Storm Arcana

Heroic Tarot & Arcana Academy

Month: March 2009

Saudia Arabia: The Kingdom in the Closet


One of my best friends took a teaching job in Dubai a year ago.  He’s had to “play it straight” and keep his Queer identity invisible in order to keep his job.  He’s related to me how hard it is for guys who can’t or don’t conform to stereotypically masculine behavior to avoid being harassed by locals and officials.  However, underneath these social codes, there exists an underground world of men who have sex with men.  Nadya Labi’s article for the Atlantic investigates “a society where everyone, homosexual and otherwise, lives in the closet.”

Wonder Woman Wednesday: Jill Thompson

wwMeeting Jill Thompson at this year’s WonderCon was a dream come true!  It was especially exciting to have the creator of Scary Godmother and Magic Trixie in person at the Isotope and meet with fans during the 100 Bullets party!  Jill was the artist on Wonder Woman from 1990-1991 and also on Sandman from 1991-1993.  The Little Endless Storybook is one of my favorite renditions of Neil Gaiman’s creations!  Jill’s spectacular pencils have also graced Black OrchidThe Invisibles and X-Men Unlimited (a Dazzler spotlight)!

I am so ecstatic that Jill graciously took the time to sketch Diana in my diary!  She looks positively enchanting with her full hair, pixie nose and floating stars.  Such a sweet and lithe interpretation of everyone’s favorite Amazon!

 Check out Jill’s website for a full list of her work and be sure to pick up a copy of Magic Trixie for yourself or the child in your life (both will thank you for it)!

STORM Sunday: WonderCon 2009, Part II

2009 WonderCon weekend yielded not one, but two amazing events at the Isotope!  On Friday night, Darick Robertson hosted a Tiki Tour and on Saturday night we tripped the light fantastic with featured guests Brian Azzarello, Dave Johnson, and Jill Thompson!  But before I get to recounting the epic moments of those two nights, let me share with you the group of amazing people that not only grounded my Wonder Con experience, but are a source of support and validation, my dear comrades in arms, the Writers Old Fashioned!

Writers Old Fashioned is my San Francisco crew.  We hang out whenever our hectic lives and schedules allow, talk about our projects and have a few drinks (although that usually means tea for me).  These folks understand that creating art is about building each other up.  We listen to each others dreams and schemes and we encourage each other to make them reality.  It’s really a blessing when you can trust your friends to give you their unvarnished opinions regarding your work.  And it helps that these kids are wicked clever (the barbed wit of Jason McNamara alone can slash a man to ribbons in mere seconds).  Their feedback and constructive criticism isn’t just appreciated, it’s vital.     

This year Writers Old Fashioned greatly benefitted from the take charge leadership of Emily Stackhouse.  She initiated and organized WOF’s involvement in this year’s WonderCon and motivated many of us to bring our best game to the table.  Anyone who’s been in a leadership position knows how hard it is to get things done, especially with a group of uniquely diverse individuals.  I compare this kind of task to herding cats, and let me tell you, dear reader, that Catwoman’s got nothing on Ms. Stackhouse.  Meow!

The Artists Alley Writers Old Fashioned booth was my home base for WonderCon and I am grateful to all of our members who worked the table, because I really didn’t.  I showed up to put my cards on the table (but Emily and Matt already had them out for me;  extra special thanks to Matt Silady for picking my cards up from the printers!) and I stashed my purse under our table, but that was about all I did.  When Matt and Emily weren’t working the table, Josh Richardson and David Brothers held it down!  In fact, Emily knew I was going to be volunteering for Prism Comics and took some Princess Witch Boy postcards to the folks at that booth before I arrived at the Con.  It was super awesome to show up for my shift and point to my cards and be all like, “That’s me!” to the Prism Comics guys.  Thanks, Emily!

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Let’s all raise our glasses (or tea cups) in a toast to Writers Old Fashioned!  Check us out and make sure to read the recent posts by Emily and Danger Bob (as seen in this picture taken by CHUNK)!

wofHere’s Josh Richardson and David Brothers taking care of business at the booth (Photo taken by yours truly).  

Writer and artist Justin Hall asked me if I’d be interested in volunteering for Prism Comics and I jumped at the opportunity to mingle with Queer comic creators!  I’ve followed Prism’s exploits since it was established in 2003 and love their annual resource guide:  Prism Comics: Your LGBT Guide to Comics (Which is available for sale on their site).  When I met Zan (aka Charles Christensen) at a Radical Faerie gathering many years ago, I had no idea that one day I’d get to work alongside him promoting comics!  Besides being famous for one half of the Wonder Twins, Zan is also founding member of Prism, the writer for  The Mark of Aeacus, and quite simply a joyous force for all that is good, just and fabulous in the world.  In this video, Zan interviews me about Prism Comics.  This was completely off the cuff, folks.  I had no idea that he was going to put me on the spot like that,  so be kind.

So, was it ironic coincidence or a sly tip of the hat from DC Comics that they chose to place a gi-normous wall hanging of Wonder Woman only a few feet away from the Prism Comics booth?  Either way, it was awesome to have Terry Dodson’s version of Diana looking over us the whole convention.  Sappho was certainly not suffering at this Wonder Con!   

It was very exciting talking to con attendees about Queer comics and creators and I got to mingle (if somewhat briefly) with Ed LucePaige Braddock, Brian Andersen, Robert Triptow, Mark Padilla, and Johnny Nolan!  Please check out their respective projects and support them however you can!  

Many thanks to Prism Comics volunteer organizers Ted Abenheim, Sean McGrath, and David Paul Brown for all of their hard work.  Thanks also to the volunteers and creators and con attendees for making me feel right at home!

Next:  I talk about the Tiki Tour and how it almost killed me…I just need to get my hands on some photos first!  Thanks for your patience!

Venus by Jeff Parker

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While I continue to sort and record my memories of last weekend’s WonderCon, please enjoy this lovely sketch of Venus as drawn by the brilliant Jeff Parker from his new ongoing comic Agents of Atlas (published by Marvel Comics).  Jeff drew this beauty (pun intended)) at the Isotope kickoff party for his and Tom Fowler’s Mysterius the Unfathomable comic (published by Wildstorm Comics).  Thanks to Jeff for being such a good sport, great conversationalist and all around top notch guy!  Please support Agents of Atlas, Mysterius the Unfathomable and the upcoming relaunch of Marvel Comics’ Exiles!

“Without names, any story can be appropriated.”

Initiation

by Tsering Wangmo Dhompa

 

When lightning strikes, it takes a particular body to fall.

The rest become incidents. Recalled to the precincts of the body;
appropriation in motion. Props and sound.

A man has left medical school and gone backpacking to South
America. A man has sent a letter to his love, asking for friendship.
Not love.

Without names, any story can be appropriated.

The city undoes himself inch by inch. Divesting layers of fog that
we begin to associate with the place. In the end, it is different.

Lightning pixilated through far-sighted eyes. Hazy as stymied
tissues.

Under normal circumstances, a man is seen as a good person or
not such a good person. These are negotiable.

What we would do for clarity. What we do for clarity.

We are left no choice, but memory persists.

“It’s the question of male domination…”

A HISTORY OF LESBIANISM

by Judy Grahn

How they came into the world.
the women-loving-women
came in ten by ten
and ten by ten again
until there were more
than you could count

   they took care of each other
   the best they knew how
   and of each other’s children
   if they had any.

How they lived in the world,
the women-loving-women
learned as much as they were allowed
and walked and wore their clothes
the way they liked
whenever they could. They did whatever
they knew to be happy or free
and worked and worked and worked.
The women-loving-women
in America were called dykes
and some liked it
and some did not.

   they made love to each other
   the best they knew how
   and for the best reasons

How they went out of the world,
the women-loving-women
went out one by one
having withstood greater and lesser
trials, and much hatred
from other people, they went out
one by one, each having tried
in her own way to overthrow
the rule of men over women,
they tried it one by one
and hundred by hundred,
until each came in her own way
to the end of her life
and died:

   The subject of lesbianism
   is very ordinary; it’s the question
   of male domination that makes everybody
   angry.

STORM Sunday: WonderCon 2009, Part I

We interrupt your regularly scheduled Storm Sunday to bring you this news-breaking, world-shaking, life-changing edition of STORM Sunday. This multi-post edition signals a shift in consciousness (as well as the shift key) for all things stormantic. Thank you for your patronage! eyeofstormDear Reader,

I wish to share some of my experiences from this past weekend before the echoes of memory grow distant. Blissfully, WonderCon ultimately lived up to its name, providing me with admiration for many a comic book creator, amazement at the work they do, and awe that I got the chance to interact with both of the aforementioned. My mind boggles at the number and variety of people that I was blessed to interact with on many different meaningful levels. I’ll do my best to recount the highlights of what was the most spectacular weekend in at least the last year (coincidentally, this is a year to date from last year’s WonderCon, my first convention I’ve ever attended).

However, I simply must present you with a little history, some background if you will, on why this weekend was so seminal for me. You see, I have been working Special Events at the Isotope for a full year now and I have to give a lot of credit to James Sime for asking me this question one night while we were enjoying ginger and cilantro vodka drinks at The Orbit Room:

“Why aren’t you making comics?”

It was this simple question that gave me flashbacks to my childhood, when I drew my own stories. It made me reexamine the times throughout my life where I diminished the importance of my art and allowed myself to believe that I was supposed to pursue a more societally accepted profession. That I had ingested the propoganda that writings novels or screenplays were a higher artform than sequential art. That I had forgotten the joy I embodied when I gave in to my storyteller nature. That my soul needed me to honor this path that I had strayed from as a teenager.

One simple question.

That question planted a seed. That seed brought forth this fruit:

pwb01I’m proud to say that in the last year I’ve been able to reclaim the power I gave away surrounding my perception of the stories I need to tell and the medium in which I must tell them. Princess Witch Boy is the culmination of my graduate theses from 2005 – 2007. My MA and MFA theses explored gothic and trauma themed memoir as well as my life long obsession with the heroic, the magickal and the fantastical (When I speak of magick here, I am referring to the divine. The realm of imagination is undiluted fantasy. These two realms merge to create the landscape required for the hero’s journey for which Joseph Campbell is so well known). For the first time since achieving my Master’s, I understand the story that I must tell. Comics are the only medium that can do justice to my goal of integrating and presenting the magickal and mundane worlds that I dance between.

pwb_postcard_back01

It’s not a lot to go on, I admit, but I don’t want to give too much away yet. It’s important that you dwell in your own way on the idea of what a “fantasy memoir” might entail. It’s crucial that you bring your own understanding of what is considered “real” and “make believe” to the narrative. It is my intention to create space for an exploration of that elusive quality that we call “truth.”

The sigil on the right hand side of this image is The Eye of The STORM, a magickal symbol I created when I distilled the perception of my personal essence into art. It is a potent spell, drawing upon ancient Egyptian iconography (The Eye of Ra/Horus and the ankh), witchcraft (The pentacle), and nature (The lightning bolt) for power. Its history will be made more evident over time.

Many people at WonderCon asked me about how much work I’ve completed for Princess Witch Boy and I told them, as I now tell you, dear reader, that creating these flyers was a kind of an elaborate mind game. I have written many stories that will be a part of this comic. I have many sketches, drawings and thumbnails to supplement this writing. However, the sequential art still needs birthing. My next step is to create a mini comic that will tell one specific piece of the overall story, one of the threads that exists within the overarching narrative. It is my intention to have this mini completed for San Diego Comic Con. I will post updates on here regarding my progress. I am making my goal public as to create a heightened sense of culpability on my part to getting my art completed. I need the deadlines, you see, as I am one of those folks who works well under pressure, in full view of my community. Your anticipation is the impetus for my action.

So, many thanks to James for the initial push. His love for the medium compels him to initiate others to make their art a reality. He is a catalyst for creativity. This is one of the many reasons I admire him and am honored to be his friend. Yes, it is true that James is also my boss, but the friendship was gained long before the employment, and I would not work for him if I did not believe in his sincerity and dedication to what he believes in. The Isotope is a testament to the scope and tenacity of his vision. It is a blessing and a privilege to be a part of it.

Next: I reminisce about the Tiki Tour and the 100 Bullets party, reflect upon my first comic convention cosplay experience, and recommend a slew of amazing creators and comics organizations to enrich your life! Yes, yes, I know it’s a tad strange to have a multi-part post that spans more than one day be named after Sunday, but if I don’t wind this post up right now, I’m going to fall asleep on my keyboard!

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