I’m writing this coming Storm Sunday ahead of time as I will be visiting the woods of Tennessee for a week and will not have access to cell phones, computers and other technological devices (No Twitter? Oh noes!) This time, instead of looking at a specific artist’s rendition of Ororo, we’re going to look at a few images of Storm from animation.
Today’s Storm Sunday features art by Steve McNiven, but it’s not of our lovely weather goddess. Instead, feast your eyes (who originated that mixed metaphor anyway?) on this beautiful rendering of Susan Storm Richards of the Fantastic Four. I loved Steve’s version of Sue ever since I saw his art for Marvel Comics’ Civil War mini-series (Also, if you click on herwikipedia link, Susan’s main picture is also by Steve). Sue has always looked better with long hair (Do any of you remember John Byrne’s cringe-inducing short cut he gave her during his run on FF? How about the mullet she sported for a while?). I like how Steve draws is long and flowing, but still tucks it behind her ears. She looks smart and capable without losing her sex appeal. Which is how a wife, sister, friend and mother of two who just happens to be the most powerful member of her super-hero team ought to look!
Storm shows up briefly in this past week’s X-Men Divided We Stand #1 in a short story about Nehzno (aka Gentle) from The New X-Men. Drawn beautifully by Sana Takeda, Storm has one line but it clearly shows her gracious and compassionate nature. This was my favorite of the four stories in this comic. I found Nehzno’s story to be emotionally engaging, the art really flowed and I hope we haven’t seen the last of this character. The other three stories (about Anole, Cannonball, and Scalphunter) were too brief for me to connect with any of the characters. I recommend the comic simply for the fab Storm appearance and Nehzno narrative.
However, the overall comic *spoilers* is a bit sad. It works for the Nehzno story (I just love typing that name) but the other three stories are also downers. Cannonball is angry. Anole is angry. Nightcrawler tells Scalphunter he was hunting him down to kill him. Really? Kurt would do that? I can’t say I really understand his character these days (especially after the whole Draco thing), but I was surprised that Nightcrawler just stalked the guy and then left. Maybe he ought to get blades too and join X-Force.
It seems to me that these days the X-books are mired in a lot of angst driven, nihilistic, self deprecating storylines. I used to read X-Men comics because they inspired me, because I needed to look up to heroes. They gave me hope. Here’s hoping they find their way back to believing in a future worth fighting for again.
This week’s Storm Sunday actually falls on a Monday due to my having back to back to back fun things to do yesterday (and I’ve been recovering all day, but hey, it’s not the next day if I haven’t gone to sleep yet, right?). First, I went makeup shopping with a friend at the MAC Cosmetics counter at Nordstrom department store. Afterwards, I attended a WHAM! tribute (full of amazing burlesque performances by Miss Indigo Blue, Jukie Sunshine and many many more!) at the GLBT Center. Then I joined up with amazing friends for a birthday bash at the DNA Lounge which featured a fun party called Pop Roxx. In addition to really fun music (I always dance my ass off at DNA, thank you deejays!) there was a live band called Rocket that blew me away! These five girls had me moving along with their beats in no time! Visually, they all had a cool glam look reminiscent of The Misfits (from Jem), Josie & The Pussycats, Barbie & The Rockers, Joan Jett and Pat Benatar. I want dolls made of them so I can keep them with me all the time. But that’s probably not happening for a while yet, so I’ll just content myself with “friending” them on MySpace. *sigh*
Anyway, today’s featured artist is Salvador Larroca and he’s most notable for drawing Storm on X-Treme X-men. Yeah, the title is pretty bad. What makes an X-Men X-treme, you may wonder. Well, Storm decided to lead a team of mutants to find diaries written by a precognitive mutant (the still dead Destiny, former partner of Mystique). What? Hunting diaries is tres extreme, dude!
Larroca was the main artist on the three year run of the title and he designed the costumes for all of the characters which included Psylocke, Gambit, Rogue, Beast, Sage, Bishop, Lifeguard, Slipstream (if you said, “Who?” for the last two names, that is perfectly fine. It would take another post to explain the extreme suck that was those two characters.) Also, Cannonball, Shadowcat, and many other mutants showed up. I really liked the design for Gambit in particular as the black bodysuit made more sense for a thief (unlike, say, his fuchsia breastplate with the Sh’iar crisscross lines–now that’s subtle) and he still wore his signature brown trenchcoat.
Storm’s X-treme costume is a mixed bag. I love the color combination: mostly black with red and yellow accents (that’s the best color scheme for Storm and the X-Men in general). The tiara is a nice shape and frames her face well, but it evokes Scarlet Witch more than Storm (Side Note: Wouldn’t it be great to read a story about Scarlet Witch, Snowbird, and Storm shopping for tiaras? They could fight a battle with the Enchantress for the best headpiece. Yeah, yeah, only I would buy it.).
I like the yellow lightning bolt design across the front, and I love how he incorporated Storm’s ruby into the outfit. It was her mother’s you know, and I think she she always be wearing it. It’s magical! Why would you leave that at home? (Another Side Note: Let’s explore Storm’s magical possibilities, people! Ororo’s potential for sorcery has been established for a long, long time. Why not have Doctor Strange help a girl out? Then she’d be a true Weather Witch! Or even better yet, Ororo Munroe, Sorceress Supreme! Watch out, Clea!)
I’m not exactly a big fan of the puffy sleeves, but they are reminiscent of the animated Storm (another post for another day) in the white costume, so I don’t exactly hate them. It’s the red bands around them that kill it for me. Too much going on there, methinks. I like the cape though. Larroca knew how to draw the folds in the yards of fabric he gave her.
What I am so not a fan of is how Larroca chose to give Storm the thong from hell with this costume. I’m pretty sure I’ve said it before that I love Storm in thigh boots, but can a girl get some coverage for her ass, please? Where is she supposed to sit down with her cheeks hanging out like that? Unfortunately, it’s become quite de rigeur for female characters to rock the butt floss (I’m looking at you Ms. Marvel!). I think women look much sexier with a bit more coverage.
Here’s Storm with Rogue on her right and Sage (Tessa) on her left. One of X-Treme X-Men’s conceits was that Tessa (who readers knew from the comics as the personal assistant of Sebastian Shaw from The Hellfire Club) was really a spy for Professor Xavier and was actually his first X-Man. Riiiiiiight. Well, thinking about this retcon (even from the venerable Godfather of all things X himself, Chris Claremont) leaves me rolling my eyes. Sage is also revealed to be a living supercomputer that can jumpstart one’s mutant abilities. Uh huh. Whatever. I liked her better as a bad guy’s executive assistant. What with some alien overlord named Khan trying to make Storm his queen, Storm dating a surfer dude (The aforementioned Slipstream) and Storm going berserker in the Savage Land and other shenanigans, I guess the most extreme thing about X-Treme X-Men is the bizarre stories the reader had to wade through to get a sometimes decent storyline with what was a pretty good (for the most part) lineup of X-characters. It didn’t help that some storylines were apparently editorially mandated (Such as the follow up arc to “God Loves, Man Kills“).
One more thing I’ll say about Larroca: his work is lovely in pencil. He recently drew some issues of Uncanny X-Men and the work was really hit or miss for me and I think it’s because of the way his work was inked and colored. As you can see from just the character design for Storm, his work has excellent line control and a delicate rendering. And no matter what quibbles I may have with the costume, Storm remained a majestic beauty during his tenure as artist. Perhaps that is why the thong is so jarring for me. Everything else about her looks regal (Butt floss is not regal, dear reader. That’s a whole ‘nother kind of queen).
Last Tuesday evening, I had the opportunity to usher at the Jewish Community Center of San Francisco where Marjane Satrapi (of Persepolis fame) gave a talk. (The JCCSF has an exciting graphic novel series of artist talks and panel discussions!)
Marjane’s talked about how she came to write Persepolis and shared many stories about her challenges about bringing her story into comic form. It was a community of artists that convinced her to do so. She delved into political and social issues with a zest for heightening awareness and also peppered her talk with humorous anecdotes. She spoke at length about community and culture in particular. She was quick, concise and engaging in her speech and I came away inspired by the stories she shared.
After Marjane’s talk, a few of my Writers Old Fashioned compatriots and I got to meet Marjane in person. She was congenial and gracious, smelled like sandalwood and neroli, and looked amazing (her author pic does not do her justice!). Thanks to Matt for letting me and Mindy know about the event and thanks to Mindy for being so much fun to work with. Thanks also to House Manager William Byrne for the hospitality (It was my first time at the JCCSF and I hope to usher there again soon!).
This week Storm Sunday proudly presents artwork by artist Patrick Fillion who is almost as big as fan of Ororo Munroe as yours truly! *smiles* Actually, I think Patrick could give me a run for my money when it comes to true fanaticism of our lovely Goddess! Like me, Patrick fell in love with Storm at first sight and that moment opened up a world of comics fun for him. We also agree that as lovely as Halle Berry looks, Angela Bassett would’ve been a better choice to depict Storm in the movies (She was asked, but decline the three picture deal, so we got Halle). We are also both big fans of Storm’s classic Cockrum uniform and her punk rock outfit.
I’ve followed Patrick’s blog (BOYTOONS Magazine) for a while now (as well as Artistic License & Class Comics in general); Simply put, I am a huge fan of his work! Note: Much of Patrick’s work is Mature Art depicting (hot) gay sexuality. If you click on the links I’ve embedded in this post, you are agreeing that you wish to see such subject matter (And why wouldn’t you, regardless of your erotic tastes, his work is amazing!). However, as you can see from the amazing art of Storm gracing this post, not all of Patrick’s art is overtly sexual. I encourage you to check out his Women of Marvel series featuring Snowbird (Yay!), Invisible Woman, Scarlet Witch, Wasp, She-Hulk and Spider-Woman!
This Sunday we take a look at a more obscure version of Storm as seen in the 2005 video game Marvel Nemesis: Rise of the Imperfects (a collaboration between Marvel Comics and Electronic Arts). Above, Storm wears an outfit designed by Terry Dodson for the PSP version of the game (Jae Lee designed the characters for the PPS2, Xbox, and Gamecube versions). You can read more about Terry Dodson’s involvement in the project and see his versions of Elektra, Thing, Captain America and more here.
Help your friends and lovers find their inner superhero!