My family was living in Katy, Texas (a small city on the outskirts of Houston). The oil crisis was on and we were staying in a large house in what had once been a nice neighborhood. A lot of folks who had houses there were originally from Iran and Iraq and had returned to their homeland after losing a lot of their money. Many of the vacated houses had been broken into and vandalized by bored teenagers. We lived on a cul de sac. Behind our house was a large empty lot that led to the back of a Kroger grocery store.
One day, my mother had sent me to the store to get some milk and other groceries. She knew exactly how much everything cost and had only given me enough money for what was on her list down to the penny. Seriously, she knew.
I trudged to the store, feeling angsty and depressed as I entered the bright fluorescent store. As I adjusted my eyes, I almost walked into a shopper. I had become accustomed to looking at my feet or at the clouds, anywhere but in front of me. Making eye contact with people made me nervous. There was usually disapproval or contempt waiting for me there. I was a tall skinny sissy with glasses and my body was always betraying me somehow. If I wasn’t tripping over the coffee table, my wrists were too limp when I ran, or my knees were too knobby when I wore my Phys. Ed. shorts. I wasn’t particularly strong and I had more allergies than I knew what to do with. My life was severely limited physically, socially and emotionally.
So, when I looked in the Kroger that day and saw a comics spinner rack, my eyes immediately glazed over with lust. The bright colors were a welcome respite from the bleak thoughts I’d had on my trek through weeds and broken bottles. But here’s the thing: Although the rack was full of all kinds of comics I only saw one. Just one.
A beautiful woman with voluminous white hair and clear blue eyes stared back at me. Crowned with a tiara, the shape of which puzzled and attracted me, her expression seemed serene, but strong and confident. She was framed in tiny superheroes proclaiming Marvel Comics’ 25th Anniversary. I had no choice. I had to know who this woman was.
I picked up the comic and scanned the pages in wonderment. I knew then that a spell had been cast on me. I was not going to leave Kroger without it. This woman had things to teach me. I needed a hero and she was a SUPER-Hero.
The comic cost exactly as much as the milk my mother had told me to buy. So I bought the comic instead and shoved it in under my shirt, next to my back and tucked it in my underwear waistband. When I got home, I told my mother that I had dropped the carton of milk and spilled it all. She cursed my clumsiness and made me return to the store with another dollar and change. Before I returned to the store, I pretended to use the bathroom and hid the comic in my room. I devoured that comic from cover to cover when I returned. My mother was so mad at me she was more than happy to send me to my room which is exactly what I wanted. I was on fire to absorb those pages.
When I got to the end of the comic I was astonished to learn the story was a reprint. I felt so out of touch! My parents had been forcefeeding me Spire Comics (a Christian publishing company) whose Archie and Barney the Bear squeezed a moral out of every story, no matter how mundane. The X-Men, and specifically this mutant goddess, reignited my imagination and gave me hope. Storm was regal even if people didn’t like or understand her. She was fearless yet compassionate. Even Wolverine respected her.
I went to school the next day and asked my best and only friend, Mark (a senior; I was a freshman) if he had ever heard of the X-Men. He looked at me as if I had been living in another world and then smiled, remembering how things were at my house. As fate would have it, he actually had a copy of The Uncanny X-Men #201 with him. I asked him who that woman with the mohawk was. Could there be two black women with white hair dressed in black? He laughed at me and said that I had a lot to catch up on because Storm led the team now and had lost her powers. I was stunned. I borrowed his comic and devoured it over lunch but I had a hard time reconciling the punk Storm with the naive goddess Storm and I told Mark.
On the bus the next day, Mark let me borrow his X-Men comics starting with Giant Size X-Men and running all the way to #200! I don’t think I did my homework at all that night, but instead read the run all the way through, even staying up way past my curfew! The wonder and joy that I felt reading those stories was unparalleled to anything I had ever read. Maybe the Oz books had come close, but I was a teenager and needed a different narrative. Storm stayed my favorite throughout the stories, but I gained an appreciation and love for Nightcrawler, Wolverine, Shadowcat (I hate it when people don’t use her code name after all she had to go through to figure it out), Rogue and Professor X.
When I returned the comics I was so appreciative of Mark’s kindness. I felt so honored that he had shared them with me, but I suppose he recognized in me a kind of kindred spirit who needed to experience those stories. It was empowering to read about freaks and outcasts rising above their challenges as a team and a family (the Phoenix Saga taught me about gestalt theory, the kabbalah, and the tree of life). I’ll always be in debt to how Chris Claremont, Dave Cockrum, Len Wein, John Byrne and all the rest who gave their talent to that grand narrative tapestry. Thanks to Art Adams for catching my eye and thanks to Mark Saunders for sharing his comics and his love of them with me.I found this sketch of Storm by Arthur Adams on the net and thought it was interesting compared to his portrayal of her on the comic that enchanted me. She looks quite a bit younger here as opposed to the mature woman on the cover of Classic X-Men #3.
Another image I found on th e net of punk rock Storm. I always liked the way Adams gave her mohawk more body (I like it better than the thin line of hair Barry Windsor-Smith drew on her. You have read Lifedeath, right?) Here’s the whole gang (before they really became a much bigger gang) by Adams. This image has been my computer wallpaper more times than I can remember. I love it so much. Storm is perfect and I also like Polaris and Banshee’s poses.
For those of you in San Francisco, I want to make you aware of the following fabulous event being thrown by some of my favorite people! Yours Truly will be modeling in the fashion show. I’m getting my fitting on Monday! SupperVISION Press Release
Video + Pajamas + Performance = SupperVISION!!
Are you READY FOR BED?
Climb on in for a fabulously unique experience featuring
.. kaleidoscopic live peformances
…. visionary experimental film
…… bizarre catwalk fashions
……… live music + dj’s
in your pajamas, in GIANT GROUP BEDS,
at SUPPERCLUB next week… it’s SupperVISION!
eye-popping, video-infused performances
Khadijah Salad Gold Dancer
PLUS a special number by III, in his onstage debut!
….THAT’s NOT ALL….
Suppervision also features….
HOT Catwalk Faerie Fashion ACTION
…displaying designs from Baby Monster and Alchemistry SF
with aerial acrobatics by trapeziste m. lee
trumpet loop art by venus loops
and music by dj’s
PeePlay (Honey Soundsystem)
Dr. Weasel A. Hornswoggle (SMS)
8:30pm… Climb into bed – it’a a PRE-SHOW PAJAMA PARTY!
Yes, the Supperclub venue is famous for their all-bed seating, in a luxuriously modern environment.
Come get your cuddle on before 9pm + catch Special *Early* Performances by BeBe Sweetbriar…………Juanita Fajita……and hilarious drag king troupe THE RICE KINGS!
So come early for the PRE-SHOW at 8:30…then stick around for the MAIN SHOW at 11:00pm
ALL THIS FOR ONLY $5 (in pajamas) or $7 (in streetwear) with free clothes check!
thursday, april 3rd
657 Harrison St
(btwn 2nd + 3rd Sts, in SOMA)
I just received this flawless picture of Whitney Matheson and yours truly! Part One of Whitney’s interview with Tim Sale is here! Enjoy!
This past Saturday, Isotope hosted Whitney Matheson of USA Today’s Pop Candy pop-culture blog who in turn invited Heroes artist Tim Sale as her special guest! People came from all over to meet up with Whitney, check out comics and have a great time! It was so exciting to see Isotope devotees and Pop Candy fans mingling! That’s what I loved most about this event–the social overlapping. How genius was it to have Whitney (a bright light of pop culture awesomeness) come to Isotope (the best comic book store in the universe) to meet up with Tim Sale (a superstar whose art soars in comics and on television) to throw a party? I love it when great things mix together like that! Everybody wins!
Thanks to Whitney and her amazing husband, Rhyne for bringing their inimitable brand of charm to the Isotope! It was a pleasure to meet them and to enjoy their company!
Whitney has great fans and I was surprised to hear that so many of them traveled as far as they did to meet up with her! Devotion is admirable, yes, but I found that Pop Candy folks are super sweet! Everyone I met was friendly, kind and gracious! Thank you all for your presence!
Thanks also to Tim Sale and his lovely girlfriend Christina for their time and energy as well! I know many people came away from this event very very happy (and I’m not just speaking from my own experience). Tim sketched some amazing art that night (and for much longer than originally planned).
You can read all about Whitney’s write up here and here. Thanks to all of the kind people who made mention of me in the comments section. I had to create a USA Today account just so I could thank them all properly. Consider this post another display of my gushing gratitude!
Tim Sale writes about his visit here.
James Sime, proprietor of Isotope, has a great wrap up here.
Matt Silady has photos here.
Wow! What a fantastic time! I’m a better person for having met and spent time with you all!
Thanks to Blog@Newsarama and Project Rooftop, I just learned about a fab artist that I really want to share with you! This is Ming Doyle’s rendition of Dave Stevens character, the Rocketeer! Dave recently passed away and many wonderful artists have been paying him homage with their talents by drawing his character!This image feels really grounded in real life to me (the attention to detail in the clothing and hair as well as the body type) but the fantastic elements are nicely alluded to with the futuristic backpack and helmet. Great job!I found this fun image of Young Justice on Ming Doyle’s site. Looking at art like this really makes me miss Bart Allen (Impulse) and Conner Kent/Kon-El (Superboy). (For those of you who don’t know, those two characters were senselessly killed off after having the fun sucked out of them.)
Anyway, Ming’s got a lot of really great depictions of well known characters as well as some all new creations. They’re definitely worth a look!This one is titled “Bird Goddess.” I love the attention to detail in this piece, the roots, the facepaint, the musculature are amazing. I especially like the main character’s hand over the bird goddess’ larger hand.
This is hands down my favorite Storm Sunday post! At last night’s event at the Isotope, artist Tim Sale drew me the pride & joy of my nascent collection of artist sketches. Tim had never drawn Ororo before and was really curious about my fascination with her. I talked his ear off about why Storm means so much to me after receiving this amazing piece of artwork! I’ve been a fan of Tim Sale’s since reading some battered copies of The Long Halloween. It was an honor to meet the man himself!
Not only is Tim an accomplished artist, as evidenced by his work for NBC’s Heroes, DC Comics and Marvel, I’m happy to say that he’s a perfect gentleman and a very kind, considerate and compassionate man. One would think this anyway after viewing his lush linework and emotive washes, but after having dinner with Tim and his lovely partner Christina, I am convinced of it. I was fortunate enough to hear stories about his career, his father and how Christina and he met. It was all so inspiring and amazing and my admiration for the man has increased a hundredfold!
After working last night’s event (which I will write about more fully in a separate post), I sat at my desk for a long time, just staring at this rendition of my namesake, my hero and my inspiration. There was a time (a very long time ago) when I believed that she was all I had to aspire to, because the flesh and blood people in my life weren’t people I wanted to emulate. These days, the universe is showing me just how wonderful and beautiful people can be. All of a sudden, I’m surrounded by them. And I feel very very fortunate and blessed that for a brief moment, Tim Sale was one of those people. I encourage you, dear reader, to seek out his work and make it a part of your collection.
***And for those of you in San Francisco, Tim has generously allowed Isotope to showcase original artwork from Heroes for a few weeks! Pop in and check out the work and pick up a copy of Batman: Dark Victory, Batman: The Long Halloween, or Superman: For All Seasons!
OMGoddess, I just found another amazing Bill Sienkiewicz illustration of the New Mutants on my computer and I had to share it with you! Is it not super stellar? I guess this is right before Cypher joins. *sighs* Someday I’ll do a post on poor Doug Ramsey. But for right now, let’s bask in the glow of awesomeness.
One of my favorite memories is reading battered borrowed copies of The New Mutants, a Marvel Comic spin off from the ever popular Uncanny X-Men! When the New Mutants became X-Force, a death knell rang out in my heart (yes, dear reader, sometimes there’s bells there). Never again would I be able to enjoy those characters in quite the same way again. The team splintered, and then splintered again. There was some mini that brought the team back together again (the less said about it, the better, IMHO) but it just didn’t capture the glory of the team when they were under Chris Claremont’s pen and the linework of Alan Davis and Bill Sienkiewicz. Hells, even Bret Blevins had some mutant mojo goin’ on for a while. But with the advent of Rob Liefeld and…(must resist urge to vomit)…Cable (WTH?) things for the junior class of mutants were never as golden again. We got Generation X, X-Force, X-Factor, X-Terminators, Fallen Angels, New X-Men and now the upcoming Young X-Men, but my heart still belongs to The New Mutants. Enjoy these primo pix (Unfortunately, I do not know the artist that did the super-cute cartoony image of the kids that headlines this post, but it is signed BABS, so maybe that helps):Arthur Adams did some amazing work with these characters. Check out the detail! in the picture above! For more Art Adams yumminess, pick up The X-Men Asgardian Wars from your local comics retailer!Now compare and contrast Adams’ piece with Alan Davis’ clean sleek lines in this great team shot (there were a lot of blonds on this team, lol). Oh yeah, and Cypher was cool! Don’t let anyone tell you differently! Rahne on the other hand….oh, never mind.
In this image, we have Danielle Moonstar (formerly Psyche and then Mirage) and Amara Aquilla (better known as Magma). It is unknown whether or not Dani still has her illusion casting abilities. She was left powerless from M-Day and was recently shown in The Initiative without them when she trained Trauma, but this promo image clearly shows an energy arrow, so I dunno what to think. Regardless, Dani and Amara look stunning in this Terry Dodson cover for Young X-Men #2 and that is why I’ll be picking it up.And here’s Young X-Men #1′s cover (also by Dodson). I think he had to throw in Rogue, Emma, Wolvie and Storm just to detract from the overall ugliness of most of these characters (Wait! I like Dust! She’s definitely cool). Apparently Cyclops has the kids go on a mission to kill the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants for him. ‘Cause, ya know, that’s what heroes do. Kill people. Oh how I miss the high school hijinks of yesteryear.
Here’s some more of Mike Wieringo’s amazing artwork. I really love it in black and white. His clean lines and implied action are so simple, yet elegant!Mark Waid revealed that he and Mike pitched an Aquaman idea to DC, but they didn’t bite. Too bad, just from this pic, I’d bite! The Aquaman Shrine has a great post about the proposal.Mike knew how to draw kids, too. No pint-sized adults for him, nosirree! This is his rendition of Power Pack!Peter Parker changing into the Spectacular Spider-Man!Spider-Man and Ka-Zar of the Savage Land!More Amazing Spider-Man!
I miss Mike Wieringo. His death really unsettled me. It came a few weeks before my birthday and I scoured the internet for what people had to say about him and it was A LOT! He was so well loved and his art so adored! I cried and cried as I read the amazing testimonials! I wish he had been able to live a much longer life.
His wikipedia page is here.
His deviantART page is here.
Comic Book Resources has a eulogy here.
Mark Waid & Todd Dezago reflect on Mike’s passing here.
Mike answers 5 Questions for Newsarama here.
You can order the Mike Wieringo font from Comicraft here.
His site www.mikewieringo.com seems to have some kind of bug that shuts down browsers. I dunno what that’s about. Google has a warning in its searches.
The images below are by Mike (I lifted them from his website). For my birthday, I printed them out and colored them an hour before my Super-Hero & Super-Villains party. Then I placed them all around the house. People kept asking me if I drew them and I had to say no, and then tell them all about Mike and how, even though I never met him (and to think we were both in North Carolina!) how much of an influence he was on me. Wonder Woman gets a more zaftig figure in this pinup.Aquaman gets back to basics (and youthful, thank Goddess!)
Black Canary demonstrates why she’s a slice of capable cheesecake with a butt shot and a flying kick!Scarlet Witch is simply enchanting!
You can order the Mike Wieringo-themed Modern Masters book here.
His ComicVine profile is here.
Help your friends and lovers find their inner superhero!