Storm Arcana

Heroic Tarot & Arcana Academy

Month: July 2009 (Page 1 of 2)

Storm Sunday: True Romance

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Ororo and her husband T’Challa unite in a passionate embrace!  I would love to credit the artist but I don’t know who drew this image!  Drop me a comment if you do!

Black Widow: Deadly Origin

black widow tom raneyNovember brings a new Black Widow mini-series by Paul Cornell and Tom Raney (That’s his art above).  Read about the mini at Comic Book Resources.  I’m really excited about this series as Natalia is one of my favorite characters and Cornell is one of my favorite writers (His Captain Britain & MI13 being a recent addiction).  I’m really psyched that Cornell plans to show not only Natalia’s beginnings, but also her early interactions with Hercules (Champions era Black Widow is among my favorite incarnations of Natalia).  I love that a super spy and a god were on a team together.  Black Widow is one of the few remaining women in the Marvel Universe who has still retained a strong sense of identity and independence.  It seems that Cornell intends to keep it that way!

Stormwatch: X-Titles Solicitations for Marvel Comics, October 2009

118_X_BABIES_1CAN NOT WAIT!

Seriously, I think this is amazing.  Dynamic, expressive, fun, kinetic, cute, I could go on and on….thanks to Comic Book Resources for October’s Advance X-Solicitations for this gem.   This cover is by Skottie Young and it’s so fabulous I wish he were doing the interiors, but I will most definitely give Jacob Chabot a chance to win me over as well!

108_UNCANNY_X_MEN__FIRST_CLI have been meaning to blog about this new title, but it keeps slipping my mind.  I like it okay enough so far.  It’s weird for me to read retro stories that fit in between the classics, but this is the only comic in which you can read about Banshee and Phoenix, so I will be following it slavishly.  Cover by Roger Cruz.

119_X_FACTOR_50Really looking forward to celebrating X-Factor’s fiftieth issue!  Look at this yummy cover art by David Yardin!  This is the most motley group of mutants in the titles these days, but I love the disparity of powers and personalities at work here.  And despite what Rob Liefeld may feel, it looks like Shatterstar will be continuing his relationship with Rictor.  Many thanks to scribe Peter David!

Also shipping in October is Astonishing X-Men #31 which brings superstar artist Phil Jimenez on board with writer Warren Ellis for a six issue arc!

Checking out DC Comics Solicitations, October 2009

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Spending the weekend in the company of Geoff Johns and James Robinson has my head all a flutter with the characters and stories of DC Comics.  Browsing through the solicits for October I came across quite a few things that caught my eye and I thought, dear reader, that I would share them with you.

Above, a new (?) Batgirl is given lush life by the talented Phil Noto.  I’m attracted to the mixed design elements of old school cowl of  Barbara Gordon Batgirl and the all black costumed Cassandra Cain.

GL-Cv47-varI am most interested in the Indigo Tribe out of all of the spectrum corps in Green Lantern.  I am piqued by the tiny bits of information that have been slowly divulged.  I like the symbol first of all (on the belt and the forehead as a third eye), and I love the staffs.  I think it’s the tribal angle that has me hooked the most.  But most of all, the depiction of the Star Sapphire corps really abused the concept/emotion of L0ve, so I am really hoping for a better showing/reprentation of Compassion.  The cover above is by Ed Benes.

bns3afsapphireNo, I will not be buying this (I still have lots of toys to break before I need new ones), but it sure is pretty.  Does Star Sapphire represent a highly evolved consciousness of sexual expression or is the character simply sexist pandering to a sex-starved fanbase?  I’d like to say there’s truth in both statements, butI belive that the real truth is somewhere in the middle.  I love the saucy freshness to the character’s stance (and portrayal thus far), but I would love the bodysuit to cover up the front a whole heck of lot more.

JACK-Cv39Brian Bolland is so amazing.  His covers always capture my undivided attention as soon as I see them.  I love his rendition of Jack Frost from Jack of Fables.  This title is a lot fun as well.  I highly recommend getting the first trade of Fables and read on from there.  Bill Willingham brings the funny and the poignant.

MXAN-Cv16Madame Xanadu is my favorite title right now and it’s mostly Amy Reeder Hadley’s art, although Matt Wagner has created a believable portrait of a character who was once a deus ex machina cypher.  The first trade, Enchanted, just came out last week.  You will love this series!

UNWritten-Cv6The cover art to The Unwritten has been very eye-catching so far.  After reading the first two issues, I’m interested enough in following what seems to be a very intricately thought out story.  Impressive storytelling, especially the meta-textual  moments.

That’s my picks for the month of October for DC Comics!  I’m not such a Marvel Zombie after all, am I?  Did any of them strike your fancy or is there something else you’d like me to check out?  Let me know in the comments!

Happy is the Joyful Undertaker

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Today one of my friends had to put her canine companion to sleep.

Today one of my friends’ wife gave birth to their second child.

We celebrated new life and mourned the loss of another.

We smoked Cuban cigars and feasted on German chocolate cake.

We reminisced about what had been and we imagined what will be.

We danced in the doorways between Life, Death & Rebirth.

Thankful for the abundance of emotion and the depth

Of experience that accompanied the transitions.

Happy are those who choose to undertake their work with a joyful heart.

(Above, a Runechilde ™ looks into the possibilities of all future paths. Doll Shaman © STORM 2009)

Storm Sunday: No Smoking Please

storm fly in the face of facts

Oh Storm, and you wonder why people call you stuck up!  Seriously, I laughed so hard when I read those two word balloons for the first time!  The tone is a bit pompous, and it’s also a pun which makes her speech especially ludicrous.  But I happen to find it hilarious.  Does Storm think that some people CAN fly in the fact of facts?  Who does that?  Thor?  The Green Goblin (Well, he probably *glides* in the face of facts instead)? Dark Phoenix definitely flew in the face of facts.  I’m pretty sure the Human Torch might as well.  Anyway, here’s a little gem of a comic featuring Spider-Man, Storm & Power Man (before he became just Luke Cage).  It’s actually titled Spider-Man, Storm and Power Man.  Catchy, huh?  It’s copyrighted 1982 and no one is credited with the art or words.  The comic was a freebie given away by the American Cancer Society.

storm front

Oh noes! It’s Smokecreen!  And he’s menacing young boys in athletic wear!  Things look serious!  I am so glad it requires three Marvel Super-Heroes to take this guy down!  You can make fun of his costume on your own, it’s just too easy a target for me to fully engage.  Besides, I’m more interested in talking about how Storm is portrayed in this comic.  Let’s continue on with a Marvel tried and true staple of storytelling–The Origin!

storm inside

So, now we’re clear on the facts, right?  No one flying in the face of them yet?  Peter was bit, Storm was born and Luke thought it would be a good idea to take part in “a secret experiment.”  I’m sure that origin will dovetail nicely with the “don’t give in to peer pressure” message coming up in the following pages.  Also, Storm’s birth name is not mentioned, but the boys get their secret identity mentioned.  What gives?

storm meeting

Storm proves that she can hang with the boys by knocking Luke upside a tree trunk with a gust of wind.  Wow, that’s a great first impression, Storm.  But it seems to work as she’s allowed to watch the criminals for the boys.  She trails some hoodlums and this leads her to a warehouse.

storm sneaks

Storm hears a voice behind her, but in the fourth panel is enveloped by smoke and hit on the head before she can summon a breeze.  Really?  Uber-lame.  It’s not even a fight.  It’s just ridiculous.

storm escapes

Storm is left alone and unguarded in the room where she was knocked out.  She takes out the lock on the door with her lightning.  Why not use her lock-picking skills instead?  And that third panel kills me.  She looks like a cardboard cutout of herself.

storm team up

So the whole time that Storm has been unconscious, Spidey and Luke say that they’ve been running around the city in circles for her.  But they actually had a team up without her, rescued the kids from some crime boss and then hung out with the kids at the park.  That’s what happens when the boys don’t want you in their clubhouse.  But Storm shows up again,  so all three heroes run off to stop the gambling den.  See you later kids!  This won’t take a minute!  It’s the problem we’re solving, not the symptom!  Just like smoking!

storm team up 2

What’s really “washed up” is this dialogue.  Luke and Storm clean up the flunkies with a pool table and rain while Spidey gets to take bad guy with his webbing.  You saw all of this coming, didn’t you?  I’m so glad Storm appeared in this comic to get knocked out and make it rain!

storm moral lesson

Whoa!  I get the “don’t smoke” message, but “don’t stay up late”?  No way I can support that.  What are Bret’s “other bad habits”?  I shudder to think.  !

storm back

And this is the priceless page that made me scan these pages in the first place.  Three super-heroes equals three times the puns!  And what is Luke carrying?  An ancient block of tofu?

I ♥ Scarlett Johansson!

scarlett widowI think it might have been Lost in Translation that made me fall in love with Scarlett Johansson.   She was gorgeous, yes, but she had a range of emotions as well as a lyrical grace.  She knew the power of nuance.  She reminded me of the Goddess Pelé, a volcanic being whose calm exterior belies her smoking interior.  She’s lava in lipstick.

And she’s going to be Black Widow in Iron Man II!  I am so happy!  Especially after Entertainment Weekly featured her on the cover (and inside the issue)!  I think her costume is well designed, but then it’s hard to get a black bodysuit wrong.  The wrist bracelets are a tad small, but designed well.  We can’t see her belt to judge whether she has the Black Widow hourglass symbol yet, but here’s hoping!  As for the girl curls, at first I was a bit taken aback, because I think they add a youthful (almost teenager) dimension to the look which is hard to reconcile with my idea of Natasha (I think curls would be too much maintenance for her), but it’s still pretty.  At least they didn’t recreate the short cut she sometimes sports in the comics.  That would have been too severe a look for my taste.

scarlett_johansson_dolce_gabbana_lipstick_ad

Scarlett is also featured in the new issue of fashion magazine W in a Dolce & Gabanna ad that is very Marilyn Monroe inspired (not that you needed to be told that).  The picture above is almost like the one in the magazine, but Scarlett is looking more at the viewer instead of to the side and the background is a leopard print instead of white silk.  I actually prefer the print version quite a bit more.  I came across the one above while looking for  a copy of the print ad online and did not find it.  This one is lovely as well.   There’s more pictures from this promotional shoot at Fashion Week Daily.  And you might want to peruse some of Steven Klein’s photography while on W magazine’s site.  There’s some gorgeous work there and one shoot actually features the designers Dolce & Gabbana that is simply stunning.

Don’t Call ‘Em X-Babies Anymore!

x-babies nmBill Sienkiewicz +  Chris Claremont + New Mutants = Perfection.  What else is there to say?  I could try to justify or even support why I feel this way, but I’m not going to.  Seek out these stories.  Read them aloud to the teenager in yourself and see how you might be transformed.  Start at New Mutants (the original series) #1 and keep going through #18 (like this Marvel ad recommends).  New Mutants lasted a total of 100 issues and it’s a bumpy ride at times.  Different creative teams and too many crossovers abound (Secret Wars II really takes its toll on these characters), but somehow my love for this era has never faltered.

It never will.

To be hated and to be feared by a world in which you want to find your place is everyone’s thesis on some level.  It’s a timeless tale, the hero’s quest, made better for also being about unity through community.     Do these characters become the next generation of X-Men as they were originally created to be?  Well, yes and no.  Characters in never-ending sequential art periodicals (now referred to as franchises) are not created for resolution.  They can never have the full arc of character growth.  The best the reader can hope for is a poignant chapter that speaks directly to their own experience AT THAT TIME.  That is what the New Mutants did for me.  Perhaps it might do the same for you.  It wouldn’t hurt to find out and besides, Sienkiewicz’s art will enrich your perception of comic book art (Also read Elektra:  Assassin by Sienkiewicz & Frank Miller).

Storm Sunday: J. Bone

Storm_J_Bone
Toronto based illustrator and comic book artist J. Bone is one of the nicest people you can imagine meeting!  I follow his blogs Blah Blah Blog! and Man’s Adventure as much as possible and was overjoyed to find that he had sketched Storm and Loki!  Currently he draws the covers for DC Super Friends and boy, do they rock!  His Storm sketch is so cuddly and cute as she cradles her cloud of rain.  I love the circular face and how her cape billows out in a bell shape below (Whoa, that is a lot of alliteration!  Even for me!).  Her curvy hips and one foot in front of another stance is nice, but I think it’s how her eyes and lips are drawn that makes this sketch a J. Bone original.  And you know my favorite thing?  He didn’t skimp on the hair.  It’s way below her hips!
Loki_j bone
Here Loki reclines in sassy heels, plotting machinations to offset her supreme boredom. Or at least that’s how I see it.  The horns and gauntlets are great touches (Loki’s horns are just as important a character detail as Storm’s tiara and of course, J. gets them both perfectly) and I love the overall posture of this figure.  She looks simply diabolical!

Check out a lovely Wonder Woman sketch by J. Bone at this blog!  Peter Parker works out some household chores here.  And J. Bone’s creation, Jett Vector appears in a two page story here!

Stormwatch: Phil Jimenez to draw 5 issues of Astonishing X-Men!

phil jiminez xmen

Marvel has announced that superstar artist Phil Jimenez will be drawing Astonishing X-Men for five issues!  I am soooo excited!  If anyone loves Storm as much as I do it’s Phil Jimenez (If we’re going to split hairs about it, then yes, Patrick Fillion loves Ororo just as much, too)!  Just from that tiny promotional piece, I can tell that we’re in for a treat!  I love how Phil has streamlined much of Storm’s costume and given Hisako (Armor) a better hairstyle (“Cause that’s what’s really important, folks–superhero fashion)!  The overwrought tiara actually works.  I’m really surprised that I’m into it as it deviates so much from Dave Cockrum’s design, but I’m digging it.  Cannot wait for this arc!

x-menlegacyannual01_cover

And now for some Where’s Waldo fun!  Here’s the cover for X-Men: Legacy Annual #1 by writer Mike Carey and artist Daniel Acuña.  Where in San Francisco is Queen Ororo Iqadi T’Challa, née Munroe?

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