Storm Arcana

Intuitive Visionary Coach & Founder of Arcana Academy

Month: October 2008

Terry Dodson: Nemesis sketch from WonderCon ’08

At this year’s WonderCon, I lurked around the Dodson’s booth for a while before I summoned the courage to ask Terry for a sketch.  He asked who I wanted him to draw and I thought about it for a minute and surprised both myself and him when I asked for Nemesis (currently Wonder Woman’s boyfriend).  Most folks ask Terry for a sketch of Black Cat or Wonder Woman or any of the amazing women he is known for drawing, but I think he draws men just as sexy as his women and told him so.

You can catch Nemesis in the Wonder Woman comic, currently written by Gail Simone and drawn by Aaron Lopresti.  Nemesis is a strange suitor for Wonder Woman, but I’m intrigued enough to see how it plays out.

Saint Whathisname: Mixed Media Painting by stormantic

I created this piece about two weeks ago while staying with friends in Berkeley.  Originally a pencil drawing of a priest, the image changed drastically when I started to paint it.  The home I was in had several sacred statues and books lying about and the religious iconography really informed my mental state while I worked on this piece.  I was thinking about how divinity can manifest regardless of what face we choose to focus on.  This is one of the reasons the face is “covered.”  I used pencil, watercolor, acrylics, ink, nail polish and a small piece of canvas.

Mark Brooks: Spider-Man sketch from WonderCon ’08

Artist Mark Brooks was kind enough to draw me this sketch of Spider-Man at this year’s WonderCon.  I like how his spider-sense is tingling in this portrait.  It’s like the danger is coming from the viewer.  How meta.  

Mark’s deviantART page has some great stuff.  You can also see what he’s up to at Marvel these days.

Storm Sunday: Leinil Francis Yu

Today we take a look at a few images by artist Leinil Francis Yu.  His deviantART page has some amazing alternate covers for the Secret Invasion skrullfest.

Storm and Black Panther look anywhere but at each other in this piece (above) promoting the so-called “Wedding of the Century.”  T’Challa, of course, gets to keep his costume on while Storm shows more skin than she did in her first appearance.  That’s not to say that I don’t like what she’s wearing.  I do.  Especially the sun and moon medallions.  Storm’s always looked great in hoop earrings and she’s retained her classic tiara.  But the tiny diaper-like bikini bottom is not the cutest.  It just looks uncomfortable.  I’m also not into the topknot ponytail on top of her head.  Seems unnecessary.  

T’Challa and Ororo certainly look convincingly regal and perhaps a bit authoritarian, but do they look like two people in love?  

Yu’s pencils for Uncanny X-Men Annual #1.  Storm leaves her team of X-Men to go to Africa.  Except for Nightcrawler, this team of X-Men really stunk anyway.  I am not a fan of Ms. Rachel Summers/Grey/Marvel Girl or Bishop mostly because I think time displaced characters should go back to the time they came from.  Yeah, I know, Rachel’s timeline is gone forever or unraveled or something.  How tragic and utterly uninteresting.  If only we could all ignore her the way her “daddy” Cyclops always has.   

In the X-Men “event” Messiah CompleX, Bishop shot Professor X in the head and became a bad guy to give Cable a nemesis (Way to go Marvel;  turn your only African American X-Man into a baby-killing machine.  Well, he hasn’t actually killed a baby yet, but it’s not for lack of trying.  And the cyborg arm that he stole from Forge after he beat him down?  Dumb.  Soooo dumb.    

I’m one of the few folks who appreciated Psylocke in her pink outfit with the off the shoulder sleeves.  Her transformation from uptight British hero to Asian ninja was pretty in all its Jim Lee glory, but I never felt the same fondness for the character again.  Then Fabian Nicieza created the Kwannon mess and then Psylocke went all Crimson Dawn and then she was killed by Vargas only to be resurrected and shunted off to the All-New Exiles team (which is a fate worse than death).  Hopefully she will return to the proper Marvel Universe and someone can restore her telepathy.  The telepathic butterfly effect over her face was more visually interesting compared to a telekinetic katana.  

The finished cover for Uncanny X-Men Annual #1.  Everyone mourns as Storm walks away with staff in hand.  Is she remorseful, wistful or just wishing she had actually packed some clothes?  As far as covers go, it’s okay, certainly better than the one solicited for previews.  That one just depresses me.  

Promotion piece for Secret Invasion.  Notice how large Storm’s tiara is.  She looks like a Christmas ornament.  I do, however, love Yu’s rendition of Dr. Strange (lower right hand corner right above the box).  Stephen looks a bit wizened, but still handsome in a wild scruffy way.

Heroes Assemble!  A splash page by Yu from Secret Invasion.  Storm looks downright imperious above Thor and Black Widow is smokin’,  

Yu draws the “Outback Era” X-Men for Wizard Magazine.  He has given Storm a very full head of hair.  It would take hours to wash all of that.  I love his depiction of Longshot.  He actually makes the mullet work.

Storm Sunday: Marvel Adventures Avengers

10 Reasons Why I Love Marvel Adventures Avengers:
1.   Since it is an All Ages title, I can give the comic to the kids I know.
2.   Captain America is Steve Rogers and not dead.
3.   Storm is finally an Avenger (!), still single and co-leads the team with Captain America (in a well-designed costume that stays true to all her past fashions).
4.   Writer Jeff Parker brings the funny.  Seriously.  
5.   Giant-Girl rocks! (You might know her as the Wasp in regular Marvel continuity.)
6.   The MODOC issue.  It was strange, unsettling and super entertaining!
7.   Spider-Man is angst free.
8.   Iron Man is not a fascist.
9.   Hulk is not a gladiator.
10. There have been no skrulls (yet).
 The first three covers I have shared with you, dear reader, are by Aaron Lopresti. The last two are by Leonard Kirk. They both have great styles and do a great job rendering all the different characters unique (dare I say Iconic) looks!  
Yeah, the storylines are sometimes rather silly and a little bit like a sitcom, but I find myself laughing out loud at many of the fun character interactions.  This is the Spider-Man I know and love quipping wisecracks with gruff Wolverine and irascible Hulk.  Where else can you see Hulk wearing giant headphones listening to a story cd so he doesn’t destroy the Quinjet in route to a bad guy confrontation?  Giant-Girl adds so much to the mix as a visible female presence on a very testosterone laden lineup. And with her bubbly personality, she’s a great contrast to Storm’s grounded regal presence (but even Storm is portrayed in a more likable fashion;  she’s more like a princess than a Queen).  I only wish they had added the Scarlet Witch to the mix or given us another female besides the two (Although I think I read somewhere that Jeff had to insist on getting Storm and Giant-Girl in the first place).

The heroes in Marvel Adventures Avengers are truly heroic.  There’s a real sense of camaraderie among them.  They aren’t embroiled in secret cabals (The Illuminati), divisive skirmishes (Civil War) or paranoid wars (Secret Invasion).  The stories are contained in one issue (sometimes there’s two stories) and are a satisfying read.  This title goes to the top of my comics pile each month.  

A bird’s eye view of our marketable heroes.
Giant-Girl looms large over our top tier heroes!  Vote for your favorite Marvel Adventures Avenger on my new poll!

[polldaddy poll=1019462]

Storm Sunday: Paul Smith

Paul Smith took over the pencilling duties on Uncanny X-Men after Dave Cockrum‘s departure. His run lasted from issue #165 through #175 (with the exception of #171). For a comprehensive list of Paul’s comic-related work visit his wikipedia page. His animation background is evident in his style of drawing, especially his creator owned work, Leave It To Chance (written by James Robinson). There’s a nice cover gallery of some of his work here and a very cool drawing of Storm here. This image above is Smith’s version of the costume designed for Storm by Alan Davis.

One item of interest regarding Paul Smith’s version of Storm is that he drew he with a wider nose. Seems not that big a deal maybe, but Smith’s Ororo actually had some African features to her. Most artists draw her the same as any other Caucasian female superhero, almost as if there’s some kind of face template that they use in hopes that the costume and the colorist will help the reader differentiate who’s who. And even though Smith followed Cockrum on the title, he didn’t quite capture the exotic qualities that Cockrum imbued Storm with. However, Smith’s clean economical lines gave Storm a softness that and strength that matched Chris Claremont’s storylines. Paul Smith also got to debut Storm’s punk rock mohawk look which was a radical departure for the character in terms of attitude and appearance.

Paul Smith draws Storm terrorizing Florida with her weather powers.

Featured Artist: Aaron Lopresti

After reading about the third annual Wonder Woman Day, I took a peek at the website of Aaron Lopresti, current regular penciller on Wonder Woman and found some amazing goodies!  He’s got much more beautiful art of Diana!

This issue of What If! Avengers Disassembled featured the Scarlet Witch and a whole lotta Avengers, especially the Beast!  
Lopresti’s rendition of Storm for the Marvel Adventure Avengers comic is one of my favorite contemporary versions of the character appearing regularly in comics these days! It’s just so cool that she’s an Avenger in the “Adventure” line.
In the Marvel Adventures Avengers comic, Storm is co-leader with Captain America!
I was going to save this beauty for a Storm Sunday, but I just couldn’t resist sharing it now! Besides, if you visit Aaron’s site like I recommended, you’d have come across it anyway!

Pssssssst! Hey! All of you Psylocke fans should check out this and this!

Wonder Woman Wednesday: Lopresti & Pini

No, I’m not going to start up a new regular feature on Wednesdays spotlighting Diana from Themyscira, but really love alliteration and amazing Amazon art is for sale in celebration of the third annual Wonder Woman Day and I really wanted to share my favorite pieces with you!  Blog@Newsarama has the scoop!  Hmm, maybe I can make Wonder Woman Wednesdays an irregular feature!  Stay tuned, dear reader! 

Above is a gorgeous piece by current Wonder Woman artist, Aaron Lopresti!  If you are not reading Wonder Woman right now, you so need to start!  Writer Gail Simon is taking the character to new heights!  

This statuesque version of Diana is by Wendy Pini of Elfquest fame!  I dig the unique version of her tiara and the super curly hair.  Those eyes are like stars and those thick eyebrows and heavy lashes would make even Brooke Shields jealous!

Storm Sunday: George Pérez

Here’s the amazing artwork of master artist George Pérez, depicting the lovely X-Women in their 1990s gear!  At the top we’ve got Rogue in her leather jacket, Jean “no codename at the moment” Grey is on the right, below is Psylocke in all of her Asian ninja glory and Storm works the left with those giant X’s below her massive shoulder pads.  I’ve always loved George’s work because he makes each character he draws look distinct.  There’s no tracing here, folks.  Each of these women look like they could really exist as real people, with special attention being shown to each facial and body characteristic and in regards to their personalities.  The latter is what brings it home for me.  Rogue is high flying and comfortable in her powers, Jean looks intense, Psyocke has a bit of mysterious to her expression and Storm is otherworldly and queenly (before she was Queen, natch!).

I love this image because George isn’t known for drawing the X-Men (See Wonder Woman, New Teen Titans, JLA/Avengers, & Sachs & Violens for some of his greatest runs), although he did draw Uncanny X-Men Annual #3 in 1981.

I did find some more images of Storm by George as well as an amazing group shot of the X-Men from the 90s and one from long ago!  Check them out!

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