler while still being under Rogue. Did you mean the upper RIGHT?
    This discrepancy reappeared later in the post describing Chris Bachalo’s piece w/Sinister. Storm and Angel are in the lower and upper right of the composition, respectively 🙂

    As always, keep up the awesome work!

    • Thank you, Christian, for pointing out those errors! As you can tell, I’m a bit directionally challenged. I was totally referring to female with the side thing going on and I think you are correct that is supposed to be Paige. I was hurrying to get this post out there so I could go dancing tonight! 😀

      I’m gonna edit the post now! 😉

      Thank you also, for the kind words. I really appreciate them. <3

      Cheers!
      ~S

      • Christian

        Ha, it’s no problem! I figured there was some kind of rush that led to the mixup.
        😉

  2. Yeah, my thought was Paige Guthrie, also.

  3. Ingonyama

    I love the strength of character Storm demonstrates in that one line. She’s already started growing past the limitations and boundaries that were drawn in her initial characterization, and proving the fluidity of Claremont’s characterization. 🙂

    I’m going to be honest here. I’ve never seen a Walt Simonson page I liked before now. His run on X-Factor, particularly the issues of Inferno he drew, were some of the worst drawings I’d ever seen hit publication before Greg Land started making a living tracing from photographs.

    The work you’ve posted on the X-Men/Teen Titans crossover doesn’t look like his X-Factor work at all. It’s beautiful…the characters look like themselves, and an honest effort was put into making them look attractive, to boot. Are there any theories about what caused the sudden downturn in his art between this book and X-Factor?

    The two-page spreads of heroes dog-piling a giant screaming villain face make for excellent promotional material, but as an in-story page, I’m less sure about it. Also, who’s the flying man to the upper left of Cable? The only flying, male X-Character I know of who wears a leather jacket is Nate Grey, “the X-Man.” So is this him or someone I’ve never seen before?

    I still hate Angel (for reasons mentioned waaay back in Valentine’s Day’s X-Couples post), but Paco Diaz’s interpretation of him makes me hate him just a little less. Now he looks more like a seasoned superhero and less like background ornamentation. Even Storm’s ugly-as-sin Bianchi costume doesn’t look that horrendous under Diaz’s pen…my only problem left with it is the clunky thigh boots. Storm’s choice in footwear is usually sleeker than that, even during her Mohawk phase.

    I could justify the Buscema work by saying that Phoenix was relatively new to her powers at the time…as Marvel Girl, she would only fly for brief periods before needing to come down. She didn’t learn she could fly anytime she wanted until the fight against Firelord, so if this is before then, she’d still be walking (and running) with the ground squad.

    Andersen, Larocca, and Bolton are three of my favorite artists in comics. The Larocca page is, I believe, from “Invasion,” possibly the best of the X-TREME X-MEN story arcs. I personally felt it was the last really good creative decision Claremont made before bringing Psylocke back from the dead. If you find the TPB, give it a read…if nothing else, then for the character journey Rogue goes through in it.

    • Hey Ingonyama, I totally think you are correct about that flying guy is Nate Grey. And I totes agree about Storm and sleek footwear. Good point about Jean running too!

  4. Aaron Frey

    I love the X-Men/Teen Titans cross over, even though I don’t really care for the story. Darkseid wasn’t even a Titans villain and Dark Phoenix was a rehash. I love it for the interactions between my two favorite teams and the beautiful artwork. I really wish they would have published the second issue that Perez and Wolfman had done using the Hellfire Club and Brother Blood.

    • I think I read somewhere that the second issue of the crossover was never drawn by Perez, but possibly written by Wolfman. I would have loved to see it too!

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