Storm Arcana

Intuitive Visionary Coach & Founder of Arcana Academy

Month: April 2008

Storm Sunday: Animated


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. 

Storm was a main character in the X-Men cartoon from the 90’s and it was a Saturday morning staple for me and my rave-tastic friends.  We were so geeky that we even called ourselves the X-Squad and took X-Men codenames for when we went to the clubs/parties.  This was the beginning of me actually going by Storm as my name (Before I legally changed it) and since we had no Cyclops or Professor Xavier (Thank the Goddess for small favors) I “led” the team.  We liked nothing better after a Friday night of partying than to watch our favorite characters on the small screen.  We were usually still up anyway, a big pile of folks in somebody’s living room being all around hyper and worn out at the same time.  

I remember everyone loving Beast and hating on Jean.  We even had a Rocky Horror-style interaction with the series and eventually we designed a drinking game on the show (Every time Rogue and Storm get shot out of the sky, drink.  Every time Scott yells, “Jean!” Drink.  Everytime Jubilee says, “I’m just a kid!”  Drink.  I’m having a hard time remembering the rest at the moment, but it got to be quite elaborate especially after we started buying copies of the show on VHS).  I wish this series was collected on DVD.  I’ve got all of Storm’s lines memorized from the episode of “Captive Hearts” where she fights Callisto for leadership of the Morlocks (But instead of a knife like she used in the comics, Ororo and Cal use big sticks with padded ends like old school American Gladiators).  Ah, good times.

Anyway, Storm’s costume is white for the first time on this cartoon.  Up ’til then she had always worn black in the comics.  This costume is based on Jim Lee’s design of Storm which is memorable from his tenure on the series (Including the first issue of the adjectiveless X-Men title).  Jim drew Storm in black but he really highlighted the reflection of light on the black leather.  I suppose this is how Storm ended up wearing white in the cartoon, but this is all conjecture.  I have to say, though, I really don’t like Storm’s wearing a white costume with her white hair (Especially as large as it was in this version).  It doesn’t give her enough contrast visually.  I did like her voice actors.  They gave Ororo a real sense of authority which sometimes bordered on the ridiculous, but all the characters in this series suffered from the same bombastic writing.  It was part of the fun.  

Here’s a dramatic shot of Storm from X-Men: Evolution.  I liked how Storm and Wolvie were placed as teachers alongside Professor Xavier for this cartoon (Even though that meant sometimes we didn’t see much of Storm because the show focused mostly on the kids and Ororo is meant to be a bit older than they are.  She even had a nephew named Spyke in attendance at Xavier’s.  I hated him.  I was ticked that Storm–an orphan–even had relatives and his blond hair and knock off Marrow power set was uninteresting to me.).  Although sleek and streamlined, Storm’s costume is a bit bland.  Great to see her back in black, but white gloves?  Blah.  And that waist is too tiny.  

The worst insult was her action figure which although nicely sculpted had an action feature so you could shoot water from a pump in her back through her arm out of her a hole in her hand.  Dumb with a capital D-U-M-B.  The great thing, however, is that this series (which won two Emmys) gave audiences a strong, capable and powerful Storm.  It should have been required viewing for Halle Berry before she tried to fill Ororo’s thigh boots in the movies.     

Here’s the only promo art for the upcoming Wolverine & The X-Men cartoon.  Why Wolverine needs to be top dog, er, wolverine, is beyond me.  It’s cool that Emma Frost and Kitty Pryde made the list of characters featured.  Actually, I like the entire roster except for Cyclops, but even I have to admit that including Scott creates great drama what with his penchant for following and barking orders.  Besides, the obvious Wolvie/Cyke dustups, I hope that Scott and Emma’s relationship translates well to the animated screen.

But enough of all those guys.  Let’s look at Storm’s outfit, shall we?  I think overall it looks nice.  The tiara is a bit exaggerated, but the design stays pretty true to the Alan Davis redesign (Except for those dotted lines).  I’ve never like the sash belt, but I like how Ororo’s hair is long and flowing.  She looks a bit reserved though.  Her posture could use some toughening up.  Give the girl a diva stance, folks!  Why she isn’t leading this version of the team (At least co-leading with Scott would be a step in the right direction) just staggers my mind.  I know Wolverine is a cash cow, but lets worship some new idols already!

That’s it for this Storm Sunday!  I’ll be back in the so-called civilized world Tuesday after next and will check in with you all then! 

Storm Sunday: Steve McNiven

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!

I don’t have a scan of it, but Steve drew Ororo in a panel of Civil War and I think that was it.  As far as I know, he hasn’t drawn her since or before.  If you know differently, let me know.  I’d love to be able to see his rendition of her and share with you all!  So, sorry to trick on this Storm Sunday, but I think the Invisible Woman is a great hero, too and certainly worthy of celebration!  Thanks Steve, for breathing new life into a great character!

Storm Sighting: X-Men Divided We Stand #1

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.

Storm Sunday: Salvador Larroca

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).

Meeting Marjane Satrapi

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!).

Check out the picture of Marjane, Matt Silady, Mindy Owens, Serena Schlake, and myself at Matt Silady’s Work Blog!  And be sure to rent or buy a copy of the film adaption of Persepolis!  

Storm Sunday: Patrick Fillion

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!

In his Women of Marvel series, he also has some sketches of Storm’s costumes when he was thinking of which version to draw and he has line art and colored art of Storm in punk rock phase and in her white costume (sort of the X-Men cartoon show version and Jim Lee’s version merged into one).
I’m a big fan of Patrick’s clean crisp lines and his dedication to perfectionism regarding the human form. I know his figures are always super-endowed (His Storm does tend to be bit too bust-centric for my tastes, but he gives her great curves everywhere else). His characters span the range of comic genres. Space Opera, Super-Hero, Astronaut, Supernatural, Sword & Sorcery, and more (!) are represented in his creator owned works. And while I haven’t met Patrick in person (yet!), I have to say, I’ve been more than impressed by how he takes the time to personally respond to the comments people leave on his blog. Patrick is also always promoting other artist’s works. I’ve found about some great artists by reading his blog. His enthusiasm about his love for comics is infectious! Oh, and he loves the White Witch as much as I do, too (from the Legion of Super-Heroes)!
Patrick has a new comic coming out this May about a barbarian (a la Conan) named Zahn that I an really looking forward to. He reminds me of DC Comics’ Warlord with his white hair, but we get to see Zahn in ways I could only dream about when reading the adventures of Travis Morgan!
Give Patrick Fillion some internet love and check out his sites! I think you’ll discover some great art and get to rub virtual shoulders with a great guy as well!

Storm Sunday: Terry Dodson

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.

I’m a bit torn on this costume. The headband is cool as it highlights her widow’s peak and gives her some old school lift to the back of her hair, but I’m keen on the big X on her chest. Maybe a lightning bolt would have worked better? I like the arm gloves, and Storm’s certainly no stranger to thigh high boots, but thanks to that thong, this feels way more Hellfire Club to me (like something worn by the Black Queen–Jean Grey or Selene, take your pick). I would’ve liked this as full bodysuit instead.

Here’s the gang of Marvel characters that were chosen for this game. It is strange seeing Magneto and Venom fight alongside our heroes (but it wouldn’t be the first time).
This is a screen shot of the game featuring Storm in her pixelated glory (that’s sarcasm, by the way). It’s a shame that Terry Dodson’s linework doesn’t really translate to the rough edges of the computer modeling. The costume also has some differences from the first image I’ve posted, so I suppose it’s possible that this one was designed by Jae Lee, but I’m not sure. Regardless, it’s way too skimpy and I just don’t get the red bit under her bosom.
It is worth noting that Terry Dodson drew the 1996 STORM solo miniseries penned by Warren Ellis. While I think the art for that series is above average (Dodson gives Ororo some nice curves and some actual *gasp* muscles), the story is rather forgettable. Colossus’ evil older brother Mikhail Rasputin traps Storm in an alternate dimension where she has to fight more *yawn* Morlocks. It also guest starred Cable *groan* and Forge *yawn*. The covers had shiny gold foil enhancements simulating her lightning (part and parcel of 1990’s comic covers).

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