Storm Arcana

Intuitive Visionary Coach & Founder of Arcana Academy

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Storm Sunday: Mark Brooks

Mark Brooks X-Treme X-Men Storm
I met Mark Brooks for the first time at Wonder Con in 2008.  He was super friendly and we had a great conversation about the X-Men and Storm and he showed me some of his X-Men art, including this piece which depicted everyone in the X-Books from 2006.  He also had a great Rogue piece that he had enlarged as a banner for his booth.  At the time, Storm wasn’t really in any X-Books and we talked about how we wished that wasn’t the case.  Mark drew me a cool Spider-Man sketch and I promised to stalk him on MySpace.    Above:  Mark Brooks sketch of X-Treme X-Men Storm from 2005.
Mark Brooks Mohawk Storm
I kept in touch with Mark and his lovely wife Lisa on MySpace and they both remembered me when I saw them in San Diego for Wonder Con 2008.  Mark graciously drew mohawk  Storm in my sketchbook (his personal favorite version of Storm).  Above, a gorgeous mohawk Storm sketch by Mark from 2007.
Ororo Before the Storm by Mark Brooks
Mark drew the cover for the first issue of Ororo: Before the Storm, a four issue mini-series depicting Storm’s early childhood years as a thief in Cairo.
Mark Brooks Ororo Before the Storm Sketches
Here’s some awesome preliminary sketches for the cover for Ororo: Before the Storm #1.
Mark Brooks Ororo Before the Storm Sketches
Here’s two more!   Click on any image to see them larger.

Among his many and varied assignments (including statue design), Mark has worked on Ultimate X-MenCable & Deadpool, Araña and New X-Men.  Recently, Mark drew the covers for Deadpool: Origins, a Cloak and Dagger one-shot (in which Storm plays a supporting role) and Uncanny X-Men #522 (the return of Kitty Pryde).  His cover for X-Men Annual #1 is stunning.  I’m particularly fond of the cover to Dark Reign: Young Avengers #4 (featuring Wiccan).

Keep up with Mark Brooks on his Deviant Art account, Facebook, and on Twitter.  He also has a beautiful art book available for sale while supplies last.  Order instructions are on his Deviant Art site on the left hand scroll bar.
Mark Brooks Polaris
Bonus:  I simply had to share this lovely Polaris sketch by Mark even though this is a Storm Sunday post.  This is how I think Lorna Dane should look (a little demure and fragile, but also possessing inner strength) and the costume in which I like her best (there’s something about the headplate and skull that just works for me).  White Queen fans might consider checking out this lovely image.

White Queen Wednesday: Drink & Drugs

An Emma Frost Salon
by Ken Kneisel


Welcome back, gentle reader, to White Queen Wednesday. This week I will touch on some of Emma’s experiences with drugs and alcohol, during her time with the Hellfire Club and as an X-Man. Emma is refreshingly honest about the subject and I feel it is an interesting topic worth exploring.


First and foremost it should be noted that Emma is incredibly picky, in fact downright snobbish, about her champagne. Perhaps this is due to her having lived a life of such obscene wealth and privilege and her appreciation for the finest things in life, as well as her proclivity to splurge on such a decadent indulgence as expensive champagne.


As the White Queen of the debauched Hellfire Club, essentially an exclusive S&M country club for the rich and kinky, every conceivable earthly indulgence was made available to Emma. And indulge she did. From her earliest appearances, Emma was frequently depicted with a flute of champagne or a cocktail or a goblet or snifter of hard brown liquor. But her drinking was never so much as mentioned, much less characterized as a problem.


It’s interesting to me that Emma never completely abandoned alcohol, continuing to enjoy a drink in moderation to this day. This is in stark contrast to characters like Iron Man and Ms Marvel for whom their out of control drinking ultimately became an issue that threatened to destroy their private and professional lives, a powerful problem to be overcome. It simply doesn’t seem to be an issue at all for Emma.


Substance use and abuse runs in her family, her mother was addicted to prescription tranquilizers and her gay brother Christian with whom she was quite close also used drugs before he tragically went insane. While she never specified exactly what drugs she used to do, I’m sure Emma sampled any number of narcotics at her own discretion during her time with the Hellfire Club. But I imagine she might have preferred cocaine, it just seems to fit her character best.

After Emma joined the X-Men and became a member of the faculty at Professor Xavier’s school, a new power enhancing drug called Kick swept the student population. Emma tried Kick, purely “in the interest of science”, in order to better understand what kind of a hold it had over her students. She described the experience as feeling “angelic and violently insane for five hours”. So she is still not above trying a new drug when it suits her.

I hope you enjoyed this examination of Emma’s attitudes towards drugs and alcohol, gentle reader, and I hope you join me next week for another White Queen Wednesday!

WonderCon Steals Storm Sunday. Posts To Follow

Marley Zarcone draws StormDear Reader, you have my sincere apologies for not posting this past weekend’s Storm Sunday.  You see, the entity experience that is collectively known as WonderCon weekend has deliciously destroyed me.  I look forward to sharing some of my favorite moments with you just as soon as I re-energize.  Until then, check out  artist Marley Zarcone drawing a sketch of Ororo Munroe for me.  The finished artwork will be featured in an upcoming Storm Sunday and you can check out Marley’s mad skills in an arc of Madame Xanadu (in May).

WonderCon Weekend: Pirates & Cowboys!

Tiki Tour with Dave JohnsonRead about this amazing event HERE!
Darwyn Amanda Jimmy

Get all of the details about this spectacular event HERE!  I’ll see you there!

Barry Windsor-Smith Week: Batman 3-D


Batman is looking a bit scattered, er maybe shattered is the better word.  Is that Bruce under the cowl or is it the Joker?!  Is it both?  You can learn a bit more about Batman in 3-D here.

Dolce & Gabbana’s Era of Glamourous Depression

The following pictures are from Dolce & Gabbana‘s Man Fashion Show for their Winter 2011 line.   D&G said they were inspired by Baaria, a movie about three generations in a Sicilian village coping with fascism, war, communism and the Mafia.
dgbeginsAll of the clothes have a depression era working class kind of look to them.

Love the hat and vest combination, if not the sneer of the model.  Notice the damage done to the sweater of the model behind this one.  Shoes are scuffed and the fabric has an already lived in quality.

Nice boots!  Is this model wearing a D&G version of long johns?

This guy was the centerpiece for the show.  He even led all of the models out for the group runway walk.


Backstage all the guys line up like tin soldiers.
dghotnessThis guy knows how to flash a friendly face at the camera!
dgsuit2I dig this monochromatic grey ensemble.

More questioning faces.  I do like these clothes.  There’s something about them that says casual and expressive at the same time.  Like you could go visit a vineyard in Italy or read poetry in Greenwich Village.  A bit Bohemian, perhaps even Beatnik, but definitely a throwback to another time.  These designs seem steeped in nostalgia.  I’ve never paid attention to a men’s fashion line like this before, nor been so captivated.  I find myself going back to it again and again.

Spotlight on Marco Walker

As shop manager of Swankety Swank, I do my best to stay informed about the work of artists in San Francisco.  I came across the photography of Marco Walker while reading a copy of inGEN magazine and was blown away.  His website has some beautiful work, but here’s two of my favorites!
Marco Walker: Boy & Fire
This image has a captivating story to it with the anguished boy and the fire behind him. I love how the foggy atmosphere adds an ethereal quality to the narrative.
Marco Walker: Girl in Hay
This young woman reminds me of the myths of Persephone, Gaia and Demeter as she appears to be rising from the hay field. Her makeup is minimal but still striking and I like the minimal color palette in this photograph. There’s many more gorgeous photos awaiting you at Marco Walker’s site!

Living the Lyrics: “For Your Eyes Only” by Sheena Easton

This song has been on my mind all day! So I thought by sharing it with you, dear reader, that it might find it’s way back to the musical ether from which it came. Consider it an internet exorcism if you will. No, I have no opinion on the Bond film it is from. I’m more apt to remember a Bond film song than the film. The one exception is perhaps “A View to a Kill” because it had Grace Jones in it! She was awesome! I did own the title song by Duran Duran on an actual record which is unusual for me because I never really collected records. However, I did play that 45 single over and over again!  Regardless, here is Sheena Easton serving some serious face while shadow assassins spar around closeups of her lips!

For Your Eyes Only by Sheena Easton

For your eyes only, can see me through the night
For your eyes only, I never need to hide
You can see so much in me, so much in me that`s new
I never felt until I looked at you

For your eyes only, only for you
You`ll see what noone else can see, and now I`m breaking free
For your eyes only, only for you
The love I know you need in me, the fantasy you`ve freed in me
Only for you, only for you

For your eyes only, the nights are never cold
You really know me, that`s all I need to know
Maybe I`m an open book because I know you`re mine
But you won`t need to read between the lines

For your eyes only, only for you
You see what no one else can see, and now I`m breaking free
For your eyes only, only for you
The passions that collide in me, the wild abandoned side of me
Only for you, for your eyes only

What I’m Reading Right Now: The Witch Of Portobello by Paulo Coelho


Paulo Coelho first came to my attention when a friend let me borrow her copy of “The Alchemist.”  It was not what I expected it to be.  It was much more.  I’ve read a lot of books about following your path, listening to your dreams and redefining your goals. Not many of them were better than a retelling of JosephCampbell‘s Hero’s Myth mixed with a dash of New Age self help chatter.  They came across didactic.  They never touched my soul.  Then I read “The Alchemist.”  It had heart.  I never felt that it was trying to instruct me on how to live, I simply followed the young man in the story and learned from his example.  “The Alchemist” gave me a new system of thinking because it gave me symbols that I could use to apply to my life.  It did this by paring down language to its most evocative.  It told a simple story in a vibrant way.

Imagine my delight when another friend lent me a second book by Coelho, “The Witch of Portabello”.  The inside book jacket sleeve says: “How can find the courage to always be true to ourselves–even if we are unsure of who we are?”  The book explores that question by telling the story of an amazing woman named Athena through the many people who knew (and did not know) her.  Each chapter has different characters narrating the story, leaving the reader to piece the narrative together.  It tends to keep one on their toes and creates a vivid portrait of Athena.

Athena channels a higher beimg  named Hagia Sophia,  who is simply another aspect of herself, during monthly group meetings.  In these time of divine transcendance, she teaches many moral imperatives such as:

“You are what you believe yourself to be.”

“Don’t be like those people who believe in ‘positive thinking’ and tell themselves that they’re loved and strong and capable.  You don’t need to do that, because you know it already.  And when you doubt it…just laugh.  Laugh at your worries and insecurities.  View your anxieties with humor.  It will be difficult at first, but you’ll gradually get used to it.” (152)

This is no New Age parable.  This is real counsel, completely applicable to anyone’s life.  It takes the ephemeral and makes it tangible.  The topic of breaking off the chains of self doubt is visisted many times throughout Athena’s story.  She is not willing to live another’s idea of her destiny. 

“We all have a duty to love and to allow love to manifest in the way it thinks best.  We cannot and must not be frightened when the powers of darkness want to make themselves heard, thos same powers that introduced the word sin merely to control our hearts and minds.”

Athena uses the story of Jesus as propenent of unconditional love and quotes many instances from the Bible when he uses compassion instead of guilt or shame to help his followers.

“What is sin?  It is a sin to prevent Love from showing itself.  And the Mother is Love.  We are entering a new world in which we can choose to follow our own steps, not those that society forces us to take.  If necessary, we will confront the forces of darkness again…But but no one will silence our voice or our heart.”  (229)

Love is often the subject of her talks. 

“The man before me suffers for something he believes he has never received–my love.  But the man beyond your self understands that all pain, anxiety, and feelings of abandonement are unnecessary and childish.  I love you.  Not in the way that your human side wants, but in the way that the divine spark wants.  We inhabit the same tent, which was placed on our oath by her.  There we understand we are not the slaves of our feelings, but their masters.  We serve and are served, we open the doors of our rooms and we embrace.  Perhaps we kiss too, because everything that happens very intensely on earth will have its counterpart on the invisible plain.  And you know that I’m not trying to provoke you, that I’m not toying with your feelings when I say that.'”

Her follower, Philemon asks:

“‘What is love then?'”

And she responds:

“‘The soul, blood, and body of the Great Mother.  I love you as exiled souls love each other when they meet in the middle of the desert.  There will never be anything physical between us, but no passion is in vain, no love is ever wasted.  If the Mother awoke that love in your heart, she awoke it in mine too, although your heart perhaps feels it more readily.  The energy of love can never be lost–it is more powerful than anything and shows itself in many ways.'”      (256)

It is definitely worth your while to pick up “The Alchemist” or “The Witch of Portobello” and glean from the stories their divine human wisdom.  The world is richer for having Paulo Coelho in it!

Living the Lyrics: “Endless” by IRIS


Lately when I go outside
The skies cry that the worst is over
Is this the place we are supposed to be?
Something is reaching out to me
Should I be walking back or forward?
Is the wait enough to make you go down on your knees?

Maybe, we’ll be alright
In a long run that seems like heaven
Like hearing silence far away
And lifting high
I know the pressure is on
In a race for the life of endless love
If it seems too much
All these things are endless

Midnight has been calling me
With a feeling that could be deadly
I can love the fall ’cause that’s a part of me
Drifting in several different worlds
With the stars colliding all around you
I can feel the distance to a past that’s on its way.

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